Crucial M500 SSD Review – A continuing evolution

It has become clear that simply conducting
endless benchmarks on SSD drives is pointless. Real users may run a few
benchmarks when they first fit their SSD drive, but most users just want a
drive that performs well in the real world. They want their drive to work
"out of the box" and work fast and smoothly.

Most of the latest SSD drives can deliver
very fast sustained reading and writing speeds, but these alone tell you very
little about how the drive will perform in the real world.

If you intend to use your SSD as your
primary system drive, with an operating system and applications installed and
running from the drive, real world performance becomes much more important than
just fast sequential read and write speeds, in this case I felt that it was
time to move into a different method of testing.

From now on I will only use the log files
from the Event Viewer to measure the start-up and shutdown of the system, and
also use filecopy to measure all my copy tests from a RAM disk to the selected
storage drive that I will be testing. For these tests I will also enable all
power savings features that are available, since I believe that this is the way
that the majority of the users will have them set on their PC.

Real world copy tests

I will now conduct some real world copy
tests so that you can have a much better view of how the drive will perform. In
these simple tests I try to simulate what a real user does with their drives. I
will be copying some mp3 files, various picture and MKV files, and finishing by
installing MS Office 2007.

As I said earlier from now on all my test
files will be stored in a RAM disk and copied/pasted to the destination drive
using filecopy. The filecopy utility will be used from now on for all my tests,
and I’ll be using it this way to measure the time that it takes to copy the

Before I move on to the test, I want to
give you an idea on how fast your RAM is. Below you can find the results.

Crucial M500 SSD Review - A continuing evolution

we can clearly see speed isn’t going to be an issue in these tests.

Copy tests – 259 MP3 song files (1.36GB total)

Crucial M500 SSD Review - A continuing evolution

I am starting this test by copying 259 mp3
files from the RAM disk to the destination SSD, and as we can see the Crucial
M500 simply destroys the competition.

Copy tests – 3,377 JPEG picture files (2.56GB total)

Crucial M500 SSD Review - A continuing evolution

Copying 3.377 picture files again from the RAM
disk to the Crucial M500, again shows how fast it is.

Copy Tests – 1 MKV and 1 SRT file (3.46GB)

Crucial M500 SSD Review - A continuing evolution

The trend continues, the Crucial M500 SSD
again shows top performance.

Windows start-up and closedown based on the Event Viewer

Start-up & Shutdown time

The next two screen shots were taken after I’d
installed all the drivers and all the software that I use every day. Below are
the results.

Crucial M500 SSD Review - A continuing evolution

state boot time in measured in milliseconds.

Crucial M500 SSD Review - A continuing evolution

state shutdown, again measured in milliseconds.

As we can see the Crucial M500 gives some
very impressive times, on both start-up and shutdown. Notice that the times in this
tests will vary from system to system and it’s only here as a reference for
each drive.

Installing applications

Installing applications is possibly
something you don’t do that often. But should you replace your system disk,
then you will most likely have to re-install your applications. Most of the SSD
drives I have tested up until now are quite slow at installing applications,
most likely because their I/O performance was quite limited.

For these tests, we picked some popular
applications and copied the entire contents of the CD or DVD media to the RAM disk.
We did this to make sure that the reading speed of our CD/DVD reader would not
hamper the performance of the target drive.

We then installed these applications onto
our comparison HDD drives, which were all running mirror image installations of
our Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit installation, and timed the amount of time
taken to install the application with a stopwatch on each of the drives.

MS Office 2007 Enterprise (full install)

Now let’s see
how the Crucial M500 SSD performs with the installation of MS Office 2007
Enterprise Edition.

The procedure
followed was very simple. I copied all the files from the CD to the RAM disk and
use the virtual drive as a source for the installation files.

Crucial M500 SSD Review - A continuing evolution

It’s clear that the Crucial M500 SSD is
able to give a very solid result, and we can see the 15 second improvement over
the Crucial M4 SSD.

Speed degradation after heavy testing

On this page I will test how the SSD
performs after heavy testing and usage.

I will run an AS SSD benchmark test when
the OS is freshly installed so that we can get a good view of how the drive
performs with the OS. After that I will fill the drive up to 50% of its
capacity, use the drive for a few days, and then re-run the AS SSD benchmark.
The same procedure will be followed once again, but this time the drive will be
filled close to 90% or higher of its capacity. To finish this test, I will
simply delete all the extra data and leave the PC idle for a few hours so that
the controller has the time to perform any necessary cleaning, then see how the
drive performs.


Crucial M500 SSD Review - A continuing evolution

For reference here is the result of the first run with the default MS driver
that Windows 7 comes with. As we can see the result is very good, but let’s see
if things will improve with the Intel driver.

Crucial M500 SSD Review - A continuing evolution

Here things start to get interesting, as we
can see there is an improvement with the Intel driver, and the enabled C states
of the CPU on BIOS have an impact on the overall total score of the SSD, but in
daily use no one will notice the difference in speed.

Crucial M500 SSD Review - A continuing evolution

Getting the drive to slow down was a very
hard task to complete, it took me two hours of deleting, and copying/pasting
files to get the drive to slowdown. Then again losing only seven points in the
total score isn’t much. So at this point as you can see the Crucial M500 delivers
an outstanding performance. Notice that in this test the drive had only 20GB of
free space.

Crucial M500 SSD Review - A continuing evolution

After deleting a lot of files I this time had
around 210GB of free space on the M500, so without leaving the drive to settle
down and allowing trim to optimize it, I reran the as SSD benchmark, and the
result was simply outstanding. The Crucial M500 showed that it can recover the
performance it needs very quickly.

Crucial M500 SSD Review - A continuing evolution

For my final test I deleted all the
unnecessary files and give the drive 10 minutes to settle. In the above picture
you can see the result of my final test.

Crystal Disk Info

One thing that I noticed when I was
deleting and copy pasting files from once part of the drive to the other was
that the drive was getting a little hot, and also that Crystal Disk Info was
able to successfully monitor the temperature. Below I will give you an example
of this.

Crucial M500 SSD Review - A continuing evolution

Here is the drive temperature when it had
been idle for ten minutes after a two hour intensive read/write, without any
fan cooling it, and with a room temperature close to 26C.

Crucial M500 SSD Review - A continuing evolution

Here you can see the rise in temperature during
a two hour of intensive read/write. This is the first time I’ve seen an SSD that
is able to display the temperature.



This concludes our review. To read the final
thoughts and conclusion, click the link below….