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Crucial M4 256GB Update: The Power of Firmware

Author: AkG
Date: September 7, 2011
Product Name: Crucial M4 256GB
Part Number: CT256M4SSD2
Warranty: 3 Years
Purchase at NCIX: | UK
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Crystal DiskMark


Crystal DiskMark is designed to quickly test the performance of your hard drives. Currently, the program allows to measure sequential and random read/write speeds; and allows you to set the number of tests iterations to run. We left the number of tests at 5 and size at 100MB.




When it comes to Crystal DiskMark and the M4ís read performance we are seeing an across the board increase which varies from small (4K single queue depth) to moderate (4K 32 queue depth) to drastic (512 and sequential). Sadly, on the write side of things most of the improvements are more minor in nature and more what we have come to expect from one firmware revision to the next.


PCMark 7


While there are numerous suites of tests that make up PCMark 7, only one is pertinent: the HDD Suite. The HDD Suite consists of numerous tests that try and replicate real world drive usage. Everything from how long a simulated virus scan takes to complete, to MS Vista start up time to game load time is tested in these core tests; however we do not consider this anything other than just another suite of synthetic tests. For this reason, while each test is scored individually we have opted to include only the overall score.



As with Crystal Diskmark it used to be impossible to see PCMark 7 averages go up this much from one firmware revision to the next. Crucial seems to have taken what was a very good drive and turned it into a great alternative to SF2281 SSDs.


Access Time


To obtain an accurate reading on the read and write latency of a given drive, AS-SSD was used for this benchmark. A low number means that the driveís data can be accessed quickly while a high number means that more time is taken trying to access different parts of the drive.



It seems in our sample the firmware caused the M4ís read latency to decrease (i.e. improves) but the write latency actually goes up by an infinitesimal amount. This is not always the case and we have seen credible reports of an across the board latency decrease.
 
 
 

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