Product round-up Since we last ran a roundup of SSDs, the market consumer for the drives has moved on at lightning speed, not just in terms of performance, but also in NAND technology and capacity. The performance advances are such that even some entry level SSDs are fast approaching the SATA 6Gb/s limit – well, for sequential performance anyway – never mind the top end performance drives.
The future for high performance SSDs is to base them around a PCI-E interface, which is why the M.2 PCI-E format holds so much promise for speedy storage. Although the price per gigabyte for SSDs may never reach parity with the good old spinning disk, prices continue to tumble further and solid state storage can be brought for prices that were unimaginable even a year ago.
So here we take a look at 10 drives in the 240GB/256GB sweet spot, some brand new, some not so new but now available at much better price points than when launched, so you don't need such deep pockets to invest in a solid option.
Crucial M550 256GB
The M550 was the first Crucial drive to make real waves in the market with its aggressive pricing. That said, it didn’t cause as much upheaval as the MX100 that followed (see below). Still, the M550 comes in four capacities – 128GB, 256GB, 512GB and the monster 1TB drive – and two form factors: 2.5in (whole range) and mSATA (128GB, 256GB and 512GB).
At its heart is a Marvell 88SS9189 8-channel controller, which is teamed up with 16 20nm Micron MLC NAND packages (2x8GB dies per package) and there also 512MB of LP-DDR3 cache. The drive is also stacked full of features normally found in enterprise drives: dynamic thermal protection, power loss protection and AES 256-bit encryption with support for both TCG Opal 2.0 and IEEE-1667 thrown in for good measure.
If you're after a low cost drive that ticks a lot of boxes, then the M550 is worth checking out. Our full review (1TB) is here.
More info Crucial