Specifications, Pricing and Availability
In an effort to gather as much information we could on the new Crucial m4 we turned to Micron's website and started with C400 information. On the OEM side of things Micron is already delivering C400 branded products in capacities of 64GB, 128GB, 256GB and the massive 512GB. Micron also appears to have 1.8" and 2.5" models of the C400.
Crucial m4 information was a little more limited at the time of writing, but that will change when we get to April when Crucial starts waving the m4 around for those looking to trade green for high speed blue. At this time we are really not sure how much green it will take to get some high speed blue, but we will let you know as soon as the information comes our way. What we do have, though, is the baseline for which most SSDs will be measured in 2011 in both performance and pricing, since OCZ has already announced their Vertex 3 pricing; 250 USD for their 120GB model and an even 500 USD for their 240GB. For now we are going to leave pricing out of the mix, though, since you can't buy either drive at this time. On the shoot-out side of things the Intel 510 Series and Corsair Performance 3 are both widely available, but both cost more than the quoted Vertex 3 numbers.
As you can see, the Crucial m4 is going to have more competition this year with more companies being given the opportunity to produce products based on Marvell's controller designs. In 2010 it was pretty much Crucial verse Team SandForce, but in 2011 it is Crucial vs. Team SandForce vs. Team Marvell with BKK2 products.
In 2010 the drive to purchase in 240-256GB capacity was the Crucial C300. The drive outperformed the Team SandForce offerings in this capacity size as long as you purchased a SATA 6G motherboard to take full advantage of the high speed abilities offered only on the RealSSD C300 in 2010. In 2011 SATA 6G will have a high adaption rate with Intel P67 motherboards shipping with native SATA 6G built in.
Crucial's m4 will carry a 415MB/s read speed across the board in all capacity sizes. This includes the 64GB model, but write speeds will vary depending on the capacity. The flagship 512GB and 256GB drives share the same 260MB/s write speeds, but the 128GB model dips down to 175MB/s and the 64GB model dips even lower, to just 95MB/s. The write speed reductions with the lower capacity sizes left us a little gun shy with the C300 at 64GB and 128GB sizes, but Crucial has increased their write speeds up from 75MB/s for the 64GB and 140MB/s for the 128GB C300.
The m4 has increased the read and write MB/s, but the read IOPS performance has gone the other way. The C300 shipped with a claimed 60K read IOPS, but the new m4 is only rated at 40K. Write IOPS on the other hand have been increased to 50K for the flagship 512GB and 256GB, up from 45K. The 128GB capacity size will also receive an increase of 5K IOPS from the C300, now up to 35K with the m4.
Let's catch up to the benchmark only readers.