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Crucial M550 128GB SSD Review

By: Chris Ramseyer | SSDs in Storage | Posted: Mar 19, 2014 11:07 pm
TweakTown Rating: 93%Manufacturer: Crucial

Bapco MobileMark 2012 1.5


Version and / or Patch Used: 2012 1.5

Developer Homepage:

Test Homepage:


MobileMark 2012 1.5 is an application-based benchmark that reflects usage patterns of business users in the areas of office productivity, media creation, and media consumption. Unlike benchmarks that only measure battery life, MobileMark 2012 measures battery life and performance simultaneously, showing how well a system design addresses the inherent tradeoffs between performance and power management.




When we tested the 1TB class models, the M500 delivered significantly more battery life than the M550. In the 128GB class, the two Crucial drives are much closer together in the amount of battery life delivered.



Final Thoughts




Today, we looked at the two extremes of the M550 product line, the large 1TB model and the small 128GB. With both drives, we found a significant performance improvement with the M550 over the M500. The price of the new M550 is aggressive for a product in the upper tier of a dual-tier product line. Crucial's ability to control the majority of the components and flash help to keep the cost down and keeps reliability high.


Since most of us on TweakTown reference performance over all else other than reliability, we'll start there. The 128GB M550 is quite a bit faster than the M500 and comes very close to the Extreme II, 840 Pro, 840 EVO, and Vector 150 / Vertex 460 territory. These are, without a doubt, the highest performing drives on the market, and M550 sits right at home with this group. All of these drives have strong and weak points.


In this capacity size, latency is the one area where we can point to and determine if a drive is good or great. Sadly, this is an area where the M550 doesn't shine; the write latency is just too high, and that hurts write performance and would hurt RAID in high performance computing. For general computing, though, the M550 is amazing as we observed in Vantage.


The price of the 128GB M550 is very good, lower than many of the other drives we listed above. The MSRP is $99.99, but Crucial is always aggressive on price. The M500 has an MSRP of $99.99, but Newegg has them at $74.99. The M500 240GB is down to just $119.99, and, at that price, it might be difficult to not double the capacity while accepting a slightly slower M500.


As we progress further in the SSD game, one thing is becoming clear. If you want to survive, you need a NAND flash fab. If you don't have a fab, then the deck is stacked against you. I think this is important for potential buyers to understand because we've already seen non-fab companies play with flash to keep the factories rolling.


Crucial is one of the few fab companies, so you don't have to worry about the drive you buy using different parts than the products reviewed. The supply of flash and DRAM will not dry up for Crucial. At the same time, Marvell will sell controllers to fab companies with flash ready to go before they do third parties trying to piece SSDs together with fewer chips in the game. For end users this means reliability and peace of mind.


Every drive has a trade off somewhere, but if you need one 128GB drive to do it all, this is it. The M550 is a solid product that does well everywhere.



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