On the broad scale, there is quite a substantial gap between solid state drives that offer up massive storage capacities and those that offer blazing performance, making the process of choosing a drive that offers both to a certain extent rather hard. Over the last few months I have seen a number of drives that have high the 512GB capacity with performance levels that are pretty good to shout about. but up until this point there hasn’t been anything really goo to shout about when its comes to a 1TB SSD.
Considering the solid state drive has only been around for a short period of time in respect to mechanical drives, the rate at which their capacity has been able to grow has been phenomenal and as a result the reality of owning a 1TB SSD is here.
Focussing on the 480GB model that I’ve played around with today, I have to say that after the M4’s success I did have a bit of a raised expectation with what the drive had to offer. Crucial have not failed to deliver on this front either. Right across all my benchmark utilities, the M500 on the write front was consistently ahead of Crucial’s specifications and this was not just on the sequential read speeds. Very rarely do I see a drive that sticks so close to the rated IOPs levels and in this case giving more than expected. This gives me a clear indication that the collaboration of a Marvell controller with the new 128Gbit NAND chips is a well chosen marriage.
Whilst SandForce controllers may still reign the SSD markets for now, with this combination of component selection and the potential for future firmware tweaks, the scope for pushing the performance that little further, more on the write front is certainly there and would most likely give the market a little shake up like I was with the Indlinx controllers not too long ago.
Making a note on pricing, this is an area where some people are going to stop in their tracks. without looking, its clear that these drives are not going to be as cheap as more mainstream 120-240GB models, but for around the £300 (62.5p/GB) mark, the 480GB model isn’t exactly expensive either when you consider what’s inside the case. For those that are interested in the top end 960 model, don’t expect much change out of £500, but at just over 50p per GB it is the most cost effective solution to go for with the 120GB the most expensive at around 78p/GB.
Bottom line, the dawn of the 1TB SSD is here and with a very well thought through choice of components including a new 128Gbit die that offers up cheaper cost per GB, the M500 is not only worth the large cost, but its got the performance to match too.