Crucial CT256M225 256GB SSD
The best value solid-state drive yet?
Review Crucial supplies a fair amount of information about its CT256M225 256GB SSD, including the facts that it uses MLC Flash, has a read speed of 250MB/s, a write speed of 200MB/s and comes with a 64MB cache.
Crucial's CT256M225: Indilinx' controller on board
The one piece of data that is clearly missing is the identity of the controller chip. Generally speaking, that question would be easily solved with a quick look inside the casing. Usually, this would be a simple job as you remove four (fiddly) screws, pop open the two halves of the casing and then possibly remove four more screws to release the circuit board from the casing.
Things weren’t so simple with the CT256M225. Only one side of the casing could be released which gave us a view of eight memory chips.
Eight NAND chips...
The top cover of the drive is held in place with double-sided tape and has to be pulled off with a modicum of brute force to reveal... eight more NAND chips.
...and eight more NAND chips
Squinting inside the case it was clear that Crucial has sandwiched two circuit boards together. We winkled out the uppermost part of this electronic sandwich and in the middle we found the controller chip and cache chip along with another 16 Flash chips. That’s a total of 32 memory chips with 8GB of storage on each chip along with 64MB cache but the intriguing thing is that the controller chip is anonymous and carried no markings.
Very nice, but still early days
I have one, also at 1571 firmware in a Macbook Pro; silent and fast. It sometimes has problems on Macbook Pros, the later firmware has even more problems, and there will certainly be upgrades to the firmware needed. I need to run with hibernate mode disabled (never did like it anyway). Check Crucial and Apple support forums before you take the plunge. I suspect Indilinx will iron out the problems eventually.
Note also the potential problem of flash drives slowing down with use.
Just bought one
I've just bought one of these based on this recommendation and others. I have a lot of programs installed and vast numbers of photographs (or which I've got many 10's of thousands), I got it, simply because I'm fed up of the lengthy boot time and lack of responsiveness when things like virus scanners (and heaven knows what else) kick in.
Programs like Lightroom maintain highly dynamic databases and generates vast numbers of small files for previews (on my setup, Lightroom has generated over 26,000 preview photos). Such things are poisonous to performance on hard drives. There are lots of others like this too, not least of which is what happens on the system disk and what browsers do with cookie files and the like. Random performance is the king, and a drive that can (realistically) do a few thousand random IOPs rather than, maybe, 140 on a 7200 RPM disk make a massive difference.
The solid state disk has absolutely transformed the usability of the machine. It is not, of course, cost-effective for the bulk of photographic and video needs, but even under the heaviest system load, the (4 core) machine remains highly usable.
The way it is configured is with the SSD partitioned into a system partition (80GB) and a data partition (where I keep use account space). As there is no requirement to re-drag an SSD, I could have probably reduced the system partion to 60GB. Bulk storage is provided by mounting hard drive partitions into the appropriate part of the MyDocs file structure (so there are archive partitions in MyPictures, MyVideos, MyDocs etc.). The SSD makes an excellent place to hold things like the Lightroom DB and thumbnails and for working space - once that is done, a simple matter to drag the relevant files and directories across to the archive area.
On reflection, I could have probably (with more work) have managed with a 128GB SSD and the same system, but as my old system disk was 256GB this made the move easier.
Some programs that you might not expect to also gain - Outlook steams along with small emails coming down in one tenth of the time. That's probably a reflection on the fact a .pst file is, in effect, a small database all on its own.
I don't quite get the 200MBps of the benchmarks - more like 120-150MBps, but that is sutained pretty well what the access pattern.
So anybody building a new PC - consider putting at least a 128GB SSD in place for the system and the top level of your data. If you have a complex setup, then you really won't regret it. What's needed is a laptop manufacturer to provide for both a 1.8" SSD and a 2.5" "bulk" storage device with an appropriate configuration.
(nb. a filing system that could work transparently across both using caching or data profiling would be a wonderful innovation),
Can I get something to mount this interface and form factor in my 3.5" 80pin SCSI bays?
Some of us use equipment on a long life cycle....