Crucial announced in a press release this morning that it has begun selling its latest round of consumer-grade solid-state disks (SSDs), the M500. The 2.5-inch SATA III SSDs are the follow-up to Crucial's M4 SSDs, which are a pretty popular choice for people adding SSDs to existing systems (I think I have four or five M4s scattered in computers around my house).
The drives use 20nm MLC NAND sourced from Micron (and if you're not sure what MLC NAND is, we've got a great SSD primer right here), along with a Micron-provided SSD controller. Performance for the M500 drives is what you'd expect from a drive in this class: sequential read and write speeds of 500MB per second and 400MB per second.
But the big news about the announcement is the capacities. The M500 is available in standard pedestrian capacities of 120GB and 240GB, as well as a large capacity of 480GB, but the top-end SKU is the exciting one: 960GB for just $599.99 (62¢ per raw GB). The MSRPs for the smaller capacities are $129.99 for the 120GB (about $1 per raw GB), $219.99 for the 240GB (about 91¢ per raw GB), and $399.99 for the 480GB (about 83¢ per raw GB).
A 960GB SSD for that price is a heck of a deal; a quick scan on NewEgg and other retailers doesn't really turn up anything in remotely the same category. Some OEMs are including big SSDs in their offerings—Apple famously includes a 768GB SSD in its latest round of iMacs that adds a whopping $900 to the computer's price—but this is far and away the least-expensive big SSD you can get.
Or could get, anyway—the SKUs are showing up at various places, including Amazon and NewEgg, but Amazon is out of stock and NewEgg has a $50 markup on the price over the MSRP.
Once the release furor settles down, though, this is excellent news. Crucial's M4 has a good reputation for reliability, avoiding a lot of the pitfalls and blowouts that have plagued its competition (like the much-lamented OCZ Vertex lines). Far and away the most common refrain in the comments when we post SSD-related stories is "Bah, who cares, wake me up when they're 1TB."