It's a good thing Crucial released the massive 960GB capacity size because without it the M500 series wouldn't be all that exciting. The new capacity size is exciting, but if you aren't willing to spend $600 for an SSD, I'd say it doesn't really matter. A large part of the CES buzz came from the notion that the price would scale with the capacity down at a liner rate. We expected M500 480GB to come in around $300, 240GB at $150 and the 120GB for lunch money. Now that we know the real MSRP part of the buzz was lost, or at least watered down.
That's not to say Crucial really rained on our parade, or maybe that should be me raining on their launch. The M500 960GB has a $600 price tag and the 480GB is $400. The Samsung 840 Pro 512GB is $499 at Newegg and the OCZ Vector 512GB is still a wallet slimming $550. The Samsung 840 non-Pro at $350 (all prices from Newegg at the time of writing) looks like a real competitor at the 512GB class, there's a reason why my local Fry's can't keep them in stock. When it comes to the other capacity sizes we're taking a wait and see approach. Since the two largest capacity sizes share the same specs we touched on the 480GB a bit, but will just hold off till we have the entire product line in for reviews.
With that out of the way, let's just focus on the 960GB that we have in the lab. The drive is brilliant and a step forward in the evolution of SSDs. There are other 1TB class SSDs on the market now, Newegg lists a couple, but I wouldn't really call $2000 SSDs 'consumer models'.
When it comes to performance, the 960GB M500 comes in between the 840 Pro and Vector 512GB. The drive does lose quite a bit of performance when you get a lot of data on it, but the write performance doesn't drop nearly as far as the m4 series.
What it really comes down to is the M500 960GB is the only real option for a terabyte class SSD on the market today. Now that Crucial has this product on the market, we expect others to follow suit, but until then, Crucial owns the market. The M500 960GB is fast and does well in our daily use tests, but we expected a bit more.