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Crucial m4 512GB Solid State Drive w/ the 0009 Update Review - PCMark Vantage - Drives with Data Testing

Crucial released a performance update for their m4 product line, but is it enough to displace Team SandForce on the mound?

By: | SSDs in Storage | Posted: Oct 10, 2011 6:58 am
TweakTown Rating: 92%Manufacturer: Crucial

PCMark Vantage - Drives with Data Testing


For a complete breakdown on the Drives with Data Testing please read this article. You will be able to perform this test at home with the files provided in the article - full instructions are included.



Brief Methodology


SSDs perform differently when used for a period of time and when data is already present on the drive. The purpose of the Drives with Data testing is to show how a drive performs in these 'dirty' states. SSDs also need time to recover, either with TRIM or onboard garbage collection methods.


Drives with Data Testing - 25%, 50%, 75% Full States and Dirty / Empty Test

Files needed for 60 (64GB), 120 (128GB), 240 (256GB)

60GB Fill - 15GB, 30GB, 45GB

120GB Fill - 30GB, 60GB, 90GB

240GB Fill - 60GB, 120GB, 160GB

Empty but Dirty - a test run just after the fill tests and shows if a drive needs time to recover or if performance is instantly restored.




HDD1 - Windows Defender

HDD2 - Gaming

HDD3 - Windows Photo Gallery

HDD4 - Vista Startup

HDD5 - Windows Movie Maker

HDD6 - Windows Media Center

HDD7 - Windows Media Player

HDD8 - Application Loading


Unfortunately for Crucial in 2011 and just as SSDs have improved in the last year, so have our testing methods and understanding of what's important for real world performance. This chart introduces a new drive into the mix, the OCZ Agility 3 240GB. The Agility 3 was the first SandForce SATA III drive we tested that used asynchronous flash.


On the surface the Agility 3 performed very well when compared to the Vertex 3 and other SandForce SATA III synchronous flash drives; nearly identical numbers across the board. That was until we started adding data to the drive and at that point the performance dropped rapidly.


This rapid decline in performance also takes its toll on the Crucial m4 even though the m4 uses synchronous flash. Here we see that with each drive being filled to 50% of capacity, the Crucial m4 is still slower than the OCZ Vertex 3 by a sizable amount. The m4 is faster than the Agility 3 by about the same margin, though.

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