Interesting to say the least. In the last 2 months we have seen a few very high performing SSD’s come across our path and to date only a few have endured the arduous tests we throw at them. Today is no different with Crucial’s m4 crossing the finishing line with flying colours. It goes without saying that these items have grown in maturity in the last two years with each company readily trying tremendously hard to surpass their previous generations. Firmware updates do make considerable advantages to the end user and those with confidence; should whenever possible make the effort to flash update the SSD as the updates can prove significant improvements in many ways.
The leap forward in the support of SATA 6GB/s is without a doubt a huge step in the right direction currently future proofing the end users purchase for those wishing the upgrade path at a later date to a mainboard or system that natively supports 6GB/s. It has to be noted that the drive is 3GB/s backwards compatible so once more peace of mind for those thinking ahead for the future. For those who do not have native 6GB/s SATA and wishing to upgrade there are add-in PCI-E SATA 6GB/s cards, then the item shown today has proved a sound choice indeed in showing off the SSD well. Though these cards are going through swift firmware updates to keep in tow with the SSD updates. Therefore to reiterate, update when you can to maintain overall optimal performance.
The synthetic benchmarks showed Crucial’s RealSSD coming in on their quoted figures, in some places it surpassed their expectations. Both CrystalMark 3 and the AS SSD benchmark showed how well the Crucial m4 did perform. Within Sandra 2011 we saw the m4 thunder past the C300 at great speed demonstrating the uptakes in todays modern technology. In these instances with the type of system we have shown today, this is one serious system you can readily purchase built from any good Systems Integrator. Fast is good and fast is what we want, fast is what we have shown with the aid of Supermicro’s X9SCA mainboard as the building block foundation.
Within the Miscellaneous System I/O Performance Benchmark Tests that covered both the PCMARK 7 professional and POVRAY the results were extremely close to that of Intel’s 510 Series SSD which ventured out of the stables on its first outing here. POVRAY returning an identical time with the PCMARK 7 professional only a few points behind. Though to reiterate firmware is being looked at and we are sure the next release of the m4’s firmware will possibly see a level playing field.
Moving up a league to the actual professional tests from SPEC the results shown today are pretty astonishing with huge leaps in performance by the Quadro 5000 in the more system intensive I/O tests. Though like all these tests everything has to be taken into due consideration of the rest of the supplied peripherals, as these to make a huge difference to each of the final yielded scores. SPECviewperf 11 saw some incredible leaps over our last outing with the Quadro 5000 and within the vital APC’s we see improvements across the range of these strenuous benchmarks. Therefore the Nvidia driver team have maintained pushing this to the fore and obtaining the most from its current modern architecture which still is one of the best selling cards on the market. Therefore hopefully we should see some sort of upgrade soon as Nvidia’s Fermi range is now growing in strength in many market sectors. Time will tell, until then we have to wait patiently in the wings to see what happens next.
Finally; the day belongs to Crucial and their new m4 series Solid State Drive. This has taken us by surprise with it’s phenomenal burst read speeds, and whilst like all the other SSD’s of this capacity demands a premium, its a premium worth paying to gain the ultimate in read performance. Place within the correct environment and correct components it will bring to life many systems in many sectors. Whilst we now find ourselves continually chasing and optimising the “need for speed”; Crucial have completed a superb job here with the m4 series of Solid State Drives and this is one that should be at the top of the wish list for that new build or upgrade.
Page 1 – Introduction
Page 2 – m4 in the Flesh
Page 3 – System Set -Up and Software Used
Page 4 – SiSoftware Sandra 2011 Drive Tests
Page 5 – Miscellaneous Solid State Drive Benchmark Tests
Page 6 – System I/O Tests – PCMark 7 and POVRAY
Page 7 – Miscellaneous Professional Graphic Card Benchmark Tests
Page 8 – SPECviewperf® and SPECapc™ Benchmark Tests
Page 9 – Conclusions and Award