Crucial MX200 Solid State Drive Overview
The Crucial MX200 looks like any other ordinary 2.5-inch solid state drive. On the top of the drive there is a sticker that lets you know you are using a Crucial MX series drive, although it does not list the capacity.
Taking a look at the side of the drive we can see two mounting holes, there are also two more on the opposite side. The drive is 7 mm but if you happened to need to install it in a 9.5 mm space Crucial does include a spacer.
On the end of the drive you have your typical SATA data and power connections.
Flipping the drive over there is another sticker on the back that has all of the model and serial numbers. It also lists the drive capacity.
Getting inside this drive is actually a little tricky as there are not any screws on the outside of the casing. The casing sort of sits over itself and you need to pop it out of place. This can be done with a screwdriver, but it is likely you will bend the casing, I know that I did when I tried to get inside.
Once inside you will find the PCB face down in the casing. You can easily pick it up and remove it by taking out a single screw. Pretty cool design. Taking a closer look at the PCB we can see that the drive is powered by the Marvell 88SS9189 controller that also has a 256 MB cache chip (the 1TB version has two). There are eight 16 nm synchronous MLC NAND chips on this side of the drive, each of which is 32 GB. The 1 TB model also has eight more chips on the back of the PCB.
The MX200 has a new feature built into it called Dynamic Write Acceleration. Many solid state drives have larger flash dies. The higher density dies affect the performance of lower capacity drives. Solid state drive controllers achieve peak performance by addressing multiple dies at the same time, but the smaller capacity drives do not have enough NAND chips for this to work correctly. This is why you typically see lower capacity drives have lower write speeds that their larger counterparts.
The MX200 drive has the ability to use dynamic switching to switch entire blocks into a SLC configuration with simpler programming that enables higher write speeds. Then it can switch back to its MLC config. It is a clever way to speed up writes on lower capacity drives. The 500 GB and 1 TB drives that we are testing today have enough NAND chips that they do not need Dynamic Write Acceleration, but the 250 GB version of the drive has this enabled.