The Crucial v4

Overall the drive shares a design similar to the m4, though the two are not alike. Even though the v4 is a budget SSD, the case is made out of metal.

The v4 packaging doesn't include any fancy add-ons: There is the drive and mounting screws.

Since Crucial is a subsidiary of Micron, it’s not surprising to find Micron’s NAND inside the v4. What is a bit surprising is that Crucial has opted to use only eight NAND packages in the 256GB model, even though there are sixteen NAND sockets on the PCB. Each package works out to be 32GB (4x 8GB die) and are manufactured using IMFT’s 25nm process. As the v4 is a budget and “stock cleaning” model, I wouldn’t be surprised to see varying NAND configurations even among the same capacities. If there is more demand for 32GB packages, Micron may opt for sixteen 16GB packages instead to be able to clear 25nm NAND stocks as efficiently as possible.

The Phison PS3105 is an 8-channel SATA 3Gbps controller, similar to most consumer grade controllers. It's fabricated using a 90nm process and comes in a 324-pin BGA package but further specifics about the controller are unkown. TRIM and Native Command Queuing (NCQ) are, however, supported. There is also 128MB of LPDDR-333 acting as a cache, which is the minimum for the PS3105. Those unfamiliar with the Phison name might find it interesting to hear that their controllers are often found in budget USB flash memory devices (where performance is often a minor concern).

Test System

CPU

Intel Core i5-2500K running at 3.3GHz (Turbo and EIST enabled)

Motherboard

AsRock Z68 Pro3

Chipset

Intel Z68

Chipset Drivers

Intel 9.1.1.1015 + Intel RST 10.2

Memory G.Skill RipjawsX DDR3-1600 2 x 4GB (9-9-9-24)
Video Card XFX AMD Radeon HD 6850 XXX
(800MHz core clock; 4.2GHz GDDR5 effective)
Video Drivers AMD Catalyst 10.1
Desktop Resolution 1920 x 1080
OS Windows 7 x64

 

Introduction Random & Sequential Read/Write Speed
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  • Lone Ranger - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    On page two, you state that you are surprised to only find 8 packages on the board despite finding room for 16. In the next paragraph you state that the controller supports 8 channels. Is it possible to "gang" two packages together to one controller channel? If not, the controller is the reason that 16 packages aren't used. Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    The controller supports up to 32 NAND packages (i.e. 4 per channel). Pretty much all consumer-grade controllers have eight channels but support more than one package per channel Reply
  • Lone Ranger - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    Thanks for the clarification. Reply
  • creed3020 - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    I stopped reading at Phison PS3105...

    Most people who know SSDs understand their controllers are useless even in a low end product.
    Reply
  • Pessimism - Friday, November 23, 2012 - link

    Phison is the new JMicron. Reply
  • tjoynt - Saturday, November 24, 2012 - link

    We spend so much time looking at the upper range of prrformance, it's nice to get a lower bound, too. :)
    It also demonstrates just how important a good controller is and how hard it is to make one. Also gives me a better idea of why usb flash drives and most devices with flash have so much lower performance than SSDs. Any one know what the cost differential is between a Psion and a Sandforce or Indilinx or Samsung?
    Reply
  • infoilrator - Saturday, November 24, 2012 - link

    The article implied about $10 more buys a better controller. I do not know where firmware vs hardware may make a difference.
    Crucual will sell these on the basis of its M4 reputation. Unfortunately I believe it will leave a large number of customers unset with crucial.

    I do not want one at any price (hey, i found way better prices.

    Would RAID0 help these any?
    Reply
  • jack.fxx - Monday, November 26, 2012 - link

    Well, even though benchmark results of V4 are considerably lower than other contemporary SSDs, it still is decent SSD. For example Windows boot time of V4 is the same as any other SSD (see http://www.legitreviews.com/article/2010/6/ ) , average user won't notice any difference between Samsung 840 Pro and V4.

    Benchmark results are pretty much useless when comparing desktop SSDs, because SSD drives in desktops/laptops are at least 99% of time idle, which means that 2x faster SSD will improve performace of your system at most by 0.5%.
    Reply
  • crimson117 - Monday, November 26, 2012 - link

    Casual users have gotten used to having 500GB, or 1TB of hard drive space, but few will use more than a small fraction of that capacity.

    A $99 128GB drive is perfect for most users and they don't realize what they're missing!
    Reply
  • JonnyDough - Monday, November 26, 2012 - link

    At its current price, the Crucial V4 is not a good deal. However, Crucial is one of the few PC component manufacturers based in the USA (they employ American's as well) so when it comes to purchases for SSDs and RAM I often go with them or Kingston. Reply

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