Crucial M4 256GB Sata 3 SSD
Life in the fast lane
Review Following on from its impressive debut in last month’s SSD roundup, it seems in order to look further into Crucial’s M4 SSD, specifically the 256GB version of this Sata 3 capable device.
Crucial's M4 really shows what SSDs can achieve thanks to its Sata 3 interfacing
First off, the usual; Crucial has made the M4 available in 64GB, 128GB, 256GB and 512GB capacities with prices starting at £90 and rising all the way up to £700. In relative terms, the low capacity drives are quite affordable, but anything north of a quarter terabyte is not for the shallow-walleted.
Second order of business is the new evolution of Marvell’s 9174 controller (88SS9174-BLD2) sandwiched in between the 25nm Micron NAND chips and SATA 6Gb/s interface. Now, Crucial claims there have been no major changes, architecturally speaking, since last year’s BKK2 revision that powered their line of C300 drives.
There have, however, been changes made to the controller’s firmware to eke a bit more performance out of it. Crucial claims this latest iteration is capable of reading at 415MB/s (40K IOPS) and writing at 260MB/s (50K IOPS).
Next page: Magnetic dissed
Plus I doubt there is any CPU upgrade you can perform that would result in a 300% performance increase which didn't involve buying a completely new motherboard and replacing all your RAM because it's last year's style and now completely wrong.
I want to see more hybrid drives with larger SSD based caches. For my work a large internal HD is important. I currently run one of the 512gb Seagate hybrids. The performance increase for apps you open every day is huge and for only a little more than a traditional platter drive. It's not as fast as a pure SSD but it's very respectable for stuff like OS boots and opening Final Cut Pro. From the tests I did (from memory) starting Final Cut Pro (plug ins and all) took about 50 seconds on the old platter HD, but now takes under 20 seconds. No doubt an SSD could do it in in 10 seconds, but the cost!
So I'd like to see larger SSD caches on these drives as they seem to do a good job.
People expect instant-on, these days.
That's progress, like it or not. Or are you still on dial-up?
I have 120GB SSD's in all the workstations at work
They are the biggest performance increase you can give an old-ish machine, new machines just fly with them, no long shutdowns and start-ups. The users couldn't believe the boot up times.
People get straight to work, no twiddling thumbs or going for a walk, multiply all those saved minutes across the workforce over a year and they definitely pay for themselves.
Good god. I've got a 256GB in my MBP 2011 17" and it's given me nothing but trouble. I'd love to hear your experiences. Macbook support of SATA3 is very very flakey, so don't expect anything to work out of the box. I'm currently looking at moving the M4 to the optibay, as this is supposed to be the only stable way to run this drive atm