Crucial have just released a new line of SSDs – or at least a new version of an existing line. The Crucial M550 doesn’t replace the existing M500 line, but complements it. The key difference between the two is the use of lower density NAND in the two small capacity drives. The 128GB and 256GB use 8GB NAND chips rather than 16GB.
If you have been keeping up with our SSD reviews, you’d know that this leads to higher parallelism to the controller. This explains why the performance of smaller cacpacity drives have lower performance than larger capacity. Usually this was only seen in 128GB drives and below, but as NAND became cheaper and more compact, it started to get used in higher capacity drives like the M500. Because of this, the M500 drives suffered in performance at the 256GB level. This will not be the case with the M550.
The M550 will be available in 128, 256, 512, and 1TB capacities, and in several form factors: standard 2.5″ (the 1TB is only available in this format), mSATA, and M.2.
We’ll be reviewing this in the coming weeks – it will be interesting to see how performance is affected by using NAND at full capacity.