Solid state storage is the most important performance component found in a modern system today. Without it, you do not even have a performance system.
Crucial has certainly stepped up its game. The M550 gives Crucial a competent enthusiast class offering. The last time Crucial had one of the top enthusiast class SSDs was many years ago when they delivered the world's first SATA 6Gb/s SSD, the C300.
As price per gigabyte for solid state storage continues to drop, SSDs are rapidly becoming a mainstream piece of hardware. A lot of SSDs on the market today are all about using the cheapest components available in order to keep profit margins high, or just to be able to compete with manufacturers that own NAND Fabs. Enthusiasts sometimes are taken in and purchase an SSD based solely on advertised sequential speed.
On the surface, most SSDs appear to have the same performance as one another; it's only when we dig deeper that we begin to see that some drives have vastly superior performance to others even though they carry virtually the same advertised specifications.
Our M550 array performed quite well and is an array I can recommend you own. For the price, an M550 array is very hard to beat. Crucial's M550 is really their response to Samsung's EVO, which has been dominating the market share of SSD sales for a while now. An M550 array will cost you about the same as a Samsung EVO array of the same capacity, but an M550 array will outperform an EVO array in an enthusiast setting. Beyond the performance, the M550 is superior to the EVO because the M550 has superior flash, period.
A single M550 performs fairly well, and an M550 array performs very well. The superior scaling of IMFT flash makes an M550 array a great choice for enthusiasts on a budget.
RAIDing two or more drives together provides you with storage that takes performance to the next level and is something I recommend you try. Think of it as the SLI of storage. Once you go RAID, there's no going back!
PRICING: You can find the Crucial M550 (512GB) for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.
United States: The Crucial M550 (512GB) retails for $299.99 at Amazon.
New Zealand: The Crucial M550 (512GB) retails for $552.99 NZD at Mighty Ape NZ.
- Page 1 [Introduction]
- Page 2 [Specifications, Pricing and Availability, Drive Details & Test System Setup]
- Page 3 [Synthetic Benchmarks – ATTO, Anvil Storage Utilities, CrystalDiskMark & AS SSD]
- Page 4 [Benchmarks (Trace Based OS Volume) - PCMark Vantage, PCMark 7 & PCMark 8]
- Page 5 [Benchmarks (Secondary Volume) – Disk Response & Transfer Rates]
- Page 6 [Benchmarks (Secondary Volume) – PCMark 8 Extended]
- Page 7 [Final Thoughts]
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