Crucial M550 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.
Our first rating is performance, which compares how effective the Crucial M550 SSD performs in benchmark operations against competing SATA-based solid state drive storage solutions. For reference, Micron specifications suggest 550 MB/s maximum reads and 500 MB/s write speeds from the 512GB/1TB Crucial M550 SSD. In our storage benchmark tests this solid state drive performed up to and beyond this speed, producing results that compared with fastest SATA-based products previously tested. ATTO Disk Benchmark tests proved the 512GB Crucial M550 SSD was good for delivering 562/514 MBps peak read/writes speeds, well beyond the 550/500 MBps specified. Linear testing with AIDA64 Disk Benchmark produced 503/462 MB/s, finishing near the very top of all results.
The 512GB/1TB Crucial M550 solid state drive models are advertised to deliver up to 95,000 random 4KB read IOPS, and 85,000 random 4KB write IOPS with the new Marvell 88SS9189 controller. 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 52,762 combined IOPS performance – not quite the highest SATA-based test results we’ve obtained but still near the top. In the 4K 32QD tests using AS-SSD and CrystalDiskMark, the 512GB Crucial M550 SSD outperformed operational performance for every other SATA-based drive we’ve ever tested.
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 M550-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 M550 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 otherwise. Solid State Drives are by nature immune to most abuses, but add a hard metal shell and the chance for failure is reduced to internal component defects. If there are any problems with a Crucial M550 SSD during the limited 3-year warranty period, end-users can receive support from the Crucial SSD support forum. There’s also a toll-free telephone number for support or customer service questions available at 800-336-8915.
As of March 2014, the Crucial M500 SSD launches in the following capacities and retail prices:
- 128GB CT128M550SSD1 – $99.99
- 256GB CT256M550SSD1 – $168.99
- 512GB CT512M550SSD1 – $336.99
- 1TB CT1024M550SSD1 – 530.99
If performance is all you look for from a solid state drive, then you’ll certainly find plenty of it in the Crucial M550 series. Unfortunately, keeping a narrow focus on specification will cause you to miss the bigger picture. Sure, the Crucial M550 uses native write acceleration instead of compression and is among the fastest SSDs, but it also delivers the least expensive price per gigabyte among solid-state storage devices. Micron has forcefully pushed Crucial SSDs into the limelight by offering ultra-fast SSDs for nearly $0.50/GB, bringing their performance-branded 1TB Crucial M550 down to mainstream pricing.
Competitively securing recognition for performance and value, the Crucial M550 continues to impress with hardware features that set the series apart. Smaller 20nm NAND Flash component free 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 3-milliwatts of power while in sleep mode is a huge improvement to power conservation over previous-generation SSDs. Collectively these items add to the already noteworthy performance, and earn the Crucial M550 SSD our Golden Tachometer Award for excellence.
+ Outstanding 562/514 MBps read/write speed with ATTO
+ Native write acceleration – no compression used
+ Marvell 88SS9189 supports TRIM, NCQ, and Microsoft eDrive
+ TCG Opal 2.0 security with 256-bit AES hardware encryption
+ 3-Year Micron Technology product warranty support
+ Offered in 128/256/512GB and 1TB storage capacities
+ Lightweight compact storage solution
+ Resistant to extreme shock impact
+ Low power consumption may extend battery life
+ Device sleep (DEVSLP) function extends battery life
– Some manufacturers offer five-year warranty
– Most affordable SSD, but still expensive enthusiast product
- Performance: 9.50
- Appearance: 9.00
- Construction: 9.50
- Functionality: 9.50
- Value: 8.50
Final Score: 9.2 out of 10.
Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.
COMMENT QUESTION: Which brand of SSD do you trust most?