Jumping onto the slim build bandwagon, the M500 follows the 7mm build that we are seeing more an more these days. The clean aluminium enclosure is finished off with blue sticker on the upper side, just like we have seen before on other drives like the Adrenaline and the M4.
Breaking open the warranty sticker from one corner and removing the four screws and then inside another four screws that secure the PCB in place, we can see the two parts that make up the shell in more detail. The lower half of the case is considerably more sturdy than the ‘lid’ as such and a thermal pad is present indicating the rough position of the controller and DRAM in relation to the rest of the PCB.
Case aside, its time to see what makes this super capacity SSD tick. Starting off with the controller, Marvell have got the honours of giving the M500 the brawn with their 88SS9187 controller. Over the older 88SS9174 that was featured on the older M4 line of drives, this fresher variant has had some performance tweaks which are essential when working such a vast storage capacity and it also now offers 256-bit AES encryption as well for enhanced data security. Alongside the controller is 1GB of DDR3-1600 memory which surprisingly enough only holds a small fraction of the user data – most of the time it is used to map the logical tables and indexes on the drive.
Flipping the PCB over and looking a little closer at the MLC NAND, this is a part of the drive that stirred a lot of interest earlier in the year at CES. The M500 is home to 16 20nm Micron NAND IC’s each with a 128Gb die size and each package housing 32GB of storage, which equates to a total board storage in this case of 512GB.