Crucial's m4 SSD has been extremely popular. It's priced very competitively and although it's not the fastest SATA 6Gb/s SSD, its performance is still very good. Crucial has now added a new v4 model to their SSD portfolio. While the m4 is already affordable, Crucial's goal with the v4 series is to attract more mainstream users with even lower prices. To make this possible, the v4 is a 3Gbps SATA drive based on Phison's PS3105 controller.

The Phison name might not ring a bell for most people, but they have in fact been in the flash memory business for longer than many of today's big names. Phison claims that they have shipped over 500 million NAND flash controllers, but the key here is that Phison has primarily focused on making controllers for USB flash drives and memory cards. Phison has made SSD controllers for several years, too, but their offerings have never been able to really compete with other controllers in the market.

Capacity 32GB 64GB 128GB 256GB
NAND Micron 25nm synchronous MLC NAND
Controller Phison PS3105
Sequential Read 200MB/s 230MB/s 230MB/s 230MB/s
Sequential Write 60MB/s 100MB/s 175MB/s 190MB/s
4K Random Read 10K IOPS 10K IOPS 10K IOPS 10K IOPS
4K Random Write 1.2K IOPS 2.4K IOPS 4K IOPS 4K IOPS
MSRP $50 $70 $100 $190

Affordability comes at a price. While sequential performance is okay for a SATA 3Gb/s SSD, random read/write speeds are circa 2009. On paper it's still better than what hard drives offer, but not exactly what you would expect to see from a new SSD in 2012. Pricing is obviously very good, especially when noting that the prices listed in the table are suggested retail prices, which tend to be higher than final street prices. We have asked Crucial for a review sample, so stay tuned to find out if it's worth it to cheap out or pay a bit more for a faster drive.

Source: Crucial Press Release

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  • rrohbeck - Wednesday, August 01, 2012 - link

    Newegg had some amazing deals for Samsung 830s recently, e.g. the 256GB version for $190 which had a MSRP of $420-something last I looked.
    I want to beef up two machines with a SSD and this looks about right for my netbook. The laptop will get a faster drive though.
    Reply
  • Cezar` - Wednesday, August 01, 2012 - link

    Looking at the 256GB model, for the same price you get up to 48,000 IOPS 4KB Random Read and up to 85,000 IOPS 4KB Random Write from a Agility 4 SATA 3 with speeds up to 420MB/s. If it would be 50$ less... maaaaaaybe, but you must consider the fact that the controller is not a "standard" one, the performance is waaaaaaay under what you find on the market today and for about 20$ more you can get the top of the line Vertex 4 which blows everything out of the water. Just think about it before buying this. Reply
  • tonytopper - Wednesday, August 01, 2012 - link

    Per Newegg reviews, it would seem the Agility 4 has reliability issues. Reply
  • Metaluna - Wednesday, August 01, 2012 - link

    I hate being ultra-conservative when it comes to new technology, but given the history of the SSD market, I'd be *very* leery of any new chipset that hasn't had at least a year of exposure in the real world (and even then, I believe we've seen significant bugs still crop up on chipsets more than a year old). Let someone else debug the firmware and risk data loss. Reply
  • KAlmquist - Wednesday, August 08, 2012 - link

    At the moment, these drives are selling on Newegg for $47 (32GB), $70 (64GB), $100 (128GB), and $185 (256GB). Those prices are for the bare drives; if you buy a kit you pay up to $15 more. Reply
  • Scour - Sunday, August 12, 2012 - link

    Looking for a SSD with low power consumption, anyone knows how the V4 is? Reply
  • lookit77 - Monday, August 13, 2012 - link

    Plextor M3 and M3 Pro have low power consumption. The new Plextor M5 is not as low, at least with current firmware. :( Reply
  • KAlmquist - Monday, September 24, 2012 - link

    Anandtech doesn't seem to have reviewed of this drive, but they <a href="http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/669"&g... benchmarked it.</a>

    The bright point for the V4 is power consumption. It has <a href="http://www.anandtech.com/bench/SSD/305">th... lowest idle power consumption of any SSD tested on Anandtech</a>.

    As for performance, Crucial <a href="http://www.crucial.com/store/ssd.aspx">sug... the V4 for computers bought before 2011</a>, basicly meaning computers with SATA 2 rather than SATA 3, so it makes sense to compare it with older SATA 2 drives. The <a href="http://www.anandtech.com/show/2742">Indili... Barefoot controller</a> was a a serious contender against Intel's first generation SSDs back in 2009, so that seems a good place to start.

    Unfortunately, <a href="http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/669?vs=150&... V4 is slower than the Indilinx by more than a factor of 3 on both the Anandtech heave workload and the Anandtech light workload</a>. This is comparing a 128GB Indilinx against a 256GB V4, which slants the comparison in favor of the V4, but given the lopsided results that hardly matters. Looking at the synthetic benchmarks, it appears that the problem is the V4 random read performance. This is a weak spot for the Indilinx, which scored only 37.5MB/s on the Iometer 4KB random read benchmark, but the V4 gets only 10.1MB/s.

    Indilinx was <a href="http://www.anandtech.com/show/2899">clobbe... by Sandforce in 2010</a>, so there's not much to say about <a href="http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/669?vs=196&... matchup between the V4 and Sandforce's slowest controller</a>.

    Instead, we have to go back in time to before Intel entered the SSD market. Back then, you'd be happy if your SSD outperformed a mechanical hard drive, and I beliave the V4 can do that (though I don't have any mechanical hard drive benchmarks results to prove it). It's one thing to build a product designed to give you the performance you would have gotten one or two product generations ago. But the V4 taks us back to when there barely was an SSD market at all.
    Reply
  • KAlmquist - Monday, September 24, 2012 - link

    (My previous comment got messed up because the Anandtech comment system doesn't like hyperlinks. This is a repost with the hyperlinks converted to footnotes. Sorry for the duplication.)

    Anandtech doesn't seem to have reviewed of this drive, but they have benchmarked it.[1]

    The bright point for the V4 is power consumption. It has the lowest idle power consumption of any SSD tested on Anandtech.[2]

    As for performance, Crucial suggests the V4 for computers bought before 2011 [3], basicly meaning computers with SATA 2 rather than SATA 3, so it makes sense to compare it with older SATA 2 drives. The Indilinx Barefoot controller[4] was a a serious contender against Intel's first generation SSDs back in 2009, so that seems a good place to start.

    Unfortunately, the V4 is slower than the Indilinx by more than a factor of 3 on both the Anandtech heave workload and the Anandtech light workload.[5] This is comparing a 128GB Indilinx against a 256GB V4, which slants the comparison in favor of the V4, but given the lopsided results that hardly matters. Looking at the synthetic benchmarks, it appears that the problem is the V4 random read performance. This is a weak spot for the Indilinx, which scored only 37.5MB/s on the Iometer 4KB random read benchmark, but the V4 gets only 10.1MB/s.

    Indilinx was clobbered by Sandforce in 2010,[6] so there's not much to say about the matchup between the V4 and Sandforce's slowest controller.[7]

    Instead, we have to go back in time to before Intel entered the SSD market. Back then, you'd be happy if your SSD outperformed a mechanical hard drive, and I believe the V4 can do that (though I don't have any mechanical hard drive benchmarks results to prove it). It's one thing to build a product designed to give you the performance you would have gotten one or two product generations ago. But the V4 takes us back to when there barely was an SSD market at all.

    [1] http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/669

    [2] http://www.anandtech.com/bench/SSD/305

    [3] http://www.crucial.com/store/ssd.aspx

    [4] http://www.anandtech.com/show/2742

    [5] http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/669?vs=150

    [6] http://www.anandtech.com/show/2899

    [7] http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/669?vs=196
    Reply
  • v4faulty - Friday, October 25, 2013 - link

    The V4 had very BAD firmware apparently. My 256GB V4 failed after 13 months and was excruciatingly slow over time. Crucial has better firmware, I believe it came out in February, but you'll have to wipe the drive. Do it... or it will fail. Crucial sent me a refurbished M4 to replace it under warranty, so I'm getting it installed now. I suspect it will be in a different league altogether than the bad V4 with old firmware. Hope this helps anyone else unfortunate enough to have bought the V4 like me. Reply

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