ADATA Premier Pro SP920SS vs. Crucial M550 - Battle of the Mainstream SSDs Round 2


Test Setup & Timing Tests

Test Setup

The drives will be tested on our recently revamped storage testbed. The main changes are the faster Core i5-2500K processor and an accompanying Z77 motherboard which has native Thunderbolt connectivity.

  • Intel Core i5-2500K (3.3GHz)
  • ASUS P8Z77 Pro Thunderbolt (Intel Z77 chipset)
  • 2 x 2GB DDR3-1600 memory
  • MSI GeForce 8600 GTS
  • Windows 7

We have also revised our benchmarks, ditching older benchmarks such as HD Tune and also including an all new timing test to better evaluate the drive’s real world performance.

The list of benchmarks used are as follows:

  • AS-SSD benchmark 1.7.4739
  • CrystalDiskMark 3.0.1
  • PCMark 7 (Storage suite)
  • Iometer (version 2006.07.27)
  • Timing Tests (Cold start, Reboot, Apps Launching)

Since the ADATA SP920SS looks to be a rebrand of the Crucial M550 but with 128GBit NAND instead of 64Gbit NAND, it will be interesting to see how NAND parallelism affects performance. We have also included results of the older Crucial M500 to see how much of an improvement the newer Marvell controller and the switch to 64Gbit NAND will have. Finally, we also want to see how these new drives will against Samsung’s extremely competent and capable SSD 840 EVO, which is shaping up to the be the mainstream SSD of choice for most users.

Here is the full list of drives compared:

  • ADATA Premier Pro SP920SS
  • Crucial M550
  • Crucial M500
  • Samsung SSD 840 EVO
  • Samsung SSD 840 Pro
  • Plextor M5 Pro Extreme
  • OCZ Vector 150

 

Timing Tests

New to our evaluation of SSDs is how they perform in real world everyday situations, namely booting up from a cold start, reboot and launching applications. As for the applications used, we made the drives launch 11 applications from the Adobe CS6 suite of utilities simultaneously, which includes resource intensive applications such as Photoshop, InDesign, Dreamweaver, Premiere Pro amongst others. As a point of reference, a 7200rpm mechanical hard disk would take over 5 minutes to open all the applications.

Looking at the timing tests, we can see that the new Crucial M550 is marginally quicker than the older Crucial M500. It seems then that the switch to lower density 64Gbit NAND and the new Marvell controller and firmware has had a positive effect. The Crucial M550 was also appreciably quicker than the ADATA SP920SS. Both drives also recorded significantly better boot and reboot timings than the Samsung SSD 840 EVO, although the Samsung drive later redeemed itself with a faster application launch time. Finally, we noted that top tier drives like the Samsung SSD 840 Pro, OCZ Vector 150 and Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme were on an entire different level of performance.