Crucial M4 256GB SOLID-STATE DRIVE Review

Crucial M4 - Not the newest nor the fastest, but good speeds for a good price.
Right now the sweet spot for solid-state drives is a 6Gb/s SATA SSD in a capacity near 256GB (240GB for a SandForce based drive). Why 256? 256 is big enough to store your OS, programs, and several games, and many modern controllers are optimized for that capacity—SandForce SF-2281 controllers, for example, have 16 lanes, and a 240GB drive has 16 NAND modules. Best of all, thanks to this year’s massive price drops, SSD prices are under a dollar per gigabyte: You can get a 256GB Samsung 830 Series, one of our favorite SSDs, for under $230.

So, which SSD offers the best value?

Crucial’s M4 SSD is a favorite of system builders for its relatively good performance and low price. It’s not the fastest 6Gb/s SATA SSD, but it’s plenty fast by any standard, and it’s attractively priced. For $180 at the time of this writing, you can get a drive with sustained reads over 400MB/s, sustained writes over 250MB/s, and good random-read and -write per-formance, as well. For $20 more you get the OCZ Vertex 4, with reads and writes in the 440MB/s range and higher random IOPS, and for $50 more than the M4 you can get a Samsung 830 Series drive, with 500MB/s-plus sequential reads, 400MB/s writes, but lower random IOPS—which is fine, unless you’re running a really active database server.

The specific drive you get will depend on current pricing, and (as is the case with most components) you can get a great drive for a little more than the cost of a very good drive, but right now we think the Crucial M4 is the sweet spot to beat.

Crucial m4
ControllerMarvell 9174
Sustained Read (MB/s) 404.5
Sustained Write (MB/s) 257.3
4KB Read, 32QD (MB/s) 167.9
4KB Write, 32QD (MB/s) 235.8
Seq. Read (MB/s) 407.73
Seq. Write (MB/s) 249.73
4KB Read (IOPS)5,091
4KB Write (IOPS) 13,837
Read Access (ms) 0.105
Write Access (ms)0.278
64KB File Read (MB/s)284.9
64KB File Write (MB/s)260.2
4KB Random Write56,087.81
Max Access Time (ms)143
Premiere Pro Encode Write (sec)429
PCMark Vantage x64 HDD61,758