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

TSSDR TEST BENCH AND PROTOCOL

 SSD Testing at TSSDR differs slightly depending on whether we are looking at consumer or enterprise SSDs.  For consumer SSDs, our goal is to test in a system that has been optimized with our SSD Optimization Guide, although CPU C States have not been changed at all.  Benchmarks for consumer testing are also benchmarks with a fresh drive so, not only can we verify that manufacturer specifications are in line but also, so the consumer can replicate our tests to confirm that they have an SSD that is top-notch.  We even provide links to most of the benchmarks used in the report.

New System Shot

Enterprise testing is significantly different as we explore performance in steady state, explore drive latency, and do our best to follow SNIA test protocol.  As Crucial will be marketing the M500 M.2 SSD as a retail SSD,  we are going to be following our regular consumer review tests and, if need be, we can later return for additional testing. For our testing today, the Crucial M500 SSD will be installed into our systems PCIe lanes via the BPlus M2P4S M.2 to PCIe X4 Adapter.

Crucial M500 M.2 NGFF SSD in BPlus Adapter

SYSTEM COMPONENTS

This new PCIe Test Bench build was the result of some great relationships and purchase; our appreciation goes to be quiet, Corsair, Crucial, Intel, EVGA and InWin for their support in our project.  Our choice of components is very narrow, in that, we choose only what we believe to be among the best available and links are provided to each that will assist in hardware pricing and availability, should the reader be interested in purchase.

PC CHASSIS: InWin D-Frame Open Air Chassis
MOTHERBOARD: ASUS Maximus VI Z87 MotherBoard
CPU:
Intel Core i7-4770K CPU
CPU COOLER: Corsair H100i CPU Cooler
POWER SUPPLY: be quiet Dark Power Pro 10 1000W PSU
SYSTEM COOLING: be quiet Silent Wings 2 PC Fans
GRAPHICS CARD:
EVGA GTX 770 Superclocked with ACX Cooler
MEMORY: Crucial Ballistix Tactical Tracer 1600Mhz Memory
KEYBOARD: Corsair Vengeance K95 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
MOUSE: Corsair Vengeance M95 MMO/RTS Laser Mouse
ROUTER: NetGear R6300 AC1750 Dual Band Gigabit WiFi Router
HBA HighPoint RocketU 1144C 4 x USB 3.0 20Gb/s HBA

 .

BENCHMARK SOFTWARE

The software we will be using for today’s analysis is typical of many of our reviews and consists of ATTO Disk Benchmark, Crystal Disk Info, Crystal DiskMark, AS SSD, Anvil Storage Utilities and PCMark Vantage.  In consumer reports, we prefer to test with easily accessible software that the consumer can obtain, and in many cases, we even provide links. Our selection of software allows each to build on the last and, also, to provide validation to results already obtained.

Crucial M500 M.2 NGFF SSD In The System

CRYSTAL DISK INFO VER 5.5.0

Crystal Disk Info provides some excellent information about the SSD itself to include its health, product information, ‘power on’ information as well as the characteristics of the SSD. We can see that the SSD is capable of TRIM as it is not grayed out as with AAM.

Crucial M500 M.2 NGFF SSD CDI

Although many are presently unknown, it is nice to see Crucial/Micron include so many SMART attributes which would enable excellent monitoring of the drive throughout its lifespan.

ATTO DISK BENCHMARK VER. 2.46

ATTO Disk Benchmark is perhaps one of the oldest benchmarks going and is definitely the main staple for manufacturer performance specifications. ATTO uses RAW or compressible data and, for our benchmarks, we use a set length of 256mb and test both the read and write performance of various transfer sizes ranging from 0.5 to 8192kb. Manufacturers prefer this method of testing as it deals with raw (compressible) data rather than random (includes incompressible data) which, although more realistic, results in lower performance results.

Crucial M500 M.2 NGFF SSD ATTO

We noticed right off that write speeds rocketed right from the 4K file size.  The gradual increase in performance results, as file size increased, was also a great indicator that this is a solid SSD.  The only thing we might like to see would be higher write performance but this does meet listed specifications as set by Crucial.

32 comments

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

    • 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

      • 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.

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

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

    • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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?

    • 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.

  7. 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.

    • 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.

  8. 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)
    regards

  9. 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.

  10. this product compatible with MSI GS60?

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

  12. 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. But..is 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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