Crucial’s newest M550 is the company’s latest entry in its unitary SSD line and displaces the previous flagship the M500. The M500 was a significant improvement over the Crucial m4 and saw some great new features integrate for a good price. Although performance was middling compared to other SSDs, the M500 offered solid performance for its price range. Today the M500 can be found for very low prices and Micron will continue to ship the M500 as a secondary product to the new flagship: the M550.
Today we’ll take the Crucial M550 for a spin and see for ourselves if the drive can compete with today’s intense SSD market.
Closer Look – Crucial M550
Why does this box look so familiar? Anyways, the Crucial M550 is packaged in a slim box with a shot of the product on top. Underneath are the box content list and company info. The box is sealed by a sticker for your protection. Because Micron cares.
The M550 is protected by anti-static bag and again, sealed for your protection.
Processor: Intel Core i7 4770K
Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-Z87X-OC
Memory: Kingston HyperX Beast DDR3-2400
Storage: Crucial M550 128GB SSD
PSU: Seasonic X-760W
ATTO Disk BenchmarkÂ benchmarks a drive’s read and write speeds with increasing file sizes and graphs them.
For potential write testing,Â HD TuneÂ was used to measure the drive’s write performance. Again, we focus on the average results for real-world relevance.
Crystal Disk MarkÂ is storage benchmarking software was developed by â€œhiyohiyoâ€ of Japan, and is available for free. Crystal Disk Mark measures sequential, and random read/write speeds of storage devices.
AS SSDÂ is a benchmark tool that determines the performance of Solid State Drives but can also be used to measure hard drives, it just takes longer. The tool contains six synthetic and three copy tests .
Weâ€™ve taken our compression test files, a collection of images, documents and other files ranging from 1KB to 50MB amounting to 3,310 files for 3.34GB.
To measure boot-up time we usedÂ BootRacer. BootRacer is a free program that measures Windows boot-up times.
We hook-up a meter to our SSD and see how much it pulls from the PSU during idle and full write operation.
One thing about SSD manufacturers is that they give the consumers some sort of false image of what their products can do. Solid-state drives by their very nature tend to go down a few levels after some usage and settle at a certain performance point which will be it’s “steady” state. What this means for you, the consumers, is that even though this drive is rated, for example, at 550/450MB at the box it will not do that after you’ve used the SSD over time. To simulate extensive usage, we’ve filled the drive with data 10 times. After which the drive is allowed to rest for TRIM to kick in and then another 10 full write cycle is performed. This is repeated until we have written 4-5TB of data.
The Crucial M550 SSD is one in a long line of next-generation SSDs featuring newer components. As the next step in the future of storage, SSDs will saturate the market more and more and it will be tough to compete in such a market. Let’s break down the stats for the Crucial M550 before we set our verdict.
Performance.Â The M550 demonstrates superb performance out of the box. The 128GB model we have did incredibly well in our test, edging out the Sandforce-powered drives. Whilst it may not fully decimate the competition in the same capacity range, it does well enough to guarantee a spot as one of the top choices.
Build Quality.Â Crucial’s updated firmware andÂ Marvell 88SS9189 controller coupled with 20nm NAND puts it at the forefront of SSD technology.
Functionality.Â The Crucial M550’s incredible read performance makes it a great system and game drive and considering the target audience of this drive, that works for it perfectly well.
Bundle.Â The Crucial M550 doesn’t really have much of a bundle to work with and we’re docking points for that. No data-migration or cloning software, no 3.5″ mounting tray, no nothing. Thankfully its price saves it. See below.
Value.Â At 100$ for 128GB, the Crucial M550 is stacked very well against competing SSDs as one of the best priced variants. Given its one of the newest SSDs available, any upgrade or system builder will find the price appealing. Couple that with the performance you get and you’re good.
The Crucial M550 isn’t intended to overtake the SSD performance crown. That’s just not Crucial’s way of doing things. The M550 is a purebred SSD dedicated for a quick system upgrade to give it that instant boost in disk performance and it will do all this for a very competitive asking price. Back that up with excellent support, reliability and you have a highly recommended SSD.
Crucial offers the M550 in 2.5″, mSATA and M.2 form factor and is backed by a 3-year warranty. We give the Crucial M550 our B2G Recommended AwardÂ andÂ B2G Value Award.