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.

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Test Hardware
ProcessorIntel Core i5-2400 (Sandy Bridge), 32 nm, 3.1 GHz, LGA 1155, 6 MB Shared L3, Turbo Boost Enabled
MotherboardGigabyte GA-Z68X-UD7-B3
MemoryKingston Hyper-X 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) DDR3-1333 @ DDR3-1333, 1.5 V
System DriveCrucial m4 256 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 0309
Tested DrivesCrucial m4 64 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 0309
Row 5 - Cell 0 Crucial m4 128 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 0309
Row 6 - Cell 0 Corsair Performance Pro 128 GB SATA 6Gb/s Firmware: 1.0
Row 7 - Cell 0 Plextor M3 64 GB SATA 6Gb/s Firmware: 1.01
Row 8 - Cell 0 Plextor M3 128 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 1.02
Row 9 - Cell 0 Plextor M3 Pro 128 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 1.01
Row 10 - Cell 0 OCZ Vertex 3 120 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 2.15
Row 11 - Cell 0 OCZ Octane 128 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 1.13
GraphicsPalit GeForce GTX 460 1 GB
Power SupplySeasonic 760 W, 80 PLUS Gold
System Software and Drivers
Operating SystemWindows 7 x64 Ultimate
DirectXDirectX 11
DriverGraphics: Nvidia 270.61 RST: Virtu: 1.1.101
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Iometer 1.1.0# Workers = 1, 4 KB Random: LBA=16 GB, varying QDs, 128 KB Sequential
PCMark 7Storage Suite
HD Tune Prov5.0, LBA= Full Span
  • hellfire24
    crucial FTW!
  • 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.