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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crucial M4 Has greatly improved my desktop PC's performance
The Crucial M4 is 128GB solid state drive. These drives use a technology akin to that used in flash drives , and seen in the likes of tablets and smart phones, to provide a slim, cool and fast performing storage device for your system.

I'd be thinking about getting one of these for ages as my 1.5 TB Hard Disk Drive had become extremely slow and no amount of...
Published 21 months ago by K. Trebell

versus
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars TWO Drives failed after around 8 months - Beware
This drive is redicilously quick and I advise anyone thinking in speeding up their laptop or computer to invest in a Solid State Drive.

DRIVE 1
The thing is that my drive, the 256 M4 version has developed bad sectors due to a single memory chip on the SSD that has failed. This occurred after 8 months of daily use, no movement or shock caused this issue...
Published 18 months ago by Tony


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crucial M4 Has greatly improved my desktop PC's performance, 18 Oct 2012
By 
K. Trebell (Cornwall, UK) - See all my reviews
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The Crucial M4 is 128GB solid state drive. These drives use a technology akin to that used in flash drives , and seen in the likes of tablets and smart phones, to provide a slim, cool and fast performing storage device for your system.

I'd be thinking about getting one of these for ages as my 1.5 TB Hard Disk Drive had become extremely slow and no amount of defrags and optimisation could improve it that much. I'd tried an alternative 1TB drive but still had very slow times between turning on, logging in and eventually loading my desktop so I could work.

I was aware that SSD's can greatly improve performance but was concerned that they are know to have a shorter life than HDD's and that they won't slowly degrade like an HDD but just stop working (rather than gradually giving bad sectors as Hard Disks tend to).

I took the plunge though and I'm very glad I did, my boot times have improved from several minutes to under a minute even with my system now fully loaded with all my services and the system is extremely nippy now.

It's worth noting that these drives are 2.5" laptop sized. If you want to install them in a desktop then an adaptor like this allows you to attach them Akasa AK-HDA-03 2.5-3.5 inch SSD/HDD Adapter.

Installation was easy. I plugged the drive into the adapter bay and easily slotted this into my tower. I then plugged this into a spare sata port (my P55 mother board has sata 2 so I'm testing at a slower rate than those with sata 3 will get and still very impressed). Following that I booted and went into my BIOS set-up to tell the system this was my primary HDD and to set my boot order. Following that I put Windows 7 in my DVD drive, started the boot process and carried out the installation. A frresh install is required rather than copying an image from and old HDD as Windows 7 will optimise itself for an SSD and you always get a better and fresh performance when performing a clean build.

The biggest bottleneck to performance on my system was the HDD, and it will be for a lot of people. The temptation can be to buy a new motherboard or CPU but it's often the case that these may well handle everything you need perfectly fast but are being hamstrung by a slow old mechanical drive. This is an upgrade that can affordably transform a system.

A couple of things worth noting though: These drives have a limited life and tend to be expensive compared to an HDD and they are best used in conjunction with an HDD. What I've done is set this as my systems drive for windows but kept my HDD and used it to hold all of my user libraries and have also installed several programs onto it, plus i've put my steam library on there. That way the majority of dynamic and frequantly changing high volume stuff can sit on the HDD whilst the SSD handles the task of running the OS itself. This should ensure a balance of performance and system life and the system still runs very quickly. This also means this drive is still two thirds empty , thus ensuring plenty of spare capacity and hopefully life.

Knowing the drives are more vulnerable I'd also advise taking regular image backups in case you need to quickly rebuild your system following failure. I've also kept win 7 on my other HDD so that I can always boot from it when I need to.

Overall though I'm very impressd with this drive. A big boost to my system for a reasonable price.

[edit]

After a few months of good performance and no problems I ran into problems with this drive. Googling around I found these problems are very common. The drive can begin to randomly freeze and completely freeze windows. Once this happens you are forced to power reset and will find the drive is missing from your bios.

In order to find your drive again you need a power cycle. To do this, boot the machine into your bios and leave it for 20 minutes, reset the machine and repeat, the drive will then reappear. This has worked for me.

In order to prevent the freezing it is suggested you update your firmware, but this doesn't always work. The following was another suggestion from Crucial themselves:

"The behaviour you are describing is consistent with deleted cells not being cleaned from your drive. This can result in reduced performance or even complete lack of response from the SSD.

There is a feature built into our SSDs called Active Garbage Collection. Letting Active Garbage Collection run on the drive for an extended period will clean these cells and restore the SSD to a healthy state.

To do this on your PC or Laptop, you will need to let the SSD idle for 6 to 8 hours.

In a PC, simply disconnect the SATA cable from your SSD and only leave the power cable connected. After switching your PC on, the SSD will be in an idle state but still have power so Garbage Collection can function. Leave the PC powered for the 6-8 hours.

In a laptop, power on with the SSD installed and enter your system BIOS (please refer to your system manufacturer's documentation on how to access the BIOS.) Leave the laptop in the BIOS menu for the 6-8 hours.

Following this process, your drives functionality and performance should be restored.

To prevent the SSD performance degrading again, you can make adjustments to your power settings:

- Go to Control Panel
- Go to Hardware and Sound
- Go to Power Options
- Select Change Plan Settings
- Select Change Advanced Settings
- Make sure the 'hard disk' field is set to `never' (Laptop users select 'battery and power adapter'). "

Hope this helps if you experience this.
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164 of 173 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really fast, pretty small, 1 Jun 2011
By 
Christopher Burns "chrisgb" (UK) - See all my reviews
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I picked up one of these a few days ago to complement a newer Sandy Bridge setup. For no reason I could ever figure out, my boot times were terrible with the motherboard (an Asus P8P67 Pro) using a conventional HD - on the order of 3 minutes from cold until the PC was responsive. Connected to a SATA-3 controller, this SSD reduced my boot time to around 35 seconds, and, once the desktop appears, the PC is fully responsive to whatever you want to do. It sounds obvious, but the main thing that differentiates SSDs from conventional HDs is this "snappiness" factor - seek times are completely flat, thus, the only delay is actually transferring data off the drive to RAM for CPU operations (and this drive is capable of >400 megabyte per second bursts). The drive is also completely silent, and it's slightly weird not to hear the usual HD ticking & clicking. You may also need a 3.5" drive bay adapter; physically, the drive is about 50% bigger than a credit card and very light - alternatively, I have seen these drives held in place by double-sided tape - with no moving parts, you can pretty much put them anywhere the data and power cables will stretch. Also, a side effect of the "solid state" part of the drive is that it is largely unaffected by any movements or accidental drops - anything that doesn't destroy the casing will leave the drive completely unaffected - the interior is largely the same as a USB flash drive, but with larger capacity chips and a small controller.

I initially had some trouble with the drive (some stuttering and pausing) after installing Windows7 then Intel's RST drivers (the drive is connected to an Intel ICH9 port), and decided that a re-format would be my best option to completely get rid of the Intel drivers. When installing Windows only takes 12 minutes - and at that, you're largely limited to your DVD drive's transfer rate more than anything else, it's no longer a chore, and using Win7's built-in ACHI drivers fixed the problem completely.

There's also a little more to installing one of these compared with a standard HD. You should connect it to a SATA-3 drive port to get best performance (although it will remain very fast if you're using a SATA-2 port on older motherboards). You also need to run the Windows Experience Index in Windows7 (and in fact, use Windows7 too, since it contains drive control commands optimised for SSDs not found in older versions of Windows). When Windows has run the Windows Experience Index, it will fully recognise the drive as an SSD and automatically disable some scheduled processes like defragmentation etc. Lastly you can check your speeds are what they should be with e.g. AS SSD Benchmark - sequential reads should be over 300 or 400 megabytes per second depending on the controller you're using, and if so, you're good to go.

Obviously, the downsides to this drive are the high cost and relatively small capacity; at 120GB after formatting, a default installation of Windows7 itself will immediately eat another 17GB or so, so you're basically looking at 100GB all told once you're set up. While smaller applications like web-browsers etc. load more or less instantly now, more extensive applications show less benefit - e.g. a modern multi-gigabyte game will only show speed differences of a couple of seconds. In all, it's a mixed bag, but, I could see myself abandoning conventional HDs in the future as prices come down over time. If you need very large quantities of storage space, you won't want to use these, but 100GB is minimally useful for a working system plus a few apps. And of course, you can continue to use any existing HDs you have for secondary storage.

EDIT : Been running this drive for slightly over a year now with no real ill effects, although I am finding the 128gb quite cramped now with the addition of a Dropbox account (weirdly, even though the Dropbox folder is on another, larger drive). A minor speed-bump was the firmware update Crucial sent out late last year where unless installed, the drive would reboot itself after (x) thousand hours of use. As a bonus, however, once you have the update installed, you get an extra 100mb/sec speed boost, so it's not all bad - although the bug would effectively prevent you from using your PC for more than an hour at a time.

Since I bought this, prices have roughly halved, and I'm strongly considering getting another one of these in the 256GB flavour to complement the existing one.
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent. Works great with MacBook Pro., 6 Aug 2012
This works very well with my MacBook Pro (15 inch early 2011). However it is necessary to install a firmware update (see instructions below) in order for the SSD to work. Once installed I noticed a dramatic speed improvement. Did a fresh install of Mountain Lion and it's like a new laptop!

Instructions for MacBook Pro (early 2011):

1) Backup your files to an external hard drive with Time Machine.

2) Go to the Crucial website and download the latest firmware (as of writing version 000F). This consists of a .iso and a .pdf guide.

3) Burn the iso to a black CD or DVD using Disk Utility. (The USB option did NOT work for me!). There's plenty of guides/videos on how to burn an .iso if you search the web.

4) Two options at this point: a) Create a bootable OS X install USB so that you can install an operating system on the SSD once it's installed or b) use your Time Machine backup to copy your files to your new SSD. I'll follow option a).

5) Insert the firmware DVD/CD into your Macbook and shut it down. Open it up and remove your current hard drive. Replace it with the SSD and screw everything back in place (again there's plenty of excellent videos online if you're unsure...)

6) Turn on your MacBook. I didn't have to press anything. After about 30 seconds the firmware updater presented itself. You'll be prompted for a 'yes' or 'no'. Type 'yes' and hit enter. After another minute or so the firmware will be updated.

7) Hold the power button to switch off your MacBook. Insert your OS X install USB stick. Power up your MacBook while holding the option key. Select the OS X installer.

8) Once you've booted into the USB installer you'll be presented with a menu. Select Disk Utility. If everything has gone according to plan you should see your new SSD drive in the menu. Reformat it to Mac OS (Journaled). Exit Disk Utility and from the menu you can now select Install OS X. Choose this and select your SSD for installation.

Additional options:

At this point you might want to invest in a special hard drive caddy that allows your to replace the internal DVD drive with a second hard drive. I bought the brainy deal version for about 12 on amazon. If you want to use this open up your MacBook again. Unscrew the DVD drive and replace it with your the hard drive caddy containing your original HD (again plenty of good guides online..). With this setup you have the speed of an SSD and the larger storage capacity of hard drive. Obviously install the system and apps on the SSD. Larger downloads, movies, or backups can be placed on your second hard drive.

Enjoy!
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88 of 95 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crucial M4 SSD Turbo-charged my PC, 29 Dec 2011
I use my PC mainly for gaming (racing/simulator), photo processing, video creation, working on documents, entertainment (music and videos) and internet browsing.
Before the Crucial M4, my PC configuration (based on a P55 chipset) looked something like this: Windows 7 64-bit, Processor: i5-760 (@ 2.8 Ghz), 8 GB RAM, 2xGTX 460 (in SLI), 1 TB HDD.

My choice for the HDD (spinning at 5400 rpm) wasn't the wisest and I could see how much it affected my system's overall performance. Adding a SSD-HDD was really the only way I could maximise the potential of my system.

I've been watching the evolution of the SSDs from the the past couple of years. Apart from the prices, (earlier) firmware issues kept me from investing in a SSD-HDD.
However, as the performance of the SSDs had started to become more stable (compared to earlier), I thought it was the right moment to start looking for something to upgrade my system with.

Since the SSD will be used as a system drive (OS+programs and the current game that I'm playing), a 120/128 GB SSD-HDD was my target.
My criteria for selection were:
1. Performance on SATA III (6 Gbps) - although my system supports only SATA II, I wanted something that was 'future-proof'
2. Performance on SATA II (3 Gbps) - this was a critical point for selection
3. Reliability - many 'performance oriented' SSDs have the reliability of a leaking boat. I wanted something that had a proven track-record for reliability
4. Performance per $
5. Cost per GB

It took me almost two weeks to gather enough information about all the SSDs in the market and check if they met my criteria.
Many SSDs failed to meet criterion #2, which shortened my list to about 5 names.

The controller on the SSDs impacts the performance and also the reliability of a SSD. Sandforce controller based SSDs show better performance, but reliability differs from SSD manufacturer to manufacturer.

I was left with 2 names in the end: Mushkin Chronos Deluxe and Crucial M4.

The ultimate winner for me was the Crucial M4 for the following reasons:
1. Performance on SATAIII may not be the best, but with the 0009 firmware update, performance levels are right amongst the top Sandforce controller based SSDs.
2. Crucial M4 SSD drives have shown the least percentage performance drop when operating on SATAII. The Sandforce controller based drives, except the Mushkin Chronos Deluxe, are hit badly.
3. In terms of reliability, only Intel, Mushkin and Crucial have shown sustained stable results.
4. Crucial M4 ranks amongst the top SSDs for performance per $. It is only bettered by its older sibling the C300.
5. Crucial's SSDs have by far the best (or almost the best) cost per GB over the entire range of SSDs offered by any manufacturer.
6. Availability of Crucial M4 drives is better than Mushkin Chronos Deluxe.

Migrating my system drive (C:) from my old HDD to the Crucial M4 with a $19.95 software made a big mess. After migration, the SSD drive was not configured for optimum performance and after 3 re-boots, my geniune Windows 7 got invalidated. This forced me to take the much preferred route of a fresh install.
Doing a fresh install (or reinstall) in the past was always a daunting task taking me sometimes up to 2 days to set up my PC right - with all required programs, settings etc. This incredible drive shrunk that time to 4 hours!!!
The performance after the fresh install also improved significantly. The AS-SSD score went from 365 (post-migration) to 515 (fresh-install) - not bad for a SATAII.

To summarise, metaphorically, the addition of the Crucial M4 128 GB to my system is like the BMW M5. It is one of the best 'track-day' weapons, and it also seats 5 persons!
Kudos to Crucial for a great product!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb! Made my laptop truly usable!, 1 Dec 2011
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If you can afford it, this is the best upgrade you can buy. My laptop now starts in less than 30 seconds, including password log in, and from sleep it is less than 10 seconds, again with password.

Not only that, the power consumption is much lower, as is noise, as is heat generated.

If you can't go for this one, Windows 7 will be fine on even a 64GB drive, though 128 would be the minimum I would go for.

My windows experience indicator for this drive is 7.9, the highest score at the moment.

Internet security / anti-virus is hardly noticeable, bearing in mind that they are high users of both Hard drive and swap file.

Buy an SSD drive, this one is excellent, but a 128 will do, for most users, with an external drive for data. I have a 128 on my desktop as the system drive, with all progrmas installed on it, and still only just half full.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Performance, 31 Oct 2011
I got this to coincide with my intention to do a fresh install of Windows 7. I had originally upgraded to Windows 7 from Vista. This worked OK but then I upgraded again from Windows 7 32 bit to 64 bit and had all sorts of problems with the PC not seeing all my RAM and it kept crashing. I therefore decided I would buy an SSD and load Windows 7 64 bit onto it as a clean, new installation. Physically installing the SSD was simple with an adaptor tray to make use of a spare 3.5" bay. I disconnected all my SATA HDDs so only the SSD was connected. I connected it to a SATA 3 socket, ensuring I used the correct cable that had been supplied with my motherboard (no cables supplied with the SSD). I put the Windows 7 64 bit disc in a DVD drive, ensured the boot sequence was set to the DVD drive and the Hard drive type was changed from IDE in BIOS, and booted up. The installation began OK but when it asked to choose a drive to install the operating system, there were none present. Clearly the SSD wasn't formatted and there was nothing in the included instructions to suggest this. I therefore connected the HDD with Win 7 still on it, changed the boot sequence and switched on again. The intention being to use Win 7 to format the SDD, however when Win7 booted up it couldn't see the SSD either! I tried all sorts but in the end I temporarily connected the SSD to a SATA 2 socket. Win 7 then saw it so I formatted it, reconnected it to the SATA 3 socket and checked Win 7 could still see it and it could. I then reset the boot sequence, disconnected my old HDD again and booted to the Win 7 disc. This time it saw the SSD and the installation was completed. I've now reconnected all my HDDs and restricted what I've loaded to the SSD to just those applications where I need speed. The PC is running reliably without crashing and it's seeing all 8Mb of RAM. The main observation is the speed of boot up. Overall I'm very pleased with the performance and my only criticism is the lack of information included with the SSD. Crucial seem to assume these drives will only be installed by experts!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fitting the Crucial CT256GB MB SSD, 10 Sep 2011
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I received this product quickly and well packed. It was fitted to a MacPro with an OCZ 2.5 mounting bracket. This was not fitted in a HD bay, but in the optical drive bay, allowing me to reserve the HD spaces for future conventional HDs for storage. Due to the size of the SSD. It will be possible to fit two more of these SSDs if required into the Optical drive bay. This bay slides out of the MacPro and with cable extensions allows plenty of space for extra SSDs.(one extra hole for screw to be drilled) As with the Mac OS, I used the Disc Utility to restore Snow Leopard across to the SSD in minutes, it was up and running. I am using this drive for a Flight Simulator program. This gives rapid loading of scenery to the graphics card, which in turn takes the jerkiness off the screens when you go from one area tile to another. The booting up is very quick and with a small trim enabler program for Mac OS installed, stops the SSD clogging up with deleted programs.
Now that the SSDs are dropping in price, they are strongly recommended for heavy action progs, such as games, video editing,
flight simulation etc.
Crucial have a good reputation in Their field of memory products, giving a good support service. Since I installed this SSD, I have as yet, not given the SSD a second thought, just used it.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Works with 2009 MacBook, 27 Jun 2011
By 
teabot (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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I bought one of these to replace a failing drive in my 2009 Aluminium MacBook. Copying my existing drive to the SSD was simple using Carbon Copy Cloner and a cheap USB/SATA drive enclosure. Installation of the drive was straight forward - the only issue being the removal and swapping of the mounting pegs from the existing drive. This requires a tiny hex driver - I didn't have a suitable tool so used some pliers and a tight grip to unscrew the pegs.

Boot time is very snappy - however I am most impressed by the speed at which I can load and scroll through my Aperture libraries.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Old PC Upgrade?, 21 April 2012
By 
R. D. Pearson "Rich 100" (UK) - See all my reviews
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I recently purchased a fairly high spec pc with an SSD C drive. Like many others I was impressed and this got me wondering what such a drive would do for my old pc. This is a 2006 AMD dual core 2400hz, 2GB RAM, dual nVidia 7800GT graphics cards in SLI, running XP. I took a chance for 67 and purchased a crucial M4 64GB SSD. I did this almost just out of curiousity. I did a complete re-boot. This involved screwing the 3.5" bay adaptor to the SSD and sliding it in where my old drive used to be. I transferred the SATA and other connection which pull off and push on easily (I am no expert). I then started the pc up with my recovery disc that came with the pc by putting this in the first DVD/ROM drive. It took about 25 mins to load XP, which is very fast in itself. It is worth copying your drivers before you re-boot as otherwise various things like your Ethernet may not work. So after the initial re-boot I had windows working but with no Ethernet. I intalled my Ethernet driver. It took another 30mins to download the 150 ish updates since my rather old version of XP was first issued. I did the recommended updates only, as opposed to the custom ones but you do have to repeat this about 4 or 5 times as each new update triggers another batch of updates, re-starting in between each batch of updates. So what was the result?

Well my old PC would start up in exactly 2 mins 30 secs until fully functional. It now achieves 35 secs. Things like the internet explorer seem far more snappy and instant. Games do not play better or at higher resolution as far as I can tell, there may be a marginal improvement, but they do seem to load up noticably faster, I would estimate at least 3 times. This is providing they are loaded onto the SSD of course.

So if you want to spruce up your old pc this seems to be an excellent option.

If you buy some extra cables you can still use your old drive to take the volume items such as photos, music and the like.

I did not adjust the bios, which I have read elsewhere might be desirable, so it is possible I may not have squeezed all the performance out of the SSD but either way I am very pleased.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Little brother of my other M4 still great, 31 Oct 2011
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After firmware 0009 sorted out the couple of remaining niggles (as well as providing a significant boost to performance) with my earlier 512GB M4, I decided it was time to give my media centre an upgrade with the small 64GB cousin.

The drives are now shipping with firmware 0009 included, so there's no need for users to go through the slightly tedious upgrade procedure (although as noted on my other review, the firmware upgrades can now be done easily through USB with a tool like unetbootin).

Performance isn't up to the standard of its bigger cousin, but you can still expect to do sequential reads/writes at 510/100MBps respectively on an Intel 6Gbps SATA port, although I'm actually running mine from a 3Gbps SATA port which will limit reads to about 270MB/s. My HTPC doesn't really tax the drive at all, but it's quicker to initialise than my old 30GB first-gen Vertex so time from bootloader to XBMC being loaded is now less than 5 seconds.

The problems with the Sandforce/Vertex 3 drives (random BSOD's which some of you may have read about) are meant to be sorted now, but I still prefer the much less spotted history of these Crucial drives and, for 98% of people, there's absolutely no appreciable difference in performance between them despite the sandforce drives being fast on paper. It also helps that, at the time of writing, the Crucial drives are also significantly cheaper! As long as you can live with the comparatively small size, it's an awesome drive.

Update 2012-01-10: Time to eat my words! There's currently an issue with all M4 drives where they can cause a bluescreen/OS crash/disc dropout after ~5200 hours of use (that's about 215 days), so this is currently only affecting people who've mostly been running these things 24x7 since they bought them. Crucial have stated a new firmware with the fix bundled will be released within 1-2 weeks. I haven't run into this issue myself yet on this drive or my 512GB and I'm still recommending these SSD's over the Sandforce drives.
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