Crucial m4 And Intel SSD 320: The Other SSD Competitors

Benchmark Results: I/O Performance

At queue depths above two, OCZ's Vertex 3s top our charts. Crucial's m4, based on a revised Marvell 6 Gb/s controller, outperforms the C300 at lower queue depths, but performance drops at queue depths higher than eight.

The third generation of Intel's mainstream drive, the SSD 320, performs much better than its X25-M (G2) predecessor. Performance characteristics are similar. As queue depths increase, IOPS remains fairly constant. However, as the ten-channel configuration becomes fully populated, we no longer see a performance penalty. At queue depths above 16, the IOPS of the SSD 320 starts to drop dramatically. As we approach an extremely high queue depth, the performance of Intel's X25-M and SSD 320 converge.

Notice that the performance of the (34 nm) Agility 2 is higher than both Vertex 2s. This isn't an anomaly. We started to see this trend after we upgraded to firmware 1.28. We continue to see this trend with firmware 1.32 throughout all of out tests. Unfortunately, we don't know how the newest (25 nm) Agility 2s compare in relation.

Our file server pattern is dominated by the Vertex 3 Pro and Vertex 3. Meanwhile, Intel’s SSD 320 trails Samsung's 470. Crucial's m4 shows similar performance to the C300, but it falls short at queue depths higher than four.

Intel’s X25-M, even after repeated tests, outright fails this test at queue depths above two.

OCZ's newest Vertex 2 suffers in our Web server workload, which reads a ton of small blocks to mimic the behavior of a Web server sending similarly-small files to client machines. Performance is better than the older JMicron-based G.Skill FM-25S2S, but OCZ's move to 25 nm still falls short of the performance seen with the 34 nm-based Agility 2 and Vertex 2. This is consistent with what we must come to expect from the Vertex 2 until OCZ rectifies the ECC-related overhead first discussed in The OCZ Vertex 2 Conspiracy: Lost Space, Lost Speed?

The performance of the SSD 320 comes close to the X25-M (G2), but it still falls slightly short at every queue depths. In comparison, Crucial's m4 looks far less attractive. Its performance falls just shy of OCZ's newest Vertex 2. This pales in comparison to the C300, which holds third place.

These tests are again dominated by OCZ’s Vertex 3s. Like our previous benchmarks, we see the (34 nm) Agility 2 outperform both Vertex 2s. The C300 closely follows the newest Vertex 2 at queue depths higher than eight. In comparison, Crucial's m4 outperforms the C300 at lower queue depths, but falls short when the drive’s maximum number of channels is populated.

The SSD 320 has performance similar to the X25-M, though there is some slight variation at very low and high queue depths.

  • rainwilds
    Oooo, Crucial or Vertex? Decisions, decisions!
  • Could you expand on the Full Disk Encryption capabilities of the Intel 320?
    If you can actually use hardware FDE on that drive (rather than just secure erase), that's a winner for me.
  • bto
    Why does the Intel 510 250GB appear to have two scores in crystalmark? (469.4 and 259.7) on the top benchmark on page: "Benchmark Results: CrystalDiskMark Streaming Performance" the specs are identical for both.
  • poppasmurf
    Great lil tidbit, wonder what the difference will be between other SSD's with different interface connections other than physical appearance and the interface connection. More on the lines of pro's and con's between the SSD interface connections I'm referring to the OCZ PCI-e drives vs. SATA 6GB just a thought to stir up the hoop la of ssd's :P
  • JohnnyLucky
    I am beginning to wonder if we haven't reached the point where the human eye and brain are finding it harder to differentiate performance among ssd's. Some mainstream benchmarks seem to suggest that. Some of the benchmarks in this review seem to indicate the same. There are some very tight groupings.
  • henryvalz
    At the speed points that SSDs are functioning, I'm beginning to think that durability and reliability might be the best basis for decision. I would also really like to see some boot times from Windows 7, or loading time for games.
  • kev_stev
    Does anyone know when the vertex 3 and M4 are going to actually be available? I have heard rumors that the vertex 3 will be released "any day now" since mid march...
  • iamtheking123
    I'll go SSD in my next build, probably in a year and a half. Right now I'm satisfied with Raid 0-ed 1TB Caviar Blacks.
  • foscooter
    No mention of a release date. When will they be "in stores?" Q2 isn't exact enough.
  • zerapio
    Alert! Spelling police is coming and their PISSED

    (yes, it was intentional)