REPORT ANALYSIS AND FINAL THOUGHTS
Crucial/Micron was the first company to release solid state drives with the 6Gbps/SATA 3 interface. They have a definite advantage and are amongst the exclusive few when we consider that they are NAND flash memory manufacturers. Micron/Intel (IMFT), Samsung, Toshiba, and SanDisk are at the forefront, whereas SK Hynix seems to have become unheard of; this a bit unusual considering their purchase of the top ranked LAMD controller. Considering the competitive nature of the business in general, Micron has always seemed to follow their own path and not let new releases or the hype of advance phase them.
Similarly, SATA 3 SSDs have reached their performance peak and manufacturers are demonstrating imagination when it comes to new releases. Crucial was the first to include power fail protection as a consumer SSD standard, Samsung is using spare RAM to increase performance significantly with their RAPID technology and, most recently, Intel moulded a very successful and uber-high endurance enterprise drive into what might be a killer retail item. The Crucial M550 SSD seems to remain on track hoping for the perfect mix of performance, capacity and value.
Performance wise, the inclusion of the new Marvell 88SS9189 controller and decision to rely on 64Gb memory resulted in a significant performance increase when we look back at the M500 for comparison:
Also, while examining this chart, we are also reminded that the M550 provides a storage increase at all capacities as we now have jumped from 120 to 128GB, 240 to 256GB, 480 to 512GB and 960 to 1024GB. Calculating this into the estimated 15-20% price increase of the drives (in general) means that the extra capacity just may be a freebie of purchase and, in fact, brings that final price bump down just a bit. The only things that we might like to add on to the Crucial M550 SSD would be a 5 year warranty and migration software.
Crucial introduces their M550 SSD as being much higher performing than their previous M500 Series and even higher performing than many present upper tier SSDs. The M550 increases available storage in all standard SSD capacities, is available in 2.5″, mSATA and M.2 form factors and at a very competitive price point. We support purchase of the M550 with our Gold Seal of Approval.