Crucial v4 256GB budget SSD review
SATA 2 and proud of it
The latest addition to Crucial’s range of SSD’s, the v4 series isn’t, as you might expect, the follow up to the company’s highly successful m4 series but a different animal entirely. It's so different in fact, it makes you wonder what was Crucial’s thinking behind it.
Practical electronics: Crucial's v4 256GB
To quote the press release “The new Crucial v4 SSD provides SATA 2 (3Gb/s) systems with enhanced start-up times, transfer speeds and durability...” Yep, you’ve read that right: a brand new SSD drive range using a 3Gb/s interface – go figure.
To be fair, it's not too difficult to understand Crucial's thinking with the v4. After all, why bother with the expense of adding a SATA 6Gb/s drive to your 3Gb/s system if you can’t use its performance to its fullest potential? A sound argument? Well it would be if it wasn't for the fact that SSD pricing is so fluid at the moment. Indeed, mainstream 6Gb/s drives are no longer that much more expensive and, by using a 6Gb/s unit, you'll have a drive to hand to upgrade 6Gb/s HDD-based computer at some point in the future.
Another thing stated in the press release was that the “Crucial v4 SSD boils down to two things: performance and value”. Well, unfortunately for the marketing guys at Crucial, the prices in SSD market are so volatile at the moment the v4 series finds itself out-gunned in both departments before it starts, not only from the external competition, but from within the company itself.
Not the latest slimline package, but should fit most standard notebooks
Take for instance the bare 256GB v4 drive I’m reviewing here, currently on Crucial’s website it sells for £143, but Crucial has recently slashed the prices on the m4 series so now you just pay sixteen quid more - £159, to get the much faster and more capable 6Gb/s m4 256GB. I, for one, would pay the extra in a heartbeat and I have a hunch I'd not be alone either. It may be stating the obvious, but what needs to happen to the v4 series is a serious drop in price once the dust of the launch settles.
Next page: Counting the cost
Surely SSD purchasing goes like this:
Buy Samsung 830 256GB, job done..
Will wait for the price to drop
So if I'm reading this correctly Crucial has used some older, slower components to build a low cost drive - but then slapped a retail price on it that's not low at all? I've seen SATA3 256G drives of various makes in the 115 pound range recently.
Moving to an SSD was the best decision I ever made for my desktop machine. But I have a few older laptops that would definitely benefit from a sub-100 quid, 256GB SATA2 SSD.
Hopefully demand for this model will be sluggish, and will result in rapid price erosion; at which point I would be happy to buy it.
One quick question. A while back I saw a hybrid disc - with spinning platters but a small SSD to act as a "huge cache". It was from ebuyer, I think, but I can't remember the details. It struck me as a great compromise because it delivered (I think) 500GB of storage, but performance that would be about the same as a SATA2 drive like this.
Oddly I haven't really seen it advertised since, and I'm wondering why.
Re: 6Gb SATA drives
Next to none. Raw MBps speed means very little in day to day usage with SSDs.
Its all in the access times.
I've been running a Samsung 830 SATA III SSD in a old 2006 spec SATA I equipped laptop.
The old laptops controller only manages to push 115MBps when the SSD should be able to push nearly 4 times that. However, in actual use it still boots WIndows 8 in 12 seconds to the desktop and apps all open instantly.
I've tried all sorts of combos of SATA I/II/III controllers and SATA II/III SSD drives and the day to day usage pattern is pretty much the same across the board.
Don't worry about it. Just do it.