HD Tune — Transfer rates
HD Tune lets us present transfer rates in a couple of different ways. Using the benchmark's "full test" setting gives us a good look at performance across the entire drive rather than extrapolating based on a handful of sample points. The full test gives us fodder for line graphs, which we've split up by drive maker. You can click the buttons below each line graph to see how the M500s compare to different SSDs.
The M500s' sequential read speeds are consistent across the full extent of the drives, and only Samsung's 840 Series SSDs maintain higher speeds. There's no difference between the M500 models here; both trump the old Crucial m4 by 28MB/s.
Things get a little, well, weird when we switch to HD Tune's sequential write speed test. The m4 actually has a higher average speed this time around, and the M500s are way down in the standings overall. A look at the line graphs provides some insight as to why. The write speeds of the M500 drives are mostly lower than those of the m4, but they spike way up at regular intervals, with the 480GB variant hitting higher peaks than the 240GB.
Now, the M500 isn't the only SSD to exhibit a repeating pattern of brief write speed increases. All the SandForce-based drives show similar sawtooth profiles. So do the Corsair Neutrons, which are built around a controller from Link_A_Media Devices. This is the first time we've seen the behavior from a Marvell-based drive, though.
HD Tune runs on unpartitioned drives, with no file system in place, which might explain the spikes on some of the SSDs. For another take on sequential speed, let's turn to CrystalDiskMark, which runs on partitioned drives. We used the benchmark's sequential test with the default 1GB transfer size and randomized data.
The M500s don't do as well in CrystalDiskMark's read speed test. They're a little slower than the Crucial m4 and sit in the middle of the pack. As in HD Tune, the M500 240GB has no problem keeping up with its larger sibling.
That's not the case in the write speed test, where the 240GB model is 163MB/s slower than its big brother. The smaller M500 languishes toward the back of the pack with budget drives like the Samsung 840 Series, while the 480GB model flirts with the podium. There's still a sizable gap between the larger M500 drive and the leaders, though.