New Crucial M4 128GB questions.

Bear with me for I have a lot of questions and this is my first SSD. I should be getting it UPS tomorrow. Any help is appreciated. I'm a little timid with this drive.

First off I was wondering how to check firmware to see if I have the latest updates. Then how do you install new firmware. Can it be done if windows is already installed on it?

Is there a need to format the drive right out of the box as the Crucial PDF says. Doesn't this cause writes to the drive that isn't needed? Does it have to be formatted in an NTSF format?

Should every drive use Trim or are there some drives that work better without. How about the M4?

I've started here[,2911.html] and I'm hoping these are the major things I need to get things running proper.

Hope you guys can answer these I'm hoping to start working on it tomorrow. I'm scared I might mess it up by doing something stupid like defrag it.
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  1. Go to for instructions on how to check and upgrade firmware. They just released version 0009 last week so should update to that version.

    Never format a SSD. When you install the Operating System it will format the drive for you.

    If you are installing Windows 7 on your SSD TRIM is automatically enabled. You don't have to do anything to turn it on or off.

    Edit: If your SSD is not your Operating System drive then it's ok to format it in order to use it. :)
  2. Anyone have recommendations on an ISO Image burning software that works better than others for updating the firmware? I've used a few in the past, and if my memory serves me right it seems like I had issues with some. I think this was when I was trying to create a Linux image CD.
  3. If the device manufacturer says to format the drive, I would just follow their instructions. You won't wear out the drive much by doing so, and if you are using it as a boot drive, you won't ever be writing to most of the NAND more than a few times (a few write cycles).
  4. I have it running and i've never seen apps come up so fast before. I'm still in the process of getting everything installed.

    does anyone have any good suggestions for free benchmark software?
  5. fish_86 said:
    I have it running and i've never seen apps come up so fast before. I'm still in the process of getting everything installed.

    does anyone have any good suggestions for free benchmark software?

    Use ATTO benchmark software. It uses uncompressed data in its tests and is what most SSD manufacturers use to advertise the speeds of their drives.
  6. Quote:
    ATTO is just a tool to Sandforce based SSD vendors use to artificially inflate their benchmarks.

    That’s not entirely true.

    SandForce based SSDs achieve their high speeds because of their on-the-fly data compression. In essence, the more easily a block of data can be compressed, the faster it can be read/written.

    But if you have incompressible data such as music or video then you lose the benefits of on-the-fly compression and you have much lower read/write speeds.

    ATTO shows best-case scenario and AS-SSD & CrystalDiskMark show worst-case scenario Read/Write speeds.

    The advertised specs for Crucial M4 128GB are "up to" 415 MB/s Read and 175 MB/s Write. You will not see those speeds benchmarking with AS-SSD.

    This link from show a Crucial M4 256GB being benchmarked with AS-SSD. The drive is getting 222 MB/s Write and 252 MB/s Read.

    Also note that the drive being tested is 256GB, not the 128GB that the OP has; so his AS-SSD scores will be even lower.

    Most SSD manufacturers advertise best-case scenario specs to entice users to buy their drives.

    Neither ATTO, AS-SSD or CDM are "Real World" benchmarks since their data sets are at the opposite ends of the data compression spectrum. Nobody uses exclusively 100% compressible data or exclusively 0% compressible data.
  7. Quote:
    What you say is not true. Yes you won't see those speeds on an M4 with AS-SSD, you will see better. And you are even misquoting Aandtech. The link you pointed to shows 410 MB/s read and 272 MB/s AS-SSD write speeds for the 256 GB Crucial M4

    Many people have published their AS-SSD benchmarks for the M4 and see better than those speeds. In fact, with 009 of their firmware, they are seeing write speeds in excess of 500 MB/s read and 269 MB/s write on the 256GB M4:

    and 500/181 MB/s on AS-SSD with a 128GB m4 with the 009 firmware (they got 411/178 MB/s before the firmware update):

    And as for Sandforce - most data is not very compressible so you will definitely not see the performance measure up to their advertised rates.

    Wow, your right! Looks like I've been going on old/incorrect data. Those are great results.

    I apologize for the misinformation.
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