We connected the Crucial drive to a Core i7 test bench and saw that the firmware version of the drive was 1571, which is the same version that we saw on the Patriot Torqx that we recently a little while ago.
This coincidence suggested that the two SSDs use the same controller, and a swift call confirmed that the Crucial CT256M225 does indeed use an Indilinx Barefoot controller.
HDTach 3.0.1 Throughput Results
Data throughput in Megabytes per Second (MB/s)
Longer bars are better
The drive's method of construction means that the SSD is necessarily quite chunky and will fit inside your laptop provided it has a 9.5mm drive bay but if it has a quarter-inch drive bay you’ll need a slimline SSD from the likes of Intel.
Crucial has used Flash chips with the same 8GB density as those in the Patriot Torqx and as the two SSDs use the same controller with the same version firmware, we expected that the two drives would behave in a similar fashion to each other.
As it happens things didn’t turn out quite that way.
Using the synthetic HD Tach 3 benchmark we got average read speeds for both drives that were effectively identical. However, the average write speed was a full 30MB/s higher for the Crucial drive.
Speeds in Megabytes per Second (MB/s)
Higher points are better
The situation was reversed in CrystalDiskMark 2.2 where the read speeds remained the same, but this time the Patriot had faster write speeds than the Crucial by some 20MB/s.
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....
"""A destructive reformat is something I would consider tolerable for a beta product, but not for a commercial product I have paid money for. If that`s the best a manufacturer can do, then they'll not be getting any of my money."""
Since the changes the firmware brings generally affect the way data is stored in the flash memory, you can't get speed benefits without a reformat. And officially you're not supposed to be flashing the things at all - on some brands that use the same controller flashing will void your warranty.
Where are the cheaper ones?
"SSDs are not used as storage drives"
It does seem that SSDs are competing against HDDs for storage capacity.
But I want to run my OS from a SSD and store my data on my home server. I don't want 256GB. I don't even want to pay for 64GB (the smallest new Crucial). I would love a couple of fast (SLC) 8GB drives to run my OS in RAID0 but can't seem to find any.