Micron 2550 SSD 1TB SSD Review - 232 Layers of Domination

Micron's new 2550 SSD series represents our first look at Micron's newly minted 232-Layer B58R flash, and all we can say is a big huge WOW!

Micron 2550 SSD 1TB SSD  - 232 Layers of Domination
Published
Manufacturer: Micron (EEFDKBA1T0TGE-EBK1ZABYYES)
11 minute read time
TweakTown's Rating: 100%
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The Bottom Line

As we see it, Micron's 2550 SSD has delivered overall the single most impressive performance for a flash-based SSD to date.

Pros

  • + Single sided
  • + Gaming performance
  • + Consumer workloads

Cons

  • - None

Should you buy it?

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Introduction & Drive Details

Every so often, an SSD comes along that redefines performance that matters, or what we at TweakTown refer to as "User Experience". As our regular readers have come to know, storage performance that matters is not a reflection of advertised sequential throughput as is generally assumed by consumers and even by many who are considered hardware experts.

Storage performance that matters in the consumer realm is more or less typified by how well a storage device can serve to the host device in low queue depth random data or random reads. This is because of two main factors, the first being most data is random in nature and secondly, reading data is what a consumer storage device is doing on average 80% of the time.

Another incorrect assumption that is generally proliferated as it relates to consumer solid state storage is that the device controller is the main driver of device performance. Not so. It's the flash or NAND that is the main driver of performance. In a nutshell, the underlying flash architecture is the core of an SSDs ability to deliver performance that matters.

With that said, this brings us to a great starting point for the subject of today's review. Micron's newest client SSD, the 2550. This SSD is an introduction platform for Micron's newly minted 232-Layer B58R NAND flash memory. From our perspective, it's also an ideal SSD to demonstrate for you firsthand what performance that matters is really about.

Micron's newest offering is a "Client" SSD destined to find its home in many forthcoming OEM PCs. A "Client" SSD is typically not sold directly to consumers, nor is it available through typical consumer retail channels, so it's unlikely you will get your hands-on a Micron 2550 SSD unless it comes as part of an OEM PC BOM. But consumers do not despair because you will be able to purchase a retail version of the 2550, rebranded as a Crucial offering. For those of you unaware, Crucial is the retail arm of Micron, and a retail equivalent of the 2550 will be forthcoming.

Now back to the focus of this review, which is in large part an introduction for Micron's 232-Layer B58R NAND flash memory. Micron hails its 232-Layer flash as the world's most advanced NAND. This type of statement is typically what is trumpeted whenever new flash begins to flow from a fab. Most of the time, it's only a partially true statement being that it might technically be the most advanced as it relates to a certain aspect of its architecture which may not necessarily translate into performance that matters. So, what makes Micron's B58R the world's most advanced of its kind?

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World's highest layer count at 232-Layers. World's first 6-plane production TLC with an independent word line on each of the six planes and read-concurrency executing multiple simultaneous data reads. Test results aside, just that brief overview is enough to convince us that Micron's claim that its 232-Layer flash is the world's most advanced production flash is likely valid, as these are unprecedented capabilities for mass-production flash memory.

Additionally, and much to our surprise, when we inquired as to the die capacity of Micron's new flash, we were informed that all of it is 1024 Gbit. We find this interesting for a couple of reasons. The first being density, because at 1024 Gbit dies, this means that using current die stacking limitations of 16 die per package, 232-Layer flash can achieve 2TB per flash chip or package. We find this significant because this means we are going to see elegant two-package arrayed single-sided 4TB M.2 SSDs in the near future.

Secondly, die capacity has an effect on latency, with higher capacity die being more latent than equivalent lower capacity die. Now, at least as far as we know, all current competing flash of the high-performance variety is 512 Gbit in density, including Micron's own B47R TLC flash. What this means is Micron's 232-Layer flash is entering the arena to do battle with one hand tied behind its back, so to speak.

Lastly, we need to talk about speed, as Micron B58R is architecturally capable of up to 2,400 MT. This is 50% higher than the current speed limit of Micron's highly prolific B47R, 1,600 MT. As was done with B47R, Micron B58R will array various types of SSDs at different speeds, including 1,600MT, 2,000MT, and 2,400MT. We do not know if the higher speeds are immediately on the table, or if they are dependent somewhat on product maturation and/or yield.

Let's find out if Micron's claims of its B58R flash being the most advanced in the world are backed with the delivery of a higher level of performance where it matters most.

Drive Details

Micron 2550 SSD 1TB SSD Review - 232 Layers of Domination 01

Micron's 2550 SSD is a value-oriented SSD being a DRAMless single package design. The 2550 SSD can be had in various footprints, including 2230, 2242, and 2280 M.2 form factors. Micron states that all form factors perform the same at the same capacity points. Sequential throughput for our 1TB test subject is stated as up to 5,000 MB/s read and 4,000 MB/s write. Random performance is stated as up to 550K read and 600K write. The drive is warranted for three years and/or 600 TBW at the 1TB capacity point.

The B58R flash that arrays the 2550 SSD is running at 1,600 MT or the slowest speed we expect to see B58R running at. Lower flash speed means lower power consumption and less heat. This makes sense, especially for a client SSD where designs must balance the needs of performance, power efficiency, and size.

For controller duties, Micron is using Phison's E21T, a 4-channel PCIe Gen4 x4 DRAMless controller, which we've seen a lot of lately. As configured, Micron's 1TB 2550 SSD presents us with the ideal opportunity to directly ascertain exactly how B58R's architectural improvements translate into better performance over B47R. The perfect SSD for an apples-to-apples comparison is TeamGroup's MP44L 1TB, as it just so happens to be controlled by Phison's E21T controller and arrayed with B47R 1,600 MT flash. Excellent.

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As previously mentioned, our 1TB test subject is a preferred single-sided design, making it fit better and easier to cool than equivalent double-sided designs. Excellent.

As with all Micron SSDs, the 2250 SSD is fully compatible with Micron's Storage Executive SSD Toolbox. With Storage Executive, you can, among other things, enable hardware encryption for security that doesn't sacrifice performance.

Jon's Test System Specifications

Intel Test System

AMD Test System

Because we at TweakTown like to be first at everything whenever we can, we will present our storage performance results for the test subject on both 13th Gen Intel and 7000 Series AMD platforms going forward for the foreseeable future. Because Intel still delivers the best real-world storage performance, (Look Here), our running chart will continue to be Intel-based until AMD can deliver better real-world storage performance than its rival.

Buy at Amazon

Micron 2550 SSD 1TB NVMe PCIe Gen4 x4 M.2 SSD

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$386.86$187.07$228.95
* Prices last scanned on 2/7/2023 at 3:49 pm CST - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Synthetic Benchmarks: CDM, Anvil, ATTO

CrystalDiskMark

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We employ CDM as our standard measurement for both sequential throughput and Q1T1 random read. Our sequential throughput numbers exceed factory up to specs by 200 MB/s read and a whopping 750 MB/s write. Off to a good start. Both are slightly better than we get from the MP44L.

As always, when evaluating synthetic performance, we are most interested in Q1T1 random read. At first glance, 96 MB/s here is rather average. However, as is often the case, we must dissect it further for a proper perspective.

Our test subject is arrayed with 1024 Gbit flash putting it at an inherent capacity-induced latency disadvantage compared with 512 or 256 Gbit flash, so 96 MB/s here is actually stunning. How do we know this? There are two other SSDs on this chart that are arrayed with competing 1024 Gbit 1,600MT flash: the WD Black SN770 2TB (84 MB/s) and Sabrent's Rocket 4 Plus 8TB (70 MB/s). Architectural superiority on full display.

Anvil's Storage Utilities

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Again, nothing jumps out as extraordinary. Scoring here is as expected for a 4-channel DRAMless PCIe Gen4 SSD. We've found that while Anvil's read score is typically a fairly good synthetic indicator of real-world performance for 8-channel SSDs that have onboard DRAM, it is not so for DRAMless 4-channel SSDs such as our test subject.

We employ Anvil's random read test as our standard for measuring max random read IOPS. This test is very accurate. We test at QD128. This is a banging result for a couple of reasons. First, it's by far the best we've gotten from 1024 Gbit flash, and secondly, we are getting 150K more than factory specs indicate in spite of our much more demanding user state of the system disk with 150GB data onboard. Impressive.

ATTO

Micron 2550 SSD 1TB SSD Review - 232 Layers of Domination 18
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We consider these ATTO results anomalous, offering very little in the way of coherent data for us to dissect. Next.

Real-World Testing: Transfers, 3DMark SSD Gaming Test, PCM10 Storage

Transfer Rates

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Our 100GB data transfer test is not your ordinary 100GB of data. Ours is a crushing mix composed of more than 62K files. Write performance random or sequential, is an infrequent operation, and as such, we do not consider it to be an important performance metric in the consumer space. An example being how many times is a game installed vs. how many times it's played.

The results here are somewhat lower than expected. However, being that a transfer of this nature is, in the consumer realm, the most infrequent of operations, we are fine with 600 MB/s.

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As expected for what it is and again good enough as we see it. Now let's get into the performance that matters so we can get a true assessment of what Micron's groundbreaking 232 Layer architecture can do for your user experience.

3DMark SSD Gaming Test

UL's newest 3DMark SSD Gaming Test is the most comprehensive SSD gaming test ever devised. We consider it superior to testing against games themselves because, as a trace, it is much more consistent than variations that will occur between runs on the actual game itself. This test is in fact the same as running the actual game, just without the inconsistencies inherent to application testing.

In short, we believe that this is the world's best way to test an SSDs gaming prowess and accurately compare it against competing SSDs. The 3DMark SSD Gaming Test measures and scores the following:

  • Loading Battlefield V from launch to the main menu.
  • Loading Call of Duty Black Ops 4 from launch to the main menu.
  • Loading Overwatch from launch to the main menu.
  • Recording a 1080p gameplay video at 60 FPS with OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) while playing Overwatch.
  • Installing The Outer Worlds from the Epic Games Launcher.
  • Saving game progress in The Outer Worlds.
  • Copying the Steam folder for Counter-Strike Global Offensive from an external SSD to the system drive.
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Gaming is a performance metric that matters to the majority of DIY consumers, especially to the enthusiast crowd that TweakTown caters to.

When it comes to storage duties for gaming, DRAMless SSDs aren't the first type of SSDs that come to mind if you are after top-of-the-food chain performance. Well, now one is. Our DRAMless test subject is delivering stunning performance here. By far the best we've ever seen from a DRAMless SSD and indeed even better than the majority of 8-channel DRAM-based SSDs we've ever tested. This is performance that matters. Amazing.

PCM10 Storage Tests

PCMark 10 Storage Test is the most advanced and most accurate real-world consumer storage test ever made. There are four different tests you can choose from; we run two of them.

The Full System Drive Benchmark and the Quick System Drive Benchmark. The Full System Drive Benchmark writes 204 GB of data over the duration of the test. The Quick System Drive Benchmark writes 23 GB of data over the duration of the test. These tests directly correlate with mainstream user experience.

PCMark 10 Full System Drive Benchmark

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This particular test writes 204GB data and covers a broad range of common consumer tasks, including booting Windows 10, file transfers, Adobe and Office applications, and startup times for games, including Battlefield V, COD Black Ops 4, and Overwatch. Unlike synthetic numbers, this is comprehensive real-world data which is why we use it to rank SSDs in terms of user experience.

Honestly, we couldn't believe our eyes when our test subject returned this score. For what it is, a 4-channel DRAMless arrayed with 1024 Gbit flash, this is the most impressive demonstration of performance that matters we've ever seen.

For proper context, we need to dissect further. Yes, the 1TB SN770 is also DRAMless and does beat our test subject here, but being that it is arrayed with 512 Gbit flash, we need to compare our test subject with the 2TB SN770 for accuracy. Our test subject absolutely crushes the 2TB SN770, clearly demonstrating the superiority of Micron's flash architecture.

We should also mention that the SN770s were run in WD's Gaming Mode, which is a software switch of sorts that turns off all power-saving measures, thereby greatly increasing performance. Our test subject has no such performance-enhancing feature of this type.

The last bit of context we need to mention here is that our power-sipping, DRAMless, value-oriented test subject delivers the best performance we've ever seen from ANY Phison-controlled SSD. We see this as a further testament to the architectural superiority of Micron's B58R, especially considering the flash is running at the same 1,600 MT as the KC3000 2TB's B47R, which is the previous top-performing Phison-controlled SSD. Outstanding.

PCMark 10 Quick System Drive Benchmark

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As we see it, this test, in particular as it relates to Phison-controlled SSDs, being historically where ALL Phison SSDs have failed to deliver, is even more of a true test of our test subject's metal. It's really the single biggest contributing factor as to why no Phison-controlled SSD has ever attained a 12K TT User Experience rating. Phison's true nemesis.

A score in excess of 5,300 here is absolutely elite. It's the fourth best all-time for any 1TB flash-based SSD. Micron's new flash is so good that it's somehow banished Phison's nemesis to the dustbin of history. Mind-blowing. This is yet again groundbreaking territory for a Micron arrayed SSD.

Final Thoughts

As we step back and take a considered overview of what we've just witnessed, we're almost at a loss for words. We are compelled to state here and now, all things considered, what we have here is the single most impressive performance for a flash-based SSD we've witnessed - this SSD is the very definition of performance that matters.

As we see it, this is a huge win for Micron, as it is, if memory serves us correctly, the first time we can definitively say that Micron is the source of the best-performing production flash on the planet. We feel comfortable in making this assertion because even though our test subject went into battle with one hand tied behind its back, being a power-conservative DRAMless 4-channel value SSD, it delivered overall the fourth-best performance we've ever recorded for any 1TB flash-based SSD.

Just imagine the performance potential of B58R running at 2,400MT behind an enthusiast-grade 8-channel controller, and it's no stretch to be on board with Micron laying claim to being the producer of the world's most advanced production flash.

This is a huge win for Micron, but also it is a huge win for Phison Electronics. As it stands at this moment in time, a Phison controller is powering the world's best-performing DRAMless SSD. This is quite an achievement, a historical achievement as we see it, especially considering the fierceness of the competition for this class of controller. Congrats to you, Phison.

Micron 2550 SSD 1TB SSD Review - 232 Layers of Domination 37

We rank SSDs in terms of overall user experience (performance where it matters most) as expressed by PCMark 10 storage and 3DMark gaming storage tests. We consider a user experience score of 12K or more to verify an SSD as a TweakTown Elite performer. Historical here for Phison as this is the first time any Phison-controlled SSD has attained 12K TT Elite status.

Micron 2550 SSD 1TB SSD Review - 232 Layers of Domination 38

Having just delivered what we consider to be the most impressive performance for a flash-based consumer SSD in history, it's no surprise that Micron's 1TB 2550 SSD comes up as an Editor's Choice with an ultra-rare 100% rating.

Buy at Amazon

Performance

100%

Quality

100%

Features

100%

Value

N/A

Overall

100%

The Bottom Line

As we see it, Micron's 2550 SSD has delivered overall the single most impressive performance for a flash-based SSD to date.

TweakTown award
100%

Micron 2550 SSD 1TB NVMe PCIe Gen4 x4 M.2 SSD

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$386.86$187.07$228.95
* Prices last scanned on 2/7/2023 at 3:49 pm CST - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Jon joined the TweakTown team in 2013 and has since reviewed 100s of new storage products. Jon became a computer enthusiast when Windows XP launched. He was into water cooling and benching ATI video cards with modded drivers. Jon has been building computers for others for more than 10 years. Jon became a storage enthusiast the day he first booted an Intel X25-M G1 80GB SSD. Look for Jon to bring consumer SSD reviews into the spotlight.

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