Introduction

The biggest reason why SSDs have not become truly mainstream (yet) is price. While prices have come down significantly over the last year, you are are still paying roughly $0.75 per GB, whereas hard drives can usually bought for less than $0.10 per GB. For an enthusiast, it shouldn’t be a problem to pay up to ten times more per GB if it yields significantly better performance, but the consumer market is much harder to convince. Most aren’t ready spend hundreds of dollars on a single component, especially if there is a cheaper alternative that is sufficient. In this case, hard drives also offer more capacity, which can make it very hard for consumers to understand the benefits of an SSD.

Besides price, there is another problem. Most SSDs sold today are SATA 6Gbps but the vast majority of computers are only compatible with older and slower SATA 1.5Gbps and 3Gbps standards. That means consumers who don’t have a SATA 6Gbps compatible computer will not be able to take advantage of the extra IO bandwidth that the SATA 6Gbps SSDs offer, and it may feel pointless to pay for something you can’t use. Of course, there are previous generation SSDs that are SATA 3Gbps but they aren’t necessarily cheaper due to the use of more expensive NAND (2Xnm vs 3Xnm).

However, almost any SSD is faster than a traditional hard drive, be that 2.5” 5400RPM, 3.5” 7200RPM or even a 10,000RPM VelcoiRaptor. Crucial sees that there is a market for low-end SSDs, which are not as fast as today’s fastest drives but offer a more affordable $/GB ratio. The v4 SSD is specifically targeted at consumers with SATA 3Gbps and due to the usage of a cheaper controller, Crucial was able to price the drive below its 6Gbps counterparts...but is it priced low enough to really sell?

Crucial v4 Specifications
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

Performance wise the v4 is significantly behind SATA 6Gbps SSDs. Sequential speeds are actually fairly normal for SATA 3Gbps SSDs but random speeds are awful to get straight to the point. Even the Intel SSD 320 has three to four times higher random read/write speeds and it's a year and a half old drive, so the random performance is really not good by today's standards. We'll soon see how the random speeds impact real world performance, but the specs aren't overwhelming.

NewEgg Price Comparison (11/22/2012)
Capacity 32GB 60/64GB 120/128GB 240/256GB
Crucial v4 $50 $65 $85 $160
Crucial m4 N/A $73 $110 $200
Samsung 830 N/A $70 $104 $200
Intel SSD 330 N/A $70 $104 $140
Plextor M5S N/A $50 $110 $200
OCZ Vertex 4 N/A $80 $75 $160
OCZ Agility 4 N/A $75 $95 $165
Mushkin Enhanced Chronos N/A $65 $100 $165

As for the pricing, the v4 is cheaper compared to it's big brother m4 but there are other, faster SSDs that offer similar pricing. For example the Mushkin Enhanced Chronos is only $5-15 more expensive depending on the capacity and there are others such as Kingston SSDNow V+200 and OCZ Agility 3 that are priced equivalently. Samsung's 830 drives are also regularly on sale, and we've seen the 128GB drive go for as little as $85 with the 256GB now routinely on sale for $170 or so (or $190 for the kit). Even if you're stuck with a 3Gbps SATA connection, it's a safe bet that $5 to $10 more will get you much better performance. How much better? We'll get to that on page three....

The Drive
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  • beginner99 - Thursday, November 22, 2012 - link

    or 1 TB version for cheap would be available this would make sense in a laptop. But at these small capacities and the performance, it is just not recommendable. I mean my intel G2 beats it in every aspect except write. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Thursday, November 22, 2012 - link

    Yeah, pretty much my opinion, too. I've been looking to upgrade to a new SSD for a while. The Crucial v4 is sometimes cheaper, but not by much (10-20 € compared to decent SATA 6Gb/s drives), so that it isn't really worth it to me, even if all I have at the moment are SATA 3Gb/s controllers. :) Reply
  • Wolfpup - Thursday, December 13, 2012 - link

    Glad I saw this review, I was expecting it to be so different from the M4. Personally I'd just go for an M4. Intel's 320 series is IMO one of the best drives on the market too, but it's just too expensive versus the M4. 520 is Sandforce...kinda bug fixed Sandforce but still.... Reply
  • WooDaddy - Thursday, November 22, 2012 - link

    I'm somewhat speechless at how horrible the performance of this SSD is for a NEW product.

    Kristian, IF you have the time, could you add the Velociraptor to the charts or just do a side-by-side comparison? There has to be some saving grace for this drive. I know you mentioned an order of magnitude better, but considering the rest of the field is 2x - 3x better in virtually every way, maybe it's still worth it over a traditional HDD. Maybe even a comparison against a hybrid drive like the Momentus XT as well.
    Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Thursday, November 22, 2012 - link

    600GB VelociRaptor is included in some graphs but not all since we haven't run all tests on the VelociRaptor (e.g. increasing QD doesn't affect performance, so there is no need for a separate QD32 random write test).

    The best tool for comparison, as always, is our Bench: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/669?vs=182
    Reply
  • jordanclock - Thursday, November 22, 2012 - link

    The Bench tool is meant for just that kind of request. Reply
  • beginner99 - Thursday, November 22, 2012 - link

    As you can see that comparison just shows how crappy hdds actually are. Even this POS is easy 10x faster in random write and 100x in random read... Reply
  • hnzw rui - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    Theoretical benches, sure. However, on the AnandTech 2010 Storage Bench, the VelociRaptor didn't perform as badly compared to an X25-M as the random 4K performance numbers would imply. I think a couple of mechanical drives (e.g. VelociRaptor and a standard 7200RPM HDD) should be benchmarked using the 2011 AnandTech Storage Bench and added to the bench tool for use as reference. Reply
  • Bubon - Thursday, November 22, 2012 - link

    I am dissapointed. Older m4 is still better than the newer v4. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Thursday, November 22, 2012 - link

    The newer v4 isn't meant as a replacement. That comment is like saying "my GTX 580 is still faster than the newer GT 640, damn!".... Reply

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