It’s been some time since Crucial introduced the M500 Series SSD and, as it was when first released, the M500 remains to be a top value premium SSD offering. At $439 for a 960GB M500, this translates to .43/GB which is still lower than some premium SSDs of half that capacity. Not so much a difficulty with respect their target market, performance of the M500 family was a bit lower than the competition, although Crucial seemed hit a bulls eye when considering capacity and value.
Today’s introduction of the Crucial M550 SSD family is intended to cross that speed hurdle, offering the consumer the perfect combination of performance, capacity and value. Crucial has accomplished this, not only through introduction of a new Marvell SATA 3 controller, but also by effectively using both 128Gb NAND, as well as 64Gb NAND, to tackle the performance numbers we saw in the M500. Will the Crucial M550 have what it takes to conquer the SSD triangle of speed, capacity and value?
CRUCIAL M550 SSD SPECIFICATIONS
The Crucial M550 family consists of 2.5″ notebook, mSATA and M.2 form factors, all available in capacities of 128, 256 and 512GB capacities with the notebook SSD also available in 1TB. The M550 is a self encrypting drive with several highlighting features to include Native Write Acceleration, Adaptive Thermal Protection, AES 256-Bit hardware encryption, SMART, ECC, TRIM, and compliance with TCG Opal 2.0, IEEE01667 and Microsoft E-Drive.
Listed Crucial performance specs show consistent performance at all capacities with exception to 128GB. The M550 has a 3 year limited warranty, is a low power SSD and is capable of SATA DEVSLP (Device Sleep)with an under 3mW power rating.
PRICING AND AVAILABILITY
The Crucial M550 SSD will be available at the time of this reports publishing (Check here!) and Crucial has identified this SSD as being a 15-20% price increase on the M500 SSD. The goal of the M550 is to attract power users and gamers, while still holding a very competitive price point with that high 1TB capacity point. When calculating current pricing, we should see the 1TB capacity of the M550 at the low $500 mark. Check Amazon pricing!
M550 PACKAGING AND COMPONENTS
The Crucial M550 is a 7mm notebook SSD which also includes a 7mm to 9.5mm spacer for older systems. Exterior packaging consists of a simple cardboard exterior of minimal detail.
The M550 itself is of a brushed gold aluminum construction, the PCB screwed into the aluminum casing and then protected by an aluminum base plate. One of the screws that secure the base plate is covered with security tape and damaging this sticker will void the warranty.
There is a green colored printed circuit board (PCB) inside the exterior casing that contains the Marvell 8 channel 88SS9189 controller, 16 modules of Micron NAND flash memory, as well as two Micron cache memory chips.
There is a thermal pad that is on the exterior casing and sits upon the controller to dissipate heat, this also resulting in the branding being a bit difficult to photograph.
By using the Micron FBGA Decoder, we can identify this memory as having the product number MT29F512G08CKCABH7. It is 20nm mlc NAND flash memory with each module being 64GB in capacity. Although the total RAW capacity of this SSD is 1024GB, the user will only have 954GB at his disposal for storage .
Like the M500 family, the M550 contains power capacitors that ensure your data is safely stored should a power failure occur. Even with the M500 having been released just under a year ago, this remains to be a feature not seen in the consumer SSD arena.