The Crucial MX500 isn't the fastest SSD I've worked with but has one thing to its advantage: the price. At just around 25 cents per gigabyte, it's one of the most affordable new SSDs you can find.
If you've been on the fence about the Samsung 860 Evo because of the cost, the Crucial MX500 is an excellent alternative. Get it for your computer that's currently running on a regular hard drive, and you'll find it's totally worth the investment.
An entirely new SSD
This drive is the first in the series that ditches Marvell controllers. Instead, it uses one from Silicon Motion, the entry-level SM2258 controller. It also uses Micron's low-cost 256Gb 64-layer 3D TLC flash memory, similar to the Samsung SSD 860 Evo.
Both of these contribute to its low pricing. Except for the 250GB version that costs $.32 per gigabyte, the rest of the drive's capacities are among the most affordable SSDs on the market.
Other than the top 2TB version, which is available only in the 2.5-inch design, the rest of the MX500's capacities are also available in the m.2 (2280) form factor. Keep in mind that no matter what design you pick, the drive has the same SATA performance, which caps at 6Gbps. This is not an NVMe SSD. (For more on SSDs, check out this post.)
Good endurance, nice software bundle
The MX500's endurance is not as high as the Samsung 860 Evo, but still plenty high and higher than that of the Toshiba OCZ TR200. Micron backs the MX500 with a 5-year warranty.
The company claims that if you write some 55GB of data -- about two Blu-ray disks worth of data -- to the 250GB version of the drive every day, it will last about five years. Higher-capacity drives will have even better longevity.
The MX500 includes Micron's Storage Executive software that you can use to manage the drive, such as upgrading firmware or customizing the Over-provisioning. It also includes a re-branded, stripped-down Acronis True Image as its cloning software to make it easier for users.
The software worked well in my test, though you'll be prompted to buy the full version if you try to use it for anything other than cloning. That said, if you want to clone your computer's drive, follow this post instead.
The MX500 uses a small portion of high-performance SLC (single layer cell) solid-state storage as its cache to boost its performance. I tested the 500GB 2.5-inch version, and in sequential (copy) operations, it was faster than the Samsung 860 Evo in most of the tests.
But the drive didn't do as well in a random access test, where it trailed behind the Samsung by quite a large margin. It was still faster than the Toshiba TR200, however.
In my real-world anecdotal tests, the Crucial MX500 worked well in all applications I tried it with, including Windows, Mac, and Linux. When compared to a hard drive, it indeed helped boost the computer's performance significantly.
Crucial MX500's Rating
Fast sequential performance
Available in 2.5-inch and m.2 designs
Relatively low random access performance
No NVMe support
Micron puts the Crucial MX500 in the SSD sweet spot. This is a well-rounded drive that combines decent performance, a generous feature set, and low pricing.
Though it doesn't have the best performance, it's easily one of the top choices among SATA SSDs for those needing a gratifying replacement for their current hard drive.