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When i first started testing SSDs (Solid State Drives) roughly 5/6 years ago even the cheapest 60GB model cost more than a 2TB HDD and although SSDs had a very large and clear advantage in read/write/access speeds over regular HDDs it wasn't until a couple of years later that consumers actually got interested. Fast forward to today and things have changed quite a bit not only because current SSD models are twice as fast but also because prices have taken a significant dive so as we speak 120/128GB models cost roughly the same as 1TB HDDs. However due to the fact that many more manufacturers have also jumped on the SSD wagon since then there are numerous SSD models available in the market currently with different performance levels and bundles something that's more than enough to confuse most consumers. Crucial/Micron is amongst the very few manufacturers that have been manufacturing commercial SSDs almost right from the start and since their M500 line of SSDs is considered to be one of the best in the market we decided to take a closer look on the 480GB model.
Crucial.com is a leading online retailer specializing in computer memory (RAM) and solid state drives (SSD), and is operated by a subsidiary of Micron Technology, Inc., one of the world's leading manufacturers of computer memory products. Crucial.com offers more than 250,000 compatible products for nearly every computer system: home and business, old and new, PC and Mac® computers. Utilizing a suite of easy-to-use, free online tools, including the Crucial® System Scanner and the Crucial Memory Advisor™ tool, crucial.com makes it easy to find a compatible upgrade to improve computer performance and restore system reliability. For more information, visit www.crucial.com.
Much like with their previous SSD model the award winning M4 Crucial/Micron has once again decided to base their newest SSD on a Marvell controller and more specifically the 88SS8197-BLD2 one we've seen with the M5 Pro by Plextor. However unlike the M4 this time over the controller used in the M500 supports DDR3 memory (512MB for the 480GB model), 256 bit AES encryption, RAIN (Redundant Array of Independent NAND), TCG Opal 2.0, IEEE-1667 (these two standards make the M500 compatible with Microsoft’s eDrive feature used in Windows 8 allowing Bitlocker to use the drives' hardware encryption instead of the usual software one) and also wears the latest 128Gbit 20nm MLC NAND die featuring ONFI 3.0 support for reduced power requirements and higher interface speeds (up to 400MB/s). All these seem nice on paper but if we've learned one thing over the years that's that from paper and up to real world performance things may change quite a bit so let's see what the M500 480GB is capable of.