Crucial’s Momentum Cache: The True Performance Results

On my gaming machine I have a 512GB Crucial MX100 as my boot drive (great drive by the way, great price/quality/performance ratio). The other day I launched the Crucial Storage Executive software to check the health information of the drive (all good by the way) and I noticed that I had not enabled an option called Momentum Cache.

If you look at the download page for the Storage Executive software, you see that this feature could allow you to increase the drive boost performance up to 10 times. Can Momentun Cache really improve your drive performance by this much? Let’s find out.

If you read the whitepaper titled Enhancing Burst Performance on Micron and Crucial SSDs With Momentum Cache, you’ll see that this performance improvement becomes possible by using your system’s available RAM to cache drive writes. From the whitepaper linked above:

SSDs typically have higher read performance than write performance. This is especially apparent in lower-density drives containing smaller amounts of NAND die accessed in parallel. Momentum Cache addresses this inefficiency by caching nearly all writes being transferred to the SSD. The writes are transferred from the cache to the SSD during periods of lower drive activity, providing a buffer to spread intense workloads over time and enabling improved burst performance.

This feature uses 25% of your system RAM but cannot use more than 4 GBs in total. Also, RAM usage by this technology is increased or decreased based on your system memory usage, so you don’t have to be afraid to run out of available RAM when this feature is enabled.

So I decided to run a test with CrystalDiskMark before and after enabling Momentum Cache.

Crucial MX100 512 GB SSD performance before enabling Momentum Cache.

Crucial MX100 512 GB SSD performance before enabling Momentum Cache.

This is the default performance of the drive. As expected, very good read performance, good write performance even though not on par with more expensive SSDs like the ones in the Samsung Pro line.

At this point, I enabled Momentum Cache through Storage Executive and rebooted the system. After the reboot, I opened the Crucial software once again to check whether the feature had been enabled correctly.

Momentum Cache enabled in Crucial Storage Executive.

Momentum Cache enabled in Crucial Storage Executive.

So everything looked good. Only thing left to do was to run CrystalDiskMark again and check the new results.

cial MX100 512 GB SSD performance after enabling Momentum Cache.

Crucial MX100 512 GB SSD performance after enabling Momentum Cache.

Well, I must say that I am impressed: sequential read and write performance increased by about 4x to 5x, and 4K read performance increased almost 10x.

Update 04/02/2017: user Justin in the comments kindly shared another set of results and I asked him if I could add his screenshot to the post for comparison. The results are impressive:

These results come from a machine with a “5820k @ 4.625ghz and 16gb of ddr4 3000 ram”. Looking at how important RAM is for the Momentum Cache feature, you can see that having high-speed RAM can massively improve the performance of your drive.

So is it worth enabling Momentum Cache on your Crucial drive? I would say that the answer is definitely yes. Seeing how easy and painless it is to enable it, and looking at the performance improvements, I think this is a no brainer.

8 Comments

  1. Thanks for this informative, short and concise review of Momentum Cache. I just got 2 MX300 525GB SSDs and I’m going to run the same tests you did on your MX100. Thanks again!

    • Hey Doug, thanks for stopping by! I have been eyeing the MX300 for a while now, if you have some time it would be great if you could share some results ;)

  2. http://imgur.com/a/lNqJO

    I did the same thing you did with my mx100. I have a 5820k @ 4.625ghz and 16gb of ddr4 3000 ram.

    • Hey Justin, thank you so much for sharing this! The results are definitely impressive, although probably not that surprising looking at how reliant Momentum Cache is on RAM.

      Do you mind if I updated the article adding your screenshot for comparison?

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