Crucial M500 480GB CT480M500SSD1 SATA3 2.5" SSD Review

The introduction ...

Since this week the new M500 SSD from Crucial is available is in the stores and this SSD has not only an enormously high performance, but now also offers a capacity close to the 1TB at a price where some other fast SSD starts with the half size.
Today we have the smaller Crucial M500 480 GB SSD CT480M500SSD1 with integrated 256-bit AES encryption tested and extensively benchmarked.
Crucial declares both the M500 480 GB SSD and the Crucial M500 960 GB SSD CT960M500SSD1 with the same read performance of 500 MB/s and with the same surprisingly high write performance of 400 MB/s.
In the review we will see if the SSD is able to achieve this performance and in the SSD benchmark summary we will compare the new Crucial M500 SSD with the previously tested hard disk drives and solid state drives.

 

 

 

Thanks for the support ...

Many thanks for the support with the Crucial M500 480GB 2.5" SSD by the manufacturer Crucial.

The Crucial M500 480GB SATA3 2.5" SSD CT480M500SSD1 has at present a price of approx. 380 Euro (04/2013).

The Crucial M500 SSD series contains at present the following types:
Crucial M500 120GB CT120M500SSD1, 240GB CT240M500SSD1, 480GB CT480M500SSD1, 960GB CT960M500SSD1 SATA3 SSD,
Crucial M500 120GB CT120M500SSD3, 240GB CT240M500SSD3, 480GB CT480M500SSD3 mSATA SSD,
Crucial M500 120GB CT120M500SSD4, 240GB CT240M500SSD4 and 480GB CT480M500SSD4 M.2 SSD.
Whereby the performance of this Crucial M500 SSD Series alters depending on the capacity.
A higher capacity of this Crucial M500 SSD has a higher write performance, whereby the 480 GB as well as the 960 GB M500 has the same high 500 MB/s read- and 400 MB/s write performance.

Here you can buy the Crucial M500 SSD.

 

 

The supply of the Crucial M500 480GB SATA3 SSD ...

In this cardboard box comes the Crucial M500 SSD:

 

 

That is contained in the delivery ...

Crucial delivers the M500 2.5" SSD CT480M500SSD1 well packed with a 9.5 mm adapter and the warranty conditions.
Here is a first look at the small cardboard box:

 

The following picture shows the front of the 2.5" Crucial M500 480GB SSD, where one can see the SATA3 connections for data and power on the right side.
These connectors are identical to conventional SATA3 hard disks and these SATA3 SSDs can also operate with a slower speed at an SATA2 interface:

 

On the flipside you can see the label of the Crucial M500 SSD with some technical data and the pre-installed firmware version:

 

Here you can see eight out of a total of sixteen 20nm Micron NAND modules of the SATA3 SSD with a total of 512 GB capacity.
Additionally you can see the 512MB SSD cache module and the new Marwell 88SS9187-BLD2 controller IC, which has replaced the previous Marwell 88SS9174-BLD2 controller of Crucial m4 SSD.
The SSD also offers a built-in 256-bit AES encryption (TCG Opal 2.0 and IEEE 1667), which allows a hardware encryption with an appropriate UEFI hardware equipment and Microsoft Windows 8 with BitLocker enabled:

 

On the back of the circuit board, you can see the remaining eight 20nm Micron NAND modules:

 

Another feature is the lower height of the Crucial M500 480GB SSD or the Micron M500 480GB MTFDDAK480MAV SSD, which is only 7 mm and no more 9.5 mm, compared to the previous Crucial m4 SSD shown in the right picture:

 

To stay still compatible with the very popular height of 9.5 mm, Crucial includes a small 7 mm to 9.5 mm adapter which can be pasted on the SSD, if necessary:

 

The technical data ...

Manufacturer Crucial
Article number CT480M500SSD1
Capacity 480GB (512GB NAND)
Interface SATA3 6GB/s
Cache 512MB
Controller Marvell
Flash Type Micron MLC - Multi-Level-Cell
Size 2.5" (100.45 x 69.85 x 7mm)
Weight approx. 67 gramm
Speed Read up to 500 MB/s / Write up to 400 MB/s
Seek Time < 0.1ms
Power Consumption 0.1 Watt idle / 0.15 Watt average in operation
MTBF 1.2 million hours MTTF (mean time to failure)
Other SMART Support, 256-Bit AES-Encryption, TCG Opal 2.0 compliant firmware

 

Here is a screenshot of Snipping the CrystalDiskInfo 4.3.0 SSD and HDD information software, where is immediately noticeable, that the Crucial SSD is now equipped with a temperature sensor, which is able to throttle the SSD speed if the SSD reaches too high temperatures of approx. 65°C:

 

 

SSD firmware update ...

At review date, the company Crucial or Micron offered no newer firmware download than the already installed MU02 firmware for the M500 SSD.

 

 

Benchmark values and test results ...

Let us continue with the benchmark results.
SATA3 drives are currently tested with an ASRock 890GX Extreme3 motherboard.
At present, Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate Edition is used as the operating system.

The SSD drive speed was examined and compared with the following benchmark software:

AS SSD Benchmark 1.4.3704.27281 - Download
ATTO Disk Benchmark v2.46 - Download
CrystalDiskMark 3.00 - Download
HD Tach 3.040 - Download
SiSoftware Sandra 2011 - Download

 

AS SSD benchmark result ...

The SSD benchmark values offers a very good reference point of the maximal possible reading and writing performance, the speed with smaller files and the respective access time.
The 480GB Crucial drive achieved in AHCI mode an enormously high sequential read performance.

Although you should operate the SSD in AHCI mode, we have spared no effort to run all benchmarks additionally in IDE mode.
The total score was in IDE mode (indicated by "pciide") still at very good 348 points.
However, it would be pearls for swine, if one would operate this fast SSD not in AHCI mode on the SATA3 controller, because the score in IDE mode was almost 50% below the AHCI mode.

Here is a Snipping screenshot of the AS SSD benchmark results (SATA3 IDE):

 

In AHCI mode also another result beneath the read performance was much higher than in the IDE mode and that is the important value "4K-64Thrd".
4K means that small 4K blocks are read and/or written and with the 4K 64Thrd this is distributed on 64 Threads at the same time.
Thus the benchmark program simulate for example a typical program start.
Since the weighting of this value is very high in the AS-SSD benchmark tool, the overall score in AHCI mode is with 685 points almost twice as high.
In AHCI mode the Crucial M500 480 GB reached even 488.59 MB/s read and extremely high 412.41 MB/s write performance.

Hint:
Who think now about changing its SATA port in the BIOS from native IDE and/or legacy IDE to AHCI, should change first for example (if possible) only one part of the SATA port, where the drive with the operating system is not installed.
Because if one like to save the new Windows installation, one must install the hard disk controller driver before changing SATA mode from IDE to AHCI - alternatively there are also Registry entries for it.
If you like to upgrade from HDD to SSD, you should not copy the content 1:1 only with a tool like Norton Ghost or Acronis Backup.
It is better to install a fresh Windows7 or adjust at least the SSD Alignment.
In case that you bought the Crucial m4 Data Transfer Kit (ends with CCA), it is possible to do this with the contained software.
We help you with questions to this topic or all other PC related questions at any time 24/7 in our PC Forum.

Here is a Snipping screenshot of the AS SSD benchmark results (SATA3 AHCI):

 

Here is a Snipping screenshot of the AS SSD iops results to measure the input/output speed (SATA3 in AHCI mode):

 

Here is a Snipping screenshot of the AS SSD copy benchmark values (SATA3 AHCI):

 

The comparison of the AS SSD benchmark results is extended with each new HDD/SSD test.
Here you can see already some SSDs in comparison to the Crucial M500 480 GB 2.5" SSD in IDE and in AHCI mode, whereby the SSD benchmark chart is updated shortly with new SSDs.
Currently, the highest AS SSD total score is reached by this Crucial M500 480 GB SSD, which is in the total score even higher than two Crucial m4 128 GB SSDs in RAID0.

Here is a comparison of the AS SSD benchmark values, which are getting updated with soon coming drives:

 

ATTO Disk benchmark result ...

The ATTO disk benchmark values gives a very good overview about the write and read rate on different file sizes.
These values are maximum ratings, which are different to the previously continuous transfer rate benchmarks, since this benchmark may even reach a higher overall performance with slower SSDs.
With the Crucial M500 480 GB SSD, we measured until a transfer size of approximately 128 KB a lower read speed (green) than the write speed (red) and reached the maximum read rate of 531555 KB at a transfer size of 2048KB.

Here is a Snipping screenshot of the ATTO Disk benchmark values (SATA3 AHCI):

 

The ATTO disk benchmark values are compared with a small transfer size of 32KB and a large transfer size of 8192KB.
The bar chart already includes a comparison to some SSDs and HDDs, where the Crucial M500 cannot reach the top of all ATTO results.

Here is a comparison of the ATTO disk benchmark values, which are getting updated with soon coming drives:

 

CrystalDiskMark result

With CrystalDiskMark one receives a balanced measurement of the performance with different transfer sizes.

As seen in the previous 4K-64Threads results, mainly the read and write 4K QD32 values are very good and the sequential write measurement reached an extremely high 427,2 MB/s value.

Here is a Snipping screenshot of the CrystalDiskMark values (SATA3 AHCI):

 

The following diagram shows the CrystalDiskMark results once again compared with other SSDs and platter drives, which are extended step by step.

In the CrystalDiskMark comparison one can see significant differences between the to-date tested of the Solid State Drives and Hard Disk Drives, whereby the tested Crucial M500 480GB SSD is with the read performance not at the top of all results, but the write performance was clearly higher than our to-date fastest result of the Crucial m4 256GB SSD (Micron RealSSD C400 256GB SSD).

Here is a comparison of the CrystalDiskMark values, which are getting updated with soon coming drives:

 

HD Tach result

With HD Tach one can measure the gradient of the performance, but the SSD transfer is not comparable with a conventional HDD.
New logical NAND cell access of the SSD controller results like some other equal designed SSDs in strong varying values with the latest HD Tach Version 3.0.4.0 version, which is written for hard disk drives.
HD Tach measured with the Crucial M500 480 GB SSD in AHCI mode during write operations some peaks and a constant read rate with the so far lowest access time of approx. 0.0ms.
To compare these results you can move the mouse over the following drives to see their respective benchmark results:
Crucial M500 480GB 2,5" SSD at SATA3 AHCI, ADATA S511 120GB SSD at SATA3 AHCI, ADATA S511 120GB SSD at SATA3 AHCI, 2x Crucial m4 128GB 2,5" SSD at SATA3 RAID, Crucial m4 128GB 2,5" SSD at SATA3 AHCI, Crucial m4 128GB 2,5" SSD at SATA3, Crucial m4 256GB 2,5" SSD FW 000F at SATA3 AHCI, Crucial m4 256GB 2,5" SSD FW 0309 at SATA3 AHCI, Crucial m4 256GB 2,5" SSD FW 0002 at SATA3 AHCI, Crucial m4 256GB SSD FW 0309 at SATA3 IDE, Crucial m4 256GB 2,5" SSD FW 0002 at SATA3, Crucial C300 64GB 1,8" SSD at SATA3, Crucial RealSSD 256GB 2,5" SSD at SATA3, Crucial RealSSD 256GB 2,5" SSD at SATA2, Hitachi 7K1000.C 1TB HDD, MX-DS Fusion 60GB SSD SATA3 IDE, MX-DS Fusion 60GB SSD SATA3 IDE, MX-DS Turbo 120GB SSD at SATA3 AHCI, OCZ Agility 128GB SSD, Samsung Series470 128GB SSD AHCI, Samsung Series470 128GB SSD Legacy IDE, Seagate Constellation.2 1TB 2,5" HDD at SATA3, Toshiba MK8007GAH 1.8" hard disk drive.

Here is a Snipping screenhot of the HD Tach benchmark values:

 

The HD Tach benchmark result comparison shows the enormously high speed of the Crucial M500 480 GB SSD, which is up to now in HD Tach only beaten by the RAID0 with 2x Crucial m4 128 GB SSDs.

Here is an impressive comparison of the HD Tach benchmark values, which are getting updated with soon coming drives:

 

SiSoftware Sandra benchmark result

Of course, SiSoftware Sandra benchmark should not be missing in this test series.
SiSoftware offers with their SiSoft Sandra program a very comprehensive tool, which contains a lot of tools to get very reliable test results of all hardware components.
The average access time of the Crucial M500 480GB SSD was in SiSoftware Sandra with 28us extremly low and the drive index of 529.42 MB/s has beaten even the values of the other benchmark tools.

Here is a Snipping screenshot of the SiSoftware Sandra benchmark read values (SATA3 AHCI):

 

In the write performance measurement, the average access time of the Crucial M500 480 GB SSD in SiSoftware Sandra was also at extremely low 28us and the drive index was about 428.64 MB/s.

Here is a Snipping screenshot of the SiSoftware Sandra benchmark write values (SATA3 AHCI):

 

Here is a comparison of the SiSoftware Sandra benchmark values, which are getting updated with soon coming drives:

 

 

Result and general impression ...

The Crucial M500 2.5" 480 GB SATA3 SSD CT480M500SSD1 reached very low access times and an enormously high write speed, which was even faster than a RAID0 with two Crucial m4 128 GB SSDs.

The Crucial CT480M500SSD1 480 GB MLC Solid State Drive with Marvell Controller and 20nm Micron NAND was tested both in the current AHCI mode, and in legacy IDE mode, whereby the AHCI mode showed as seen in previous SSD tests clear advantages and should be strongly preferred.
In our review, different motherboards with different controllers were tested additionaly to the benchmarks, where this was not recognized by the BIOS of a slightly older motherboard in AHCI mode.
We remain support contact and currently assume that it can be fixed by a firmware update.

All in all, the new Crucial M500 480GB SSD with integrated 256-bit AES encryption offers a very powerful write and read performance and certainly offers what many users are waiting for ... a high SSD capacity at a low price.

 

Discuss in our forum and exchange experiences ...

Here you can buy the Crucial SSD ...

Read on in the hardware test area with several hardware reviews ...

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