Crucial M4 512GB SATA 3 SSD Review – Top Tier Performance at an Unmatched Price
Our review today is going to focus on the Crucial M4 512GB SSD and the most noteworthy thing about this SSD needs to be said right off.
At under $1000, it sells for almost half of that of competitor new generation SATA 3 SSDs and its performance easily ranks it amongst the best in Gen 2 top tier 6Gbps solid state drives available today.
Its PCMark Vantage benchmark even trumps that of the 256GB M4 that we reviewed previously.
Our first hint of the M4 512GB SSD came in January when we visited Crucial at CES in Las Vegas. Kelly Sasso, Media Relations Manager for Crucial Technology, and Justin Sykes, Director of SSD Marketing at Micron, spoke of their upcoming release of SATA 3 SSDs that would not only create a new price point for SSDs, but also, maintain a performance level that would be attractive to the consumer. As unexpected as it was, the response to our Crucial M4 256GB SSD review was the highest we had seen to date and demonstrated the consumer interest with respect to SATA 3 and, more specifically, Crucials new entry into the SATA 3 SSD arena.
The 512GB M4 SSD suggested retail price is $999.99 but we found it as low as $882.95 through a quick internet search. This brings the price point of this M4 to $1.72/GB which is pretty much unheard of as all other SSD manufacturers throw a steep premium on high capacity SSDs as a result of their cost for higher capacity 32GB NAND flash memory chips. While ‘the other guy’ can be found on NewEgg at a price point of $3.95/GB, the price point of the 512GB M4 even dips below that of the 256GB version ($1.94/GB) which is great.
Performance specifications for the 512GB M4 list high sequential disk access as 415MB/s read and 260MB/s write with 50, 000 IOPS at 4k aligned. The model we are testing is CT512M4SSD2 and the industry seems to have recognized that Crucial/Micron has been able to pull off what no other has with the Marvell controller, simply through fine tuning of their own Micron NAND flash memory.
The heart of the Crucial M4 is the single chip eight channel Marvell 9174 6Gbps controller and it contains 16 modules of Micron 16GB 25nm NAND flash memory (29F256G08CJAAB). It is quite possible that few others may be able to match the price point simply because this memory is built in house.
The raw capacity of the M4 is 16 x 16GB chips which comes to 256GB. Once formatted, this SSD leaves 477GB available for consumer use. There are also two Micron D9LGQ 128MB cache modules on either side of the PCB for a total of 256MB of on board cache.
Crucial also provides a 3 year limited warranty and, with a little digging, we were able to find a video on the new line by Justin Sykes. To assist, the Crucial M4 and Micron C400 SSD are 100% identical products except for the exterior sticker. Crucial serves the consumer side while Micron concentrates on enterprise and oem sales.