Crucial M500: the first affordable terabyte-class SSD (although it's not actually a terabyte)

Memory maestros, Crucial, have just announced their first high-capacity, terabyte-class SSD that will actually be affordable for people not on MP's salaries. While they're not actually creating a full 1TB drive in the new Crucial M500 series of solid state drives, they are going up to capacities of 960GB.

That should give you a bit of space for your Steam library.

But what do we mean by affordable? Well, Crucial is claiming you'll be able to pick up the 960GB M500 for under £450 (inc. VAT). That's still a hell of a lot of cash to drop on storage, especially when you can pick up a 4TB HDD for around £250. But considering the speed of the latest SSDs that's not bad.

By comparison OCZ's latest Vector drive is sitting around £400 just for the 512GB version.

Still, the presumably Marvell-controlled drive is going to be limited by the SATA 6Gbps interface, so you can expect standard read/write speeds of up to 500MB/s and 400MB/s respectively. In terms of IOPS (input/output operations per second) you're topping out at 80,000.

Quite whether the 960GB version will be able to hit those peak speeds though is still up for debate.

In my tests SSD performance peaks around the 240-256GB mark, with 480-512GB SSDs generally posting slower benchmark numbers. I think that's down to the extra number of Flash memory chips still being run by the same number of memory controllers.

If the 960GB drive houses a similar ratio of chips to controllers to the 240GB drives then it may well still have that top performance.

Crucial is also releasing the M500 range in a variety of form factors, including the teeny-tiny mSATA, perfect for those mini ITX machines. And with capacities going up to 480GB for such a tiny SSD that's impressive.

I should have the high-capacity 2.5-inch drive landing in my test bench as soon as the samples become available, and then we'll know for sure.

Dave James
Managing Editor, Hardware

Dave has been gaming since the days of Zaxxon and Lady Bug on the Colecovision, and code books for the Commodore Vic 20 (Death Race 2000!). He built his first gaming PC at the tender age of 16, and finally finished bug-fixing the Cyrix-based system around a year later. When he dropped it out of the window. He first started writing for Official PlayStation Magazine and Xbox World many decades ago, then moved onto PC Format full-time, then PC Gamer, TechRadar, and T3 among others. Now he's back, writing about the nightmarish graphics card market, CPUs with more cores than sense, gaming laptops hotter than the sun, and SSDs more capacious than a Cybertruck.