During the middle stages of last year I took a look at a SSD that, in my eyes, set the ball rolling when it came to high capacity drives and with options of up to 1TB on offer, Crucial’s M500 made its statement loud and clear – you don’t need to sacrifice performance for space. To follow in the footsteps of the M500 and to keep Crucial at the forefront of the SSD market, a drive that is able to offer the performance whilst costing less is what is needed. Bring forth the leaner and more refined M550.
Based loosely around the M500, the M550 strives to take the performance and value one step further, with a more powerful single core Marvell controller, paired with 256MB 1066MHz DRAM and up to 1024GB of raw storage. As well as controller improvements, the NAND has seen a rise up to 256Gb dies and as a result of all these improvements, we are now looking at sequential read speeds of up to 550MB/s and 500MB/s write; with read and write IOPs levels of 95k and 85k respectively also available. The key factor though is price and the purchase price is not the only monetary figure that has been put under the microscope. With the market slowly moving over towards the mobile era, system and component manufacturers are looking at ways in which they can reduce the power needs of their products – the end goal being longer battery life but with the same strong performance on tap.
This price per performance factor is where Crucial have focused the M550 at, so in addition to the power usage and to stay one step ahead of the competition, the drives will be available in SATA, mSATA and M.2 formats. The result from these focal points is a wallet that is not only happy at the point of purchase, but also further down the line as the cost of ownership is taken into account.
Like any other Crucial product that I’ve seen, the contents of the box are to the point with little more than a 9.5mm drive spacer included alongside the 7mm slim drive.