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Crucial M4 256GB SSD Review (C400)

Rating: 8.0.

When Crucial released the C300 series of Solid State Drives last year they outperformed anything else available at the time. With read speeds around 340MB/s the Sandforce drives had a serious performance disadvantage, only offering around 280MB/s. The market today is in a very different state and the new SATA 6bps Crucial M4 has to compete against the stunningly good Sandforce 2281 controller featuring in OCZ, Corsair and ADATA drives.

One of the benefits of the Crucial solid state drives has always been the fact they don’t rely on compression algorithms to achieve the maximum rated levels of performance whereas Sandforce drives are heavily tied into compressible data techniques. With an updated Marvell controller, the latest Crucial M4 drive should mark a serious attack against the Sandforce drives, but is it enough?

Quick overview:

  • Groundbreaking SATA SSD performance
  • Read speeds up to 415MB/s
  • Second-generation SATA 6Gb/s w/ Native Command Queuing (3Gb/s backward compatible)

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  • Rupert

    Im curious, and no one has ever explained this really well, when would compressible and incompressible data make a difference, isnt ‘windows’ code all compressible data regardless?

  • Yedernt

    Sandforce is really in a league of its own right now.

  • Ned

    I always liked crucial, their website is great too which has helped my family in the past when they are looking for upgrades. the scanning capability.

  • Roger

    Rumors right now that Sandforce 2281 has some quality control issues, until this is cleared up this might be a better bet. always had a problem with sandforce quality control. Crucial will never have that problem.

  • Trevor

    Intel and Crucial just cant compete with SF. they are miles ahead.

  • Lindis

    I agree, a small price drop would Be a good move for crucial

  • Davis

    Sandforce is great but this is a good option, just not quite as quick, most people wouldnt notice

  • xer0

    Chances are you are using the Intel RST 10.1 drivers (and/or earlier versions). It is buggy when used in conjunction with the M4 and particular firmware because of a buggy Link Power Management setting that is enabled by default by Intel. This is most apparent by the no-score for gaming in Vantage. This Intel driver issue “will” also adversely affect other M4 benchmark scores, even when it’s not readily apparent.

    There are four ways to fix it that I’m aware of:
    1.(this one worked for me in lab troubleshooting before I knew it was a LPM driver issue) Go into device manager and change to MSAHCI driver, reboot, and then change back to Intel RST driver and reboot again.
    2. Upgrade to latest rev firmware
    3. Manually edit LPM registry lines. You’ll have to look up the exact registry enries as I can’t remember them off hand.
    4. Use Intel RST 10.5+ driver versions (available from numerous sources, but probably not WHQL certified yet).

  • jack

    >While the M4 256GB is clearly ahead of the previous generation C300 drives, it is fair
    >to say that it has a tough time competing against the latest Sandforce 2281 powered
    >solid state drives.

    This is late in the game, but I fail to see the “clearly ahead” of the C300 proof when you are comparing a 256G C4 to a 64G C300… the smaller drives are significantly slower than the larger ones, so this is truly NOT a fair comparison. I hope you are comparing apples to apples in current reviews, but I arrived here mainly hoping to find a comparison of the C300 to the newer M4.

  • Its a very old review Jack. there are much more indepth comparisons now in the SSD reviews.