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  • tech6 - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    I don't think that the M550 is so much a "performance" variant as it is a direct replacement for the 500. Most likely what is happening here is that the benchmark for value SSDs has just been lifted slightly. Once the M500 disappears the 550 will assume its price point. Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    The thing is, the M550 doesn't replace the M500. The M500 will continue to be available and the M550 is simply Crucial's "high-end" offering. Reply
  • ZeDestructor - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    Interesting... Much like tech6, I was expecting the M500 to die off peacefully... Any details from micron on why they're doing that?

    For now, I should go and buy an M500 480GB already... They're really cheap...
    Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    There are still some cost savings from the 128Gbit NAND at the smaller capacities and it's possible that the controller/DRAM configurations are slightly cheaper as well. Could be that Crucial/Micron is also using slightly lower quality NAND for the M500 since the extra space reserved for RAIN makes sure that is not an issue. Reply
  • hojnikb - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    Its interesting, that they are not using more dies per package (as opposed to samsung with evos).
    I'm guessing using less packages and possibly smaller pcb could yield additional cost savings for crucial/micron... Or is this not the case...? Also they could go with dramless like toshiba is doing with their q series ?

    V500 anyone ?
    Reply
  • hojnikb - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    So basicly m500 is crucials/microns "low" end offering now.
    Just like the crappy v4 (that drive is really slow and im ashamed to own one) that was in the m4 days.
    Reply
  • tim851 - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    I hope so. I find the speed of SSDs to be sufficient for now and I'd like to see them work on pricing rather than performance. Reply
  • hojnikb - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    Yeah i hope so too. I'm planning to buy 480GB/1TB version sometime this year to replace that sandforce joke i'm having now (intel's 330) and ditch HDDs alltogether. Reply
  • StevoLincolnite - Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - link

    I'm running a several year old OCZ Vertex 2 64Gb SSD... Been solid.

    One thing I have never said however was: "Gee this SSD is slow!". - Mostly the main advantage SSD's brought to the arena was the stupidly low latencies compared to mechanical drives.

    Price needs to still come down, capacities need to keep increasing in the low-end and mid-range segments.

    Literally the single *biggest* upgrade that a majority of PC's could use is simply an SSD, regardless of it's transfer rates.
    Even on ancient 6-7 year old Core 2 PC's...
    Reply
  • trichome333 - Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - link

    I agree mate. Just got a M500 240gb and I literally feel like a dunce for not moving earlier. Reply
  • anh14 - Thursday, March 20, 2014 - link

    you nailed that ; all differences are just academic . Everyone always talks about 'faster' but not about how preventing it of making your computer slower i.e. taking your storage of the critical path

    the only thing with the earlier SSD's are some of them become excessively slow and resetting them is a pain.

    I have a stack of patriots 32Gb that are collecting dust and that OCZ Vertex 2 64 SSD, interesting you mentioned it, I do have that one still but it is my backup C-disk that is in my drawer (e.g. if things go south, I replace the intel 520 I am now using have with this guy which is still better than any slow poke HD)
    Reply
  • nathanddrews - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    Coming from a HDD, any modern SSD will be subjectively comparable. Unless you've got a really read or write heavy task, it's really just splitting hairs. I've owned eight SSDs since I bought my first 80GB Intel SSD and I still have all of them in working order (only the largest/newest ones are boot drives, the rest are in external enclosures or serve as scratch drives). Anyway, until we get an interface with considerably higher speed (1-2GBps) and a cost per GB of $0.25 (2TB SSD for $500), the SSD market is just boring IMO. Reply
  • hojnikb - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    We are already headed to sata-express + flash is rapidly getting cheaper nowdays, so 2TB ssd for a reasonable price is not that far away. Another dieshrink (so we get 256Gbit dies) and maturing of sata-express controllers and this will become a reality. Reply
  • jospoortvliet - Thursday, March 20, 2014 - link

    Prices haven't really been going down all that fast lately so I wouldn't count on it anytime soon. Reply
  • dishayu - Thursday, March 20, 2014 - link

    Sadly,I have to agree with this. I bought a 128GB Plextor M5 in mid 2012 for 84$. That's still the price point where 128GB SSDs sell today. Reply
  • hojnikb - Thursday, March 20, 2014 - link

    You do realize u got a heck of a deal for that ssd, right ? Reply
  • Death666Angel - Friday, March 21, 2014 - link

    Prices for small capacity SSDs have been relatively stable, but the 256/512 sizes have really dropped. I remember buying a 500GB Samsung 840 for 320€ (December 2012) and the equivalent Evo 500GB now costs 210€. Reply
  • hojnikb - Thursday, March 20, 2014 - link

    I disagree.
    Just check m500 prices lately..
    Reply
  • HisDivineOrder - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    Pricing is the thing they need. Performance gets ridiculous past a certain point with the given ports we have. Reply
  • GASOLINENL - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    I read a very technical article about this. In theorie SSD's survive 75 years. Due to different things a very heavy user (lots of writing etc) will kill a SSD after 25!!!! years. So they are great. Reply
  • hojnikb - Thursday, March 20, 2014 - link

    Thats only taking flash endurance into account. That doesn't mean controller wont crap on you years sooner. Reply
  • q.epsilon.p - Sunday, April 06, 2014 - link

    Dude given that the 500M 480 and 550M 512 models are so different in price and so similar in performance I would go for the 480BG.

    Although the 500m 240 and 500m 120 perform much slower, but they were always slower compared to the competition so you had that information available before buying them. But considering its write speed where they really suffered I wouldn't have been much concerned.

    and tbh you are not really going to notice the difference without benchmarks and the price difference is big enough to make it worth it.
    Reply
  • Homeles - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    The M500 being phased out doesn't make sense. Technically the M500 is more advanced with its 128Gb dies, despite its slower performance. Reply
  • elerick - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    At first glance I tend to agree that this is a middle of the pack SSD. I however do seriously consider the power loss protection worth its weight in gold. I have a Samsung 830 and these days I value reliability above "good enough" performance. Once PCI-E SSD starts producing consumer priced drives I'll go that route. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Friday, March 21, 2014 - link

    Can we boot off PCIe SSDs yet (consumer grade Windows)? Reply
  • hojnikb - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    I really expected better consistency, but well... Maybe next time (or next firmware update ?).

    Although its nice to see they were able to boost write speed so much. Looks like smaller dies do pay off.

    PS:
    Anyone knows what native write accelaration stands for ? At first i though it was something like turbowrite (not knowing they will use 64Gbit flash) but this does not appear to be the case ...
    Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    Crucial specifically said they don't have an SLC or DRAM buffer and the write performance should be the same across all LBAs (the HD Tach graph shows that this is true). To me it sounds like the Native Write Acceleration is just a marketing trick aimed at Samsung and others who use buffers to boost performance. Reply
  • hojnikb - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    Yeah it appears so.
    It really nice to see, that they aren't using any nasty tricks like turbowrite, just to inflate numbers.
    Reply
  • jospoortvliet - Thursday, March 20, 2014 - link

    I think turbowrite is an awesome idea - it helps exactly where consumers need it... Short write bursts. Sure, not that interesting for pro use perhaps but isn't that the point of consumer products? Reply
  • hojnikb - Thursday, March 20, 2014 - link

    Awsome idea for marketing department maybe. Considering that your avarage joe only looks at the sequential speeds, it makes EVO compared to lets say m500 a way way better drive, even though in reality thats not the case.
    Its not like turbowrite is bad or anything (i think it a great solution for "slow" write devices such as TLC) but i just hate that they are fooling people (they could easily market both normal speeds and turbo speeds)
    Reply
  • Cerb - Sunday, March 23, 2014 - link

    It's just that Samsung and Sandisk/Toshiba developed that technology for their flash, and Micron/Intel decided to go all in to making it denser, instead. There's nothing "Pro" about the 840, nor Toshiba's Q, with a, "Pro," after them, other than the name. Hell, gaming video cards have had "Pro" suffixes.

    Samsung and Toshiba/Sandisk decided to develop and use that kind of technology (it's in the Q series, with no marketing at all, and in Sandisk's Ultra Plus (X110?) and Extreme II (X210?) as ncache), while Intel/Micron went all in for density and cost, instead.

    It's generally useful, as it can allow a first stage of buffering to fake SLC, so live data writes generate less wear. So, bursty writes and random writes can both perform better, and wear the flash out less, than if it were pure TLC or MLC. I suspect it will find its way into server products over the next few years, as well, if it's not already hiding in something of Toshiba's.

    Also, just as there's been increased demand for 7200 RPM SATA and SAS for professionals, plain SATA SSDs are all most users need, as well. Pro users are using the same classes of drives as consumers, for the most part.
    Reply
  • JBVertexx - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    I also agree this is positioned as a mainstream drive but with the additional performance and features upping the ante.

    It's hard to argue with price. The last several SSDs I have purchased have been the M500 240GB model. The current price of the 550 is what the 500 was only 3 months ago. So I would expect the positioning of the 550 to continue the price/value leadership position as it eventually replaces the M500. My bet is that the volumes of M500s that have been selling for them support this positioning as a winning one for Crucial.
    Reply
  • MrSpadge - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    Agreed - the M500 is really putting price pressure on everyone else. For this benefit I can live with slightly lower performance. If M550 at 120/240 GB comes even close in price it's a default win. It has to be cheaper than 840 Evo, though. Reply
  • trichome333 - Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - link

    Agreed, just got a 240gb M500 for $115. Read is up there with any SSD which is all I care about. Reply
  • laviathan05 - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    On a personal note, as a person who bought a new Samsung EVO 1TB drive yesterday, I'm pleased with this review. Also, if you follow the link in the pricing chart you'll see that it currently is selling for $470 on newegg. Reply
  • Jaguar36 - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    In your final words you mention that "It has the best-in-class encryption support", How come you don't say anything else about this in the article? What exactly does best in class mean? Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    "There is TCG Opal 2.0 and IEEE-1667 support, which are the requirements for Microsoft's eDrive encryption."

    It's something we've covered before so I only mentioned it in the review. Clicking the eDrive link leads to an article where the M500 is tested with eDrive, so you'll see the benefits there.
    Reply
  • Jaguar36 - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    Thanks! Reply
  • just4U - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    When looking at SSD's to purchase I settled on 3 Intel, Samsung, and Crucial. The controller on the Intel and the fact that it was priced in the range of the Samsung led to me dropping it as a choice. So that left me with Samsung/Crucial. Given the choice I'd go Samsung.. as it is a higher performing drive but price/availability I wouldn't be to terrible upset if I had to go with the Crucial drives.

    I think maybe they just let performance take a back seat because their other drive was popular even though it was slower than the rest of the pack. It gained a good reputation so their hoping that will carry over to this new slightly faster/feature rich incarnation.
    Reply
  • extide - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    Were you talking an Intel SF drive (300/500 series?) or the 720, with the super sweet in-house controller? Also don'[t forget about the Sandisk Extreme II...

    IMO The Top Tier performance drives are (In no specific order):
    Sandisk Extreme II
    Intel 720 Series
    Crucial Neutron GTX
    Samsung 840 Pro
    Seagate 600
    OCZ Vector 150

    And the best in terms of capacity/price:
    Crucial M500 (& M550?)
    Samsung 840 EVO
    Reply
  • hojnikb - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    You forgot plextor m5pro xtreme in top tier :) Reply
  • extide - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    Oh Yeah, totally forgot about that one :) Reply
  • kyuu - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    The 840 EVO is a damn good performer, and the Seagate 600 gives you a damn good capacity/price ratio (I bought the 240GB for $130 the other week). Otherwise, looks good. Reply
  • jed22281 - Friday, March 21, 2014 - link

    When it comes to perf. "overall", not all those are absolute top-tier, some of them should be in a upper-mid-tier category.
    There's only approx. 3 that could truly be considered as absolute top-tier: Extreme II & Ocz 150 are 2 of them.
    Reply
  • jay401 - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    Regarding your price comparison chart on the Final Words page: At the time of publication, the Samsung 840 EVO 256GB drive is listed at $139.99 on Amazon.com and has been for a couple days. Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    We are only using NewEgg for comparisons as otherwise it takes ages to do the chart. Besides, the pricing can change on daily basis so it would only be accurate for a short while. The idea is to give a rough idea of pricing -- ultimately every buyer should do their decision based on the current deals. Reply
  • jay401 - Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - link

    Understood. In this case though, Amazon's had it that cheap for about a week now. :) Reply
  • venk90 - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    INSANELY GOOD DEAL ON AMAZON !

    The 512 GB crucial m550 SSD is listed at 169$ !!
    Buy it now before the prices are corrected !
    Reply
  • dave_the_nerd - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    Wow... bought. Worst case, I'll return it, but... damn. Reply
  • venk90 - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    I bought 20 !
    Going to E-Bay all of them or return it worst case !

    Greedy me ? Haha !
    Reply
  • catavalon21 - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    On the Amazon site if you look closely, the model # listed under the 512GB version is CT256M550SSD1; that's the 256GB drive. Maybe one more reason many of us use the Egg over Amazon...IMHO only... Reply
  • xrror - Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - link

    regardless, the 512GB is now listed "Sign up to be notified when this item becomes available."

    and sorry, but Amazon is a very valid alternative to "the Egg" these days. Maybe if you're talking about the oldschool dot.com newegg of yore, but these days it's a good idea to shop around before defaulting to NewEgg.

    Anyone rememember the ABS computer advertisements in Computer Shopper? Yea... old school newegg was unqualified awesome. Then sadly dot.com burst and well. At least the newegg that remains is a good company =)
    Reply
  • catavalon21 - Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - link

    Fair enough...and regarding Computer Shopper, wow, there was more than a little grief in those pages! One of my coworkers called one of the companies with good prices, snazzy ad, and swore he heard the baby crying and the significant other yelling at the guy who answered the phone. Guess I deserved the response, but still want folks hoping to get the great deal at Amazon to read carefully. Reply
  • hrbngr - Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - link

    Kristian,
    I'm very happy w/the power loss data protection that this drive offers, as opposed to the Samsung 840 Evo, for example. Is there a more consistent, fast performer that offers similar data protection features that is also a decent value, in your opinion?
    Reply
  • wiz329 - Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - link

    Were the graphs made using Stata? Reply
  • beginner99 - Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - link

    Isn't this review a bit harsh? I mean the old M500 is at leats where I live by far the cheapest ssd. Yes both the M500 and M550 don't look great in benchmarks but are there any real-life consumer scenario this will actually matter much? Especially the performance consistency seems pretty irrelevant for consumers. I'm not running a database server that is accessed like crazy. Actually my postgresql DB for development purposes runs on a WD green drive and thats just fine for that. Reply
  • btb - Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - link

    Agreed. The M500 have been the (seemingly unrecognized?) brandname price/performance leader for a while now, especially for those of us that like ~1TB class SSDs. Unless one wanted a crappy TLC ssd there really was no alternative, and Anandtech gave it a very lukewarm review for some reason. From all accounts the M550 seems like a roughly ~10% improvement other the original M500, so as soon as the price drops down to M500 level, its a no-brainer buy compared to the current alternatives. I also see no reason to believe Anandtechs assesment that the M550 wont take over the M500's place as soon as Crucial have phased out their stock of M500's. Its just comon sense. Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - link

    It is not our assessment that the M550 won't replace the M500, it's a statement we got straight from Micron. I even double checked after the review went live to confirm that that is really the case.

    The reason we gave the EVO a good review is because it did well in our tests and was the cheapest drive at the time of its release. Why wouldn't we like it in that case? TLC NAND doesn't make it "crappy" - we've shown that the endurance of TLC NAND is more than enough for client usage several times and the EVO is in fact faster than the M500 even though it uses TLC NAND.
    Reply
  • hojnikb - Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - link

    Yeah samsungs "handpicked" TLC and MEX are really doing wonder indeed. Reply
  • btb - Thursday, March 20, 2014 - link

    Fair enough, at the time of my purchase of 2 M500's last year, they were the only ~1TB SSDs that supported eDrive, so I did not look too closely at the EVO review. I have just glanced it over now, and I agree that it does appear to have nice specs. Although I am still skeptical about TLC, or at least you would think that if they can get that good performance from TLC, there should be plenty of room for improvement on the MLC side :)

    Anyway I wont be purchasing any more SSDs until they reach 2TB capacity, so seeing that Crucial just released a new generation and have yet to go past 1TB, I guess that could take a while. Perhaps Samsung with their TLC have a better chance of reaching the 2TB mark.

    One area I do find Crucial slightly lagging in is on the software side. When I was running intel SSDs they had some decent software for reading the SMART attributes. And from the EVO review Samsung have some nice software as well. AFAIK Crucial dont have that, which seems like something they should correct.
    Reply
  • hojnikb - Thursday, March 20, 2014 - link

    You're not alone. I myself am skeptical about TLC aswell, seeing how badly it performed in pretty much every single non ssd device i've had. While samsung has really gone all out on the TLC and used lots of tricks to squeze every bit of performance they can outta TLC, i still don't believe in it.
    While endurance seems to be okay for most users, one thing does come to mind and no one seems to be testing it: data retention.
    Reply
  • Cerb - Sunday, March 23, 2014 - link

    Any SMART reading program will work. There are tons of them, even included in some OSes.
    Any secure erase program will work. There aren't tons of free ones, but they exist...or you can fart around with hdparm (frustrating, to say the least, but I was able to unbrick a SF drive that way, once).

    Software just for their SSDs is an extra cost that brings very little value, but has to be made up by the gross profits of the units sold. Since there aren't special diags to run, beyond checking SMART stats, and seeing if it's bricked, for starting an RMA, why bother with software, beyond the minimum needed for performing firmware updates?
    Reply
  • CiccioB - Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - link

    You're right.
    Synthetic tests are interesting till a certain degree.
    Morereal life one would be much more appreciated. For example, many SSD are used like boot drives. How does it really change using one cheap SSD vs one much more expensive?
    How does it change copying a folder of images of few MB each (think about an archive of RAW pictures). How faster is loading whatever level to a whatever game that on a mechanical HDD maybe takes several seconds?

    Having bar and graphs is nice. Having them applied to real life usage, where other overheads and bottlenecks apply, would be better, though.
    Reply
  • Lucian2244 - Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - link

    I second this, would be interesting to know. Reply
  • hojnikb - Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - link

    +1 for that.
    Fancy numbers are fine and all, but mean nothing to lots of people.
    Reply
  • HammerStrike - Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - link

    IMO, the biggest advancement in SSD over the last year is not the performance increases, but the price drops, which have been spearheaded by Crucial and the M500. It seems odd to me that synthetic performances is given so much weight in the reviews while advent of "affordable" 240 & 500 GB drives is somewhat subdued. The vast majority of consumer applications are not going to have any real life difference between a M5xx and a faster drive, but the M5xx is either going to get you more storage at the same price, or let you save a chunk of change that can better be deployed to a different part of your system where you will notice the impact, such as your GPU. That, along with MLC NAND, power loss protection and the security features make them no brainers for gaming or general purpose rigs. Reply
  • CiccioB - Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - link

    I Agree.
    I've recently bought a Crucial M500 240GB for a bit more than 100€ which is going to replace an older Vertex3 60GB (75€ at that time) which works perfectly but has become a little small.
    It's a device that is going to be used mainly for boot and application launching (data is on a separate mechanical disk) so writing performance are of not importance.
    Considering that when you do work (for real and not simply running benchmark) you copy from something to your SSD (or viceversa) you know that the bottleneck is not your SSD but the other source/destination (which in my case can also be somewhere on 1GB/s ethernet).
    With such a "low tier" SSD boot times are about 10 secs and application launching is immediate (LibreOffice as well, even without the pre-caching deamon running) I have invested the extra money needed for a faster SSD for 8 GB more RAM (total of 16GB) in order to be able to use a RAM disk to do fast work when access speed is really critical.
    Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - link

    I've been playing around with real world tests quite a bit lately and it's definitely something that we'll be implementing in the (near) future. However, real world testing is far more complicated than most think. Creating a test suite that's realistic is close to impossible because in reality you are doing more than just one thing at a time. In tests you can't do that because one slight change or issue with a background task can ruin all you results. The number of variables in real world testing is just insane and it's never possible to guarantee that the results are fully reproducible.

    After all, the most important thing is that our tests are reproducible and results accurate. And I'm not saying this to disregard real world tests but because I've faced this when running these tests. It's not very pleasing when some random background task ruins your hour of work and you have to start over hoping that it won't do it again. And then repeat this with 50 or so drives.

    That said, I think I've been able to set up a pretty good suite of real world benchmarks. I don't want to just clone a Windows install, install a few apps and then load some games because that's not realistic. In real world you don't have a clean install of Windows and plenty of free space to speed everything up. I don't want to share the details of the test yet because there are still so many tests to run. When I've got everything ready, you'll see the results.

    What I can say already is that IO consistency isn't just a FUD - it can make a difference in basic everyday tasks. How big the difference is in real world is another question and it's certainly not as big as what benchmarks show but that doesn't mean it's meaningless.
    Reply
  • CiccioB - Thursday, March 20, 2014 - link

    Well, don't misunderstand what I wrote.
    I didn't said those tests on IO consistency are FUD. It's just that they do not tell the entire thruth.
    It's like benchmarking a GPU only for, let's say, pixel filling capacity ignoring all the rest.
    High IOPS don't really tell how good an SSD is going to work.
    I already appreciate that the test are done on SSDs that are not secured formatted every time the tests are performed as it is is done in other rewiews that show only the best performances at initial life of the device. Infact, many ignore the fact that SSD can become even 1/3 slower (in real life usage, not only in tests) when they are going to reuse cells, a thing that secure formatted SSDs never show as being a problem.

    Real usage tests are what matters in the end. Even the fact that the test may be comprimised by background tasks. Users do not use their SSD in a ideal world where the OS does nothing but is all optimized to run a benchmark. Synthetic tests are good to show the potential of a device, but real life usage is a complete different thing. Even loading a game level is subject to many variables, but it's meangless saying that the SSD could load the level in 5 seconds by just looking at its performances on paper while in reality, with all the other variables that affect performances in real life, it takes 20 seconds. And it would be quite useful knowing that, for example, the fastest SSD on the market which may cost twice these "mainstream SSD with mediocre results in synthetic tests" is in reality able to load the same game level in 18 secs instead of 20, even if on paper it has twice the IO performances and can do burst transfers twice the speed.
    It's not necessary to create a test where disk intensive application are used. Even the low end user starts OpenOffice/LibreOffice (or even MS Office it is is lucky and rich enough) once in a while, and the loading times of those elephants may be more interesting than knowing that the SSD can do 550MB/s when doing sequential reading with a QD32 and blocks of 128K (which in reality never happens in a consumer enviroment). Comncurrent accesses may also be an interesting test, as in real life usage, it may be possible to do many things at the same time (copying to/from the SSD while saving a big document in InDesign or loading a big TIFF/RAW with Photoshop).
    Some real life tests may be created to show where a particular high performance SSD may do the difference and thus measure that difference in order to evaluate price gap with better, more useful, numbers in hands.
    But just disregarding real like tests for everyday usage just because they are subjected to many variables is, in the end, not describing the entire truth on what a cheap SSD compare to a more expensive one.

    You could even test extreme cases where, like me, a RAM disk is used instead of a mechanical disk or a SSD to do heavy loads. That would show how really using those different storage devices impacts on prductivity and if in the end it is really useful to invest in a more performant (and expensive) SSD or in a cheap one + more RAM.
    If the aim is to guide the user to buy the best it can to do the work faster, I think it could be quite interesting doind these kind of comparison.
    Reply
  • hojnikb - Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - link

    Performance consistency is actually quite important. While most modern controllers are pretty much ok for an avarage consumer, there were times when consistency was utter gargabe and was noticeable to your avarage user aswell (phison and jmicron are fine example for that -- crucials v4 for example frequently locks up if you write a lot even with the latest firmware and write speed is consistently dropping to near zero). Reply
  • hojnikb - Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - link

    Oh snap, i forgot to reply to @beginner99 :) Reply
  • emn13 - Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - link

    The conclusion of this article is at odds with the benchmarks it includes. There's just a 20% performance difference on the heavy-load test between the 840 EVO and M550 1TB drives, less in lighter workloads. I don't believe a 20% performance difference is perceptible in practice, unless you're really doing long-duration purely disk-limited batch processing, and even then it's not exactly a very interesting difference.

    The appropriate conclusion here is: *any* reasonably modern SSD is more that fast enough that even a heavy workload won't cause user-noticable performance differences. It just doesn't matter. Other factors (e.g. power consumption, power loss protection, price, reliability, support) are what matter.

    The article's conclusion simply doesn't make sense given the numbers shown here.
    Reply
  • hojnikb - Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - link

    Well, there are some reasonably modern ssds, that user WILL notice the difference. Crucial V4 for expamle.. Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - link

    Okay, I'll let Anand know that we no longer need to do reviews because all modern devices are already capable of Facebook, email and text processing.

    In a more serious note, it's true that for light users any modern SSD is fine and that is what I said in the final page:

    "If you're a light user and price is the key purchase factor, then the M500 suffices and saves you money."

    And that is the biggest problem I have with the M550. The M500 already does it for the mainstream user group and to be honest it is the drive I would buy given the current prices.

    However, the M550 doesn't cut it for the enthusiast/professional group who want the best IO performance. It does the job for sure but the enthusiast/professional kind of people usually like the idea of having the best money can buy, even if the differences in real world aren't that big. On the other hand, that's also the user group that can actually take advantage of the extra performance.

    I would argue that there is no middle ground in the SSD market. It's either the mainstream market where price is all that matters and that's where the M500 fits in perfectly. The high-end market is where the performance and features are the main element but the M550 isn't competitive there. Everything in the middle are kinda purposeless - some people will always buy them but they don't have any clear inducement to make them alluring.

    P.S. Don't take the first line too personally or seriously. Sometimes the comments just make me feel like everything is already enough for everyone and we don't need improved hardware.
    Reply
  • hojnikb - Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - link

    Yeah exactly. m550 really seems kinda redundant (not implying, that better performance isn't good), considering its suppost to be a high performance drive, yet it really compets with mainstream at best.
    I think crucial need to work on firmware department, because as we've seen, there's lots to be squeezed out of this marvell controler. They already have great nand, they just need to make firmware better and they could easily compete in the highend segment.
    Well atleast thats what i think anyway..
    Reply
  • Cerb - Sunday, March 23, 2014 - link

    Given that read and write latency is consistently higher than other SSDs, I'd bet much of the speed limitations are due to RAIN, which has to be handled in software by the SSD's controller. If so, newer faster controllers are what it would take to improve the speed by any great amount, without sacrificing that feature. Reply
  • emn13 - Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - link

    I'm not saying you shouldn't review these things - I'm extremely interested in the results of these reviews. I'm saying that your own results don't back up your conclusions. It's not just light workloads where the difference is hard to notice - the anandtech 2013 "destroyer" - IIRC which writes a considerable amount, quite a bit more that a light, normal desktop workload (or frankly even a fairly heavy desktop workload) only shows a 20% performance difference. The performance consistency numbers at the steady state are just below 5000 iops, and that's actually slightly better than the EVO 840.

    Notably, there *are* SSD's which are quite a bit slower, and I'm sure there will be SSD's (or are, if you pay enough) that outclass the M550 - but I'm just not seeing that in these results.

    Sorry if I came across as ungracious - it's a little unfair in that I'm commenting now in that it seems I think the coverage is poor. But I'm commenting now, because this is one of the rare articles where I think anandtech's conclusions aren't reasonable. I love your coverage, particularly of SSD's, and have gladly learned a lot from all the in-depth analysis you've done.

    So please don't take this personally (I may have exagerrated) - I really don't understand how given essentially equivalent performance to the 840 EVO in practical terms (and slightly better @ steady state) you can call the performance all that disappointing. It's not a top-performer; but then, it's clearly aimed at the larger capacity/lower-price, and then I really don't see how this conclusion stacks up.
    Reply
  • emn13 - Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - link

    Hmm, I've gotta admit however that the smaller variants are a lot more disappointing. I'm kind of surprised how *much* slower they are - the 256GB version is less than half as fast on the destroyer, which is really will be noticable :-). Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - link

    Oh, absolutely not. Justified feedback like yours is always welcome :)

    I guess the key here is that I was expecting this to be a high performance drive because that's what Crucial was touting when they briefed us. Obviously I expected the performance to be close to drives like SanDisk Extreme II and OCZ Vector 150 because those are what I categorize as high performance drives. However, what we got is a drive with mediocre performance that didn't meet the expectations I had in my mind, so I can't say I'm satisfied.

    That doesn't mean the M550 is bad because the price is very competitive but I still think it's rather redundant because the M500 is even more competitive in price. If the M550 was to replace the M500, then the scenario (and hence conclusion) would be different but as it stands the M500 will continue to be the king of value.

    The EVO is different in this regard because it was always supposed to be a value drive and Samsung has the 840 Pro to cater the high performance market.
    Reply
  • nick2crete - Thursday, March 20, 2014 - link

    Kristian ,
    do you think that these performance issues can be minimized/fixed with new firmware(s) from Crucial ?
    Reply
  • hojnikb - Thursday, March 20, 2014 - link

    I'm guessing there is lots of headrom in the marvell controler (seeing how other marvell drives perform) so there is a possibilty that they could squeze out a little bit more. But thats all on crucial.
    But i wouldn't call it quits, because with m4, they did boost read performance quite a bit after the lauch. Time will tell i guess.
    Reply
  • nick2crete - Friday, March 21, 2014 - link

    Thanks,
    just got one M550 256gb ,i have also the Samsung 840 pro ,to be honest i didnt see any performance difference ,ok i have them in Marvell 9230 pci e x2 controller and is well known that Samsung dont like Marvell controllers ..but still ..
    Reply
  • emn13 - Thursday, March 20, 2014 - link

    I guess expectations are everything. The m500 is the cheapest drive available at large size at the moment; with good features, and mediocre performance I think of it as a kind of baseline - if you can't beat the M500, then what's the point?

    So I guess the M550's fate really comes down to price, and time will tell how that goes.
    Reply
  • trichome333 - Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - link

    I finally went SSD with a 240gb M500 for $115 and Prime from Amazon. Went ahead and did a fresh install and Windows 7 literally loads in seconds after the logo on the dark screen forms. I think it restarts too fast as my BIOS post screen kinda sets there for a second before posting on restart. BF4 loads went from 2-3 minutes to 20 seconds. I coudnt be more happy coming from SATA II 7200k HDDs. We have several machines around the house and mine is mainly gaming so I dont do many big writes or convert video. What Ive noticed is huge increases and would advise anyone on the fence to make the move. M500 will be PLENTY for 99% of all users IMO. Reply
  • hojnikb - Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - link

    Install Windows 8/8.1 and your boot time will be even shorter. Couple that with an uefi capable board and you can get near instant boot. Reply
  • nathanddrews - Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - link

    Yeah, but then he'd have Windows 8 and lose all that productivity. Reply
  • hojnikb - Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - link

    Meaning what ? Reply
  • mikato - Thursday, March 20, 2014 - link

    The whole review is like "meh" and then BAM, look at that pricing. Ok then Reply
  • Death666Angel - Friday, March 21, 2014 - link

    Any chance you could update the SSD Slumber Power chart with values for the other sizes? Seems weird to just have the smallest SSD in there, when capacity clearly adds to consumption. Reply
  • Hrel - Tuesday, March 25, 2014 - link

    " can't say I'm very pleased with the IO consistency of the M550. There is a moderate increase (~4K IOPS vs 2.5K in M500) in steady-state performance but other than that there isn't much good to say. " What are you talking about? The Samsung is the only other 256GB drive in there and it's less consistent than the Crucial. Am I missing something? Those consistency numbers look great! Reply
  • Hrel - Wednesday, April 02, 2014 - link

    no response? Cause I'd really like this explained. Consistency in these charts stays WAY over 100. Reply
  • shatteredx - Thursday, May 08, 2014 - link

    Yeah I'm also confused by the conclusions in this article. The M550 consistency numbers look pretty... consistent! Reply
  • Wolfpup - Monday, March 31, 2014 - link

    I can't remember if the M500 has capacitors to deal with power loss or not...suppose I should reread the review. Anyway I choose my 960GB M500 because at the time Intel was using Sandforce controllers, and there's no way I'd use a different brand when Crucial/Micron and Intel are making drives.

    While there are probably theoretically faster drives than my M500, it's not going to be anything obvious. I can't even really tell that my M500 is any faster than my M4 even though it is on paper.

    960GB on a relatively affordable SSD is awesome! Its literally at the point where I'd have had to go with a smaller drive to get a 7200RPM mechanical drive LOL
    Reply
  • DKN - Wednesday, April 09, 2014 - link

    Latecomer to the discussion. I'm currently running a 240GB M500 drive in an old Lenovo T61p (Core2 Duo T8100). Changing from a 7200RPM HD to the SSD made all the difference in the world as far as day to day use of the laptop.

    Some things, like logging on are about 5x faster than with the HD. Other things are 10x or more faster, making this old laptop work better than some i7 machines with HDs in the office.

    Note that the T61p originally supported SATA 1 and with a BIOS upgrade, it's now SATA 2, so the transfer rates are in line with the capability of the SSD hardware. Purchasing a drive that can support SATA 3 transfer rates wouldn't do anything for the performance of this computer.

    The bottom line? While the enthusiast market is lusting for the latest i7 and graphics processor, there is a large market that just needs something better to make their computers work faster.

    I'm considering upgrading my two laptops at home with M500 drives. The slower machine with a 240GB and the faster (i7, 2nd Gen) with a 480GB.

    Crucial's decision to continue to market the M500 series makes perfect sense for 90% of the users, even if it isn't as fast as the M550.
    Reply
  • stevo5800 - Thursday, April 17, 2014 - link

    Theres a 60% increase from an M500 and M550 random write but you guys say there is no increase in performance? LOL The average user probably just uses Windows and a few games, so all these drives would perform around the same in the end. Crucial's biggest issue was the lack of higher write speeds. On M500 and earlier write speeds where really low compared to other drives. Plus Crucial also beats some of the other drives in some of the tests here. Almost every SSD manufacturer makes at least 1 decent SSD now a days. Let's not also forget the M550 is brand new and there is still the chance of improvement in some speeds with a new firmware update, we've seen this before. Heck I still find my M4 speedy and it's got way lower specs then the M550. Personally I'm buying a M550 256GB, I'm going for write speeds. Reply
  • AhDah - Thursday, May 15, 2014 - link

    Hello all,
    I want to buy my first SSD
    I'm deciding between Crucial M550 1TB and Samsung 840 Evo 1TB

    On the Samsung 840 Evo, the TRIM validation graph shows a tremendous performance drop after a few gigs of writes, even after TRIM pass, the write speed is only 150MBps.
    Does this mean once the drive is 75%-85% filled up, the write speed will always be slow?

    Crucial M550 on the other hand, has a consistent write speed according to the TRIM validation graph.

    Should I get the Crucial M550 because of this?
    thanks!
    Reply
  • critter13 - Thursday, May 15, 2014 - link

    I have a 2007 MBP which is obviously SATA II. Is it worth getting a m550 or 840 EVO or will I not see the extra speed? should I save a little money and just go with the m500? Reply
  • SyndromeOCZ - Friday, May 30, 2014 - link

    Seriously why do you make the title of the article a link? Ok if it was a link that actually went anywhere but a link that goes directly to the page I'm viewing. Doing this makes it about 1000 times harder to copy paste parts out of the title, forcing me to have to go through the article to find the part I want to copy. Which in turn forces me to want to never come back to Anandtech again. Just my $0.02 Reply

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