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SSD: Crucial m4 256 GB

Tom's Hardware's 2011 Gift Guide: Part 1, For System Builders
By

$410.99
www.crucial.com

Speed. The holidays are all about speed. If you doubt, go to any Target or Wal-Mart on the afternoon December 24th. You will witness one of two possible speeds at play: frantic sprinting and dead, bottlenecked stop. Those of us still running hard disks as our primary boot volumes are well acquainted with the latter—we experience it with every reboot. We wait from two to four minutes for Windows to creep through its loading, staring at that little four-color Windows icon on its empty backdrop like the world’s last Christmas light pulsing feebly against a sea of black despair. This is why so many of us have adopted SSDs over the last year or two, even if they had to be low-capacity cheapies. But 40 or 80 GB of C: space erodes sooner than anyone expects, and things...start to...slow...dowwwn. Again.

So welcome Crucial’s 256 GB m4, aggressively street priced at under $1.50 per gigabyte. In addition to hitting the pricing sweet spot, the 256 GB m4 model also offers the best performance specs from the four-model m4 roster at the lowest price point: 40K random read IOPS, 50K random write IOPS, sequential reads of up to 415 MB/s, and sequential writes of up to 260 MB/s. Crucial (which is the consumer arm of Micron, which in turn is 51% of the NAND partnership between Micron and Intel) backs the 6 Gb/s SATA interface with Marvell’s 9174 controller. SandForce fans may be put off by this, and it’s true that several SandForce-based drives, especially the OCZ Vertex 3, do eke out performance wins over the m4, depending on the workload. On the other hand, the 240 GB Vertex 3 currently costs around $1.80 per gigabyte, and we’ve seen fewer reliability concerns over time with Crucial’s design.

We should point out that even though 256 GB remains fairly spacious in 2011 SSD terms, this is not meant for primary storage. Crucial’s 256 GB will hold your OS (maybe even a couple of them) and plenty of apps, but expect to bring up a separate volume for storage. Right now, we’re partial to Western Digital’s 2 TB Caviar Black WD2002FAEX (SATA 6 Gb/s interface). Two of these in a RAID 1 get you 2 TB of mirrored security and a great complement to the m4’s blistering performance. That’s a lot of bytes to put under one tree, but a well-rounded storage strategy is going to give the most satisfaction long-term.

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Top Comments
  • 36 Hide
    serhat359 , December 13, 2011 4:29 AM
    I feel sorry for those girls that they have to smile for the camera even though they have no idea what they are holding
  • 33 Hide
    wizloa , December 13, 2011 4:25 AM
    i clicked for the lady
  • 22 Hide
    HansVonOhain , December 13, 2011 4:34 AM
    Must... focus ... on ... computer parts...
Other Comments
  • 0 Hide
    gerohmygosh , December 13, 2011 4:13 AM
    Where is the girl for the PNY RAM?!?!?!
  • 33 Hide
    wizloa , December 13, 2011 4:25 AM
    i clicked for the lady
  • 6 Hide
    phamhlam , December 13, 2011 4:29 AM
    What is your favorite picture?

    Mine was the one with the 4 SSD.
    My floppy disk totally turned to a hard disk drive.

    I can't wait for part 2 already.
  • 36 Hide
    serhat359 , December 13, 2011 4:29 AM
    I feel sorry for those girls that they have to smile for the camera even though they have no idea what they are holding
  • 22 Hide
    HansVonOhain , December 13, 2011 4:34 AM
    Must... focus ... on ... computer parts...
  • -6 Hide
    phamhlam , December 13, 2011 4:37 AM
    What is hotter? The computer parts or the girl?
  • -7 Hide
    richboyliang , December 13, 2011 4:39 AM
    haha do these girls know what they're doing?
  • -6 Hide
    koolkat574 , December 13, 2011 4:45 AM
    richboylianghaha do these girls know what they're doing?


    Depends on if you use an aftermarket cooler or the stock one
  • -5 Hide
    manu 11 , December 13, 2011 4:54 AM
    For one second, my focus was deviated, back to pc!
  • 10 Hide
    lunyone , December 13, 2011 5:01 AM
    It looks like the Blonde model was having more fun, or is it just me. If I wasn't married, I'd take either! Forget the PC hardware, there are more important things to look at!!! Lol!
  • 11 Hide
    bcontoursvt , December 13, 2011 5:02 AM
    All these pages later and I still have no idea what the topic of the story was...
  • 21 Hide
    LuckyDucky7 , December 13, 2011 5:08 AM
    I don't get it.

    Why are some things suggested in this guide mostly the worst value you could get for that sum of cash?

    For starters:

    -MSI 990FX-GD80 wouldn't be my top pick. That would go to a Gigabyte 990FXA-UD(x) board. Why bother getting a board that's more expensive than the best processor for the platform (or one whose lower-end boards don't catch fire).

    -i7-3930K? Ivy's just around the corner and will run on 150 dollar boards that do more than X79 could think of.

    -Silverstone 1000W PSU? Seasonic's already got their X-1050, which has 80+ Platinum certification instead of gold for the same cost.

    Some things I guess I just don't understand, then. You list some parts that have really good value, such as that RAM and Powercolor graphics card along with the 955BE, and then go to the polar opposite. I don't see the reason for that.
  • 1 Hide
    manu 11 , December 13, 2011 5:44 AM
    I can ditch pc hardware if i can get a girl in those photos
  • 0 Hide
    kustiki321 , December 13, 2011 6:02 AM
    I'm sorry, was there supposed to be some sort of gift guide here? I know it's a tech site and I was expecting one but I can't seem to see what they're recommending.
  • 17 Hide
    mkrijt , December 13, 2011 7:03 AM
    The redhead doesn't seem to have fun....
  • -8 Hide
    cold fire , December 13, 2011 7:39 AM
    I'm having a hard time deciding whether I'd take all the hardware or all the girls. :$
  • -7 Hide
    tzhu07 , December 13, 2011 7:46 AM
    Those girls prove why Tom's Hardware will never be at the level of AnandTech...
  • 15 Hide
    Goldengoose , December 13, 2011 8:28 AM
    gazum123Get a life you freak

    Get a sense of humor you rude little man.
  • -4 Hide
    Anonymous , December 13, 2011 8:50 AM
    and not a single anti-static precaution taken... All those naked components... what a waste
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