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Written by Olin Coles   
Tuesday, 09 April 2013
Table of Contents: Page Index
480GB Crucial M500 Solid State Drive
Overview: Crucial M500 SSD
Features and Specifications
SSD Testing Methodology
AS-SSD Benchmark
ATTO Disk Benchmark
CrystalDiskMark 3.0 Tests
Iometer IOPS Performance
EVEREST Disk Benchmark
PCMark Vantage HDD Tests
Crucial M500 SSD Conclusion

Iometer IOPS Performance

Iometer is an I/O subsystem measurement and characterization tool for single and clustered systems. Iometer does for a computer's I/O subsystem what a dynamometer does for an engine: it measures performance under a controlled load. Iometer was originally developed by the Intel Corporation and formerly known as "Galileo". Intel has discontinued work on Iometer, and has gifted it to the Open Source Development Lab (OSDL). There is currently a new version of Iometer in beta form, which adds several new test dimensions for SSDs.

Iometer is both a workload generator (that is, it performs I/O operations in order to stress the system) and a measurement tool (that is, it examines and records the performance of its I/O operations and their impact on the system). It can be configured to emulate the disk or network I/O load of any program or benchmark, or can be used to generate entirely synthetic I/O loads. It can generate and measure loads on single or multiple (networked) systems.

To measure random I/O response time as well as total I/O's per second, Iometer is set to use 4KB file size chunks over a 100% random sequential distribution at a queue depth of 32 outstanding I/O's per target. The tests are given a 50% read and 50% write distribution. While this pattern may not match traditional 'server' or 'workstation' profiles, it illustrates a single point of reference relative to our product field.

All of our SSD tests used Iometer 1.1.0 (build 08-Nov-2010) by Intel Corporation to measure IOPS performance, using a SandForce-created QD30 configuration: 4KB 100 Random 50-50 Read and Write.icf. The chart below illustrates combined random read and write IOPS over a 120-second Iometer test phase, where highest I/O total is preferred:

Iometer_Random_4K-IOPS_30QD_Results.png

In our Iometer tests, which are configured to use 32 outstanding I/O's per target and random 50/50 read/write distribution, SandForce SSDs generally outperform the competition when tested with this large queue depth. The OCZ Vertex 4 SSD delivered the best combined IOPS performance we've seen from any SATA-based SSD with 83,494, followed by the Intel SSD 520 Series at 80,433 peak combined IOPS, then the Intel SSD 335 Series with 80,015.

The 480GB Crucial M500 solid state drive kept pace with the leading SATA 6Gb/s SSDs by producing 62,873 combined IOPS. Compared to previous Micron/Crucial SSDs, the new M500 is far and away a superior performing storage device.

It should be noted that nearly all modern SSDs deliver I/O far beyond the needs of multi-tasking power users and hardcore gamers, and would be ideal for workstation systems running utilizing virtual machines.

In our next section, we test linear read and write bandwidth performance and compare its speed against several other top storage products using EVEREST Disk Benchmark. Benchmark Reviews feels that linear tests are excellent for rating SSDs, however HDDs are put at a disadvantage with these tests whenever capacity is high.



 

Comments 

 
# The Next StepMugsy 2013-04-09 07:54
A bit of a disappointment that shows the limitations of the currently available technology.

Currently, the best way to improve the speed of SSD'a is to RAID-0 two of them together. But not a lot of people are competent enough to do this themselves. Think of the advantage this drive would have over the competition at (near) double the speed.

Until someone creates the next generation interface (SATA-4?), the next logical step in improving SSD speed is a single drive with TWO sata ports on it, doubling the bandwidth. The drive itself: essentially two physical drives "RAID'ed" together inside the same box. Basically, "plug & play RAID".

No need for the user to "create a RAID array" by hand. Firmware could be created so the computer sees only "one" drive despite having to SATA ports. This might be pricey at first, but just as with any new technology, the cost will come down in time.
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# RE: The Next StepDavid Ramsey 2013-04-09 08:31
Your idea of an "internal RAID" is widely used in the various PCI-E SSD systems available. We've even reviewed some of them.

However, putting two SATA ports on an existing SSD wouldn't make configuring a RAID any simpler, since it's exactly equivalent to having two separate SSDs: you'd still need to configure RAID on your motherboard to tell it to treat the two SATA connections as a single device.
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# RE: 480GB Crucial M500 Solid State DrivePete 2013-04-10 16:45
Why are you not comparing Samsung SSD anymore?
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# RE: RE: 480GB Crucial M500 Solid State DriveOlin Coles 2013-04-10 16:50
The quick answer is because they do not respond to our sample requests, and therefore do not ship any for us to test and review.
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# RE: 480GB Crucial M500 Solid State DrivePete 2013-04-10 17:02
Dang, because I remember the earlier tests where they scored right up with the intel's.!
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# RE: RE: 480GB Crucial M500 Solid State DriveOlin Coles 2013-04-10 20:33
Unfortunately the sour economy combined with lagging SSD sales have made it difficult for some companies to allocate many units towards marketing. I'll be making another attempt to gain their favor very soon.
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# Considered expanding?feralshad0w 2013-04-10 21:47
I started reading this site about 5 years ago and really liked the attention to detail and analysis. You guys were doing some thermal and sound tests before others had caught on. I think a lot of reviewers and company attention is moving to youtube reviewers because of its popularity. Have you guys considered making a youtube channel to accompany the benchmarkreviews website? No one does the line-ups and detailed reviews like you guys have done in the past with coolers and thermal pastes.

I think it could probably bring you a lot more views, it would be an additional revenue stream, and it would probably encourage companies like samsung to send you more products.

And I would love to see your reviews with videos of the products...
It's really a win-win for everyone lol
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# good pointresere 2013-04-11 14:47
agree. do it. need help?

In other words, stay profi as much as u can but use all channels u can.
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# RE: RE: RE: 480GB Crucial M500 Solid State DriveChris 2013-04-11 22:24
Olin, do you think that the declining PC market as a whole may be affecting SSD sales?

There seem to be many factors at work here
- Widespread belief that phones and tablets are replacing laptops and desktops
- Windows 8 was not well received and may be hurting new PC sales
- The state of the economy
- Average customer might not see the benefit (or even know what an SSD is)

Also, some of the SSD makers themselves (ex: OCZ) have not been doing so well either.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: 480GB Crucial M500 Solid State DriveOlin Coles 2013-04-12 08:04
Yes, I absolutely do think the PC market is impacting SSD sales. By the end of 2013, you will see fewer brands offering SSD products. Some of the brands we've known for years will disappear or exit the market.
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# State of solid StateFeralshad0w 2013-04-14 22:39
It's just my opinion, but I think it still comes down to cost. My techy friends and I have solid states, but when I try to explain the benefit and speed to my other friends and family they just say they don't mind waiting or they want to save the money.

The thing I haven't seen is the cheap production of older technology SSD's to make them more accessible. I think it is silly on the manufactures part to have not released these, but I can see some obstacles:

1) The production costs are similar to newer technology drives, which makes it not worth producing them and offering at a lower price point.

2) They want to keep a premium enthusiast price to make. Particularly the larger drives that mainstream users would buy such as 256-500 gb.
(I am thinking this is like the large LCD price fixing conspiracy)

I think a lot of mainstream would only use HDD as backup if there were 256+ gb for $100-150. I feel the mainstream market would jump on board quickly at that point.

What do you think?
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# RE: State of solid StateChris 2013-04-19 13:58
The reason why older drives prices are not going down is because well, they cannot make any money if they did. Margins for these products are pretty slim as is, from what I've been told (by industry insiders).

It's not like other products where you can sell the last generation for less. It's not really a conspiracy I'm afraid - SSD prices are driven by the prices of NAND Flash more so than anything else.

And it's not mainstream that matters. It's whether OEMs begin to replace HDDs with SSDs en masse - that is where truly widespread adoption will occur.
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# RE: RE: State of solid StateFeralshad0w 2013-04-19 14:19
Very good point. It's a shame there isn't the wiggle room in price then. I think that IF they could make a larger dent in the lower end gaming/mainstream market that they could see a demand raise in the OEM market to really make things take off.

But by your account, that is a big "if".

Eventually the industry will shift.. but its not going to be as fast as I would like. I guess I will wait a couple more years to replace my media and game drives. I already got an SSD for my OS.

Thanks for the response.
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# RE: RE: RE: State of solid StateChris 2013-04-19 22:28
An example of a company not making money would be OCZ - a pretty big player in the field. They were selling while Ryan Peterson was CEO near the end, their SSDs at a huge net loss.

But even the bigger players like Micron are having some issues from what I've been led to believe in making money.

Here take a look:
#investors.micron.com/secfiling.cfm?filingID=723125-12-156

They lost money in 2012 as a whole, but lets look at segments.
- In terms of NAND, they made $198 million in profits on $2.853 billion in sales. So for every $1 of NAND, they make about $0.07 of profit.

- For DRAM, they lost $500 million on $2.691 billion in sales. For them to break even, DRAM prices would have to go up by about 17.5%.

There isn't too much room to decrease prices. I imagine maybe Intel or Samsung would make more money, but it's not a high margin market by any means. That puts even more pressure on the smaller players too, because companies like Micron can leverage their vertical integration and the sheer volume of NAND that they produce.

It's not like GPUs where I think the higher end margins are like 30% right now for Nvidia.
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# RE: 480GB Crucial M500 Solid State DriveChris 2013-04-11 22:21
It's not the fastest SSD out there, but it does come very close to the top. Still, for the money, it's a good value in terms of price per gb, especially for the big version.

Good review.
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# Software Editoralan1476 2013-05-24 13:34
SSDs are the future, everything is getting smaller, desktops are disappearing,laptops are getting thinner and smaller, netbooks, tablets, all using solid state, it will take time but these are mainstream products, they are not a techy toy anymore. The prices will be at a level of affordability for the mainstream family. They are now.
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# RE: 480GB Crucial M500 Solid State DriveChris 2013-06-12 04:54
A well written review of an interesting SSD, thank you. I have noted that Samsung does not publish all specifications but omits to mention specs that they their drives lack. Buyer needs to figure out that on his own. Micron/Crucial appear to provide a more complete disclosure of technical specifications.
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