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Crucial MX200 250GB SSD Review


HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Feb 26, 2007


Historically, larger capacity SSDs almost always outperformed their “smaller” siblings, sometimes by a significant amount. Crucial has done things differently courtesy of DWA which transforms a portion of the NAND into quasi-SLC NAND which are then used for short term storage of all writes. Every so often the controller transfers the data to the rest of the drive.

On the surface this seemingly doubling of writes may not be all that enticing a proposition, but in reality using this approach results in a vast increase in NAND cell durability. More importantly DWA reduces the variances in performance between the larger capacity MX200 models and the smaller, and less expensive 250GB version.

This new technology is indeed a great boon for consumers as the MX200 250GB offers an entirely different user experience than any BX100 or MX100 model. With that being said, DWA is not perfect and like any first generation technology it does have a few caveats that consumers need to be aware of. While it can noticeably boost performance, it may not always do so and in fact can sometimes be a detriment to the drive’s overall capabilities. In simple terms, as long as you are not trying to write massive amounts of data to the drive, and do so without giving a small period of low IO requests, the overall performance won’t be noticeably lower than the larger capacity offerings. However, if you plan on using this drive in workstation-style scenarios the larger models still offer a much better solution.

The performance drop-off can only be seen in a narrow band of scenarios and will not apply for many of the MX200 250GB's intended customer base. That's excellent news for anyone who is looking for an SSD to speed up their gaming systems systems or boot times.

Dynamic Write Acceleration also has as second and much more noticeable downside. As we saw in testing, once the amount of data on the drive goes above 50% of capacity it starts to become substantially less effective. This is because Crucial does not include any additional ICs for DWA’s exclusive use. Instead, the controller simply has to use less and less NAND cells for acceleration when it needs all the performance it can get. For this reason a 250GB MX200 with only 25-50% of its NAND filled is an entirely different drive from one that has 75%-90% of its capacity taken up by data.

So what does this lead to in terms of real-world usage scenarios? For someone who is using the MX200 250GB to predominantly load programs, any negative impacts will be minimal and even with the drive close to capacity it will still be immensely fast when compared to HDDs. On the other hand, DWA could be a deal killer for photo editors or other professionals who tend to read and write a lot of data to their drives on a regular basis.

As long as consumers are aware of these possible issues, and take the necessary steps to alleviate them, the MX200 250GB is an excellent value. More importantly Dynamic Write Acceleration offers the kind of outside the box thinking the consumer Solid State Drive marketplace needs more of. We fully expect other companies to take note of this salient fact and start offering their own version of it, just like SanDisk, Samsung, and few others already do.


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