Crucial M500 480GB SSD review: Crucial m4's successor

Crucial transitions to the new Marvell controller and 20nm flash


Crucial M500 specifications

The Crucial M500 SSDs use the Marvell 88SS9187 controller and Micron 20 nm transistors. The 480 GB model that we tested contains 16 flash chips with 32 GB each for a total of 512 GB. That means that Micron applied 6.25 percent of overprovisioning to maintain high performance during intensive use. The buffer consists of a 512 MB DDR3-1600 memory chip. It’s unclear how big this buffer is in the other M500 models.

Crucial M500 480GB

The M500 is available in four capacities: 120 GB, 240 GB, 480 GB and 960 GB. The first three will also be available as mSATA models. The 2.5" versions are 7mm high and will therefore fit in sleek laptops.

All four models have a maximum read speed of 500 MB/s according to Crucial. The maximum write speed is 400 MB/s for the 480 GB and 960 GB models, 250 MB/s for the 240 GB model, and 130 MB/s for the 120 GB model. The two biggest versions are supposed to reach 80.000 4k read and write IOPS according to Crucial.

They all have an indicated lifespan of 72TB of writes. That’s surprising since you’d expect that an SSD with twice the capacity would also be able to process twice the amount of writes. 72TB is equal to about 40 GB per day during five years, or 10 GB per day during 20 years. The M500 SSDs come with a three-year factory warranty.

Crucial M500 480GB

The new models are not aimed at the high-end segment, and according to Crucial we should not expect performance along the lines of the Samsung 840 Pro. The M500 is supposed to compete with well-performing SSDs, and Crucial intends to keep prices very competitive in the coming months. They are already affordable, and Crucial expects the M500 480 GB to slowly become the mainstream (like 256 GB is at the moment) and 960 GB to finally become reasonably affordable.

Right now the 480 GB we tested is available for an average of £314 or € 355, equal to £ 0.65 or € 0.74 per GB. For an SSD with the latest generation controller that is indeed a competitive price. Crucial indicated that prices will likely drop a bit further in the coming weeks once the SSDs are more widely available.

Crucial wants to compete with the Samsung 840 (not Pro) SSDs, better performance for a similar price. Crucial isn’t quite on the pricing level of the 840s, but is closer than for example the Plextor M5 Pro or the OCZ Vertex 4.  

According to Crucial, the M500 SSDs are optimized for Intel Ultrabooks. In the Ultrabook-supported low-power idle mode they’re supposed to use up to 93 percent less power compared to the previous generation. The SSD will also be accessible more quickly when the PC comes out of sleep mode, and the internal data encryption should be improved.

Below you can compare the specifications of the different M500 SSD models. Click here for a new window.

Product nameM500 120GBM500 240GBM500 480GBM500 960GB
Product codeCT120M500SSD1CT240M500SSD1CT480M500SSD1CT960M500SSD1
DetailsProduct infoProduct infoProduct infoProduct info
Quoted capacity120 GB240 GB480 GB960 GB
Cache256 MB256 MB512 MB1024 MB
InterfaceSerial ATA 600Serial ATA 600Serial ATA 600Serial ATA 600
SSD controllerMarvell 88SS9187Marvell 88SS9187Marvell 88SS9187Marvell 88SS9187
Measured capacity111.79 GB223.57 GB447 GB
Native Command Queuing
TRIM support
Flash memory typeMulti-level cellMulti-level cellMulti-level cellMulti-level cell
Flash chip brandMicronMicronMicronMicron
Transistor size flash chips20 nm20 nm20 nm20 nm
Warranty3 year(s)3 year(s)3 year(s)3 year(s)
Read (sequentially)500 MB/s500 MB/s500 MB/s500 MB/s
Write (sequentially)130 MB/s250 MB/s400 MB/s400 MB/s
Read (4k random)62000 IOps72000 IOps80000 IOps80000 IOps
Write (4k random)35000 IOps60000 IOps80000 IOps80000 IOps
Physical properties
Form factor2.5 inch2.5 inch2.5 inch2.5 inch
Height7 mm7 mm7 mm7 mm
Encryption / security
Self encrypting drive (SED)
TCG Opal 2.0 compatible
Microsoft eDrive compatible
Protection against power loss
Encryption256 bit AES256 bit AES256 bit AES256 bit AES

Product discussed in this review

  Product Lowest price

Crucial M500 480GB

SSD, 480 GB, Serial ATA 600, Marvell 88SS9187, 500 MB/s, 400 MB/s, 2.5 inch

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