Crucial M550 SSD Review (1TB) – Increased Speed, Capacity and Value


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 may or may not have been optimized depending on the motherboard base configuration. 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.



This Test Bench build was the result of some great relationships and purchase; our appreciation goes to the below mentioned manufacturers 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 Chassisblankblank
MOTHERBOARD: ASRock Z87 Extreme11/ac EATX MotherBoardblank
CPU: Intel Core i7-4770K Haswell 3.5GHz Quad Coreblank
CPU COOLER: Corsair H100 High Performance Liquid
POWER SUPPLY: be quiet Dark Power Pro 10 1000W PSUblankblank
SYSTEM COOLING: be quiet Silent Wings 2 PC Fansblank
GRAPHICS CARD: EVGA GTX 770 Superclocked with ACX Coolerblankblank
MEMORY: Crucial Ballistix Sport DDR3-1600Mhz Memoryblank
KEYBOARD: Corsair Vengeance K95 Mechanical Gaming Keyboardblank
MOUSE: Corsair Vengeance M95 MMO/RTS Laser Mouseblank
ROUTER: NetGear R6300 AC1750 Dual Band Gigabit WiFi Routerblank
HBA HighPoint RocketU 1144C 4 x USB 3.0 20Gb/s HBAblank



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, PCMark Vantage, and Anvil Storage Utilities.  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 to provide validation to results already obtained.


 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 M550 1TB SSD CDI

Perhaps the most impressive thing we can see in a CDI result is an abundance of SMART attributes which allow us to identify certain aspects of drive activity and monitor these throughout the lifespan of the drive.  Kudo’s to Crucial/Micron for leaving such a ‘open book’ with respect to the M550 family SMART attributes.


 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 M550 1TB SSD ATTO Result

ATTO results of 560MB/s read and 511MB/s write are in line with listed specifications.  A definite indicator of a strong SSD is also the that of a steady performance increase as file size increases.


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    Timing was good for the 550…the 500 was quickly slipping to the under-performing ranks of the asynch value drives. Best thing from this new launch was the decision to bring back 64Gb die and thus the very desirable jump in performance with the 128GB drives. Combine that with power protection and good crypto and you have an unmatched offering that is perfect for those looking for a dependable/affordable ssd for their lappy. Doubtful anyone without their own nand fab will be able to follow suit re: the 128GB offering. Well played indeed.

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      Well to be fair, async drives tend to perform MUCH worse than m500. Remember, its not all about sequential speeds. m500 is performing just fine, especially given the price.
      And m550 is not meant to replace m500 in any way, it’s just a better performing verison of m550. m500 is here to stay (atleast according to crucial)

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        The m550 is a better performing version of m550? This is a Mark II or something?

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        Hello mr necro-poster, he clearly meant to say:
        “And m550 is not meant to replace m500 in any way, it’s just a better performing verison of m500.”

        The differences are very marginal though, see the Anandtech review…
        Unless prices have come down a lot more since the review, the M500’s a better buy.

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        couldn’t agree more, I upgraded my MBP 2012 which is loaded with gigs of music (Hi Re Albums Arts) many applications. I’m so happy right now, as long as it preform and launch my application so fast.

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    how does the Native
    Write Acceleration of the m550 work? is it a cache of some sort similar
    to how samsungs 840 evo turbowrite feature works? would i lose all unwritten data if their is a system error? can it be turned off?

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      I believe its just a marketing thing for highspeed writes caused by using smaller dies (and thus more of them for a given capacity).
      Crucial unlike other competitors isn’t using any kind of tricks to achieve writes speeds such as turbowrite and performance mode.

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    what is the m.t.t.f./m.t.b.f. and the t.b.w. for it?

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    Great review Les 🙂

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    Oh man, this is awesome! I was about to purchase a SanDisk X110 or X210 for my Drobo, but I’m liking this! Let’s see some M550’s as loss leaders at Slickdeals, huh? haha…thanks for another great review! You are THE SSD man! ~

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    Thinking of upgrading my msata ssd for the samsung series 9 ultrabook (ivy bridge).

    Was planning on buying the: Samsung 840 EVO Series mSATA MZ-MTE500 500GB

    Is this new Crucial drive worth considering? Crucial M550 mSATA 512GB

    Are there any pros and cons, or any better alternative (type 500gb msata drives)?

    Afraid of wearing and tearing, is it true that the Crucial potensially could last longer, because of the NAND-type?

    Had a Corsair drive that got worn out and failed (almost 4 years old), good I had a fearly new backup 🙂

    Are there any pros and cons, or any better alternative?

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    I will purchase the M500 or possibly the M550 over the Sam. 840 EVO as for me reliability and ability to take a huge workload (have several databases, VMs and dev envs running in parallel). The Samsung uses the significantly less reliable three-bit-per-cell NAND. I often write over 40GB a day.

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    I could only get the Crucial SSD to work in my Olde PC.
    So; I bought one. M550 512Gb.
    The good & the bad….

    The GOOD.
    It works with SATA1 Motherboards (from 2006); on XP 32-bit in an Athlon 64 (x2) rig. Fresh XP install.

    The BAD.
    Speeds are a train-wreck for SSD`s.
    (Used the quick & simple `AS SSD Benchmark` tool)
    It told me immediately that my SSD was:- “pciide-BAD” (PCI via IDE for the SATA port)
    It told me immediately that my rig is:- 31K-BAD (not sure what that `limit` is)

    SCORES…. (*XP Athlon64 [2006 rig])
    Around 98 & 102 R/W in Seq. New rigs get well over 450)
    Around 17 & 29 in 4k
    Around 20 & 32 in 4k~64

    Final Scores are… 47 Write 70 Read
    Combined score 149.
    When modern rigs get a `Combined score` of well over 1,000.

    SSD`s can be relatively useless for an Olde PC.
    It will probably end up in a more modern laptop when the Athlon dies a death.

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      I can’t say as I agree with that at all, and I have watched the transition of many older PCs after installing SSDs for friends. As true as it is that you won’t reach the upper speeds of the SSD, most people would never in any case through typical use. The magic of the SSD is in access times, quicker startups and much faster regular system operation. This is the magic of the SSD for those older systems. It is like a shot of adrenaline.

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        I agree, where you are talking about SATA2 PC`s. Not 2005/2006 SATA1~SATA IDE models.

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        I started i SSDs back in 07 and remember IDE very well. For the most part, it only reduces performance by 15%, however, disk access remains the same with respect to start and operating system use. I cannot speak for older systems and thank you for your opinion as this ‘lack of performance’ is the first I have heard of this.

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        Its not all about the numbers benchmarks spit out. Yes, due to sata1 and IDE mode, speeds on paper are crappy, but they are still order of magnitude better than any harddrive out there. And access times, soo much better.
        I’m using vertex2 (yes, those infamous crappy ssds) and its works magic on my crappy atom netbook (which is also sata1).

        Just swap out to older drive and you’ll see 🙂
        Also you try and play with alignment (xp formats does it inproperly for ssds) and storage drivers for amd (instead of just using builtin ones).

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