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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  • esteinbr - Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - link

    Overall this doesn't really seem like all that great of a deal. Sure it's cheaper than other current SATA III drives but you can find deals on last generation drives that have comparable performance that are much better than this. Maybe those deals will get scarcer as time goes by but the current gen drives seem to keep dropping in prices too. For this to be worth considering the street prices will have to be 20% or more below the msrp and will have to keep dropping to stay ahead of the price drops in current drives. Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - link

    It's gonna have to be better than 20% off for some of the drives. Newegg has the 240GB Agility 3 for $155 (after rebate), so I'd say that the sluggish 256GB v4 would have to AT LEAST get under $150 to even look remotely desirable next to the serviceable Agility 3. Reply
  • gamoniac - Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - link

    I agree -- if a 256GB can go for less than $150, that would starts to challenge the domain of 10K RPM HDD. For most people other than enthusiasts and gamers looking for top-notch performance, these affordable 3Gbps SSD is what would get them to switch. We will also see more PC makers including these in their builds.

    I personally have several 6Gbps and 3Gbps SSDs running on systems with 3Gbps SATA II ports. I have some demanding VMs running on those SSDs, and quite honestly, the performance have just been phenomenal -- so great that I am not considering upgrading my motherboard at this point. Even on a 2 years old SATA II SSD, my VMs have no lag. SSDs simply blows my HDD in RAID-0 out of water.

    The bottomline is, value SSDs like this could change the industry more than the high-end expensive SSDs have in the last three years, provided they do not have stability issue.
    Reply
  • Taft12 - Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - link

    "Serviceable" indeed... by OCZ's RMA dept!! AMIRIGHT? Reply
  • jontech - Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - link

    Not sure what they are trying to accomplish here with SSD prices plummeting Reply
  • sdsdv10 - Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - link

    Agreed.

    I can get a 128GB Samsung 830 for $85-$90 on sale. Why would I want to pay $100 for one of these things? If 128GB was like $50 I might consider it for the kids computer, but otherwise I wouldn't be interested...
    Reply
  • jontech - Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - link

    I almost bit on that Samsung deal, but I have two Force GT 240's at the moment in my main rigs and a OCZ 60GB in my tester box. Wish I had a need for it :) Reply
  • menting - Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - link

    comparing MSRP vs sale prices isn't really fair.
    I got a 42" Panasonic 1080p plasma for $198 on sale 2 years ago. Should I be bashing at all new 42" and under TVs coming out that isn't better than my TV and retails for way more?

    the retail price (as per samsung's site) for 128GB Samsung 830 is 229.99 FYI.
    so I won't be surprised if this V4 is like 50-60 dollars on sale.
    Reply
  • sudokill - Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - link

    I agree with your statement, but the thing is that you can find a sale on 6 Gbps every single day that approaches the price of these drives. Hence, its not that special, even though most drives are not the same. Reply
  • Alexvrb - Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - link

    I think his point is that you might find these on sale too, sometimes. If they sold the 256GB model for $150 I'd consider it for lappy. I need decent capacity, and ANYTHING is a huge step up from a conventional 2.5" HDD. I'd like to get a Samsung 830 with that kind of capacity for $150 but that might be a little bit. I'm also considering a Momentus XT - the latest models in that series are supposed to be pretty decent, and it definitely would have the capacity and then some. Reply

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