Customer Review

78 of 86 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fast and strong..., 24 Jun. 2013
This review is from: Crucial CT120M500SSD1 120GB M500 SATA 6Gb/s 2.5 Inch Internal Solid State Drive (Personal Computers)
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I guess there are two main reasons to consider upgrading to an SSD, one is the performance since a solid state drive will usually outpace any standard hard disc drive (especially the slower drives usually installed in laptops) and the other reason is the resilience since with no moving parts they're less likely to suffer damage in a portable device you're carrying around with you. It's worth knowing therefore that there's a big performance difference, especially for write-speeds, between the new M500 Series SSD's depending on which size you go for - the smaller capacity drives write data much slower than the higher capacity drives. All the M500 series are rated at 500MB/s read-speed but the write-speed of the 120GB (which is the one I have) is rated at 130MB/s, the 240GB is rated at 250MB/s and both the 480GB and 960GB are rated at 400MB/s. This could make a big difference with tasks like video-editing which consistently generates large files, so consider saving up for the larger capacity options if write-speed is a critical feature for you.

The drive unit itself is well-made and lightweight and comes with a useful spacer frame for installation in enclosures built for a standard 9.5mm thick drive. The sizes quoted in Amazon's product description seem to be for the cardboard box it comes in and not the drive itself - it's 7mm thick without the spacer and not 1.9cm! The SSD does get warm during use but never worryingly so, certainly less than most HDD's I've had toasting my lap. If they do overheat the M500 drives will automatically reduce performance and cool off but when installed in place of an existing HDD they should be fine.

Crucial have included an onboard hardware encryption option but this only seems to be available if you set it up using Microsoft's BitLocker on a compatible system (Windows 8 preferably) and isn't as simple as it could be - I found an article on AnandTech (http://bit.ly/YdaE3s) about how to enable it. Note that hardware encryption isn't available at all on Mac's, at least not unless Apple add support for it in future versions of OSX. Another onboard feature is the Active Garbage Collection which tries to maintain the performance of your drive by actively removing data that's no longer needed. This feature is a fallback option in case the TRIM function is not available on your system, for example on Mac's which don't activate TRIM by default on non-Apple SSD's. For Active Garbage Collection to work your drive has to be idle, with no data access happening, while still connected to a power source - therefore note that you might have to prevent your drive automatically going to sleep to allow the garbage collection routines to run. There's more about Active Garbage Collection on the Crucial forums here: http://bit.ly/19ikzyX

I installed my 120GB M500 SSD into an external USB3 enclosure (with its own hardware encryption system) and I'm getting read/write speeds of around 120MB/s which isn't bad - it's actually almost twice the speed of the internal drive in my new iMac! The drive should be even faster (especially for read speeds) if installed internally and I'm tempted to try it out in my ageing laptop as it should bring a new lease of life to that. However installed in an external enclosure it gives me a speedy and very resilient portable drive I can throw in a bag without too much concern - and that's exactly what I needed. Excellent.
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