The SSD market has seen such staggering growth since its inception; it is almost mind-boggling to keep up with the new drives and companies entering the fray every year. Some do well, while others quickly exit out, hence, we are left with those companies that have proven their reliability in positively sustaining consumer SSD technology, architecture, and hardware.
Crucial is one of those companies. Anyone even remotely linked with computer hardware will recognize Crucial as it is a giant in both the memory and HDD/SSD market. The extremely popular M4 SSD series certainly cemented Crucial as a force in SSD technology, while remaining dedicated to bringing affordable solid-state drives.
At CES 2013, Micron/Crucial announced the new M500 SSD series – the evolution of, and successor to, the M4 line. As if this were not enough, Crucial also announced a 960GB flavour priced at under $600.
Technology X will be reviewing the $399.99 priced 480GB version of the Crucial M500 family. It will be compelling to see how the SSD holds up with a new Marvell controller, if Crucial can deliver on their promises, and if ultimately the M500 name can live up to the hype, popularity, and reputation the M4 series delivered.
CRUCIAL M500 SSD SPECIFICATIONS, MODELS, AND PRICING
Being only 7mm thick and near one pound, the Crucial M500 480GB is both small and light. All of the models from 120GB to 960GB are similar in design, but different in hardware, capacity, and pricing:
One may be wondering why Crucial has decided to use the Marvell 88SS9187 third-generation FPU as Marvell does not necessarily have the best name in terms of performance. Recently however, with the absolutely astounding performance put up by the Plextor M5 Pro series which is the first SSD to use the 9187 controller, it will be interesting to see if it can keep the streak going with a slightly different Micron architecture. After all, this firmware is ‘Crucial/Micron Custom’.
With it also comes the move towards 20nm MLC NAND by Micron, which is a shrinkage from the older 25nm, and also bigger in die capacity – up to 128GB. Not only does this allow for overprovisioning, but also, allows Crucial to usher higher quality, larger capacity SSDs into the market while keeping them affordable.
Crucial’s M500 series will also be coming in both mSATA and the newer, smaller M.2 form-factor (also known as NGFF). Slated to be released during Q2 2013, it is great to see Crucial/Micron staying on top of the roadmap. It will be interesting to see how these M.2 drives perform against 2.5″ SATA and mSATA, as the latter may be phased out by this new form-factor.
Crucial stated earlier this year at CES 2013 that the M500 series would feature a large-capacity 960GB SSD while staying under $600. MSRPs for the 120GB, 240GB, 480GB and 960GB M500 SSDs are $129.99, $219.99, $399.99 and $599.99 respectively and Amazon pricing reflects this exactly.
Revealing the prices, they have certainly done that – affordability for a spacious SSD never before done on this scale!