Skip to main content

The Crucial M550 SSD Review: Striking Back With More Performance

Results: Sequential Performance

Fantastic sequential read and write performance is a trademark of modern SSDs. To measure it, we use incompressible data over a 16 GB LBA space, and then test at queue depths from one to 16. We're reporting these numbers in binary (where 1 KB equals 1024) instead of decimal numbers (where 1 KB is 1000 bytes). When necessary, we're also limiting the scale of the chart to enhance readability.

128 KB Sequential Read

You may notice that out of the six SSDs shown (the two M550s, two M500s, and the 840 EVOs), only Samsung's 840 EVO models get anywhere near 500 MB/s at a queue depth of one. Small 128 KB requests aren't able to fully utilize Crucial's flash, I believe. This is actually fairly common behavior, and certainly not a result I'd call troubling. Had I tested 1 MB reads instead, performance at those low queue depths would increase.

The 512 and 1024 GB M550s eventually land in the lead, though all six SSDs are incredibly quick beyond a queue depth of two.

128 KB Sequential Write

With three 512 GB-class drives employing 32 dies and three 1 TB-class SSDs armed with 64, a lack of parallelism is not a problem. The M550s nevertheless stand on top of the competition at a queue depth of two, though, demonstrating writes very near 500 MB/s. Crucial's older M500s are nearly 100 MB/s behind, while Samsung's 840 EVOs split the difference.

Of course, I have to point out that the 840 EVOs use a caching mechanism that emulates the characteristics of SLC NAND, which dramatically affects this test's reported performance. Longer write workloads would exhaust even the 1 TB 840 EVO's 12 GB of emulated SLC memory. In contrast, the M550s don't have to use any special tricks to achieve their speed. 

Here's a breakdown of the maximum observed 128 KB sequential read and write performance with Iometer:

Sequential performance wasn't one of the M500's weaknesses. But an extra boost in this test is bound to enhance certain applications, especially when it comes to high-res video and RAID arrays. The speed-up pushes Crucial's new drives into seventh and eighth place, a move made more impressive by the fact that everything higher up the chart makes certain quantities of multi-level cell flash behave like single-level cell memory. That speed only lasts as long as the cache, though. Meanwhile, Crucial should be able to sustain its aggressive performance numbers.

  • ikyung
    Heard rumors of Samsung planning to market the 850 with aggressive pricing this year. Would like to see Crucial and Samsung duke it out in pricing.
    Reply
  • _potts_
    I just splashed $250 (delivered to Oz) on a M500 480GB mSATA, eh, can't complain.
    Reply
  • cryan
    Heard rumors of Samsung planning to market the 850 with aggressive pricing this year. Would like to see Crucial and Samsung duke it out in pricing.
    They already have IMHO. The Samsung 840 EVO is significantly cheaper than it was at launch. It and the M500 have seemed to move in lockstep. Along the way, we've seen other manufacturers follow suit. Even Intel's 530 series, which has been on the more expensive side of mainstream products has been seen for just $140 for the 240 GB version here in the State.Regards,Christopher Ryan
    Reply
  • venk90
    INSANELY GOOD DEAL ON AMAZON ! The 512 GB SSD is listed at 169$ incorrectly ! Grab them before they change it. I ordered 20 myself ! Will e-bay all of it or feel bad and return it to Amazon !
    Reply
  • cryan
    I just splashed $250 (delivered to Oz) on a M500 480GB mSATA, eh, can't complain.
    I hope Crucial continues to sell the M500 right where it is. The deals are just too good, and it'd be truly sad were Crucial/Micron to up the price on us.And they're not slow. I know it seems like they're sub par compared to some of the last few drives we've tested, but the reality is most users are never going to notice the speeds between different SSD models. The only exception is jumping from an older SATA II drive to a modern SATA III SSD. Even then, you'd need solid hardware in the system.Regards,Christopher Ryan
    Reply
  • Ankursh287
    M500 available at $240 (amazon)..damn good drive for the price, performance difference between M500 , M550 & 840/840 pro won't visible to normal user.
    Reply
  • Nada190
    When I look at SSD's I want price to performance because I won't even notice a difference.
    Reply
  • Drejeck
    Specifically for gaming which would be the best? All sort of tricks are allowed, from tweaks to samsung's magician (ram caching).
    Reply
  • RedJaron
    Of course, we're in the throes of post-launch pricing. In a few weeks, it's possible that the gap between M500 and M500 will narrow.
    Typo on the last page. One of those should be 550.


    Happy to see Crucial with this update. I'm with a lot of people, you don't see a difference in SSD performance outside benchmarks. Give me something reasonably fast with great durability and I'm sold. With all this talk of the maturing of 20nm manufacturing, I'd love to see an M500 V2 with less overprovisioning.
    Reply
  • gizmoguru
    Hay Tom's the chart for Sequential Reads Benchmark is labled "Random Writes", please correct
    Reply