Final Words

Building a low-cost SSD is not easy; we have witnessed that many times now. There are essentially two ways to build one: either you go with a cheap controller or cheap NAND. What Crucial chose was a cheap controller and higher quality NAND. Since Crucial is a subsidiary of Micron, that choice makes sense because their expertise lies in the NAND fabrication, not in the controller technology. NAND actually still has fairly big profits despite the decline in prices, so Crucial/Micron can use good quality NAND in low-end SSDs and still turn a profit. A powerful third party controller would basically make the v4 an m4 and defeat the purpose of a budget SSD.

A good example of the other approach, a powerful controller and cheap NAND, is OCZ's Agility 4. It uses the same Indilinx Everest 2 controller as found in Vertex 4 but is coupled with asynchronous NAND instead of faster but more expensive synchronous NAND. OCZ is a controller company, so that concept was the most sensible for them. You will have to buy NAND from someone anyway and an easy way to cut the expenses is to simply buy cheaper, lower quality NAND.

Both of these ways have something in common: neither of them really works. The Agility 4 isn't really worth the small savings as we found in our review, and neither is Crucial's v4. To be straight, the v4 is slow. I'm okay with it being SATA 3Gbps but in that case, it should at least be one of the faster SATA 3Gbps drives. Intel SSD 320 and first generation SandForce drives are beating it by a factor of three to five in both Storage Suites, which is unacceptable for a new SSD in 2012.

The v4 would have to be significantly cheaper than any other SSD to be worth buying. At the current prices, you can get an SSD that is several times faster for $5-20 more depending on the model and capacity. If you're lucky, you may be able to catch a hot sale and get a good SSD (say Samsung SSD 830 for instance) for less than the v4. Hence I really can't recommend the v4 at all; you're better off waiting a short while for a sale on a better SSD, or just pay slightly more now if you're in a position where waiting is not possible (a drive failure for example).

The only value SSD that really makes sense is Samsung's SSD 840. You really need a good controller and firmware to build a good SSD; if you just use the cheapest possible controller on the market you will end up with a bad SSD. Fast NAND doesn't help if the controller is the bottleneck because it simply cannot feed the NAND with data fast enough, but it's possible to get away with slower NAND if you have a great controller as we saw with the SSD 840. Even the 840 faces stiff competition from existing drives (e.g. Samsung's own 830), though, so until prices drop for TLC drives we suggest looking at the existing SSDs.

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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 6, 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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