Random Read/Write Speed

The four corners of SSD performance are as follows: random read, random write, sequential read and sequential write speed. Random accesses are generally small in size, while sequential accesses tend to be larger and thus we have the four Iometer tests we use in all of our reviews.

Our first test writes 4KB in a completely random pattern over an 8GB space of the drive to simulate the sort of random access that you'd see on an OS drive (even this is more stressful than a normal desktop user would see). We perform three concurrent IOs and run the test for 3 minutes. The results reported are in average MB/s over the entire time.

Desktop Iometer - 4KB Random Read

Desktop Iometer - 4KB Random Write

Desktop Iometer - 4KB Random Write (QD=32)

Random performance is strong when dealing with an empty drive but as the two previous pages show the big picture isn't as pleasant. The difference between 64Gbit and 128Gbit NAND is very clear here as the M550 is up to twice as fast as the M500 at the smaller capacities.

Sequential Read/Write Speed

To measure sequential performance I ran a 1 minute long 128KB sequential test over the entire span of the drive at a queue depth of 1. The results reported are in average MB/s over the entire test length.

Desktop Iometer - 128KB Sequential Read

Sequential speeds are up quite a bit from the M500 as well but the read performance is still a bit lacking.

Desktop Iometer - 128KB Sequential Write

AS-SSD Incompressible Sequential Read/Write Performance

The AS-SSD sequential benchmark uses incompressible data for all of its transfers. The result is a pretty big reduction in sequential write speed on SandForce based controllers. Again, the M550 shows a decent improvement over the M500, particularly at the lower capacities.

Incompressible Sequential Read Performance

Incompressible Sequential Write Performance

AnandTech Storage Bench 2013 Performance vs Transfer Size
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  • 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.
  • nick2crete - Friday, March 21, 2014 - link

    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 ..
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • nathanddrews - Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - link

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

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

    The whole review is like "meh" and then BAM, look at that pricing. Ok then
  • 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.
  • 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!

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