Micron and Crucial Unveil M500 Series SSD, DDR4 Ballistix Memory Kit

Micron on Thursday introduced its new M500 solid state drive (SSD) with terabyte-class capacity, an ultra-slim design, and increased response times compared to previous SSD products, all at an "affordable price point." The M500 SSD will be sold to consumers, businesses, and system builders under the Crucial brand, and to OEM customers under the Micron brand.

So, how "affordable" is it? The 960GB M500 will initially sell for less than $600. That's a chunk of change, for sure, but well under a buck per gigabyte (62.5 cents per gigabyte, to be exact). Despite the high cost of entry for the flagship capacity, that's a pretty good value, as far as SSD pricing goes. Micron's SSD will also be available in 120GB, 240GB, and 480GB capacities.

Crucial M500

The M500 is comprised of 20nm MLC NAND flash chips. Armed with a SATA 6Gbps controller, Micron rates sequential read and write speeds at up to 500MB/s and 400MB/s, respectively, along with custom firmware that's able to crank out up to 80,000 IOPS.

Look for the M500 to ship in the second quarter of 2013.

Equally exciting is the introduction of Crucial's first ever DDR4 memory kit. Crucial demonstrated a DDR4 Ballistix memory kit at Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, which it says is based on Micron's 30nm technology. It uses up to 20 percent lower voltage (1.2V) than previous technology, paving the way for smaller, more efficient form factors and longer battery lives, Crucial says.

DDR Infographic

"The initial readiness of our DDR4 product portfolio represents a big step forward in terms of power and performance improvements for our customers," said Robert Feurle, vice president for Micron's DRAM Marketing. "A variety of speed and density options enable leading edge modules for the most demanding applications."

Micron's DDR4 memory offers a 300 percent increase in density compared to DDR3. That means the company can pack more chips onto a single stick of RAM, leading to greater RAM capacity. It's also twice as fast as DDR3, operating at 2.1GHz.

DDR4 modules are expected to ship in late 2013.