|Crucial m4 Solid State Drive Tests|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Storage|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Wednesday, 20 April 2011|
Page 13 of 13
Crucial m4 SSD Conclusion
IMPORTANT: Although the rating and final score mentioned in this conclusion are made to be as objective as possible, please be advised that every author perceives these factors differently at various points in time. While we each do our best to ensure that all aspects of the product are considered, there are often times unforeseen market conditions and manufacturer changes which occur after publication that could render our rating obsolete. Please do not base any purchase solely on our conclusion, as it represents our product rating specifically for the product tested which may differ from future versions. Benchmark Reviews begins our conclusion with a short summary for each of the areas that we rate.
Our performance rating considers how effective the Crucial m4 solid state drive performs in operations against direct competitor storage solutions. For reference, specifications for the Micron RealSSD C400 suggest 415 MB/s maximum reads and 260 MB/s writes, as well as 40K read and 50K write IOPS. In our SSD benchmark tests, the Crucial m4 SSD performed at or above these ratings. Our test results proved the Crucial m4 was good for delivering 446/281 MBps peak read and writes speeds using ATTO Disk Benchmark SSD speed tests. Transfer speeds were generally very high, but were overshadowed by some of the latest competitor SSDs such as those from SandForce.
Using Micron's own Iometer configuration files, we proved the m4 was capable of producing more than 90K combined IOPS. The 256GB retail Crucial m4 SSD CT256M4SSD2 kit that Micron sent us for testing uses firmware capable of 41K read and 62K write IOPS performance. In our own Iometer operational performance tests using a queue depth of 32 outstanding I/O's per target for a 120-second test, the combined IOPS performance measured closer to 29K. In this particular test, the formatted Crucial m4 SSD trailed behind other SATA 6Gb/s based storage devices. With the results we've received in our tests, hardware enthusiasts can expect very high operational performance and storage functionality for demanding applications and extreme I/O environments.
Solid State Drives are low-visibility products: you see them just long enough to install and then they're forgotten. Like their Hard Disk Drive counterparts, Solid State Drives are meant to place function before fashion. Anything above and beyond a simple metal shell is already more than what's expected in terms of the appearance. Micron uses a bead-blasted textured metal finish on the Crucial m4 SSD, with branding labels on the top and bottom for identification. As solid state storage controllers become faster and more advanced, heat dissipation through the enclosure walls may demand that chassis designs become more beneficial than they previously needed to be. This isn't the case yet, and a smooth metal chassis suits modern SSDs nicely.
Construction is probably the strongest feature credited to the entire SSD product segment, and Crucial products have never offered any exception. Solid State Drives are by nature immune to most abuses, but add to this a hard metal shell and you have to wonder what it would take to make this drive fail. If a Crucial m4/Micron RealSSD C400-series SSD product fails during the limited 3-year warranty period, end-users can contact Lexar/Crucial via the company website or SSD support forum. There's also a toll-free telephone number for support or customer service questions available at 800-336-8915.
Micron officially launched the Crucial m4 SSD on 26 April 2011, roughly one week after this article was published. The current product pricing is as follows: 64GB Model $150, 128GB Model $260, 256GB Model $520, 512GB Model $1000.
Having just reviewed a SandForce SF-2281 solid state drive, it's difficult to see where Marvell has dramatically improved the 88SS9174 controller with this BLD2 revision. Based on our tests, it seems that performance emphasis has switched read and write priority when compared to the previous RealSSD C300 series. The new Crucial m4 SSD stands strong all on its own, but it's too soon to tell how well these minor tweaks appeal to consumers. Compared head-to-head, SandForce 2200 SSDs appear to offer better performance than Marvell 88SS9174 revisions, which could make it difficult for the Crucial m4/Micron RealSSD C400, as well as Strontium SSD Matrix, Intel SSD 510, Corsair Performance 3, and others to thrive. For the Crucial m4 SSD to succeed it must be aggressively priced against the competition, but the five-year warranty certainly sweetens the deal.
+ Impressive 446/281 MBps read/write speed with ATTO
- Expensive enthusiast-level product
Final Score: 8.75 out of 10.
Quality Recognition: Benchmark Reviews Silver Tachometer Award.
Benchmark Reviews invites you to leave constructive feedback below, or ask questions in our Discussion Forum.