Crucial M550 512GB CT512M550SSD1 SATA3 2.5" SSD Review

The introduction ...

Crucial has developed the new M550 SSD, which not only has a significantly better performance, but also provides more usable capacity.
Fortunately, we tested all Crucial SSD generations since the first Crucial RealSSD C300 on OCinside.de and see again significant improvements at the current Crucial M550 compared to its predecessors.
The Crucial M550 is available as 2.5-inch SATA, mSATA and M.2 SSD with a capacity range between 64 GB and 1 TB.
The detailed review will show how fast the energy saving Crucial M550 512 GB CT512M550SSD1 SSD is in comparison to the previously tested Solid State Drives and if it provides good values even in older PCs without AHCI.

 

 

 

Thanks for the support ...

Many thanks for the support with the Crucial M550 512GB 2.5" SSD by the manufacturer Crucial.

The Crucial M550 512GB SATA3 2.5" SSD CT512M550SSD1 has at present a price of approx. 290 Euro (05/2014).

The Crucial M550 SSD series contains at present the following types:
SATA SSD: Crucial M550 128GB CT128M550SSD1, 256GB CT256M550SSD1, 512GB CT512M550SSD1, 1TB CT1024M550SSD1
mSATA SSD: Crucial M550 128GB CT128M550SSD3, 256GB CT256M550SSD3, 512GB CT512M550SSD3
M.2 SSD: Crucial M550 128GB CT128M550SSD4, 256GB CT256M550SSD4 und 512GB CT512M550SSD4
According to Micron there the M550 SSDs with 64 GB capacity (MTFDDAK064MAY, MTFDDAT064MAY und MTFDDAV064MAY).
Whereby the performance of most SSDs alters depending on the capacity.
A higher capacity of this Crucial M550 SSD has a higher write performance, whereby already the 256 GB M550 has the high 550 MB/s read performance and the 500 MB/s write performance.

Here you can buy the Crucial M550 SSD.

 

 

The supply of the Crucial M550 512GB SATA3 SSD ...

In this cardboard box comes the current Crucial M550 SSD:

 

 

That is contained in the delivery ...

Crucial delivers the M550 2.5" SSD CT512M550SSD1 well packed with a 9.5 mm adapter.
Here is a first look inside of the SSD cardboard box:

 

The following picture shows the front of the 2.5" Crucial M550 512GB SSD, where one can see the SATA3 connections for data and power on the right side.
The SSD connector is identical to conventional SATA3 hard disks and SATA3 SSDs can also operate with a slower speed at an SATA2 interface:

 

On the flipside you can see the label of the Crucial M550 SSD with some technical data and the 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 88SS9189 controller IC, which has replaced the previous Marwell 88SS9187-BLD2 controller of the Crucial M500 SSD.
The SSD also offers a Microsoft eDrive compatible, 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 or Microsoft Windows Server 2012 with BitLocker enabled:

 

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

 

Another special feature is the low height of the Crucial M550 512GB SSD or the Micron M550 512GB MTFDDAK512MAY SSD, which is only 7 mm and no more 9.5 mm (you see a Crucial m4 SSD with 9.5mm on the right):

 

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

 

The technical data ...

Manufacturer Crucial
Article number CT512M550SSD1
Capacity 512GB (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. 70 gramm
Speed Read up to 550 MB/s / Write up to 500 MB/s
Seek Time < 0.1ms
Power Consumption < 0.003 Watt Device Sleep Power Consumption,
< 0.1 Watt Idle
~ 0.15 Watt average in operation
MTBF 1.5 million hours
Other SMART Support, 256-Bit AES-Encryption, TCG Opal 2.0 compliant firmware, RAIN, ECC, TRIM, DEVSLP, Adaptive Thermal Protection, Power Loss Protection

 

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 also 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, Crucial offered no newer firmware download than the already installed MU01 firmware for the M550 SSD.

 

 

Benchmark values and test results ...

Let us continue with the benchmark results.
SATA3 drives are 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 512GB 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 368 points.
However, it would be pearls for swine, if one would operate this SSD not in AHCI mode on the SATA3 controller, because the score in IDE mode was more than 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.

Because the weighting of this value in the AS SSD benchmark tool is very high, the total score in the AHCI mode is with 907 points more than twice as high.
The previously tested Crucial M500 480 GB SSD reached "only" 685 points in AHCI mode on the same system.
With the previous Crucial M500 480 GB the values in AHCI reached 488,59 MB/s read and 412,41 MB/s write performance.
The new Crucial M550 512 GB reached in AHCI mode even 516,18 MB/s read and 447,28 MB/s write performance, which is equivalent to a performance increasement of approximately 5%.
AS SSD also shows very nice, that the usable capacity of this 512 GB M550 is about 476,94 GB and this is nearly 7% over the previous 512 GB M500 SSD (447,13 GB).

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 Windows 7 or Windows 8 or adjust at least the SSD Alignment.
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 M550 512GB 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 very impressive reached by this Crucial M550 512 GB SSD.

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 M550 512 GB SSD, we measured until a transfer size of approximately 256 KB a lower read speed (green) than the write speed (red) and reached the maximum read rate of 557948 KB at a transfer size of 4096 KB.

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 M550 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 read measurement reached an extremely high 499,2 MB/s value and a write value of 467,7 MB/s.

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 M550 512GB SSD is with the read performance not at the top of all results, but the write performance was clearly higher than the Crucial m4 256GB and Crucial M500 480GB 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 M550 512 GB SSD in AHCI mode during write operations uniform peaks and a constant read rate with the lowest access time display of approx. 0.0ms.

To compare these results you can move the mouse over the following drives to see their respective benchmark results:
Crucial M550 512GB 2,5" SSD at SATA3 AHCI, ADATA S511 120GB SSD at SATA3 AHCI, ADATA S511 120GB SSD at SATA3 AHCI, Crucial M500 480GB 2,5" 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 C300 256GB 2,5" SSD at SATA3, Crucial RealSSD C300 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 M550 512 GB SSD, which is up to now in HD Tach only beaten by the RAID0 with 2x Crucial m4 128 GB SSDs and is thus clearly faster than the previously tested Crucial M500 480GB SSD.

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 M550 512GB SSD is in SiSoftware Sandra with 25us extremly low and the drive index of 540,64 MB/s MB/s is amazing high.

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 M550 512 GB SSD in SiSoftware Sandra is also at extremely low 23us and the drive index has a very high value of 472,77 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 ...

With the Crucial M550 2.5" 512GB SATA3 SSD CT512M550SSD1 Crucial outdid itself again and is not only improving the read and write performance very clearly, but also gives the user even nearly 7 percent more usable capacity compared to the previous M500.

The energy-saving Crucial CT512M550SSD1 512 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, whereby this SSD is easily recognized by all of our test motherboards in the IDE and AHCI mode.
The market price of the M550 was at test date however still good 30% above the price of a corresponding M500, which is quite common in the market introduction of newer SSD series.

All in all, the new Crucial M550 512GB SSD has an extremely high write and read performance and thus clearly exceeds the previously tested Crucial M500 480GB SSD.
With this awesome performance, the Crucial M550 512 GB SSD honestly earned our Redaktion ocinside.de Overclocking Dream Award 05/2014.

 

Discuss in our forum and exchange experiences ...

Here you can buy the Crucial SSD ...

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