Taking a look at the actual usable capacity of the Crucial M500 480GB drive we find that it yields 447GB as reported by Windows after formatting, unit conversion (GB to GiB) and overprovisioning have their share. Like all drives, the capacity stated in the drive description comes from the available 480,103,981,056 (unformatted, per Crucial) bytes which equates to 480GB (1 byte = 1,000,000,000 bytes) but 447GiB (1Gib = 1,073,741,824 bytes). For an SSD, it’s quite voluminous although effectively dwarfed by the largest in the M500 at 960GB.
Performance was found to be very good although not a performance leader in any category although maximum performance is not really the goal of the M500 line. There’s a small subset of enthusiast consumers that are focused on absolute performance but the majority of users will find the M500 more than acceptable with reads of 500MB/s and writes of 400MB/s. An important factor to bear in mind is that the Marvell 88SS9187 controller supports true hardware encryption which is quite different from most other controllers whose encryption is handled via software means. In addition, there are features for power loss and thermal protection which make it suitable for a modest use enterprise application with an effective lifespan estimate of 72TB of writes.
The pricing is very attractive, especially as you get to the higher capacities and the peer group wanes dramatically.
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The 480GB drive is retailing for $389 which is a very respectable $0.87 per GB. The 960GB drive is retailing for $599 which really is a heck of a deal with a superb cost per GB at $0.62! A lot of people have been waiting for a 1TB SSD that’s affordable and it’s finally coming into view.
Overall, the M500 may not be the fastest drive we’ve tested but it is very consistent and in the real world tests, where it counts, it performs very well. In general use as an OS drive, we couldn’t discern any performance issues or hiccups that may be indicative of inconsistency and in this stage if SSD development, we’d be shocked if we came across any. The real story of this drive rests in not it’s raw performance but the reliability, new architecture and the affordability of some very large capacities by SSD standards.
Legit Bottom Line: The M500 Series from Crucial won’t win any extreme performance awards but it’s certainly fast enough for virtually anyone and the price per usable GB of the 480Gb and 960GB drives is extremely attractive.