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Crucial's m4 SSD Tested At 64, 128, 256, And 512 GB

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August 3, 2011 5:11:39 AM

I've been recommending the Crucial m4 128gb to people, and after seeing this.. I'm glad I did :]
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5
August 3, 2011 5:22:12 AM

it'd be nice if they threw a 7200 rpm hardrive on the bench... We don't all have laptops ya know.
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6
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August 3, 2011 5:25:33 AM

I'm glad this was done. It's rare that you get the chance to stack all the capacity points up (as in never). I bought an Intel 510 120GB and a M4 64GB and my own testing showed that you'd never know the difference besides the capacity (in day to day use, besides lower max write MB/S). I kinda like keeping my system drive to a bare minimum -- just Win7 no swap or hibernate, Office, a few other apps, and then I keep my Steam folder on a separate drive. Simple. I will say that if you are building a new system, cut whatever you have to in order to fit at least a 64GB SSD -- the M4 is excellent at any capacity. I'd rather have to go down to an i3 from a 2500k than from a SSD to a HDD. I get tired of people saying "it's not worth it" and "they're not much faster than a 7200rpm". Those people must be doing it wrong.
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7
August 3, 2011 6:01:06 AM

Now if they could only make these SSDs reliable, we could all enjoy some performance improvement. Intel, Micron, OCZ and Corsair to name a few have all had reliability/compatibility/firmware issues of some sort resulting in loss of data, which for me is simply unacceptable.
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6
Anonymous
August 3, 2011 6:17:56 AM

Last month I got a 64GB for my laptop and a 128GB m4 for my desktop. So far no issues, and the speed is great. Glad I got the 128GB and not the 256GB.
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-1
Anonymous
August 3, 2011 6:37:58 AM

PCMark 7 Storage tests are just pathetic, they have messed some of them up on purpose it seems just to shrink the difference between systems containing SSD and the ones containing HDD only, useless bench from start to "finish"...
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-1
August 3, 2011 9:38:59 AM

These things are still too expensive.
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-1
August 3, 2011 11:40:23 AM

I picked up the 64 GB M4 two weeks ago on Newegg for under $90. I am so glad I bought it, the thing makes boot times lightning fast. I have Win7 64-bit, Photoshop, 3DS Max, Google Chrome, and a few little monitoring and Bitcoin mining apps on there and I STILL have 21 GB to spare. Don't buy the 128 GB unless you really need it, throwing Steam and other massive apps will be much better suited on a secondary HDD. SSDs are simply amazing and well worth the money spent, even if you're a cheapass like me they're still affordable. The time saved from having to wait around while booting your computer makes SSDs worth the money imo
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1
August 3, 2011 12:59:25 PM

Quote:
See how they all hover pretty close to the same price per gigabyte, while sequential write and random write performance trend upward? Those are the spoils available to folks willing to spend more on higher capacities.


This is true, but in 6 months when the whole lineup is outdated and the next generation of drives blows these ones away, those that spent more are going to have spent the extra money without much purpose.
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-2
August 3, 2011 1:29:06 PM

burnley14This is true, but in 6 months when the whole lineup is outdated and the next generation of drives blows these ones away, those that spent more are going to have spent the extra money without much purpose.


Well going by your logic why should anyone ever spend money on anything in technology??? Guess its always a waste huh?

Failed logic.
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1
August 3, 2011 1:30:14 PM

the Reviews on Newegg have been really positive. no DOA or failures. the only issue i have seen is that some laptops have issues with the M4. this is probably a MB Bios issue or driver issue. I have a 256GB Phoenix Pro and my sees how quickly levels load and thinks he needs an SSD too. I am building his new system soon and the M4 is a strong contender for his build. The Vertex3 seems to have a lot of issues right now, which was the other SSD consideration.
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1
August 3, 2011 2:39:54 PM

cknobmanWell going by your logic why should anyone ever spend money on anything in technology??? Guess its always a waste huh? Failed logic.


No, not failed logic at all. Go ahead and buy a SSD today, I already have, but why spend 8x as much money on a larger drive to get marginally better performance when everyone knows a better product will be out so soon? My logic would be that for the price of a single large drive, you could buy a smaller drive in this generation, the next, and the one following that for the same amount of money. And odds are that capacities will increase at the same price level in the future as well. Your performance would be substantially greater than just having today's single large drive while spending the same amount of money.
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-1
August 3, 2011 3:03:15 PM

burnley14No, not failed logic at all. Go ahead and buy a SSD today, I already have, but why spend 8x as much money on a larger drive to get marginally better performance when everyone knows a better product will be out so soon? My logic would be that for the price of a single large drive, you could buy a smaller drive in this generation, the next, and the one following that for the same amount of money. And odds are that capacities will increase at the same price level in the future as well. Your performance would be substantially greater than just having today's single large drive while spending the same amount of money.




The same could be said of every single computer upgrade you could ever do. CPU's, graphics cards, motherboards? By your logic I could never upgrade because something better will soon come out.
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1
August 3, 2011 3:14:44 PM

I have an outstanding question regarding SSDs that I've been trying to find for a while now: how does raid performance compare at the same capacity. In other words, I'd like to see the comparison between 4X64GB, 2X128GB, and a single 256GB to see which performs better for the money spent.

I'm currently running a 2X120GB Vertex 2 setup, and I can tell you for certain that it massively outperforms a single 240GB Vertex 2. That was pretty plain with that generation of drives. It's not so clear with this generation, though. Also, since TRIM isn't an option for a raid config, how much performance is sacrificed after it gets used for a while? I haven't lost much at all with my dual Vertex 2 raid after over a year, but it is also only half used. I haven't run out of unused cells yet to see a difference.

Since nobody else has written an article on such things, I would think such a thing would attract readers.
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3
August 3, 2011 3:16:20 PM

brenroThe same could be said of every single computer upgrade you could ever do. CPU's, graphics cards, motherboards? By your logic I could never upgrade because something better will soon come out.

Yeah. At this point, even a mid-grade SSD has balanced my PC out so much to the point that an upgrade will only happen if my computer dies in a lightning storm... A C2Q with an Agility 2 60gb and a RAID of 500GB Samsung drives with 8 gb of DDR2 RAM and Windows 7 x64 will last me a long long time...
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0
August 3, 2011 3:24:08 PM

I run a few 128s and 256s at work. So far so good. Although a coworker had the freezing bug and had to update firmware. Beware of this. It is fairly common and allover Crucial's forums.
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August 3, 2011 3:25:56 PM

I'm looking at the article page with the response time graphs. A human blink of an eye takes between 300ms and 400ms. It would seem then that average and maximum response times would appear to be instantaneous to a human being. What would a gamer or an enthusiast be doing with a ssd for the difference between 64GB and a 512GB ssd response times to be noticeable?
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0
August 3, 2011 3:41:20 PM

1. The recommended 128GB size has a lot of negative feedback on newegg, specifically freezing periodically.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

2. I wish Toms would come up with some real world benchmarks for testing SSD's. How long does it take for the computer to boot? How long does it take to load Excel? How long does it take to load Crysis? Things like that. I've seen tests other places that showed how fast a computer would boot, and the difference between the slowest hard drive and the fastest SSD wasn't all that much. I would like to see real world tests of these drives. While the artificial benchmarks show big differences, I'm betting in the real world the differences are very small.
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2
August 3, 2011 4:48:25 PM

Something tells me that over 90% of the users out there wouldn't notice a difference between a sata 6 ssd and a sata 3 ssd. Eventually all that will be available will be sata 6 but for now, buy a sata 3 last gen model for cheaper price.
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1
August 3, 2011 4:57:27 PM

X-NemesisSomething tells me that over 90% of the users out there wouldn't notice a difference between a sata 6 ssd and a sata 3 ssd. Eventually all that will be available will be sata 6 but for now, buy a sata 3 last gen model for cheaper price.

The problem is, while the last gen models are cheaper, they are not THAT MUCH cheaper... It has got to get to $1/GB... It really just has to...
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0
August 3, 2011 5:24:36 PM

I purchased the 128GB model a few months ago after seeing the "Best SSD for the money" article, and this sure does alleviate any buyers remorse that I may have had. I noticed a huge improvement on application load times, and the login screen to desktop fully loaded went from 32 down to to 7 seconds. For some reason, it's always incredibly satisfying to be the first person to load up a MP online game. Maybe since I'm so terrible at them, It makes me feel like I won something :) 

Right now my drive is on a 3MBs SATA. I wonder if I would see much improvement by moving to 6MB. Has anyone seen a good article out there that compares the difference? I'd be very interested to see it. But it'll be a while before I get that since it means a new MoBo, CPU & RAM.
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1
August 3, 2011 5:27:37 PM

TOMS DIDNT TEST RAID. I Wanted to See how much faster 2x 64gb drives are than a 128gb . :'( 
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2
August 3, 2011 7:06:43 PM

travish82I purchased the 128GB model a few months ago after seeing the "Best SSD for the money" article, and this sure does alleviate any buyers remorse that I may have had. I noticed a huge improvement on application load times, and the login screen to desktop fully loaded went from 32 down to to 7 seconds. For some reason, it's always incredibly satisfying to be the first person to load up a MP online game. Maybe since I'm so terrible at them, It makes me feel like I won something Right now my drive is on a 3MBs SATA. I wonder if I would see much improvement by moving to 6MB. Has anyone seen a good article out there that compares the difference? I'd be very interested to see it. But it'll be a while before I get that since it means a new MoBo, CPU & RAM.

Anandtech has the difference on this drive between 6bg and 3gb its a good difference. Dont know how much it translates to boot time or anything.
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1
August 3, 2011 11:16:29 PM

I just recently built a new system with a crucial m4 64 gb ssd as the boot drive. So far I love it and have had no problems. It is paired with samsung spinpoint f3 1tb hdd for all of my games and other data. It is hard to justify spending the money on larger ssd's when regular hard drives are so cheap nowadays. It's nice because I am able to backup windows onto the ssd. I would highly recommend this combo. I still have almost 40gb left on my ssd after installing win 7 home premium 64 bit and a good amount of programs. There is an article on this site about some ssd tweaks that can free up some data.
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0
August 4, 2011 12:24:23 AM

Make a review of the new Kingston HyperX SSD to make a comparison with the m4!!
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0
August 4, 2011 1:58:48 AM

cadder1. The recommended 128GB size has a lot of negative feedback on newegg, specifically freezing periodically.http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 68201484422. I wish Toms would come up with some real world benchmarks for testing SSD's. How long does it take for the computer to boot? How long does it take to load Excel? How long does it take to load Crysis? Things like that. I've seen tests other places that showed how fast a computer would boot, and the difference between the slowest hard drive and the fastest SSD wasn't all that much. I would like to see real world tests of these drives. While the artificial benchmarks show big differences, I'm betting in the real world the differences are very small.


I, Anand, and others have commented on the real-world aspect of SSDs. There's a limit to SSD performance, where adding a faster and faster SSD won't cut down your bootup, game loading, or level loading time. That's what PCMark 7 reflects.

On a Vertex 3 240 GB, the disk busy time is like 2 secs when you load Crysis 2, but total game loading time is ~30 secs. Why? Because you're doing things beyond querying the disk for data. There is CPU processing, loading data into memory, loading into CPU cache, loading GPU textures, etc... etc...

That won't change much when you downgrade you go to a 64 GB m4. Busy time may be +3 secs but the overall effect on game loading isn't going to change very much beyond say 33 seconds. Compared to a HDD, there's a world of difference, but very little between SSDs when you look at one specific case.

However, that doesn't tell the full story, because moving up to a faster SSD does help system responsiveness when you look at the BIG picture. If you were to measure disk responsiveness over the course of a week doing different tasks, you will feel the total effect of having a faster SSD.

That's why we focus on LONG traces. The Storage Bench v1.0 is a two week trace, which provides a better measure of disk responsiveness. As a trace, which we explained in the review, it is considered a real-world test.

Cheers,
Andrew Ku
TomsHardware.com
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3
August 4, 2011 3:09:16 AM

If your mobo doesn't have Sata III then it's all moot anyway.
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0
August 4, 2011 11:04:59 AM

Dear, Andrew Ku
I would like to see bootup times and (real) real world benchmarks.
Not just simulated or synthetic benchmarks. I know it will cost extra time and money, but it would make the article much more understandable.

Also I'd like to see sata 3 performance even though they may not saturate the entire bandwith. Anand did a article on that but it's good to have many sources ;) 

Also, the Crucial M4 makes more sense over a vertex standpoint. I've seen good reviews of the M4 and Vertex. But reliability which is PRIORITY #1!!!
Does not always speak for themself.

I had a few Sandforce drivers (vertex 2 and 3) freezing firmware bugs and complete malfunctioning. I really like the fact that Crucials M4 SSD based on a Marvell controller are more reliable then a sandforce controller.

Especially the Corsair Force drives. (Bad reviews on newegg all over the place)

I just hate the fact that they crown Vertex 3 a "must" buy. While reliability is a HUGE concern.
The M4 wins in reliability combined with price and performance.
Crucials M4 drives also are "cough" bang for the buck. (if you look at comparable ssds)

I really do like the fact that you recommended the 128gb drive, now it only needs an award from a consumer standpoint.

I applaud all the good work you guys do, keep it up!
Cheers,
Kevin
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0
August 5, 2011 12:43:44 AM

If you split a 256gb into two 128gb or four 64gb partitions, will the partitions retain the speed of the 256gb or be similar to equally sized drives?
While this is a specific question for clarity, what I would actually like is a general reply for across the board partitioning.
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1
August 5, 2011 2:18:33 AM

urchinIf you split a 256gb into two 128gb or four 64gb partitions, will the partitions retain the speed of the 256gb or be similar to equally sized drives?While this is a specific question for clarity, what I would actually like is a general reply for across the board partitioning.


It doesn't matter how you partition the 256 GB drive. It will behave like a 256 GB drive. That applies across the all brands and all SSDs.

Cheers,
Andrew Ku
TomsHardware.com
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2
August 5, 2011 7:40:43 PM

radium69Dear, Andrew Ku I would like to see bootup times and (real) real world benchmarks.


Kevin, does a tested boot time spread from 33.1 seconds to 33.2 seconds between the fastest and slowest SSD's really matter?
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1
August 10, 2011 2:44:27 AM

would 2 64gb in raid 0 be faster than a single 128gb?
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August 11, 2011 10:36:17 AM

I got this M4 128GB version a couple of months ago and it is STUNNING. After previously having a Corsair Force 3 (totally crap) and the previous generation Crucial 64GB version I am WELL HAPPY with the M4 128GB.
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0
September 12, 2011 11:02:05 PM

I went with Vertex 3 MI and completely ditched the m4 line. Now, I know that I made the right decision.
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October 15, 2011 11:13:54 PM

The results for the Crucial m4 256GB in 4k random reads is in stark contrast to the results in a similar article:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/sf-2200-sandforce-s...

4kB random reads, q=1, 16GB LBA -
m4 256 in this article: 72MB/s
m4 256 in roundup article: 214MB/s

Only difference is the version of IOMeter. The 256GB m4 either leads the pack or trails it, but not both. What am I missing? What is IOMeter doing differently to make the 8k native page size irrelevant in the other article?
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December 14, 2011 2:37:34 PM

i am posting late, to the thread, but i appreciate this article, comparing the performance of the different sizes of the m4's..

usually you see a big difference between 128 GB and 256 GB SSD's, but not with the m4's.. and the price is right, too, compared to other SSD's.. it doesn't have the same performance as the more expensive SSD's, but the others are too expensive, for me..

it would have been nice if one of the higher performance SSD's was included in the tests, for comparison..
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Anonymous
January 11, 2012 4:41:20 AM

Crucial m4SSD it is. I AM SOLD! Thanks, Tom!
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!