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Which is the best: M4 Crucial 128GB, Intel 520 or Intel 330

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August 4, 2012 10:21:43 PM

Hello, I have been looking into building my first gaming build, and after much research have come down to choosing between these three SSD's.

Alongside my 1TB Caviar Black for majority of games, I was planning on using one of these three SSDs for the OS and maybe some of my "more played" games.

Of the three, which would you consider the most reliable, best longevity, and overall best SSD for a first time gaming build with hopes of a long time before an upgrade.

Thank you very much for any advice you can give and if there is another brand/model of SSD you would recommend, please let me know. Thank you!

M4 Crucial 128gb vs. Intel 520 vs. Intel 330
a b å Intel
a b 4 Gaming
a c 289 G Storage
August 4, 2012 10:44:50 PM

All three are very good drives.

At this point I'd say purchase the one with the lowest sale price. I think you'll find the Crucial m4 has the lowest price. It has a proven track record and is very popular.

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August 5, 2012 12:09:06 AM

Thanks for the fast response. How long would you say the life expectancy and durability is of the M4 Crucial, which is the one I plan on sticking with. I don't want to have the drive with my OS on it suddenly crash!

BTW The Crucial with 128GB is currently $119, the 520 with 120GB is $139, and the 330 with 120GB is $109. How should this factor into my decision?
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a b å Intel
a b 4 Gaming
a c 289 G Storage
August 5, 2012 12:46:51 AM

There is no 100% accurate answer about life expectancy and durability. The problem is that SATA 3 6Gb/s solid state drives are relatively new. Gamers and enthusiasts have not them for a long period of time. We'll have to wait another 4 years or so to find out. By then there might be a new form of data storage.

AS far as price goes the Intel 330 is classified as a "value ssd". That usually means less expensive components were used. It could also mean they are entry level drives. That does not mean they are bad drives.
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a b å Intel
a b 4 Gaming
a c 168 G Storage
August 5, 2012 12:59:18 AM

Life expectance is not an issue for desktop users.
The drive will be long obsolete before it wears out.
You might read this Anandtech review of the Intel 330 series, which they recommend:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/5817/the-intel-ssd-330-re...

If I have one recommendation, it is to buy a ssd large enough.
If you think you will fill a 120gb drive to 90gb, buy the next size up.
Larger drives are a bit faster, and updating may slow down as a drive nears capacity.
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a b G Storage
August 5, 2012 1:06:09 AM

If you are thinking practically, any drive can crash out of the blue, even your trusty HDD.

So for Really important things that are not replaceable; back it up, store it on the web or something. (This does not apply to your collection of pirated mp3s and movies-I know you have those).

An SSD crash tends to be more fatal though and come with less warning.

But think practically, if you separate just OS and Apps to the SSD, even if it fails, it is not the end of the world to redo your Windows installation and reinstall all your apps.

If you are paranoid about that, you can investigate things such as doing disk imaging once so you can quickly restore your OS/apps drive should your primary drive crash. Or do raid.

All this being said, crucial M4 is a very popular buy; it has a very good reputation for being very reliable and durable. People are willing to give up a little bit of meaningless benchmark performance in exchange for the reputation of reliability.
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August 5, 2012 3:15:42 PM

Thanks for more answers! The M4 is now my definite first choice for the SSD part of my build.

Could someone please tell me how this sounds for good, responsible use of the SSD: I plan on first putting the OS on it (Windows 7 64 bit Professional or Ultimate), then after that placing STEAM on the drive with, most likely, Team Fortress 2, CS Source, and Battlefield 3 since those would be my most played games. Then, any other game would go on the HDD.

About separating Steam from some of its games, could someone please tell me if there's a way to do that and how to do it? For example, have GMod installed on my HDD, but the Steam client to launch it on the SSD. I know an SSD's life is based on the amount of writes and re-writes, so I don't want a ton of games to ruin that.

Thank you for all the help so far, and anymore you can give me. This build process has taken a couple months because I want to get it right the first time and I'm really getting close to pressing that purchase button!
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a b å Intel
a b 4 Gaming
a c 155 G Storage
August 5, 2012 3:42:09 PM

I think you are looking for something like Steam Mover :)  It lets you move steam games and create a Junction to the games in the steam folder. This way, steam still sees all games in the Steam folder.

http://www.traynier.com/software/steammover/

You can also manually do the same for non-steam games. With a easy to use program like Junction Magic.

http://www.rekenwonder.com/linkmagic.htm/

You just copy your game folder to the hard drive, empty the folder on the SSD and create the junction from the empty folder to the copied game folder. This is in essence what steam mover does as well.

You can also create a empty folder on the hard drive and link and empty SSD folder to it for installing a new game that you do not want on the SSD.

This is a picture of a windows 7/8 setup with both win7 and 8 sharing one game location(on f:) . As far as steam on 7 and 8 is concerned, the game is on c: when they are loaded.
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a b å Intel
a c 353 G Storage
August 5, 2012 4:33:22 PM

You can add the samsung 830 to your choices.
Have 3 ea Samsung 830's and 3 ea Curcial M4's. All are runing great. between these two my preferernce is Based on which is cheapest (ON sale). If same price (within say 10 -> 15 bucks), then m4 for laptops and 830's for desktops.
Newegg has had the 256 gig m4 on sale for $180 several times and also I bought my 256 gig 830 from newegg for $180
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a b å Intel
a b 4 Gaming
a c 155 G Storage
August 5, 2012 5:01:17 PM

RetiredChief said:
I bought my 256 gig 830 from newegg for $180

I wish they had that price in Canada. The 830's are rather new here.

Either way, M4 256 was on sale for $170 at NCIX one day so I got 2 :)  Still can decide if it is worth putting the 2 in (r)aid0 or not.
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August 5, 2012 5:13:12 PM

RetiredChief said:
You can add the samsung 830 to your choices.
Have 3 ea Samsung 830's and 3 ea Curcial M4's. All are runing great. between these two my preferernce is Based on which is cheapest (ON sale). If same price (within say 10 -> 15 bucks), then m4 for laptops and 830's for desktops.
Newegg has had the 256 gig m4 on sale for $180 several times and also I bought my 256 gig 830 from newegg for $180


I weant to Newegg and looked at the 830 (128GB which is the size that fits my budget), and saw three different kinds, two around $120 with one having 5 eggs and one 4, and a third, silver one that is $189. Could you please tell me which of the first two is the best because that third one is way too far out of my SSD budget range for 128GB.

Also, what do you mean by one better for laptop and one for desktop, like do speeds, reliability, etc. suffer from being used in different locations? How is the M4 worse for desktops?

Thank you for all the responses and assistance you have given so far, it is really helping me with my build!
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a b å Intel
a b 4 Gaming
a c 155 G Storage
August 5, 2012 5:21:47 PM

Hey datguy88,

The 2 cheaper ones are different because one has a desktop kit(3.5 -> 2.5 adapter).
One is a laptop adapter with a usb -> 2.5 SATA adapter.
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a b å Intel
a c 353 G Storage
August 5, 2012 10:00:04 PM

Basically, SSDs come in three flavors.
1) OEM, bare drive - usally the cheapest.
2) laptop Kit which generally comes wit software to transfer OS from current drive to New SSD. NOTE: for HDD -> SSD I recommend a Clean Install. Plus you can find Free software that will do the trick, ie EasyUS.
3) Desktop Kit which includes the 2.5 In to 3.5 in Adaptor, Handy But Not a Biggy. May also contain the "cloning" software.
Retail slightly higher than OEM bare drive and then add a little for Cloning software (ie EZ Gig IV is free software, but requires a adaptor which can add $20).. The 2.5->3.5 Bracket shoiuld only add about $5 to cost.

As to Why I recommend the m4 for Laptops is primarily due to the M4 draws less power, so easier on Battery. Over All the Samsung is Slightly faster, HOWEVER in real life task you probably wil not see a diff - I don't anyways.
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a c 106 å Intel
a c 402 4 Gaming
a c 189 G Storage
August 6, 2012 12:58:03 AM

M4 Crucial 128GB
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August 6, 2012 2:32:24 PM

After doing a comparison comparison on newegg of two different Samsung 830s and the M4 Crucial, all at 128gb, I found that the Samsungs have a faster read time, but the Crucial has a faster write time. Also, the Samsungs have 300000 more hours for MTBF.

Could someone please tell me how this should factor into my decision and if this all makes a huge difference in lifespan or quality. The one Samsung is $189, only for 128GB, so I'd like tostay away from that one.

Comparison: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi...
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a b å Intel
a b 4 Gaming
a c 168 G Storage
August 6, 2012 3:16:13 PM

I would base my purchase on price and reliability.

Longevity is not an issue for any desktop user. The drive will be long obsolete before you use up a significant portion of the writing capability. In the anandtech article, they wrote two years worth of high activity(7tb) to the Intel 330 drive and the media wearout indicator was still at 100% If you want to increase longevity buy a next size up ssd.

Performance is also not a real issue, they are all fast. Benchmarks are done using synthetic apps that drive the drives to their limits at high queue lengths. But, we normal users do mostly one op or two at a time, not 30. Drive response time is remarkably the same at low queue lengths. If you want to insure good performance, buy the next size up ssd.

My take is that Intel and Samsung make their own nand chips, and can do a better job of validation, making them more likely to be trouble free. With no moving parts, a SSD will be more reliable than a hard drive.
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a b å Intel
a b 4 Gaming
a c 289 G Storage
August 6, 2012 3:23:11 PM

It should not factor in at all.

Typically you will spend a lot more time reading rather than writing.

MTBF is just an estimate. It is overly optimistic. Any drive could fail at any time. Have you calculated how many years equal 1.5 million hours? That's 171.119 years.

There are better sale prices and special promotions online:

http://www.logicbuy.com/categorydeals/computers/hard-dr...
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a b å Intel
a c 353 G Storage
August 6, 2012 4:02:44 PM

Concur with Johnny, None of the Sata III SSD have been on the market for 5 Years, so TRUE reliability is more a wag.
As for Curcial M4, Most likely (as I've not verified) uses Micron chips. Curcial parent company was Micron until they where spun off.
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August 6, 2012 5:23:44 PM

If you do go with the 520 ssd from intel make sure you update the firmware or else you will get bsod randomly. New firmware no problems :) 

And the 520 has a 5 year warranty :) 
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a b å Intel
a b 4 Gaming
August 6, 2012 5:44:34 PM

Well we have been saying for some time that you can write 20GB a day every day for 5 years before you would have any problems with the wear on the Intel® SSD 520 80GB. So really they should last for a very long time.
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August 7, 2012 2:36:10 AM

Been looking at the Samsung 820 and I thing I'm going to get that. I saw a newegg deal for $99 and I think it's the best option, but has anyone had any experience with Samsung's RMA or customer service?
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a b å Intel
a c 353 G Storage
August 7, 2012 1:18:47 PM

The 830 would be an excellent choice.

First, I have:
2 intel SSDs a Old G1 and a g2
3 Curcial m4s
3 Samsung 830s
2 Agility IIIs
3 othere olded generation 2 SSDs
Installed in 6 systems.That's 13 SSD - NOT ONE failure

On RMA - Generally it's a PIA for all companies, samsung included. Intel is probably the easiest. BUT it SHOULD be. A higher than expected failures are a Individually induced and Should not be covered - Just jacks the price up for everyone else. However, Self caused failures are expensive to detirmine, so companies generally just bite the builet on this.
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August 12, 2012 6:43:08 PM

On Newegg, is the Samsung 830 Desktop Drive Kit the same as the one without it, because that one is $120 while the Notebook Upgreade kit is 180.

Also, when I do comparisons, it says the Samsung is sold out or is going for over $200!

Please help
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August 15, 2012 1:55:49 AM

my personal choice would be intel 520 then samsung 830 then the vertex 4
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