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Customer Review

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
By 
This review is from: Crucial CT128M4SSD2 128GB M4 SATA III 6Gb/s MLC 2.5 Inch Internal SSD (Personal Computers)
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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Comments

Tracked by 5 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 14 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 12 Feb 2012 16:44:51 GMT
Last edited by the author on 12 Feb 2012 16:45:49 GMT
Thanks for that review - it has cleared a couple of points I was concerned about - SATA II and SATA III compatability. It is probably hidden amongst all the guff from so called professional reviews but far simpler to browse through reports by real users. Now I can take the next step - persuading 'management' indoors that it is worth the money and will save time!!

Posted on 1 Jun 2012 14:56:51 BDT
It's appreciated you took the time to write this review. Cheers

Posted on 26 Jul 2012 11:42:18 BDT
Ragsy says:
Thanks for the review very informative , incidentally did you have to download the firmware update or was it at that level when purchased ?

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Jul 2012 20:01:02 BDT
Mannu says:
Thanks for the feedback guys!
I have had to update the firmware twice. Once to 0009 and then to 0309. I would strongly recommend anyone to update their firmwares as these unlock more potential and therefore enhance the performance of your Crucial M4 SSD. Check your SSD for the firmware it came with.
With the 0009 update, performance increase was dramatic (I'm still on SATA II remember), but stability took a hit. Thankfully, Crucial came out shortly with the 0309 update which fixed the stability issue.
Even though the SSD is loaded upto 70% of its storage capacity, performance over 6 months of usage has not dipped. This speaks volumes about the great work the boffins at Crucial have done.
This is one of the best investments I have made - no two thoughts about that. :-)

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Aug 2012 02:05:55 BDT
Mannu says:
Following up to my previous post, I realised later that I have updated the firmware from 0309 to 000F. This update fixed some issues with the 0309.
Pardon the oversight. It just tells you how silently this little marvel (Crucial M4 SSD) performs!
I would like to hear your experiences with this product as well.

Posted on 19 Sep 2012 13:14:04 BDT
OT
Having read your review it seems plain to me that you know what you are talking about!
If you could give me some advice I would much appreciate it.
I am looking to use this SSD for an external drive for use with my Macbook Pro. I would like to connect using USB for ease of use. I will be putting a few thousand songs on this SSD and running my DJ software "Itch" as i do now with a standard HDD.
Your help would be great for me so i can make sure i am purchasing the correct SSD.

Many thanks

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Sep 2012 22:38:03 BDT
Mannu says:
Greetings!
It is possible to buy this SSD with a SATA-USB cable which will help you achieve what you want. You will also require a SSD case/enclosure to place in and protect your SSD - this will also make it portable. Search for "ssd case adapter" in Amazon. The search results will give you a combination of both.
Since you mention that the SSD will primarily be used for storing songs, I would recommend going for the 256GB or 512GB (depends on availability and your budget). An easy way to check how much storage capacity you require is to see how much you are using in your present HDD for storing songs.
From my experience of storing songs, even a 128GB would suffice. But the 256GB SSD shows a marginally improved performance over the 128GB.
Crucial is a great SSD and my recommendation would be the same.
Please note, while using the USB port to connect your SSD to your Macbook, the USB bandwidth and speed will be the bottleneck for SSD performance. USB 3.0 will perform better than USB 2.0.
Trust this was of help!

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Sep 2012 00:12:40 BDT
Many thanks Mannu you have been a great help and i think i will go ahead and purchase one.
Unfortunately, i don't have usb3.0 only 2, but it will be better than my 7200 HDD that i am using at present.
Thanks again
Colin

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Nov 2012 07:26:58 GMT
Last edited by the author on 26 Nov 2012 07:32:33 GMT
j s says:
Storage need will depend on whether you're following professional DJ's by using LOSSLESS files, or just an amateur DJ using LOSSY files, of course. Pro DJ's (and places like proper broadcast radio stations) use lossless files, as lossy files tend to sound bad and can distort, **especially** on loud large amplified sound systems.

As lossless files (eg. ALAC/FLAC) use around 5 times the space of lossy files (eg. MP3/AAC). ;-)

Posted on 28 Feb 2013 05:33:29 GMT
What is the advantage of storing music on an SSD? - seems like a waste of an expensive drive to me - surely you are not going to see any advantage over a normal (less expensive) hard disk?
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