Customer Review

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Mis-advertised mediocrity, 18 Jan 2013
This review is from: Crucial CT128V4SSD2 128GB V4 SATA II 3Gb/s MLC 9.5mm 2.5 Inch Internal SSD (Personal Computers)
I have had the same negative experience with this drive (in fact, two of them) as most of the other reviewers here. I bought mine direct from Crucial, so am not one of the 'Verified Amazon Purchase(rs)", but what follows is an honest appraisal of this drive for the benefit of anyone thinking of purchasing it. My only recommendation is that you don't buy the Crucial V4 drive.

On my laptop (Sony Vaio, 2 GHz, 2 GB RAM) this device has slowed my machine to a crawl -- directories take 30 secs to open, property dialogue boxes can take minutes to open, few-Mb Photoshop files are likewise, and in all cases the stuttering and pauses enforced by the drive freeze the laptop and make it inoperable. Whilst all this is happening, my Task Manger (if I can get it to start at all while the Crucial is churning away) shows that my processor and RAM usage are only in the few percent and few 10s of Mb, so the problem is clearly one of throughput.

I can't say how much this 'upgrade' has affected my productivity, and because SSDs and HDDs are almost never the same size I cannot simply return to my HDD, the SSD being larger (128 Gb vs the 80 Gb of my HDD) and as we know a larger drive cannot be re-imaged back to a smaller drive, so I am stuck with it. Neither do I fancy having to un-4k my drive to return to a spinning-platter set-up again (see later description of sector alignment). For anyone already using one of these devices, there are a number of steps you can take to alleviate the mediocrity of this device, but they don't help much. The first thing to know is that the imaging software does not 4K sector-write by default (which it should do for all SSDs). As I will come to later, there are freeware tools that can do this for you, and the figures below will illustrate both how much improvement can be attained -- and how truly mediocre this Crucial product is. The results of the first benchmark I ran whilst trying to understand why this new SSD gave such appalling performance (using AS SSD Benchmark) are below (read then write respectively):

Seq: 55.92 MB/s, 27.02 MB/s
4K: 9.00 MB/s, 9.35 MB/s
64Thrd: 6.89 MB/s,, 0.27 MB/s
Acc Time: 0.344 ms, 1.380 ms

As can be seen, rather than the 20x improvement promised by this device, the results were over 100x worse. The advertised 150 Mb/s write speed of the V4, and which all SATA II devices are capable of, was a mere 0.2 Mb/s. After endless email table-tennis with Crucial I discovered that their customer support is as mediocre as their product: the only advice they could offer was to refer me to their 'user forum', despite selling a product that did not live up to advertised expectation. So bad was the performance that I got a replacement to see if my device was faulty. Because I had to copy the image over to the new SSD to test this, I actually had to pay for this replacement before they would send it to me with the promise of a refund when I sent the original back, and the replacement was just as poor as its predecessor. As you might expect, I had to find my assistance online. Some Googling showed that resizing the partitions on my drive by 1-2 Mb would align it for 4K-sectors, and a few days of harried work with a freeware program called GParted produced the desired result (after many headaches with a resulting corrupted boot sector and repair process). The new benchmark results are tabulated below:

Seq: 121.97 MB/s, 68.07 MB/s
4K: 12.98 MB/s, 19.19 MB/s
64Thrd: 16.57 MB/s,, 16.54 MB/s
Acc Time: 0.369 ms, 0.759 ms

Whilst there was some numerical and operating improvement, the performance problems remain. The issue appears to be one of compatibility with older hardware, and this is were Crucial have been especially duplicitous. The V4 is marketed as an upgrade for older, legacy systems that are pre-SATA III, such as Windows XP (my OS). However, XP was released before the AHCI driver architecture on with SSDs rely was in place. This driver allows a PATA/IDE hard disc controller to interface properly with the SSD -- without this driver, the SSD only runs in IDE mode, which is fine for spinning platter HDDs, but is the performance kiss-of-death for a SSD. This AHCI driver cannot be retrofitted into a Windows installation, and requires a reinstallation of the OS to effect. Is this Crucial's fault? Absolutely, because they sell this drive imaging kit for those who wish to image their current drive -- and all its settings -- for whatever reason (in my case, because I no longer have all the software I would need to reinstall after a fresh OS install). Even if you go down this road, it is far from certain that AHCI will be available as a BIOS option for many older machines (it isn't for my 6-yr old Vaio), so Crucial are advertising compatibility (guaranteed) and performance gains for this device, when it is ultimately incompatible and provides substantial performance losses once installed. So what are Crucial playing at? After my experience with this device it seems fairly clear that they had a large quantity of superseded (by SATA III) SSDs that they could no longer sell in today's market for today's hardware, so they hit upon the idea of making it an upgrade for legacy hardware systems -- hardware and operating systems that the device is fundamentally unsuited for.

After 60 hrs use, the device has degraded substantially to the benchmark results shown below (I'd be surprised if it lasts 3 months at this rate):

Seq: 70.32 MB/s, 17.02 MB/s
4K: 10.74 MB/s, 5.79 MB/s
64Thrd: 14.72 MB/s,, 3.45 MB/s
Acc Time: 0.420 ms, 0.315 ms

For what it's worth, the faster boot-up time that all SSDs offer is also not an option with the V4. For legacy systems without the TRIM sector management option of modern OSs like Windows 7 and 8, the SSD performs a process called 'garbage collection' to delete all the partial file write fragments left by these devices. Guess when the Crucial V4 does its collection? That's right, at startup. For the first 15 mins or so after boot (which now takes five times longer than it did with my HDD), the laptop is effectively useless -- even starting MS Word takes minutes, and I have to put the laptop down and do something else until the SSD resumes its depressingly sub-normal operation.

Whether it's the AHCI driver incompatibility, a poor onboard controller on the Crucial V4, lousy SRAM on the SSD or a combination of all three, I cannot say. What I can say is that this device is nothing more than jumped-up junk with zero after-sales service foisted on an unsuspecting public.


If you must buy this device, be aware that whilst Crucial will guarantee it's compatibility, this is only electrical and mechanical -- it will fit the slot and power-up, but whether it then runs like a lame dog is down to pot luck regarding the machine that you're putting it into. For my part, I'm going to purchase from a competitor (although i don't know if all such SSDs will behave the same under IDE shackles) and use the Crucial as an outsize USB file-storage device (as the SATA to usb connector that is used for the imaging allows the drive to show up in Explorer as an external drive).

If you must have an SSD, I would honestly recommend that you buy elsewhere.

Dave Page, London

UPDATE: Of all that I have tried to get some performance out of this SSD, by far the best (and that isn't saying much) is to disable 'linked power management' (LPM) in the Registry. So far, having done this, the constant freezing appears to have abated, although the mediocre read/write performance remains. If you already own this SSD and would like to try this fix, Google 'disable LPM SSD Zoorki (the later being the profile name of the German chap on the Crucial Forum who figured this one out, and who has a few words of his own to add about the company). Before you do this, make a new Restore Point in XP, but it went like clockwork for me...
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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 30 Jan 2013 13:25:50 GMT
J. Martin says:
Thanks for detailed review, will avoid this ssd.

To go back to your old HD, couldn't you just shrink the partitions you're interested in and copy them over, using a lubuntu boot cd?

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Feb 2013 16:14:41 GMT
davip says:
Thanks for the suggestion, but I am far from clear on how to reverse the 4k-sector write before I go back to the HDD. Moreover, I bought an SSD principally to avoid the prospect of HDD crash of a disk whose contents I cannot replace, so I must stick with what I have. I will try another maker's SSD when prices fall further and use the Crucial as a USB storage drive.

Posted on 15 Aug 2014 12:22:50 BDT
M. Bhatti says:
I can absolutely second this reviewer's experience. This hard drive is a piece of junk. Do not buy for the sake of your sanity.
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