Crucial v4 (256GB) Review

by Kristian Vättö on 11/22/2012 1:01 PM EST
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  • beginner99 - Thursday, November 22, 2012 - link

    or 1 TB version for cheap would be available this would make sense in a laptop. But at these small capacities and the performance, it is just not recommendable. I mean my intel G2 beats it in every aspect except write. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Thursday, November 22, 2012 - link

    Yeah, pretty much my opinion, too. I've been looking to upgrade to a new SSD for a while. The Crucial v4 is sometimes cheaper, but not by much (10-20 € compared to decent SATA 6Gb/s drives), so that it isn't really worth it to me, even if all I have at the moment are SATA 3Gb/s controllers. :) Reply
  • Wolfpup - Thursday, December 13, 2012 - link

    Glad I saw this review, I was expecting it to be so different from the M4. Personally I'd just go for an M4. Intel's 320 series is IMO one of the best drives on the market too, but it's just too expensive versus the M4. 520 is Sandforce...kinda bug fixed Sandforce but still.... Reply
  • WooDaddy - Thursday, November 22, 2012 - link

    I'm somewhat speechless at how horrible the performance of this SSD is for a NEW product.

    Kristian, IF you have the time, could you add the Velociraptor to the charts or just do a side-by-side comparison? There has to be some saving grace for this drive. I know you mentioned an order of magnitude better, but considering the rest of the field is 2x - 3x better in virtually every way, maybe it's still worth it over a traditional HDD. Maybe even a comparison against a hybrid drive like the Momentus XT as well.
    Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Thursday, November 22, 2012 - link

    600GB VelociRaptor is included in some graphs but not all since we haven't run all tests on the VelociRaptor (e.g. increasing QD doesn't affect performance, so there is no need for a separate QD32 random write test).

    The best tool for comparison, as always, is our Bench: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/669?vs=182
    Reply
  • jordanclock - Thursday, November 22, 2012 - link

    The Bench tool is meant for just that kind of request. Reply
  • beginner99 - Thursday, November 22, 2012 - link

    As you can see that comparison just shows how crappy hdds actually are. Even this POS is easy 10x faster in random write and 100x in random read... Reply
  • hnzw rui - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    Theoretical benches, sure. However, on the AnandTech 2010 Storage Bench, the VelociRaptor didn't perform as badly compared to an X25-M as the random 4K performance numbers would imply. I think a couple of mechanical drives (e.g. VelociRaptor and a standard 7200RPM HDD) should be benchmarked using the 2011 AnandTech Storage Bench and added to the bench tool for use as reference. Reply
  • Bubon - Thursday, November 22, 2012 - link

    I am dissapointed. Older m4 is still better than the newer v4. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Thursday, November 22, 2012 - link

    The newer v4 isn't meant as a replacement. That comment is like saying "my GTX 580 is still faster than the newer GT 640, damn!".... Reply
  • mattdobs - Thursday, November 22, 2012 - link

    Sounds like Crucial needs to buy OCZ's Indilinx controller to make a wining drive. Reply
  • extide - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    Uhhhh.... I don't think you get the point of this drive.... And they should definitely not buy an OCZ controller. Reply
  • Beenthere - Thursday, November 22, 2012 - link

    Almost no one could ever actually tell the performance difference between any SATA 2 vs. any SATA 3 SSD in actual use, unless you run the benches - which may be inaccurate as we see with compressible data and SandForce controllers. I suspect SSD makers have also learned how to inflate the numbers just as GPU makes have.

    That being said there is a price point at which people will buy anything they perceive is of value. ~$100 for an ~128 GB. SSD is enough for many people to buy. Quite frankly only a small percentage of consumers acuti\ully need a large capacity SSD/HDD. Most folks can get buy with 60-128 GB. capacity but naive consumers have been programmed to believe they need a 500 GB. drive. Few people do but when you can buy a 500 GB. HDD for $100 many people take the bait.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Thursday, November 22, 2012 - link

    "Few people do but when you can buy a 500 GB. HDD for $100 many people take the bait."

    How do you know what people need ? You don't.

    At any rate. I'd say many people who feel they need a SSD for $100 are swallowing the bait. hook, line and sinker. Until prices drop significantly. There are many reasons why to opt for more storage versus performance. Very few productive applications take advantage of that much disk performance. Unless you will propose that running multiple SSD's in one large RAID array to play the latest greatest game is something most consumers do . . . Or sit and stare at how fast windows boots.

    See, most people have a life that does not revolve around computers. Novel idea I know. Then when they do use a computer, they generally do not care if it takes a few extra seconds to load something from disk. But they *do* care if the disk they use wont hold their family pictures, videos, or audio collection.

    Also, you can buy a good 1TB 2.5" HDD for less than $100 now days . . .
    Reply
  • Chaser - Thursday, November 22, 2012 - link

    Anandtech consistently recommends not filling a SSD to capacity and leaving a portion of it unused for performance purposes. So for me I go with a 240GB SSD so that I don't have to "swap out" games. Yes I want higher performance in gaming with zone/instance loading etc.

    I ALSO use a 500GB magnetic drive as my media drive for docs, pics, music, data in general.

    So this is what I NEED and enjoy using.
    Reply
  • Zanegray - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    "Very few productive applications take advantage of that much disk performance. Unless you will propose that running multiple SSD's in one large RAID array to play the latest greatest game is something most consumers do . . . Or sit and stare at how fast windows boots."

    Honest question, have you used an ssd before? Because your post sounds like you've never touched one. Boot times are not the reason I run an ssd. I run an ssd because nearly every application benefits - from app start up to saving a file to browsing the file system to caches (you must use an Internet browser). SSD's are the new client side storage paradigm and until you realize that you are stuck in the past.
    Reply
  • Beenthere - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    SSDs are an "immature technology" as Anand has stated. While they can offer improved performance over a HDD, they still have teething issues in many cases. Until all of the Bugs are resolved, a lot of people will wait to upgrade as the hassles aren't worth the modest performance gain, based on my testing. Reply
  • extide - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    Sadly, you are doing it wrong if you are only getting a moderate performance increase. Terribly wrong :/ Reply
  • hp79 - Sunday, November 25, 2012 - link

    I only have one comment for you. You must be stuck in 2007. Reply
  • erple2 - Sunday, November 25, 2012 - link

    I think that you're right. The average consumer doesn't want the hassle of trying to remember where they put thing on which drive, plus have to manage the hassle of 2 drives. So until these are cheap at about 500 gigs (~$200), were stuck with the false promise of 120 gig ssd's.

    I have a laptop with a 160gig ssd plus a 250gig spindle drive, and I gave up on the general hassle of remembering what goes where and where I put things. I had to go to the internet to figure out "esoteric" windows CLI utilities to move my user profile to the magnetic drive (how freaking hard, Redmond, is it to mimic 'ln -s source destination'?????? Why are files treated any different than directories?????). And I'd consider myself a much more patient (and advanced) user than ordinary consumers. I now just do the uninstall/reinstall swap instead.

    I suppose that I mostly blame steam, but that's not fair for the finger pointing share.
    Reply
  • andrejg - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    I thought the same until - I had two PC's of similar capacity with windows 8 side by side. One had Samsung SSD 830 256 and the other had Crucial v4 128.
    Difference was noticable, from start/boot to installations and other operations. They are both very good comparing to HDD, but Samsung rocks and Crucial is only faster than HDD.
    Reply
  • supercoffee - Thursday, November 22, 2012 - link

    I'm no expert, but I thought SSD read performance was generally always higher than write performance. If this is the case, then the average read and write speed charts on the Storage bench 2011 page are wrong and should be fixed. Thanks. Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    When you read data, you have to fetch it from the actual NAND. When writing, you can first cache the data and write it to NAND at a later date (works well with small IOs as they can then be combined to increase throughput). Writing to a cache is extremely fast and hence write speeds are often higher.

    Sequential read speed at bigger IO sizes is definitely higher, but most of the actual usage IOs are somewhat random and small in size. Big sequential IOs are easy to read because you get the benefit of multiple dies but the smaller the IO and queue depth, the less interleaving can be done. For example, 4KB random read at QD1 is often limited by NAND bandwidth because you can only read from one NAND die at the time, which isn't all that fast.
    Reply
  • iwod - Thursday, November 22, 2012 - link

    I mean the majority of cost for SSD goes to the NAND, there is no point trying to save a dollar or two and offer such inferior product, Those who are going to spend $100 and buy comparatively expensive HDD replacement would not have cared about the $10 dollars difference if it offer something like 5x less performance.

    Those who only owns a SATA 1 / 2 Port would have wanted a much faster SSD now for so they could get faster performance if they upgraded their MB.

    So in reality this strange line of product is aiming squarely at those who have absolutely no clue about SSD performance or OEMs builders who could simply rip more off from customers.

    The only niche i think this fits in are PATA, UATA port, where old computers could immensely benefits from SSD.
    Reply
  • kmmatney - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    What this review is sorely lacking is any sort of real-life experience with the drive. Does it still "feel" like an SSD in actual use? Does windows boot up fast? I'd buy a lower performing Crucial SSD over a faster OCZ drive, as long as itis "fast enough". Reply
  • toine_r - Saturday, November 24, 2012 - link

    Unfortunately, I bought one (the 128Gb version) before this article has been published (17-11-2012).
    I strongly suggest buying another "real" SSD, because this one is not fast enough for day to day use, even for replacing a HDD.
    I replaced a 5400rpm HDD with it on a netbook running Ubuntu, and the SDD was slower than the HDD for some operations (typically, installing packages and applications took hours on the SSD).
    Experience on windows may be better, but its probably safer to buy another one.
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    I love Crucial's stuff and would easily recommend the m4 personally, but...

    This has to be one of the worst products we've reviewed all year. I'm kind of in awe of how terrible it really is, the only way you could justify it compared to what else is available is to sell it at half the cost of any other SSD with comparable capacity.
    Reply
  • cjs150 - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    Great response Dustin - I only which I had written it. Reply
  • KAlmquist - Saturday, November 24, 2012 - link

    With a metal case (instead of plastic) and synchronous NAND (instead of asynchronous) it's like Crucial wasn't even trying to hit a price point where an SSD with the Phison controller would make sense. Reply
  • Impulses - Wednesday, November 28, 2012 - link

    As brutal as the review was, it was still too kind! The first budget SSD that one of the major players put out (Intel's X25-V) still manages random read/write performance that's about 3x faster! Granted that drive had abysmal sequential writes (as bad as a bad 5,400 drive), but it'd still make a better OS drive (provided you could live with 40GB!). Reply
  • Lone Ranger - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    On page two, you state that you are surprised to only find 8 packages on the board despite finding room for 16. In the next paragraph you state that the controller supports 8 channels. Is it possible to "gang" two packages together to one controller channel? If not, the controller is the reason that 16 packages aren't used. Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    The controller supports up to 32 NAND packages (i.e. 4 per channel). Pretty much all consumer-grade controllers have eight channels but support more than one package per channel Reply
  • Lone Ranger - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    Thanks for the clarification. Reply
  • creed3020 - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    I stopped reading at Phison PS3105...

    Most people who know SSDs understand their controllers are useless even in a low end product.
    Reply
  • Pessimism - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    Phison is the new JMicron. Reply
  • tjoynt - Saturday, November 24, 2012 - link

    We spend so much time looking at the upper range of prrformance, it's nice to get a lower bound, too. :)
    It also demonstrates just how important a good controller is and how hard it is to make one. Also gives me a better idea of why usb flash drives and most devices with flash have so much lower performance than SSDs. Any one know what the cost differential is between a Psion and a Sandforce or Indilinx or Samsung?
    Reply
  • infoilrator - Saturday, November 24, 2012 - link

    The article implied about $10 more buys a better controller. I do not know where firmware vs hardware may make a difference.
    Crucual will sell these on the basis of its M4 reputation. Unfortunately I believe it will leave a large number of customers unset with crucial.

    I do not want one at any price (hey, i found way better prices.

    Would RAID0 help these any?
    Reply
  • jack.fxx - Monday, November 26, 2012 - link

    Well, even though benchmark results of V4 are considerably lower than other contemporary SSDs, it still is decent SSD. For example Windows boot time of V4 is the same as any other SSD (see http://www.legitreviews.com/article/2010/6/ ) , average user won't notice any difference between Samsung 840 Pro and V4.

    Benchmark results are pretty much useless when comparing desktop SSDs, because SSD drives in desktops/laptops are at least 99% of time idle, which means that 2x faster SSD will improve performace of your system at most by 0.5%.
    Reply
  • crimson117 - Monday, November 26, 2012 - link

    Casual users have gotten used to having 500GB, or 1TB of hard drive space, but few will use more than a small fraction of that capacity.

    A $99 128GB drive is perfect for most users and they don't realize what they're missing!
    Reply
  • JonnyDough - Monday, November 26, 2012 - link

    At its current price, the Crucial V4 is not a good deal. However, Crucial is one of the few PC component manufacturers based in the USA (they employ American's as well) so when it comes to purchases for SSDs and RAM I often go with them or Kingston. Reply
  • andrejg - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    For my HP635 notebook with AMD E450 chipset/platform. It turned out, that it is incompatible with notebook. Tried all kinds of tricks, from FW updates/upgrades... SSD just sometimes , not allways, didn't work properly at boot, showing boot sector problems and errors. The same SSD works very good in a desktop. Anyway, it is priced too high to be worth considering, since you can get Intel 330 or Samsung 830 for couple of euros more, but with much much higher speeds and with latest SATA speed.
    Oh, and before giving up I really spent many days in front of google, forums, support pages from HP and Crucial etc. What is funny is, that this very HP635 is stated as supportedfor a v4 128 on a Crucial web site...
    Reply
  • jack.fxx - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    The SSD you bought is probably faulty and you should ask for replacement. Even if it's not faulty, it still doesn't work as specified. Reply
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  • legalsuit - Wednesday, October 23, 2013 - link

    So I bought a Crucial v4 128gb to use in my PC laptop. It was slower than the hdd, so I moved it to a desktop... still too slow... then finally as a last ditch effort, I threw into an old 2006 Mac Book Pro (A1150). Wow, it worked perfectly.

    Just goes to show. Old tech and old tech make a happy marriage. And don't get this if you have anything newer, just won't work right.
    Reply

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