|480GB Crucial M500 Solid State Drive|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Storage|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Tuesday, 09 April 2013|
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Crucial M500 SSD Conclusion
IMPORTANT: Although the rating and final score mentioned in this conclusion are made to be as objective as possible, please be advised that every author perceives these factors differently at various points in time. While we each do our best to ensure that all aspects of the product are considered, there are often times unforeseen market conditions and manufacturer changes which occur after publication that could render our rating obsolete. Please do not base any purchase solely on our conclusion, as it represents our product rating specifically for the product tested which may differ from future versions. Benchmark Reviews begins our conclusion with a short summary for each of the areas that we rate.
After revealing the first consumer SATA-6Gb/s solid state drive in 2010, Micron since set a reserved pace for follow-up offerings. The original Crucial RealSSD-C300 was an excellent product for its time, delivering 383/227 MB/s read and write transfers with nearly 21K IOPS. A year later the Crucial m4 SSD arrived to provide 446/281 MB/s read and write transfers with almost 29K IOPS. Three years after the RealSSD-C300 debuted, and two years since the Crucial m4 arrived on scene, Micron finally launches a successor: the Crucial M500 SSD. More than just a faster storage product, the Crucial C500 SSD brings several key features such as: 20nm NAND Flash, hardware-based AES 256-bit encryption, TCG Opal 2.0-compliant firmware, 'Hold-Up' capacitors to ensure data integrity, and on-board thermistor and microcontroller to assist with temperature control.
Beginning with the performance rating, I consider how effective the Crucial M500 SSD performs in file transfer operations against competing solid-state storage solutions. For reference, the 480B model is specified by Micron to produce up to 500 MB/s read speeds and 400 MB/s writes. In our storage benchmark tests the Crucial M500 SSD performed slightly above these speeds. Benchmark test results demonstrated that Micron's Crucial M500 SSD was good for delivering 539/445 MB/s peak read and write speeds using ATTO Disk Benchmark SSD speed tests; easily surpassing all previous Crucial SSD products. Linear file transfers with Everest Disk Benchmark produced 458/425 MB/s, which exceeds performance for both the OCZ Vector and Vertex 4 SSDs. Transfer speeds were very fast overall, and while not the fastest we've recorded they still tested near the top.
The 480GB Crucial M500 SSD sent to us for testing is advertised to deliver up to 80,000 random 4KB read or write IOPS. Using Iometer operational performance tests configured to a queue depth of 32 outstanding I/O's per target across 100% of the drive, our benchmarks produced 62,873 combined IOPS performance to exceed all previously-released Crucial SSDs as well as the recently launched OCZ Vector SSD. In 4K 32QD tests using AS-SSD and CrystalDiskMark, the Crucial M500 SSD excelled well past the competition by a very sizable margin and achieved the second highest score for each.
Solid State Drives are low-visibility products: you see them just long enough to install and then they're forgotten. Like their Hard Disk Drive counterparts, Solid State Drives are meant to place function before fashion. Anything above and beyond a simple metal shell is already more than what's expected in terms of the appearance. Micron Technology has created a sleek 7mm profile with appealing textured aluminum finish on the Crucial M500-series SSDs. As solid state storage controllers become faster and more advanced, heat dissipation through the enclosure walls may demand that chassis designs become more beneficial than they previously needed to be. For now, the adaptive thermal monitoring system on the M500 suits it well in managing heat in ultrathin and embedded designs.
Construction is probably the strongest feature credited to the entire SSD product segment, and Crucial products have never offered any exception. Solid State Drives are by nature immune to most abuses, but add a hard metal shell and the chance of failure is reduced to internal component defects. If any Crucial M500-series SSD product fails during the limited 3-year warranty period, end-users can contact Lexar/Crucial via the company website or SSD support forum. There's also a toll-free telephone number for support or customer service questions available at 800-336-8915.
As of April 2013, the Crucial M500 SSD launches in the following capacities and prices:
The Crucial M500 solid state drive is fast - but not the fastest, and powerful - but not the most powerful. That doesn't mean it doesn't hold up well to the competition, most of which lacking the hardware features and value. A smaller 20nm NAND Flash component frees up PCB real-estate and enable higher density (128MB) ICs to fit, reducing manufacturing material costs and thereby reducing product prices. An advanced 256-bit hardware-based AES encryption engine secures data, while 'Hold-Up' capacitors ensure that data's integrity in the event of power loss. An adaptive thermal monitoring system with on-board thermistor and microcontroller is certainly a useful feature for ultrathin and embedded designs, but the device sleep (DEVSLP) function that draws less than 5-milliwatts of power while in sleep mode is a 93% power improvement over previous-generation SSDs. Collectively these features and functions add to the already noteworthy performance, and earn the Crucial M500 SSD our Golden Tachometer Award for excellence.
+ Very fast 539/445 MBps read/write speed with ATTO
- Some manufacturers offer five-year warranty
Final Score: 9.0 out of 10.
Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.
COMMENT QUESTION: Is speed and IOPS performance more important to you than features and functionality?