A Look at Storage Executive - Crucial's SSD Toolbox

One of the areas where Crucial has been lacking is the software. Nearly every SSD vendor provides some sort of software/toolbox for its SSDs nowadays, but until January Crucial had been the exception to the rule. I discussed this with Crucial/Micron last year and they understood their weakness on the software front, and also disclosed that there's a toolbox in the works. At CES the curtain was finally lifted when Crucial released its own toolbox called the Storage Executive.

Unlike the other toolboxes we've seen, the Storage Executive runs in the default browser. However, it still comes as an installer (which is quite large at 147MB for the 64-bit version) and has to be installed, but instead of running as its own window the Storage Executive utilizes the default browser for the interface. Since I'm not a software developer, I'm not sure if this is easier to implement versus a separate window, but honestly it doesn't really matter because a toolbox isn't something you need to keep open at all times, so Crucial's implementation works just fine for when it's needed.

The welcoming screen that's shown above shows the common tidbits of data that nearly all toolboxes show. This includes general information about the system such as the operating system and the amount of memory, along with slightly more detailed information about the installed drives (serial number, firmware version, temperature and used capacity). 

The 'Drive Details' section shows more details about the drives, including the interface and driver version, but honestly it could use some additional details (e.g. life remaining). The drop-down button next to the refresh icon includes a 'Get Debug Data' feature that saves the drive's and system's data to a ZIP file that can then be sent to Crucial's support team for remote analysis of the drive and its potential issues. 

The SMART tab includes the usual SMART data that can be read by numerous utilities.

The ability to easily upgrade the firmware is probably the most important feature in a toolbox and the Storage Executive is pretty straightforward with that. It automatically checks for updates and also features the release notes, so the end-user will know what has been changed in the newer firmware.

Drive sanitation is Crucial's code name for secure erase command, which will return the drive back to its factory state (i.e. all blocks are erased). There's also a PSID revert function that can be used to revert a TCG Opal encrypted drive back to unencrypted state using the physical security ID (i.e. PSID) that's printed on the SSD's label, which is very handy if you're dealing with encrypted drives because in case you lose the encryption key the drive will essentially become a brick as there's no way to access it. Obviously, PSID revert will erase all data in the drive, but the drive can then be repurposed. I did confirm that the PSID revert works and it doesn't require anything else but the PSID on the label. 

All in all, from a functionality perspective, the Storage Executive is Crucial's first attempt at a software package, and it shows. It lacks features compared to what Samsung and Intel have at the moment, but it does offer the necessary features that one needs for troubleshooting and maintenance. That said, since this is the 1.0 version, there will be more features added in the future that should bring the Storage Executive closer to what the competitors are offering today.

Introduction, The Drives & The Test Performance Consistency
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  • Vepsa - Friday, April 10, 2015 - link

    I wonder how two of these would do in RAID1 attached to a HP P410/256 controller. My poor little HP N40L could stand a capacity boost (2x250GB HDDs for booting) as well as a performance boost.
  • owbert - Friday, April 10, 2015 - link

    Performance besides power consumption is so close to the mx100.

    Current prices have both bx100 and mx100 around the same price. Would it be a smarter buy to pick the mx100 because it offers a few gigs more storage at each tier?
  • CaedenV - Friday, April 10, 2015 - link

    If I were purchasing today I would spend the extra $5 for a 1TB EVO. However, the EVO isn't likely to see many more price drops over it's life span, while the BX drives are brand new and will probably see a few price drops after the initial release. 6mo from now it might be substantially cheaper than the EVO and be a true budget drive (granted sub $400 for a 1TB SSD is not a bad price at all!).

    For my next build I think I am going to stick with m.2 for the added throughput and ability to have less stuff cluttering my box (looking at ITX next time). I wonder if there will be a 'budget' M.2 drive available by then that will offer better performance than SATA3 or SATA Express options.
  • MrCommunistGen - Friday, April 10, 2015 - link

    Due to the different controller in the 1TB 850 EVO (and the generally lower performance profile it offers compared to the 500GB model) I'd personally skip the 1TB EVO...

    Then again I'm not really in the market for a new SATA SSD at the moment either. My 500GB 840 EVO is *good enough* until I can get some future, shiny PCI-E, NVMe, 3D NAND SSD. Of course I'll need a new machine too since Z77 isn't going to know how to boot a NVMe SSD...
  • Margalus - Friday, April 10, 2015 - link

    the performance difference between the 500GB and the 1TB is negligible. Plus the 500GB is too small. I just bought the 1TB evo a couple weeks ago for $350. I wish they had a 2TB...
  • bunsenbunner - Friday, April 10, 2015 - link

    Nothing like ordering two of these last night (based on other reviews thus far) for a video editing setup only to see this review drop the next day. No stress at all reading through this to verify I made the right purchase! :-)

    Samsung's handling of the 840 EVO issues had me hesitant to go with the 850 EVO (even though I know the 3D NAND in the 850 EVO is a different beast from the TLC electrical drift issues in the 840 EVO). Samsung has had some stellar drives in recent years, but they've also not had any after-the-fact issues to really deal with. A "fix" followed by a second "fix" didn't give me a lot of confidence in Samsung's ability to truly resolve the issue. And this is from a current owner of two 840 EVOs.

    I of course wanted to hold out for the Intel 750 Series, but it skews a little far on the performance vs. value per GB for my needs.
  • Elixer - Friday, April 10, 2015 - link

    Storage Executive installs JAVA, that is why it is so huge.
    In theory, using JAVA means that this app could be ported to linux or Macs fairly easily.

    Personally, I rather not install anything that has to do with JAVA, they should have went with C# or C++ like the other OEMs are using.
  • Mr Perfect - Saturday, April 11, 2015 - link

    Oh. Java? I've actually removed that from my systems. Nothing I have uses it, and it's got as many security flaws as Flash.

    I'm also a little disappointed that this isn't a standalone application, but then I have all of these horrible flashbacks of Internet Explorer updates hopelessly breaking browser-based applications. *IE6 flashback*
  • dave_the_nerd - Friday, April 10, 2015 - link

    Bought one of these (500GB) the other day for a family member's build. I thought I had read a review on AT already, but I probably got it mixed up with the MX100.

    Nevertheless, I was impressed with the performance, especially for the price. (I guess I lucked out.) Seems like the arguments in favor of the BX100 come down to:

    1) Cheap
    2) Fast enough
    3) Crucial

    I'm okay with that.

    Also, I ordered a V4 once upon a time, then read some reviews of it and cancelled the order. So I guess that's twice I've lucked out.
  • jabber - Friday, April 10, 2015 - link

    Bought one of the 250GB ones a few weeks ago.

    My review - Works just as well as any other SSD I've bought over the past two years. No disappointment.

    Erm that's about as much as you need to know.

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