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Micron M500DC 800GB Enterprise SSD Review

By: Paul Alcorn | SSDs in IT/Datacenter | Posted: May 7, 2014 5:15 pm
TweakTown Rating: 94%Manufacturer: Micron

Final Thoughts




The key to any deployment is to maximize application performance in the smallest footprint possible. In the past, this usually consisted of SSDs tailored for the most intense workloads. This doesn't mesh well with administrators when the workload doesn't require bleeding-edge performance or bulletproof endurance. Underutilizing an expensive resource is never the optimal solution, leading many to turn to light-workload SSDs, such as the M500. In Micron's case, there wasn't a clear middle of the road solution between the M500 and the P400m. The M500DC comes in and compliments their product stack with a mixed-use SSD with superior performance to the M500, but a similar price point.


The ubiquitous SATA connection is ever-present in the datacenter, making SSDs an easy drop-in solution to address performance challenges. While SAS and PCIe are expected to grow, the pervasive SATA connection isn't going to die anytime soon. The Micron M500DC is destined for a variety of demanding workloads, from logging applications, financial databases, and virtualized appliances to Video-On-Demand services. This fills the gap between mission-critical class SSDs and read-centric drives.


In our testing, the M500DC delivered surprising resilience in random write workloads. In a pure-random write environment, the M500DC dominates, delivering robust performance above flagship-class 6Gb/s products. Generic read/write performance specifications ignore real-world use-cases, where very few workloads fit into the perfect 'all-read' or 'all-write' pattern. The M500DC also delivered commanding performance in mixed workloads, easily outstripping the two comparison SSDs. This great performance carried over to our server workloads, with a strong showing in OLTP and Email workloads highlighting solid performance in mixed-random workloads.


Most users will not turn to SSDs to boost sequential performance in read or write-centric workloads; most HDDs provide decent performance in this aspect. On the surface, sequential performance of the M500DC is well below the competition. Our mixed workload testing revealed a pleasant surprise, and the M500DC dominated nine of the 11 mixed sequential workloads. This bodes well for sequential performance in multi-threaded applications where most workloads reside.


The M500DC is obviously tuned for random write workloads; the only dark spot in performance appeared in the read-only web server workload. Power consumption and efficiency is impressive, topping our charts in most workloads with the notable exception of the sequential write workload.


The fabs are lining up with very competitive pricing in the value segment. Intel's DC S3500 is competitively priced and is one of the current go-to SSDs for light workloads. The M500DC outperforms the DC S3500 in most aspects, and though its performance isn't as consistent, its performance range is above that of the DC S3500, and at a price point that is within a few cents per GB.


Delivering outstanding performance that rivals even leading 6Gb/s mission-critical SATA SSDs in random write workloads at an outstanding price point is a stellar achievement. There is the notable sacrifice of endurance to meet the price constraints, but for those in the hunt for solid performance, the M500DC delivers leading performance in the value segment. Micron has lifted the bar in the mixed-use value class SSD arena, meriting the TweakTown Editor's Choice Award.



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