Crucial M550 Performance
We’ll be comparing the Crucial M550 to six other SSDs, including the Crucial M4 which was probably the most popular SSD in its time. It will be interesting to see what kind of a performance boost the M550 has over the M4.
We’re also including a few Sandforce drives, including what was probably the fastest single-controller SATA version ever made, the OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS. We also have the more value oriented Kingston V300. Intel’s SSD 730 is included – it will be the next SSD to be reviewed – and the OCZ Vector which was pre-bankrupt OCZ”s high end SSD using their own Indilinx controller. Finally, we have the Samsung 840 EVO, an enormously popular SSD which I can’t wait to fully put to the test.
Here are the most relevant specs compared:
|Crucial M550 |
|Crucial M4 |
|Intel 730 Series|
|Samsung 840 EVO|
|OCZ Vertex 3 MIO
|Controller||Marvell 9189||Marvell 9174||Intel PC29AS21CA0||SandForce SF-2281||Samsung MEX||Indilinx Barefoot 3||SandForce SF-2281|
|NAND Type||20nm MLC Sync||25nm MLC sync||20nm MLC Sync||19nm MLC Toggle||19nm TLC Toggle||25nm MLC Sync||32nm MLC Toggle|
|550/500 MB/s||500/260 MB/s||550/270 MB/s||450/450 MB/s||540/520 MB/s||550/530 MB/s||550/525 MB/s|
|Endurance (TBW)||72 TB||72 TB||91 TB||128 TB||Undisclosed||36.5 TB||Undisclosed|
|MTBF (Million Hours)||1.5||2||2||1||1.5||1.3||2|
|Warranty||3 Years||3 Years||5 Years||3 Years||3 Years||5 Years||3 Years|
|Price (May 15, 2014)||$154||Discontinued||$225||$105||$140||Discontinued||Discontinued|
As far as price goes, the Crucial M550 isn’t the cheapest, but it’s not the most expensive either. The results should be interesting.
Click below for the test bench specs:
|CPU||Intel Core i7 4770K|
|Memory||Crucial Ballistix Sport XT 16GB DDR3 1866 MHz|
|OS||Windows 8.1 Enterprise Update 1|
|Test Notes||CPU Speed Locked at 100%|
We first started discussing SSD performance consistency with our review of the Intel DC-S3700 enterprise drives. Intel believe that this is the most important factor in SSD performance moving forward, and we tend to agree.
To show performance consistency, we are going to use the same testing method employed by Intel using IOMeter. We first fill each drive twice over with sequential 128KB data, then run 4K random writes with a queue depth of 32 for about half an hour. By recording IOPS every second, we are able to plot out what happens when a drive’s spare area is filled up, and how it handles this scenario.
What you are looking for in these graphs is the flattest line possible, particularly after it hits the performance wall once the spare area is full.
- Crucial M550 256GB
- Crucial M4 256GB
- Intel 730 Series 240GB
- Kingston V300 240GB
- Samsung 840 EVO 250GB
- OCZ Vector 256GB
- OCZ Vertex 3 MIO 240GB
While not perfect, Marvell has made huge improvements to the 9189 controller in terms of consistency compared to the 9174 used in the Crucial M4.
Further overprovisioning will help in all cases where consistency becomes an issue. You may notice that it’s the lower capacity drives that perform well in this test. For most desktop users, all drives appear fine, perhaps with the exception of the M4, which has been discontinued anyway.
On the next page, we’ll look at fresh state formatted performance and trace based testing.