on August 5, 2011
Test Laptop - Dell Latitude D630 - 2.0GHz core 2 duo with 4GB ram
I installed this drive and then installed Windows XP pro. When complete I then installed Windows 7 home premium and set laptop up as a dual boot system. I then tested both by booting into Windows XP and Windows 7. I then ran every update and every service pack on both Windows XP SP3 and Windows 7 SP1. I installed antivirus, adobe reader, Microsoft Office 2007, Firefox 5.0, etc. When all was perfect with both operating systems I pulled out he HD and cloned it over to a brand new standard SATA drive. Then came the fun of testing both HD's and OS's for boot times, etc.
Pros: $2 per GB is a great price. Drive will breathe new life into ANY PC. Easy to install, lots of fun. Drive has NEVER locked up for me, not with hibernation, sleep mode anything.
Cons: $2 per GB is a lot higher than a standard SATA drive. Firmware was hard to locate, although easy to install.
Windows XP Pro
Standard SATA HD - power on to hear windows startup sound 1:30 seconds
Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 - power on to hear windows startup sound :22 seconds
Standard SATA HD - power on to fully pull up [...] 1:55 seconds
Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 - power on to fully pull up [...] :28 seconds
Standard SATA HD - power on to hard drive activity light to go off completely 1:45 seconds
Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 - power on to hard drive activity light to go off completely :29 seconds
Windows 7 Home Premium SP1
Standard SATA HD - power on to hear windows startup sound 2:10 seconds
Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 - power on to hear windows startup sound :20 seconds
Standard SATA HD - power on to fully pull up [...] 3:00 seconds
Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 - power on to fully pull up [...] :25 seconds
Standard SATA HD - power on to hard drive activity light to go off completely 3:30 seconds
Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 - power on to hard drive activity light to go off completely :26 seconds
All of this was with original firmware 001, I did update (after all testing) to 002 but nothing changed HD runs solid and sleeps/hibernates, etc. runs like a dream with 0 issues for me. It has never locked up. I cannot imagine how fast this drive would be in a new PC or laptop with an i7 CPU and more ram. Sadly my laptop is now so fast there is no way that I can justify replacing anytime soon. Buy this drive you will not be sorry.
on August 30, 2011
I originally wrote a glowing review about this SSD which I purchased about 6 months ago and after updating this review so many times it became cluttered. I still stick to my 5-star review but I'm going to reorganize this review for the sake of everyone else out there.
Before I get started, this review is for the 256GB model. The Sequential Write speeds (as advertised by Crucial) vary between the models:
64GB model: 95 MB/sec; 128GB model: 175 MB/sec; 256GB model: 260 MB/sec; 512GB model: 260 MB/sec.
This drive was installed in my current 13" Macbook Pro and I have had excellent results. After 6 months: No hang ups; no problems going in and out of sleep; everything is SO much faster. Bootup is less than 30 seconds; Firefox opens nearly instantly; About this Mac loads instantly; Disk Utility permission repair runs in under a minute; multitasking is smoother; just overall snappiness. The first thing I showed to a friend when he scoffed at the price was to open every single app in my dock at once (multiple browsers, the CS-3 suite, final cut, all of the iLife programs, LibreOffice). While on my old HDD I probably would have sat there loading forever, this time I didn't even get a pinwheel. Even my websites would load quicker. I've noticed my system backups are quicker when writing to an external harddrive using a Firewire 800 port, and my DVD ripping is about 15% quicker.
I always see people saying that a huge benefit of an SSD is better battery life. I've noticed almost no change in real world usage although I'm sure there is a minimal difference. Don't expect your battery life to change dramatically though. My computer is significantly quieter (and has less vibrations) which is very nice when I'm watching a movie late at night.
A huge selling point for the M4 is a three year warranty and the fact that it is SATA III (which my macbook pro supports; not sure about previous models). The additional throughput allows for a huge speed increase. It's predecessor - the C300 - was highly regarded and I've had great luck with Crucial so I'm confident that this was a good purchase.
Info about M4's firmware:
I bought this while running OS 10.6.8 and ran Rev 0001 firmware. I had no problems at all but eventually upgraded to Rev 0002. Soon after Rev 0009 came out which I then upgraded to as well and have been using for about 5 months so that's what the majority of my review is based on. There was a large speed difference when running benchmark software between Rev 0009 and previous firmware but real world difference could be another thing. To upgrade firmware just download from the Crucial website, burn to CD, and boot from the CD. It's all very very simple.
While I was running Snow Leopard 10.6.8, TRIM was listed as disabled. I've heard it was because only Apple-branded SSDs will turn on TRIM, but there is software floating around to enable TRIM support. I chose not to run the software because I didn't know the developer but it could be perfectly fine. I ended up upgrading to Lion 10.7 (now 10.7.3) and TRIM is still listed as disabled. Someone in the comments below mentions to search "enable trim mactrast" and follow the directions to enable TRIM. I followed the directions on the site and now TRIM is supported. TRIM is important for wear leveling and to prevent a decrease in speed overtime and the directions take all of 2 minutes to follow so it's highly recommended.
Optimizing your SSD: I haven't seen much that will make a difference but the first thing I did was disable the Sudden Motion Sensor. I also went into Energy Saver and turned off "put hard disks to sleep when possible." Then I repaired disk permissions and verified the disk in Disk Utility for a final time. I've heard of disabling Spotlight, but I use it so I decided against it.
Regarding Windows 7 and Bootcamp: Some people have luck with Winclone to copy their Windows 7 partition from Bootcamp. I didn't have luck but I'm not overly concerned since I don't want to give up 20GB of space (minimal size Boot Camp Assistant allows) for an OS I don't really need and rarely use. This isn't a problem related to the SSD, but I just thought I'd mention that.
Still speedy, average about 12 hours of use per day. For those looking for some Macbook Pro specs:
Xbench Version 1.3
System Version 10.7.3 (11D50b)
Physical RAM 8192 MB
Drive Type M4-CT256M4SSD2
Disk Test 443.78
Uncached Write 465.35 285.72 MB/sec [4K blocks]
Uncached Write 444.25 251.35 MB/sec [256K blocks]
Uncached Read 112.01 32.78 MB/sec [4K blocks]
Uncached Read 740.20 372.02 MB/sec [256K blocks]
Uncached Write 1095.88 116.01 MB/sec [4K blocks]
Uncached Write 816.10 261.26 MB/sec [256K blocks]
Uncached Read 2098.55 14.87 MB/sec [4K blocks]
Uncached Read 1362.67 252.85 MB/sec [256K blocks]
Follow Up, Aug 30th:
Over the past weekend I've had consistent spinning beach balls and system freezes. I also upgraded to 10.8.1 last week which I assume has something to do with it. After a few days of panic at the thought of replacing my hard drive I decided to try updating the firmware from Rev 0009 to 0309. Currently running 0309 for the past 12 hours without any hang ups like before. I'm not sure what the problem was but 0309 appears to be the firmware to run for macbooks running OS X.
on November 1, 2012
I bought this SSD and made it my boot drive, and it worked wonderfully at first.
After 6-9 months, my computer started to crash. It was an intermittent Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) about once per hour. (If you disable autoreboot, or snap a quick photo, you can see error codes on the BSOD. Mine included STOP: 0x0000007A and also second parameter 0xFFFFFFFFC00000C0 which I include here only in case someone finds this post by search term.)
Unfortunately if you go to Microsoft and look up "How to Fix BSOD", they give you a list of five or six things to try, all time-consuming and none helpful here. I was about to throw away my PC.
It turns out that the original firmware of this SSD drive has a usage counter that counts up to 5000 hours of use, and then starts counting usage by hour. The counter resets once per hour and it is bugged and that will hard crash the machine! Going to the manufacturer website to download the new firmware takes less than 15 minutes and fixes the problem completely.
So everyone who has ever bought this SSD MUST update the firmware immediately, or suffer a nasty disabling of their PC that takes many hours to figure out.
NOTE: About a year after writing this review, Crucial had apparently made the change on all shipping products, and I upgraded them from 1-star to 3-star.
on June 7, 2011
I purchased this product for my Asus U36JC-B1 which is the super slim notebook offering from Asus. The speed on this laptop is already very good, but I know with the 500gb SATA at the heart of it, slow down would be inevitable. So after purchasing the Crucial C300 for my HP DV7-2040us I decided to pick up this newer model for my Asus. I cloned my original 500GB SATA drive to this using Acronis True Image 2009 and a external USB 2.5" case. Acronis adjusted the partitions so everything fitted perfectly, including the recovery partition which are critical on these drives considering there is no optical drive.
I also made sure all setting were adjusted in Windows 7 64bit to account for the new drive, including disabling defrag and indexing, enabling TRIM, and if need be disabling LPM in the registry. Make sure you download the latest Intel Rapid Storage Driver, this can have a dramatic impact on speeds and how the drive is handled by Windows.
Intel Rapid Storage Driver: [...]
I am not disappointed with this hard drive, here's why:
Boot times are much quicker,
Application response is very quick,
No unreliability issues (thus far),
Battery life appears to have improved,
Switching from steel to plastic makes it slightly lighter,
Easy to install, remove your old SATA drive and plug this one in, easy!,
Installing one of these is like having a new laptop (in my opinion) the speed increase is dramatic, over and above a CPU upgrade.
I'm not trying to be a poster boy for Crucial but I am so impressed with these drives, I purchased another 2! 1x 128gb and 1x 64gb M4. I have a total of 4 Crucial drives running in different computers.
I highly recommend this product.
on August 10, 2011
Just bought this drive for my 15 inch i7 Quad Core Macbook Pro (2011). And, initially I was a bit disappointed. Sure the boot up time was 10 seconds, but I wasn't seeing any significant improvements with application speeds. AND, having upgraded? to Lion from Snow Leopard, I was seeing tons of beach balls and freezes. At first I was convinced this was due to the upgrade to Lion and some issues with memory handling, etc.
Well, I happened upon the fact that Crucial has released a firmware update for this drive which specifically addresses these issues.
Since upgrading to Firmware version 0002, I have yet to see a single beach ball. Even opening Lightroom, Photoshop, and running a Time Machine Backup simultaneously. 12 hours ago, the simple task of opening System Preferences was causing my computer to freeze and beach ball right and left!!!!!!
A word of warning, Crucial's firmware upgrade instructions leave quite a bit to be desired. So, I posted a forum post there on how to upgrade for Mac OS users.
YES, this is a good drive and well worth the money if you have a laptop.
Some points to consider, though:
Do you need 0.5TB of storage space locally? If not, buy the 256GB version. It's half the capacity, but half the price! The money you save can buy a very nice 2TB external hard-drive with FireWire 800, or perhaps Thunderbolt (if LaCie ever releases their Little Big Disk).
Do you need a SSD in the first place? If you are using your computer primarily for web browsing and word processing, then no. If you are photo/video/music editor, then this is the drive for you!
Do you need a SSD as your primary drive? IF you can spare your laptop's optical drive, you can swap it out for a small capacity SSD with a conversion kit, and use this as a boot drive. You could buy a 64GB SSD for this, and combined with the conversion kit, have several hundred dollars left over to take the wife out for a nice dinner, movie, and still pay your rent that month!
Hope this helps.
on June 5, 2012
I own a mid-2010 Macbook Pro with an i7 processor and 8GB RAM with a 500GB 7200rpm HDD running Mac OS X Lion and decided that my next indulgence purchase would be an SSD after reading some articles and watching some videos of computers equipped with one in action. The next step was research. I knew SSDs handled erasing files differently than HDDs and each have their own controller which handles "garbage collection" along with the TRIM command. If you want to find out more about each of these things just search Wikipedia for each (e.g., garbage collection, TRIM, SSD). It does a good job of explaining how the "blocks" of an SSD work differently than the platters on a regular HDD.
Decision & Tech Notes:
Anyway, I had narrowed it down between the SanDisk Extreme SSDs and the Crucial M4 based on price and performance. I looked at storagereview.com to compare the drive performance. I was leaning Crucial since I have purchased their RAM modules for each of my Macs and it has never failed me. I decided to go with the Crucial M4 based on my past experience with their RAM but also because it does not use a SandForce controller. SandForce controllers compress data to achieve high speeds, but the data must be compressible for this to work. I encrypt my drive using FileVault 2 and so it is all non-compressible. I had also read that SandForce controlellers ran into problems when TRIM was enabled with them on Macs so I steered clear since I planned on enabling TRIM for non-Apple drives for my new SSD (instructions on how to do so can be found with a simple google search). Of note, this drive is 6Gb/s or SATA III but is backwards compatible with SATA II. My mid-2010 i7 Macbook Pro only has an SATA II or 3Gb/s interface. Looking at the System Information App (called System Profiler pre-Lion) I noticed this right away, but also noticed that the "Negotiated Link Speed" was only 1.5Gb/s or SATA I speed. I figured this was because the HDD couldn't take advantage of the higher speeds anyway even though it was a 7200rpm drive. I hoped when I put the new SATA III M4 in, it would saturate the SATA II port and increase the "Negotiated Link Speed" to 3Gb/s which it did.
I used Carbon Copy Cloner (love that app; again you can find instructions by googling) to copy the contents of my HDD to the new SSD. I created a bootable clone. Luckily, I had an old external drive USB to SATA connector laying around and used that to plug in the SSD to the Macbook Pro in order to clone it. What I like about Carbon Copy Clonder is that it also allows you to clone the Lion Recovery Partition which is hidden on the Mac's HDD. This is necessary if you want to use FileVault 2 and is also handy to repair the disk if need be later on. This took a few hours. I booted from the SSD just to make sure it worked correctly and sure enough it did.
Physical installation is a piece of cake. I can't say this is the first time I've cracked open my computers as I like to repair them myself if I can. I have replaced airport cards and hard drives in Macbook Pros before. I use the guides from iFixit.com. You'll need some small phillips head screwdrivers and it also calls for a Torx T6 screwdriver which I've never purchased even though it seems a lot of the screws under the hood in the Macbook Pros are this type. In this case, you can just use pliers to grab the Torx screws from the side and twist since they stick out, both to loosen them and tighten them back on. Took all of 5 minutes, if that. I took some time to clean up the dust around the fans while I was in there as well.
The last step was updating the firmware to the latest version which is 000F. I believe it came with 0309 or something like that. This was easy as well. Burned a CD containing the firmware update via the instructions on Crucial's website, typed "yes" and hit enter and viola.
Overall, I'm pleased with the drive's performance. It is certainly faster to boot up and restart and I've noticed no problems since enabling TRIM (Keep in mind that enabling TRIM for non-Apple SSDs is not sanctioned by Apple). It was not as dramatic a change as I had previously expected after reading all the rave reviews but I had kept my Macbook Pro pretty lean and so it was never really bogged down to being with. Still, it is fast, especially when accessing several things from the drive at once. Which makes sense since a HDD essentially acts like a record player and having to seek out more than one thing at once would require the "needle" to jump back and forth. I disabled safe sleep because I didn't want the contents of the RAM written to the SSD every time it went to sleep since SSDs have limited write cycles. That would have been 8GB written every time it went to sleep. A benefit of this is that the computer sleeps almost immediately. The downside, of course, is that if the battery should die while it is asleep and not plugged in, I will have lost that session but I never let the battery die anyway; and even if I were to want to do that I could change it back with a simple terminal command. If you go this route, remember that you will also have to remove the sleep image or it will still be there taking up space (8GB in my case). I think I'm most pleased with the fact that the computer doesn't vibrate anymore. I used to set my hand on the computer to tell if it was still on and cannot do that anymore. I like it. It also seems to run cooler than it did before but any evidence of this is merely anecdotal as I did not take temperature measurements before and after.
I'm pleased with the drive and hope that this will help my Macbook Pro last for a long time. I still keep backups of course but I feel better about having the SSD in there. Apple's prices for SSDs are ridiculous and I grabbed this drive for $199.99 off Amazon by watching dealnews.com and waiting for it to do down. I'm sure it will again; just keep an eye out. Keep in mind that if you have an SATA II interface it will only run at a maximum of those speeds rather than the SATA III speeds but this drive is compatible with both interfaces. Even with full disk encryption (FileVault 2) turned on, this is much faster than my old HDD.
Just wanted to update my review now that a few months have passed and OS X Mountain Lion has been released. I upgraded from Mac OS X 10.7 Lion to OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion through the App Store with no problems (and subsequently 10.8.1). Of note, after upgrading to 10.8.1 I was unable to access my Recovery Partition; holding "alt/option" and "R" at the same time would automatically jump to internet recovery mode. A reinstall of OS X Mountain Lion seemed to resolve this, though I am still unsure as to the cause.
Moreover, if you enabled TRIM support you will have to go back and re-enable it since every OS upgrade reverts back to having it disabled. The process also has changed slightly under OS X Mountain Lion 10.8 so make sure you follow the proper method should you choose to do this and be prepared to do this after every OS upgrade (i.e., 10.8.2 or 10.9). Again, also understand that doing so is not sanctioned by Apple and could result in major problems and perhaps even loss of data.
Furthermore, Carbon Copy Cloner is no longer a free application as it was when I first wrote my review; it now costs approximately $40.00 for a license; however, I believe you can try it fully functional for 30 days before buying. If all you need to do is clone your original HDD to this new SSD then it should still work just fine assuming you do it within 30 days of downloading Carbon Copy Cloner.
Lastly, I see that the drive is now $159.99 at the time of this writing. It was approximately $250 when I paid $199.99 for it. My recommendation of this SSD still stands, especially at that price. After several months of use it does not seem to have slowed down at all and has been nothing but stable.
on November 21, 2011
I have a mid-2009 MacBook Pro w/ a 160gb drive and 4gb of ram. I've been itching to get a new one, especially after playing w/ an Air in the Apple Store. It occurred to me that the Air's speed was likely attributable to the SSD as to the i5 cpu. After reading the reviews here I thought I'd give it a try.
Along w/ upgrading my 160gb drive to this 256gb SSD I upgraded to 8gb of RAM -- hey, $42 was hard to pass up. The performance of my MBP has been adequate, but it's getting long in the tooth and the new ones are definitely faster. So I was hoping this would help.
Wow! I just saved $1000 by extending the life of my MBP! It has only been a few hours, but so far it has surpassed my expectations. I had hoped it would be magical, but only expected it to be "better". May not be magical, but boy is it FAST.
Boot-up went from over a minute and a half to less than a minute. No biggie there. Shutting down takes about 3-4 seconds, which is nice. Firefox and Safar pop right open. Even MS Word and Excel open in 1-2 seconds. That's all fine and dandy, but the biggest test was how it would run a VM on Fusion 4.
Outstanding! A Win7 VM fires up in 30 seconds. Once it is running Word and Excel and other Office apps pop right open too. No more firewire or USB drive for me.
I originally intended to just swap drives and boot up w/ the OSX DVD and restore from TimeMachine. I re-thought that and here is what worked well for me:
I have Lion installed. Not sure if the Recovery option was introduced before Lion or not [...]
1. make a backup of your existing drive (TimeMachine or whatever)
2. shutdown your laptop
3. get an external 2.5" usb 2.0 drive enclosure - since I didn't plan for it I got one at a local electronics store for $10. You might find one cheaper here.
4. put the SSD into the enclosure and attach via USB
5. Power on your laptop and hold down Command-R during start up -- you will get booted into Recovery mode
6. Select the Disk Utility option
7. In Disk Utility you should see both your original drive and the new SSD
8. Select the original drive and click the Restore tab
9. Drag the original drive to the Source and the SSD to the Destination -- there are instructions on the window -- this is going to make a duplicate copy of the drive. Click the Restore button and sit back and wait.
10. when the copy/restore is complete power down.
11. replace the old drive w/ the new one [...] she uses the proper torx driver to remove the mounting studs from the old drive. i just used a small pair of pliers and a 0.5 allen wrench since I didn't have the correct size torx bit)
I went ahead and put my old drive in the external drive enclosure so now I have an extra backup drive.
on July 8, 2012
Usually I am a happy reviewer but I feel like I need to cast a vote against this SSD.
The SSD died on a weekend after 4 months for no apparent reason. Customer support of Crucial is not available on weekends. (While being under time pressure I immediately bought a replacement - SanDisk 240Gb SSD - works fine so far. Then I spent a day installing necessary software.)
Next Monday Crucial customer support representative explained that the firmware version 0009 has problems. Power-cycling the disk supposed to complete internal garbage collection and return disk to a functional state. Luckily it did.
Quoting customer service email:
1. In a desktop, do not attach the SATA connector, just attach the power connector to the problematic SSD and power on the system.
2. Leave it on for around 30 minutes, preferably without using the PC, then power off and disconnect the SSD altogether.
3. After 30 seconds, reconnect the SSD and repeat steps 1 and 2 again.
4. Power off and connect the SATA connector again and power back on.
The next step is to update firmware. An updater downloaded from crucial website failed to detect "SSDs that need to be updated". I guess I am looking into another series of conversations with customer support.
So far the damage is about a day and half of dealing with customer service and installing software on a replacement disk plus the cost of the replacement disk itself.
Bottom line: Think twice before purchasing this model of SSD from Crucial. And if you happened to have a disk with older firmware version - be ready for a nasty surprise.
on July 18, 2012
The SSD worked fine for about 6 months. Then it started crashing within minutes of booting up. After restarting, it would crash again. The data is preserved on the drive, but I was unable to resolve this problem even by flashing to the latest SSD firmware.
Since this drive was purchased from Amazon and well past the RMA date, I tried getting an exchange on the Crucial web site. To my disgust, the system would not recognise the batch or product number printed on my SSD.
Which makes me wonder whether the drives sold here on Amazon are "unofficial" products without manufacturer warranty.
The best (or worst) part is, these drives are actually 3 bucks cheaper on Crucial! So, just buy direct from them and get peace of mind.
on June 12, 2011
I bought 2 of these drives to use in a HyperV 1U server for virtualization in a lab.
The previous 1TB drives were more than I needed in capacity & were too slow.
Several items: you'll need a tray of some sort if you wish to use this drive in a server as it's a notebook form factor. Several are available such as SILVERSTONE SDP08 or similar.
It's thin, runs cool and crazy - fast.
Windows 7 virtual machines boot in 15-20 seconds now instead of 2 minutes. I've been testing the system for a month and have noted no negatives. These VMs are in heavy use.
I've used SSDs for hypervisors, netbooks and notebooks and these are the fastest yet.
SSDs have had issues with too many read/write operations over specific physical memory locations burning out the circuits, supposedly that has been fixed. Only time will tell if the issues are fixed in these latest generations. A virtual machine almost guarantees operations will be performed in the same logical / physical address, so this is a worst-case test. So far, so good. No errors, and the boot times are phenomenally fast.
In my opinion the 256GB drives are the best combination of price - performance and highly recommended.