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

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.

Crucial M550 1TB SSD Disassembled

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:

M500 M550 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.

FINAL THOUGHTS

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.

Check Out Crucial M550 Pricing at Amazon| M550 512GB Report @ Tech X

TSSDR Gold Seal Opt

Review Overview

Build and Components
Performance
Features
Price and Availability
Warranty

Standard Power Failure Protection

Crucial/Micron significantly improves on their M500 release by adding the M550 which has upper tier performance, increased capacity, as well as a very competitive price. Crucial also includes the M.2 form factor which will benefit many newer systems available today.

User Rating: 2.01 ( 25 votes)

25 comments

  1. 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.

    • 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)

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

      • 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.

      • 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.

  2. 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?

    • 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.

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

  4. Great review Les 🙂

  5. 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! ~

  6. 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?

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

    QED
    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.

    • 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.

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

      • 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.

      • 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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