2. Opening the package
The Crucial M500 retail package is shown below:
The M500 series is packaged in a standard 2.5-inch 7mm z-height enclosure and available with an adapter bracket for 9.5mm requirements. Crucial plans to release mSATA and M.2/NGFF versions in Q2).
This drive has a SATA connection, and although it is backward-compatible with SATA 3Gb/s, a native 6Gb/s motherboard is required for maximum performance.
The M500 chassis there's a large thermal pad that covers both the Marvell 9187 controller and DDR3-1600 DRAM. Generally, in case the controller temperature exceed 70C, the firmware will instruct the drive to reduce performance until it returns to normal operating temperature.
To deal with NAND error rates and defects, which are more prevalent at 20nm, Crucial introduced RAIN (Redundant Array of Independent NAND) support to the M500. But in order to save space for RAIN, Crucial is allocating almost 14% of the NAND area, used to curb failure due to NAND defects.
The Marvell 88SS9187 controller has 8 NAND channels and can interleave requests on each channel. This means that you can expect a peak performance with the 480GB and 960GB drives, rather with the 120GB M500.
The drive came with firmware Ver. MU02 installed and as you see below, the available capacity for the user is 457.863 MB. The difference is mostly the conversion of GB to GiB plus a bit of space set aside for over provisioning that the controller uses to maintain the drive over time in an effort to mitigate performance degradation.
The readout on CrystalDiskInfo shows that both NCQ and S.M.A.R.T. are enabled, as well as TRIM and the interface is confirmed at SATA 6Gbps: