Crucial M500 M.2 NGFF SATA 3 SSD Review (480GB) – High Capacity and Power Loss Data Protection

It has been almost a year since Crucial/Micron introduced their new M500 family and, with that, came the news of what we then termed as a new Crucial M500 NGFF SSD that would be introduced to retail consumers.  Today, many are now searching for high-capacity M.2 SSDs both for their purchase and upgrade of new M.2 SSD contained systems, and as a replacement to current systems containing M.2 SSDs.  There are absolutely no M.2 retail SSDs available for purchase as we write this report, however, our receipt and review of the first Crucial M500 M.2 SSD just may signal change in the very near future.

Crucial M500 M.2 NGFF SSD Angled 3x5

The Crucial M500 is a SATA 3 M.2 SSD and we might predict that its pricing will be similar to that of regular notebook SSDs, however we have yet to receive confirmation and availability dates from Crucial/Micron.  For those new to the M.2 form factor, we have learned through our past few reports that many configurations of M.2 SSDs will avail themselves soon enough.  Taking just a quick look at the M.2 SSDs we have on hand, we see a large number of configurations that are being introduced.

Various M.2 SSDs Explained

From left to right, we have the Samsung XP941 PCIe X4 m.2 SSD, capable of up to 1.2GB/s performance.  It utilizes four PCIe lanes, whereas the Plextor M6e M.2 SSD to its right is a PCIe X2 SSD, uses two lanes and is capable of just over half the performance at about 730MB/s.  Unlike all other SSDs to date, the M6e M.2SSD that we have contains its own boot files and is capable of being the boot drive in present PC systems, whereas the Samsung XP941 is not.

The Super Talent PCIe DX1 M.2 SSD to the right of the Plextor only uses a single PCIe lane and is also bootable.  Interestingly enough, this SSD is, in fact, a SATA 3 SSD which runs through PCIe lanes and not the SATA port.  To the right of the STT PCIe DX1, we have the Crucial M500, Toshiba HG5d and ADATA AXNS360 M.2 SATA 3 SSDs, all of which use the motherboards SATA ports and are fully bootable, just as any other storage medium connected to ones motherboard.


 Specifications for the crucial M500 family are the same, regardless of form factor and all M500 SSDs come with a 3 year warranty.

Crucial M.2 Specs


Crucial has been a long time fan of Marvell controllers and this SSD is no different.  Front and center on the top of the PCB is tha Marvell 88SS9187 eight channel SATA 3 controller that we have seen previously in SSD reviews of SanDisk, Plextor as well as crucial/Micron.

Crucial M500 M.2 NGFF SSD Micron DRAM Cache

To the right is a Micron 256Mb DRAM cache memory chip and there also four modules of Micron NAND flash memory that we haven’t seen prior in any SSDs.  They are first gen 1Tb density modules and each has a capacity of 128GB.

Crucial M500 M.2 NGFF SSD FrontThe memory has a FBGA code of NW388 which, when entered into the FBGA decoder,  returns with a product number of MT29F1T08CUCABH8-10:A. You are not likely to learn anything about this memory from the present Micron charts as they have yet to be updated but we were able to break the product number down as such.

Crucial M500 M.2 NGFF SSD Micron Memory

(MT) Micron technology (29F) NAND Flash (1T) 1Tb Density (08) 8-bit (C) MLC (U) 8 Die (C) 3.3v (A) 1st Gen (H8) 152-ball LBGA (*DP), 14 x 18 x 1.4mm (10) 200 MT/s (A) 1st Design Rev.

Crucial M500 M.2 NGFF SSD Back

On the back of the Crucial M500 M.2 SSD os something never seen on consumer SSDs.  These are 20 modules of power capacitors that ensures that all information in the cache completes its travel to the memory, should a power loss occur.  These are standard in al Crucial m500 SSDs and definitely a reason to consider the m500 above the rest if data loss is a major concern.

Crucial M500 M.2 NGFF SSD Power Protect


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    I am SUPER interested in this. Not sure what I would put it in, but it seems to have excellent potential for any computer in which it fits. Nice one Les!

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    Excellent review. I especially like the included supercaps which protect against sudden power loss. This alone is reason enough for me to consider the M500 above all others. Together with the included OPAL 2.0 hardware encryption engine it’s just icing on the cake.

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      Why do you need capacitors agains sudden power loss? given end user environment (Client), the OS can handle this, plus other drives can manage this through more robust firmware solution, capacitors are adding cost and another potential area for failure

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        If someone plugs out the battery out of the laptop, or the oxidized contacts on it simply lose connection temporarily, or for whatever other reason the SSD would not be getting reliable power delivery anymore, from the hosting environment, you’d be glad to know, that the data, the SSD has “said” to the OS, were already written onto the persistent storage device, are actually written from the volatile write-cache, onto the persistent flash memory of the SSD module.

        There is a reason why supercaps and/or backup batteries are a standard on enterprise-level SSDs.

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    CrystalDiskInfo 6.1.0 Dev4 should support new SMART attributes layout for M500.

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    seriously, can you do more than display screenshots? how about some comparison tools?

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      Not quite sure what you are speaking of as our review contains, not only several pictures and benchmarks, but also charting which compares read and write transfer speeds as well as high IOPS.

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        I’m coming from an SATA SSD search and just came across m.2 PCIE devices, especially interested in 500mbps smashing RAID setups. Which is probably where most enthusiasts are coming from. I think in 2014 you’d want to be able to see at a glance how a unit compares to historical and contemporary devices, but your review does’t support this. It supports a much smaller group of people. People are coming from all different perspectives (should I upgrade from my 2009 device? those focused on day by day industry changes). Your articles are primarily made of screen grabs of common late 2013 benchmark apps which are limited in number of devices and ability to interact. So they aren’t good at comparing, and are you storing values? (I guess someone could use OCR). New and developing sites like storagereview, wikidata and even engadget are creating their own device databases, which are a lot more engaging to use and benefit users, developers, producers. I was just doing a drive-by reading but it was disappointing so hope your site can participate in that wider discussion.

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        The article, as with all of our articles, is based on what the vast majority has asked for for some time now, simple and easy to understand descriptions, benchmarks and explanations. The vast majority is not the enthusiast crowd, but rather, the common reader just learning about SSDs. We cater to them and we also cater very well to the enterprise crowd; this is the constant feedback we get and the reason our reviews remain as they are for consumer, client and enterprise SSDs.

        We weren’t aware that Engadget and Wiki were even reviewing SSDs and, by all means, if the site doesn’t suit your needs, keep on driving by.

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    In the review I saw that you had tested this ssd via a pcie adapter card. However, I notice you tested on an Asus Maximus Impact mobo which has its own m.2 spot. Have you tested it there? Is it bootable using that? (I’d be interested in going down this route.) Thanks for checking!

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    Would anyone happen to know if this, the M.2 NGFF SATA 3 SSD is the SSD included in the Lenovo Ideapad y410p notebook model?

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      no, this is not the SSD included in the IdeaPad Y410P. it looks like that model has the option for a 24GB SSD. in this case, the SSD acts as a cache (think of it as extra RAM) and is not used for storing files.

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    So I’m upgrading to a larger SSD, when my eye caught your, as usual, highly interesting review. A few questions:

    I had my eye set on the Samsung 840 EVO 500GB, but price wise, this M.2 drive is about the same. However, the motherboard I have provides PCI-E 2.0 slots only. Any point in using this drive? (afaik I know it should still be OK)

    On the other hand I could get a M500 960GB drive, for extra 120 dollars. Size vs speed.

    I don’t really need max speed since I don’t work with video/audio editing, but rather with rendering. Still the M.2’s seem to be the next step, and there’s something about being on the edge.

    Finally, how would you compare this M.2 to the ioSwitch drive you looked at back in November.

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      There seems to be supply issues with the Raijin and the Crucialk M500 M.2, as with so many others, has yet to hit retail chains. I might suggest you join our forums and detail your system where we can have a better look at whats best.

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    can you please post the exact dimension in mm of the M500 m.2 ngff in the respective available capacities?
    I have a ngff slot in my new notebook and I’d like to check the bigger ssd I can put in (considering the more capacy=memory modules it has, the faster it is)

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    Les, do you know about fast and tiny external cases to put one or two of these puppies into? I carry all my data on an external boot drive. It would be great to make it tiny and so it would really fit in my pocket.

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    this product compatible with MSI GS60?

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    Would this be compatible with a Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus NP940X3G?

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    Hi! I have a Asus Maximus Impact VI MOBO that has a m.2 slot as previously mentioned. I was going to order the Crucial M550 to save space in my ITX-build. it bootable? I can’t seem to find the answer anywhere or test results? Very annoying because it’s been on the market for a while know. Will I get the speed results that crucial lists? ( 550/500/MBPs)

    Thanks in advance

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