Grasping the nettle this week, Micron have taken the opportunity presented by CES 2013 to announce the latest in their range of SATA III 6Gbps SSDs: the M500. Marketed under the Crucial Technology brand, the M500 is a replacement for the well regarded M4 SSD in consumer markets and aims drive the transition to Micron's 20nm MLC NAND for an overall lower unit cost per GB.
The Crucial M500 will be available in sizes ranging from 120GB through to a capacious 960GB, incorporating a more robust 14% over-provisioning methodology than the 7% of the M4 for greater long-term reliability and performance consistency. Each features a Marvell 88SS9187 controller with custom firmware capable of 500MB/s Read speeds, with Write rates and IOPS being largely dependant on drive capacity. Form factor availability will range from 7mm/9.5mm thick 2.5" SSD down to mSATA and M.2, a new ultrathin standard developed by Micron (except on the 960GB model).
For the end-user, the killer feature is the price: Micron are cautiously pegging initial sales of the M500 at $600 (£372.49 excl VAT) for the 2.5" 960GB model. That's extremely impressive, and hopefully these savings in SSDs will begin to trickle down to other consumer-level systems such as tablets and HTPCs.
Also noteworthy is that smaller capacity drives of ~64GB have been omitted from the M500 line. That's a welcome decision in the long-term, as users begin to chafe under the constraints of bloated software installations and have no excess capacity for gaming and high definition video.
For more information on the M500 click here. The word is that Micron are cautiously projecting a Q2 2013 release date, and we look forward to it.