Marvell-Based SSDs From Corsair, Crucial, OCZ, And Plextor: Tested

Test Setup And Firmware Notes

We are using the same testing protocol outlined in our earlier 60 GB SandForce round-up, which focuses on out-of-box performance. If TRIM and garbage collection are working, the performance of a desktop-oriented SSD should remain fairly consistent. We will also cover the other end of the spectrum, and measure the performance during reads and from a “dirty” drive. Performance will always fall between those two extremes.

Firmware Notes:

Since we updated our m4 SSDs to the latest 0309 firmware, we noticed a small benchmark change. Performance in 4K random reads tends to be a little slower at low queue depths. Otherwise, everything is the same as before. This validates Crucial's change log, which suggests that moving from 0009 would have little effect on performance.

Test Hardware
Processor
Intel Core i5-2400 (Sandy Bridge), 32 nm, 3.1 GHz, LGA 1155, 6 MB Shared L3, Turbo Boost Enabled
Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD7-B3
Memory
Kingston Hyper-X 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) DDR3-1333 @ DDR3-1333, 1.5 V
System Drive
Crucial m4 256 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 0309
Tested DrivesCrucial m4 64 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 0309

Crucial m4 128 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 0309

Corsair Performance Pro 128 GB SATA 6Gb/s Firmware: 1.0

Plextor M3 64 GB SATA 6Gb/s Firmware: 1.01

Plextor M3 128 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 1.02

Plextor M3 Pro 128 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 1.01

OCZ Vertex 3 120 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 2.15

OCZ Octane 128 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 1.13
Graphics
Palit GeForce GTX 460 1 GB
Power Supply
Seasonic 760 W, 80 PLUS Gold
System Software and Drivers
Operating SystemWindows 7 x64 Ultimate
DirectX
DirectX 11
DriverGraphics: Nvidia 270.61
RST: 10.6.0.1002
Virtu: 1.1.101
Benchmarks
Iometer 1.1.0
# Workers = 1, 4 KB Random: LBA=16 GB, varying QDs, 128 KB Sequential
PCMark 7
Storage Suite
HD Tune Pro
v5.0, LBA= Full Span
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    Top Comments
  • hellfire24
    crucial FTW!
  • Other Comments
  • hellfire24
    crucial FTW!
  • Anonymous
    Shoulda tossed in a V4 128gb for entertainment value...ah well. :P
  • uruquiora
    hellfire24crucial FTW!

    hmm , my M4 has 10x more BSOD than my vertex 3... Each i boot my pc and work with it i prepare myself for a BSOD with my M4...
  • joytech22
    uruquiorahmm , my M4 has 10x more BSOD than my vertex 3... Each i boot my pc and work with it i prepare myself for a BSOD with my M4...


    That is what we in the I.T industry like to call: "Faulty Hardware".
    If you considered that normal all this time, I have some bad news for you..
  • chesteracorgi
    With the price of SSDs coming down, Toms should start introducing 256 GB + drives into its reviews. It's nice to have the 64 & 128 GB reviews, but for power builders the 256 GB is becoming mainstream.
  • Cyclops21
    Any tests planned on the Sandisk Extreme models. They were a Tom's recommend buy but I still haven't seen any benchmarks on Tom's.
  • cknobman
    I'd still say for most boot and program drives SandForce is the way to go as it has a significant performance edge.
  • Onus
    I've only installed 6-7 SSDs, with mixed results. Two with Sadforce controllers died within months or weeks (the RMA of one is yet to be tested). Given that the slowest SSD beats the pants off the fastest magnetic HDD, I have quickly reached the conclusion that reliability has to be the #1 criterion for SSDs, and I'm not sure Sandforce is there yet.
  • zodiacfml
    Awesome. SSDs time is now!
  • ramon zarat
    uruquiorahmm , my M4 has 10x more BSOD than my vertex 3... Each i boot my pc and work with it i prepare myself for a BSOD with my M4...


    You must be joking... The list of forum thread complaining about SF controller instability is endless. The M4 actually has a very solid reputation. I've been running 2 128GB M4 in 2 different PC for the last 8 months. Not a single BSOD. They still both benchmark the same speed as day 1. Actually, the M4 was and might very well still be the best choice for balance between price, performance and reliability in the whole SSD market. In my book, there are only 3 manufacturers really worth mentioning when it comes to SSD: Crucial, Intel and Samsung.

    Your unit is simply defective. That can happen to any manufacturer. RMA it and be happy.
  • daysyang
    ^ agree... my M4 has been nothing but awesome.
  • Pawessum16
    When are you going to update your SSD charts? Some of the SSD's on the 2011 chart don't even exist anymore, and it's missing all the cool new drives released in the past couple of months.
  • americanherosandwich
    Hah, I just got done reading this, too: http://computerhardwareupgrades.blogspot.com/2012/05/comparing-different-nand-types-and.html

    Crucial M4's still kicking butt.
  • g-unit1111
    daysyang^ agree... my M4 has been nothing but awesome.


    So has mine, but at $70 I am thinking I might ditch my Intel 320 for a Plextor M3. I've always been a fan of Plextor drives and it's good to know that the move to SSD hasn't changed their quality at all. Tempting, tempting...
  • eddieroolz
    Godo to see my choice of SSD be proven in tests. I have high hopes for my Crucial m4.
  • inflexion
    Nice review. I just picked up another Crucial M4 today on Buy.com for $110 USD to my door.

    Thanks for the great content!
  • Anonymous
    Where the heck can you get the M3 64gb for $70?
  • rohitbaran
    I wonder if there are any reliability stats on SSDs available. They are fast for sure, but how about reliability scores, based off drive performance over a year or so?
  • slomo4sho
    rohitbaranI wonder if there are any reliability stats on SSDs available. They are fast for sure, but how about reliability scores, based off drive performance over a year or so?


    I couldn't agree more. Having a fast drive means nothing if it dies or corrupts your data.
  • 10tacle
    Where are you guys seeing the 64GB M3 for $70? I have yet to find it anywhere for under $100. In fact, the best price I can find from reputable E-tailer is $120. I'd snap one up in a second as dedicated Intel SRT cache drive.