The Crucial m4 256 GB drive ends up with 238 GB available to the user in Windows. According to the specifications provided by Crucial, the number of available bytes is 256,186,209,271 which, in terms of hardware, rounds to 256 GB but in logical measure it’s 238 GiB.
When all is said and done, our overall impressions are mixed. While the m4 displayed some of the best scores on random writes we’ve seen on this generation of drives, we would like to see the sequential scores closer to what we saw with the Intel 510 Series drives. After all, they are essentially running the same hardware but the m4 is officially topping out at 415 MB/s reads and 260 MB/s writes where the Intel drives are markedly higher. That being said, the random read/writes are probably where most users will see their time spent so that’s a plus and we’d love to see a pair of these in a RAID 0 configuration. To round it out, they did make nice improvements upon the previous generation drive’s performance using the same controller along with moving to the 25nm NAND and maintaining the same 6Gbps interface.
Long term performance is expected to be very good assuming the drive is running on an OS that supports TRIM as garbage collection is not as aggressive as we’ve seen on other drives. The aforementioned 25nm NAND is expected to last an average of 3,000 PE cycles and Crucial rates the NAND endurance for drives 128 GB and above for 40GB writes per day for 5 years. Knowing engineers, this is likely a conservative estimate. Crucial does offer a 3 year warranty against defects which is pretty standard these days.
While we know the capacities of the m4 drives will begin at 64 GB and continue with 128 GB, 256 GB, and up to 512 GB, we don’t have pricing as of yet. With others such as Intel, Plextor and Corsair utilizing the same controller, we would expect pricing to be comparable in order to be competitive in the marketplace which is critical as consumers are still very cost conscious. Crucial finalized pricing this week, so 64 GB, 128 GB, 256 GB and 512 GB SSD’s will retail for $129.99, $249.99, $499.99 and $999.99, respectively, which makes sense as it puts it slightly above what we see online for the C300 drives. We’ll know soon enough as they plan to ship this month.
Legit Bottom Line: Crucial and Micron have partnered to do a nice job of upgrading from their previous offering with the m4/C400 series of drives while leveraging the same Marvell controller. However, they face stiff competition from others using comparable hardware in addition to the SandForce drives that will be hitting the market.