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Crucial m4 SSD  (Source: Crucial)
SSDs are for consumers and business users

Most of the major companies that were in the computer memory market have also jumped into the flash drive and SSD market. The SSD market has a lot of competition today and prices are coming down as storage capacities are going up.

Crucial is one of the firms that has a firm position in the both RAM and SSD markets. The company has announced a new SSD today that is called the Crucial m4. The m4 SSDs are 2.5-inch form factor storage devices that the company is aiming at the business user and the general consumer. The SSDs are built with 25nm NAND flash technology and the m4 is the successor to the RealSSD C300.

The new m4 SSD has fast operating speeds with up to 415MB/sec read and up to 260MB/sec write speeds. Those speeds are 17% higher then the C300 in read and 20% faster in write speed than the C300. The SSDs also consume little power and are made to be light and to be able to survive shock and vibration.

"The new Crucial m4 SSD builds on the enormous success of its predecessor, the Crucial RealSSD C300. As a subsidiary of Micron Technology, we're in the unique position of leveraging Micron's NAND development and manufacturing expertise for our Crucial branded SSDs," said Robert Wheadon, worldwide senior product manager. "These next-generation m4 SSDs offer customers higher capacities and even greater performance at affordable prices." 

The SSD is offered in a 64GB version for $129.99, 128GB versions are $249.99, and the 256GB version is $499.99. Those needing even more storage space can get a 512GB version of the m4 SSD for $999.99.

All varieties are backed with a 3-year warranty and are available right now. 



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RE: Hybrid Drive
By sleepeeg3 on 4/27/2011 3:55:30 PM , Rating: 2
It was abandoned, because it makes no sense. SSDs are faster than both and will eventually be just as cheap. It would have made sense as a stopgap measure, but technology is advancing too quickly.

If you want the best of both worlds, buy an SSD for your OS and put your data on a magneto optical drive. That is what most people are doing.


RE: Hybrid Drive
By amanojaku on 4/27/2011 8:03:50 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
It was abandoned, because it makes no sense.
Not true.

Fact - Seagate never abandoned the hybrid drive
http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/products/laptops/...

Speculation - Toshiba and Western Digital may make hybrids in the future
http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9215954/Sea...
http://www.storagereview.com/toshiba_working_25quo...
http://www.storagereview.com/western_digital_hybri...

Fact - A hybrid can be faster than a Raptor, at half the price
http://www.anandtech.com/show/3734/seagates-moment...

As to two drives, most people don't want the hassle. Us techs don't mind, but most of the world is non-technical.


RE: Hybrid Drive
By someguy123 on 4/27/2011 9:53:18 PM , Rating: 2
I would definitely pay good money for a hybrid drive if it actually worked like a hybrid, instead of seagate's method of using NAND as cache.

If someone made a single drive that allowed me to put windows and programs onto the flash while using the platters to store I'd be all over it.


RE: Hybrid Drive
By name99 on 4/27/2011 10:16:52 PM , Rating: 2
Fact - The sole available hybrid drive you can buy today is crap. The caching algorithms used were designed by a moron and, regardless of how well they do in benchmarks, they are useless in real life. In particular, they don't seem to track streaming and large file copies, so that pretty much anytime you copy a large file or play a movie you blow the cache out the water.

I suspect there would still be a market for these devices if they did not suck. But Seagate has basically pissed in the well here for everyone. How do competitors convince the public that there hybrid, unlike Seagate's, is not garbage? The issue is not how well it does in benchmarks, but how well it does under real world conditions, especially when "irrelevant" file copies and streaming are thrown into the mix, and no benchmark sites cover this.


RE: Hybrid Drive
By amanojaku on 4/28/2011 12:04:38 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
The sole available hybrid drive you can buy today is crap. The caching algorithms used were designed by a moron
That's irrelevant to the points raised by the previous posters. They were asking about a storage concept, not an vendor implementation of said concept. The fact that Jmicron made a crap controller didn't mean SSDs were crap.
quote:
regardless of how well they do in benchmarks, they are useless in real life.
True, but the author performed real-world tests and posted the results, too, so I don't see why you're complaining.
quote:
In particular, they don't seem to track streaming and large file copies, so that pretty much anytime you copy a large file or play a movie you blow the cache out the water.
You don't seem to understand how these devices work. Hybrid caching is meant to speed up read access to small files because a read head must move across the platters, which incurs latency up to 30+ ms (full rotation and seek). An SSD has no read head, so the latency of small files is based on memory access times, of say 0.1-0.2 ms.

Large files do not need to be cached because they have a similar sequential transfer rate from Flash as they do from disk. There is no positioning latency (rotation or seek), so the latency is just the read head interpreting a magnetic signal, which is around 0.1 ms. In fact, reading a large file from cache would be slower as it would need to be copied to cache first, then read. And all the small files would be evicted from the cache, making it a slow process to fill the cache with small files again. You read small files much more often than large files, so it just makes sense to sacrifice performance of large files in favor of small ones.

As a side note, the transfer rate of an SSD can be much higher than an HDD if it has multiple transfer lanes. This is why some SSDs are super fast, and others are slow, even if the capacity is the same. The NAND cache in the hybrid drive only has one transfer lane, so pre-caching of data is best left to multiple, small files. I'm not sure how complicated it would be to add multiple lanes, but SSDs with multiple lanes are much more expensive than the budget-friendly Momentus XT.
quote:
I suspect there would still be a market for these devices if they did not suck. But Seagate has basically pissed in the well here for everyone. How do competitors convince the public that there hybrid, unlike Seagate's, is not garbage?
Agreed, but that just means other vendors can step in and capitalize on Seagate's mistakes. In fact, Seagate is capitalizing on its mistakes since no one else has made a hybrid drive yet: the current Momentus XT has sold over 300K units since May 2010. Not bad for a 2.5" that does not come installed in a laptop by default.
quote:
The issue is not how well it does in benchmarks, but how well it does under real world conditions, especially when "irrelevant" file copies and streaming are thrown into the mix, and no benchmark sites cover this.
Did you even read the AnandTech review? Try this one, too.

http://www.engadget.com/2010/08/09/seagate-momentu...

By the way, Seagate burned me in the past, so I buy Western Digital exclusively. However, I would buy a Momentus XT for my laptop if Seagate had better quality, which seems to be the case with the current batch. The performance issues with the original models were due to power management; the platters would spin down too often, so when data was accessed that was not in cache the disk had to spin up. Not only is this drive faster than other consumer HDDs, it uses much less electricity. Seagate just has to find the right balance of cache size and power management.


RE: Hybrid Drive
By Chaser on 4/28/2011 1:50:12 PM , Rating: 2
Basically what has appeared up to today is crap. As its also pretty obvious that be the nature of the column SSDs are driving the market today instead of a failed technology that most manufacturers have all but abandoned.

Move on please. Enjoy the article.


RE: Hybrid Drive
By bug77 on 4/29/2011 7:04:58 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
If you want the best of both worlds, buy an SSD for your OS and put your data on a magneto optical drive. That is what most people are doing.


Correction, most people stick a few TB of storage for about $100 (aka HDD).


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