back to article Crucial v4 256GB budget SSD review

The latest addition to Crucial’s range of SSD’s, the v4 series isn’t, as you might expect, the follow up to the company’s highly successful m4 series but a different animal entirely. It's so different in fact, it makes you wonder what was Crucial’s thinking behind it. Crucial v4 256GB (CT256V4SSD2) SSD Practical electronics …


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  1. Kevin Pollock

    Will wait for the price to drop

    So if I'm reading this correctly Crucial has used some older, slower components to build a low cost drive - but then slapped a retail price on it that's not low at all? I've seen SATA3 256G drives of various makes in the 115 pound range recently.

    Moving to an SSD was the best decision I ever made for my desktop machine. But I have a few older laptops that would definitely benefit from a sub-100 quid, 256GB SATA2 SSD.

    Hopefully demand for this model will be sluggish, and will result in rapid price erosion; at which point I would be happy to buy it.

    One quick question. A while back I saw a hybrid disc - with spinning platters but a small SSD to act as a "huge cache". It was from ebuyer, I think, but I can't remember the details. It struck me as a great compromise because it delivered (I think) 500GB of storage, but performance that would be about the same as a SATA2 drive like this.

    Oddly I haven't really seen it advertised since, and I'm wondering why.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Will wait for the price to drop

      Seagate Momentus? They still sell them.

    2. Michael Duke

      Re: Will wait for the price to drop

      Seagate Momentus XT (The XT is important as Momentus is the range name for the vanilla 7200RPM disks)

      There are 2 models, a 3Gb/s 500GB Drive with 4GB of SLC flash and a 6Gb/s 750GB Drive with 8GB of SLC Flash

      1. Piro Silver badge

        Re: Will wait for the price to drop

        Not quite right, the 4GB flash version is discontinued, and there's an 8GB 500GB version alongside the 750GB.

        I actually bought one of the 8GB 750GBs on a whim, to use in my desktop as a drive for Steam, because I have far more in my Steam folder than I could justify SSDs on. Works fine, but isn't all too spectacular. Could definitely use a more usefully sized cache - say 32GB.

    3. nichomach
      Thumb Up

      Re: Will wait for the price to drop

      We sue the hybrids here and they've provided a decent boost to machines where we've retrofitted them. That said, the last couple of drives I've bought have been 256GB SSDs for about a ton.

  2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    Am I missing a point -

    If the speed of memory access in the SSD is (is it?) far less than the speed of its SATA itnterface, anyway, then won't you be waiting for the memory to deliver, not waiting because the interface is 3 Gb instead of 6 Gb? (Yes, I get that lower-case b probably means bits, not bytes.)

    1. Andrew Hodgkinson

      Re: Am I missing a point -

      Memory 'cells' are rigged up in parallel with clever firmware attempting to read or write from the maximum possible number of such cells at any given time. The operating system doesn't know or care that a given single file may actually be split across lots of different locations on the actual drive silicon. Essentially it's like a RAID stripe system with a very large number of stripes.

      That's presumably why this drive's performance decreases as its capacity decreases - the potential for parallel operation is reduced.

  3. AndrueC Silver badge

    Maybe it will play better with older mobos. I wasted three hours last week trying to get my Dad's old mobo (an nforce 650 based effort) to boot from his new SSD and failed. The device sometimes appeared on the list IDE of IDE devices but more often than not didn't. Even when it appeared XP was very reticent to boot from it (yes - I know about F6 and his machine is old enough to still have a floppy drive). It did boot off it once or twice but then seemed to take umbrage and gave up in disgust. All we got then was the Windows message which roughly translates as 'Where the hell has my boot drive gone?'

    Anyway we did get it to boot reliably using a SATA to IDE bridge card but that mobo only has one IDE slot so that meant we lost his DVD reader.

    What intrigues me is that he bought the SSD to replace a SATA hdard disk that had failed. So clearly his mobo can boot off a SATA device - just not, apparently, that SSD.

    1. Nuno

      Maybe it was the SATA controller that died, not the hdisk...

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        A very good point! However once we got XP booted off an IDE drive we installed the SATA drivers and when we did that we got the 'new device discovery' bubble for the SSD. Still - it could be a partial failure that prevents it working at boot time. We didn't have another SATA drive to try.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    6Gb SATA drives

    Does anyone know what performance hit does a 6Gb device have on a 3Gb connection? What I mean is, are they in anyway optimised for the faster interface and so perform WORSE when run on the slower one, and so would you be better off buying a drive with a 3Gb interface in the first place?

    1. jason 7

      Re: 6Gb SATA drives

      Next to none. Raw MBps speed means very little in day to day usage with SSDs.

      Its all in the access times.

      I've been running a Samsung 830 SATA III SSD in a old 2006 spec SATA I equipped laptop.

      The old laptops controller only manages to push 115MBps when the SSD should be able to push nearly 4 times that. However, in actual use it still boots WIndows 8 in 12 seconds to the desktop and apps all open instantly.

      I've tried all sorts of combos of SATA I/II/III controllers and SATA II/III SSD drives and the day to day usage pattern is pretty much the same across the board.

      Don't worry about it. Just do it.

  5. Piro Silver badge

    Surely SSD purchasing goes like this:

    Buy Samsung 830 256GB, job done..

    1. Darkimmortal
      Thumb Up

      Re: Surely SSD purchasing goes like this:

      This. I got my 256GB 830 for only £140 from Amazon when they fucked up the pricing of the 7mm notebook bundle version. Amazing drive.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Crucial lost their way years ago

    I use to use and recommend Crucial products but they lost the plot a good ten years ago IMO so i dropped them like a hot rock.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not really that cheap...

    ..considering most ~256Gb SSDs are now below the £150 mark, ebuyer had the Kingston v200 for £100 a couple of weeks ago, wish I'd got one then, back up to £130 now.

    Samsung has £20 cashback on their 256gb 830 drive, £150-20 = £130) at dabs.

  8. Grayrunner

    The majority of users have previous technology

    ” Yep, you’ve read that right: a brand new SSD drive range using a 3Gb/s interface – go figure." From a business point of view this is a smart move on behalf of the manufacturer. This group of users is bigger then the 6G users. Me thinks the author of the review can't see the benefit of an SSD on a 3G system compared to a mechanical drive. Dare I say a juvenile cheap shot?

  9. Richard Lloyd

    Too expensive and too slow

    This is an utterly pointless release from Crucial - a relatively slow SATA 2 SSD for a price barely less than SATA 3 SSDs that perform about 50% better. Even if you were going to put it in an old laptop that only had SATA 2, it's still not worth it because SATA 3 SSDs will perform better than this SATA 2 SSD.

    Basically, Crucial are fools for releasing this - I can't see anyone with any sense at all buying it instead of a SATA 3 SSD for fractionally more. I'm just surprised El Reg gave it such a high rating of 75% when it's clearly a dead drive on release.

    As for Grayrunner, you do know that any 300 Mbytes/sec+ SATA 3 SSD will go faster than this SATA 2 drive in a SATA 2 system? Please do your research first! You do realise that the "3G" users can use "6G" drives on their "3G" systems - you don't seem to have grasped this! It's *not* a "smart move" because the price/performance is hopeless compared to the slightly more expensive SATA 3 SSDs out there.

    Having said all that, I have SATA 3 SSDs on a SATA 3 desktop and get 550 Mbytes/sec read and write :-)

    1. jason 7

      Re: Too expensive and too slow

      And as I have found bragging about benchmarked MBps in SSDs is largely worthless in day to day usage.

      You just buy on best size for the best price. The specs really dont mean a whole lot.

      1. JEDIDIAH

        Re: Too expensive and too slow

        If "specs really don't mean a whole lot" then why bother? So you can boot faster? So Exploder can load faster. Once you've done both, the reason for bothering at all quickly dissapates.

        What you describe as a benchmark sounds suspiciously like a bulk copy or a backup. Some people do actually load, manipulate, and copy significant amounts of data.

        If a non-trivial copy operation isn't going to be any faster than what you get wtih a cheap spinny disk, then why bother at all? Why buy into the hype?

  10. The Alpha Klutz

    watched the marketing video for this

    truly bizarre. the guy was smiling and grinning and wearing pastels. and banging on about how they deliberately used sata2. and im thinking ARE YOU ON CRACK?

  11. crediblywitless

    Doesn't this device fall foul of the Rectangles With Rounded Corners patent?

  12. admiraljkb

    If its priced right and you have the right requirements...

    I'd go for it if it were even just 10 quid cheaper. I've got a couple of servers (1 NAS and 1 ESXi) that I use SSD's to boot from and to store anything thats needed quickly. The Mobo's are pretty new, but still SATA2... I'm not replacing them for some time, so upgrading from 64GB to 256GB for less than I paid for the 64's? Not a bad deal at all, and would speed my writes up. Why spend the extra for something that would never get used.

    For enthusiasts with desktops? I'm going to agree and say "Wrong market for this". They've probably already got SATAIII interfaces, or will have them soon.

    Laptops? Might be the same situation as my servers. If you've got a perfectly usable laptop that still has a year or so of life on it, and the mechanical HD is getting old - this might be the trick. *IF* the price is right.

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