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Micron unveils its first 1TB SSD -- for under $600

At about 60 cents per gigabyte, the M500 is priced well below average SSD pricing

January 10, 2013 09:01 AM ET

Computerworld - LAS VEGAS -- Micron on Thursday unveiled its first terabyte-sized solid-state drive (SSD) for consumers, the Crucial M500, which will sell for under $600, or 60 cents per gigabyte.

The new SSD, almost doubles the capacity over its predecessor the 512GB C400 drive, and comes in several versions, including an ultrathin card. A 2.5-in. laptop drive version that can hold up to 960GB of data will sell for $599.

The 2.5-in. laptop version of the Crucial M500 SSD

The Crucial M500 SSD uses the latest SATA 6Gbps drive interface and performs at up to 80,000 input/output operations per second (IOPS). The drive's sequential read and write speeds reach up to 500 MBps and 400 MBps, respectively.

By comparison, OCZ's first 1TB SSD, the Octane, delivers up to 560MBps read performance and up to 45,000 random IOPS, but at about $1.10-$1.30 per gigabyte, it retails for well over $1,000.

Online sites price the Octane from $2,549.99 and $3,006.99.

Samsung's latest high-performance SSD, the PM830, offers sequential read/write speeds of 500MBps and 350MBps, respectively; a 480GB model retails for around $800.

Intel's fastest consumer drive, the 520 Series SSD, can also deliver up to 80,000 4K-block random write IOPS and up to 50,000 4K random read IOPS. And, it boasts sequential read/writes of up to 550MBps and 520MBps, respectively -- according to Intel's specification sheet.

While the performance may be similar to the new Micron SSD, the price isn't.

Intel's 520 Series SSD retails for $999 for a 480GB model, based on 1,000 unit orders. You can also find the Intel 520 SSD on sites such as for little more than $1 per gigabyte of capacity.

The 60-cent per gigabyte M500, introduced at International CES here today, is priced well below the average 80- to 90- cents-per-gigabyte price of most SSDs today.

"It is an aggressive introduction for a high-density SSD, where per GB pricing is still over $1/GB," said Ryan Chien, an analyst at IHS.

"The peak performance is impressive as is fitting 960GB of NAND in a 2.5-inch form factor. However, many enthusiasts and businesses have been burned by low-cost consumer drives with poor quality characteristics, and sustained success of products in this segment ultimately depends on latency, endurance, and sustained performance during mixed workloads," Chien added.

The M500 uses Micron's densest NAND flash chips, made with 20 nanometer node lithography. Micron claims the 128Gbit-sized chips are an industry first.

The new SSD also comes with power management capabilities.

The average active power use is 150mW, but a Device Sleep mode allows that to be cut by 93% to only 5mW, said Ben Thiel, Micron's senior product marketing manager.

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