The Crucial m4 needs little introduction since it is one of the two most anticipated SSDs of 2011. The truth is that most of you are planning on skipping the next handful of pages to get right to the benchmarks. Don't do that! Take everything you've already read about the Micron C400 / Crucial m4 and toss it out of your mind, because mumble - mumble - mumble isn't exactly accurate. Let me explain with swollen tongue.
The Crucial RealSSD C300 was based on the Marvell 88SS9174-BJP2 controller. To my knowledge the C300 was the only SSD based on this controller and it was available with both Marvell and Crucial branding. Fast forward to June 2010; at Computex we were given the ADATA S501 to play with for a couple of days, another SATA 6G Marvell controlled drive that used the 88SS9174-BKK2 controller. The BKK2 is now being used in the retail ADATA S501 that is available in very limited quantities, the new Intel 510 Series, Plextor PX-xxxM2S and Corsair Performance 3 Series.
The new BKK2 revision of the 88SS9174 is very different than what was found in the RealSSD C300. Both controllers have their strengths and weaknesses, something we will talk more about in the conclusion of this preview.
The latest version of the 88SS9174 controller is the BLD2 and that is what Crucial has employed for the new m4. We've had just two days to try and unravel the new 88SS9174-BLD2 with a single example of this controller. Our sample drive is not a retail product and comes in the form of an OEM style Micron C400 with a Crucial label attached. The M400 is the exact same hardware, programming and firmware as the Crucial m4 and our testing has indicated that this will be the first retail m4 drive that will hit the market in April.
So, what makes the Crucial m4 different than the Intel, LiteON + partners BKK2 drives? That is what we are here to find out. Let's go!