Crucial M550 SSD 128GB to 1TB Review

On First Page2. Performance

Crucial M550 SSD Review

Crucial M550 SSD Review (1TB, 512GB, 256GB, 128GB)

When it comes to creating an SSD Crucial, due to being part of the Micron family, have an advantage over many other SSD manufacturers… they have access to their own brand storage and cache chips to build a drive round. For some time they have matched those with Marvel controllers and with the release of the M550 we see that continue.

Crucial M550 SSD packaging

Crucial go with a familiar box design on the M550, in fact it is almost identical to the M500 apart from a change in colour scheme. Inside the drive is suspended in plastic and wrapped in anti-static material.

The M500 SSD

Crucial M550 SSD topCrucial M550 SSD base
Crucial M550 SSD enclosure

As with the previous generation drives Crucial go with a full metal casing on the M550 and apply a branding sticker to one side. This is a 7.5mm form factor drive and bundled with it we get a plastic bumper for bays which require 9mm depth. The base of the device features a sticker with certifications, model details, that it is using Firmware MU01 and in terms of full dimensions we have a 100.45×69.85x7mm drive here with a weight of 70g. After opening the drive we find a thermal pad applied to the casing and this makes contact with the controller and DDR3 cache chip.

Crucial M550 SSD PCBCrucial M550 SSD PCB

The M550 will be available in three form factors, M.2, mSATA (both up to 512GB) and traditional 2.5-inch which reaches 1TB. Our samples were all 2.5" form factor and Crucial use a green PCB. Pictured above is the 512GB version and on the top side we can see the Marvell 88SS9189 controller with eight MLC NAND flash chips. As expected these are Micron branded 20nm parts and of course we can also see the Micron branded DDR3 chip. There is another block of eight chips on the back of the PCB which give the drive a formatted capacity of 953GB in Windows 8.1 for the 1TB edition.

Crucial rate the 1TB, 512GB and 256GB models at 550MB/s read with write at 500MB/s (50 and 100MB above the last generation) and state that IOPS will hit 95,000 on read, 85K on write. The 128GB drive peaks at 550MB/s read, 350MB/s write and 90k/75k IOPS. This performance is then maintained by data sanitize features and TRIM in operating systems such as Windows 7 and 8. Crucial also include Data Integrity Algorithms and ECC to protect against data corruption and provide security through AES 256-bit hardware encryption as well as TCG opal 2.0/IEEE-1667 (and Microsoft eDrive). The M550 also retains adaptive thermal monitoring, which tunes drive performance based on system temperature to safeguard the device.

For power draw we have active use at 150mW, sleep draw of near zero and a reliability specification of 1.5 million hours with a warranty of 3-Years. Finally, Crucial will allow firmware updates through a Windows (or DOS) based tool.

Capacity

Conclusion
You can view our full perfomance results for the M550 (all capacities) vs. the last generation M500 and direct competitor on the next page here.

With the M550 being the latest version of Crucials SSD family they have had a few generations to tweak the product and it shows. We get a no-frills bundle, keeping costs at a minimum and the drive casing is an all metal construction, always appreciated. The componens inside are all created by a company who has built is business on having high quality, reliable chips and the controller used is a new revision of a proven part.

We get all the expected feaures such as support for TRIM, secure erase and encryption mixed with some nice extras such as thermal monitoring and management with the essential SATA 3/mSATA spec… and for future proofing M.2 compatible drives.

When looking at performance we have a drive which is fairly competitive in synthetic tests from 256GB up to 1TB. The 128GB version doesn’t have the same write performance, as expected, but the M550 is more about real world performance. In that area the drive excels, improving on the last generation and reaching levels above the direct competition. It should also be noted that, provided retailers hit the recommended price point, that the M550 1TB is a touch cheaper than the competition at the same capacity.

You can view our full perfomance results for the M550 (all capacities) vs. the last generation M500 and direct competitor on the next page. Here.

Pricing £71.66, 121.10, 241.50 and £380.53 (inc VAT) / $99.99, 168.99, 336.99 and $530.99

Recommended Award

RRP Pricing…
128GB – £71.66 / $99.99
256GB – £121.10 / $168.99
512GB – £241.50 / $336.99
1TB – £380.53 / $530.99

You can view our full perfomance results for the M550 (all capacities) vs. the last generation M500 and direct competitor on the next page here.

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