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on June 5, 2012
Background:
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.

Install:
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.

Performance:
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.

Overall:
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.

UPDATE 9/17/12:
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.
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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
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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
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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.
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on December 1, 2017
Worked for a short time. I purchased this way back in 2012 and it worked great when I was running Windows 7, but the upgrade to Windows 8 was the end of it. I tried numerous things to get this drive to work and eventually tossed in a desk drawer. I pulled the drive out for the first time in like 4 or 5 years and wanted to see if I could bring it back from the dead. I slapped it in a Thermaltake BlacX Duet (USB - SATA) and Windows knows it's there... EaseUS Partition Master knows its there, but when I try to delete the partition or format it, I get nothing but errors.

The next thing I tried was the Crucial SSD Firmware Updater which also recognizes the drive, but can't do diddly squat to it. So my drive is toast for no reason.
review imagereview imagereview image
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on May 31, 2012
In building a new PC recently, I decided to go with a Solid State Drive as a boot drive. I read a lot of reviews and settled on the M4 by Crucial. I went with the 128GB version over the 64GB version because it was a better deal per GB, and because I just didn't think the 64GB would be large enough for my purposes. The formatted capacity of this drive is 119GB. After installing Window 7 Pro 64-bit and all my programs onto it, I have approx 50GB left, so I am happy that I didn't go with the 64GB version. I decided to install everything onto the SSD for its quickness, and use an additional 2TB regular hard drive for storage and files. Just make sure you get enough capacity for your needs.

Having the M4 as a boot drive has really sped up my system. In fact, it's amazingly fast now! Windows boots in well under 30 seconds from a cold boot (power on button to me looking at my loaded desktop). I'm very pleased with the performance the M4 provides. Programs also load super fast, almost instantaneously. It's a huge difference I what I am used to using a conventional HDD. Also, with no moving parts, it is completely silent.

The Crucial M4 comes in a small flat box by itself. The drive form-factor is 2.5". If you intend to install this into a desktop computer like I did, you will need an additional adapter bracket for mounting it into a 3.5" drive bay (although I am told that double sided tape works pretty well too!). These are sold separately, such as Mushkin Enhanced MKNSSDBRKT2535 3.5-Inch to 2.5-Inch Drive Adapter Bracket. The M4 does not come with any screws or cables, so you will also need to supply your own SATA cable and power cable from your computer's PSU, and appropriate HDD screws. It does not come with any transfer software, either. In other words, you just get the drive itself.

Of note: I purchased my M4 from Amazon on May 20, 2012. The drive I received came with firmware 0309, which fixed the issue Crucial discovered a few months ago with the M4 becoming unusable after 5200 hours of on-time. You can read about this at the Crucial forums, and/or in the discussion section below. I am mentioning this in my review, so that prospective buyers know this issue has been fixed and the new drives ship with the firmware installed.

Overall, I'm really pleased with the Crucial M4 SSD and how super fast it's made my computer. It's my first foray into SSD and I know it won't be my last. I can't wait until the 512GB models become affordable! Recommended.
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on June 23, 2012
2/17/14 update:

The drive didn't die, the drive cable died. The cable is Apple's. Therefore, the fault was not Crucial. I moved it back to 5 stars.

1/23/14 update:

It died. I think it should have lasted longer than 19 months.

06/12
I have a MacBook Pro 15" 2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 8GB ram and now a 512GB SSD. I put the SSD in an external powered USB enclosure (should have done firewire, for speed). Plugged directly into the USB port. I formatted the drive with OSX's disk utility (/Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility). I chose the SSD drive with (Erase) Format: "Mac OS Extended (Journaled)" as one partition, this went extremely fast. I utilized / downloaded the free (you should give a donation) "Carbon Copy Cloner" and cloned my internal 500GB HDD to the SSD using the default selections / configurations... This was outrageously slow. Maybe because I used the USB port instead of the firewire 800, it took over 5 hours.

"Carbon Copy Cloner" did an OK job. It did not do 100% clone. Some configuration files seemed to be missing. All of my "Little Snitch" rules didn't come over with it. I lost my Microsoft Office 2011 license key. I had to reenter it. Again, these are "Carbon Copy Cloner" issues, not the drive.

I then powered everything off and swapped out the drive. WARNING: have a small cup or something to put the tiny oh so tiny little screws in so you don't loose them. Before you start the swap double make sure you have the tools you will need. I had to buy a very small torx bit. There are many videos on how to do this on YouTube. Watch a few until you find one that tells you what size tools you need. Sorry I forgot to save the link for the one I watched. I also needed two different size Phillips screwdrivers.

It worked!

WoW do virtual machines on Fusion come up faster and I do mean FASTER!

I did this so I could get a couple more years out of my Notebook before I had to purchase a new one. I don't like the new Macbook Pro Retina, it's missing to many ports and no DVD drive. I don't want to have to carry an external drive when I travel. Therefore, the Retina is a no go for me.
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on December 15, 2012
Alright, I'm in for $200 on this disk so I can't give up on it. I bought it from Amazon, and it ran GREAT for 2 months. Fell in love with the speed. Then it crashed after a normal laptop sleep. Totally wiped. I took the dang thing out and hooked it up to a usb-sata cable and tried to read the disk to recover my valuable files. GONE. Windows said there was a CRC error, and it's all gone. Lucky I kept my 2-month old HHD as a backup and was able to boot up the laptop with the HHD, but lost a significant amount of valuable files. STINKS. I call up Crucial and they tell me that I need to reformat the disk, and this time set the Windows power settings such that the disk is NEVER powered off. Ok, they talked me into it... I did this... cloned my disk and put the SSD back into the laptop...and two weeks later........ BAMMMMMMM!!! It happened again. Windows failed to boot. This time, I took the SSD out and WAS able to recover files from it...... however, not all of the files on disk were readable!! Apparently some/many/random sectors just decided to quit. POS!!! This time I backed up my stuff a little better, but still lost 5-6 hours recovering my stuff. Unbelievealbe. I must have lost 2 full days of work trying to put back my files and environment. So mad!! I called Crucial and the disk is getting RMA'd right now. Like I said, I'm in it for $200 and love the speed and will give it another try, but dangit, the aggravation and lost files!! I'm so paranoid that I bought yet ANOTHER cheap HHD to use as another backup disk.
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on June 7, 2012
This is a very good device and it does its job fine but there is an important thing: you MUST update firmware once you get the SSD. Version 0309 which usually comes onboard has a nasty bug and it will make your device virtually unusable after 5184 hours of use. Version 000F fixes this but you need to go to the Crucial site, get the firmware update application and run it. If you bought this device don't delay and go there for the update. Seriously. Most of the one star feedbacks are from people who either didn't know that update is required or knew this after hours of frustration.

I still give it five stars because of updating firmware is not anything special to me but I really-really happy of the performance. Win7 Ultimate is now loading within 10 seconds which is blaze fast comparing to minutes it was taking on a regular 7200 RPM drive.

When you install this drive into your system spend some time to disable features that may shorten life of SSD:
- Disable any defragmentation services for this drive. Since there is no moving part in it defragmentation doesn't speed up things but extra write cycles kills the device. Many modern software understands type of the drive and disables defragmentation automatically but just in case - check it.
- Move hibernation file to a regular HDD. It doesn't really matter if you PC will go to sleep/weakup a little longer but your disk will serve you couple of months more.
- When browsing favorite sites stop saving photos of cute kittens and fun videos into default location which is on the system disk. This is actually a good advice for anyone but for systems on SSD it has money equivalent.

And finally, if you're going to upgrade your system from HDD to SSD you probably need a disk cloning solution. Don't spend time googling and downloading suspicious programs, go to http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004W2JLB6/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00 and buy the same device with a ready cloning solution! Just don't use "live" mode, use bootable CD one.
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on June 20, 2012
If you have an older Macbook such as mine, this upgrade will work wonders. The response time of my computer has been dramatically increased.

In order to make a painless replacement I would recommend the following:

1. Get a SATA enclosure such as this one:
Vantec NexStar TX 2.5-Inch SATA to USB 2.0 External Hard Drive Enclosure
2. Install your new SSD in the enclosure and connect via USB to your Mac.
3. Format your SSD using Disk Utility. Choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled) format. You can even choose to partition your SSD, wich I would recommend only if you have 512GB or more.
4. Perform a startup disc cloning from existing HDD to your new SSD. I used the following free software: Getbackup 2, which worked flawlessly.
5. Now you should have all your HDD info stored in your new SSD. You can test it shutting down your computer and pressing the "alt option" key upon startup. This will prompt you to choose your startup disc. Choose your new SSD, if your computer boots you are ready to go ahead and switch drives.
6. Switch drives. Below is a pretty straightforward guide from ifixit:
[...]
7. Use the enclosure to house your old HDD.

You are now ready to go and enjoy a nice performance boost on your Macbook!
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on April 30, 2012
I ordered this after a friend convinced me I must have an SSD to speed up my computer. I have a 2011 mac mini with a core i5. I will say the drive is fast, but for me it isn't night and day. My computer is Sata 6gps capable and I see write times of about 250mbps and read times of double that. My spinning drive averaged about 100mbps. I think really your mileage will very. Now that we use so many mobile devices my computer is more of a hub for all the devices than the main workhorse. Again it really depends on your situation. If you did work in CAD or heavy excel work, you probably see a bigger difference than the web and email use. Also I think older machines will pick up more of the performance boost, keep in mind though many older machines will fall back to the Sata II interface and you won't see the drive's max speed. On which SSD to pick, I agonized and read reviews for days and this is the conclusion I came to: The sandforce based drives are the fasted, but the firmware doesn't seem as mature, and people have more OS based problems with them, such as the OCZ drives, got take a look at the reviews and see how many people had to return them. The marvell based drives like the crucial aren't as fast but tend to be more reliable. so thats why I recommend this one, and with the recen price drop why not splurge and get a 256!
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on September 25, 2011
I have been holding off upgrading to a SATA 3 board until I see what the new Bulldozer FX processors do with AM3+ vs how much intel drops prices on the 2.6k in response. However I got the itch for some new computer parts and decided after much research to dive into the m4. I didn't see nearly as many problems out there with the Micron controlled drives vs the Sandforce drives. The price point was at a place I could live with.

My first week impression: This thing is blazing fast even when bottlenecked by SATA II. Windows 7 installed from a USB stick in 12 minutes start to finish, my boot times are in the 15-20 second range. Everything is more responsive, while installing programs sometimes I can't hit next fast enough. Load times are fantastic, wait times are slashed. I'm all set when I make the decision on a SATA III board. For the numbers folks here is a CrystalDiskMark of the m4 128gb vs a Seagate 7200.10 250gb. Making the leap from mechanical to this generation of SSD is looking like a no brainer, it is certainly a heck of an upgrade.

MSI K9A2 CF v2, Phenom II 920, 4gb G.Skill 1066 DDR2, SATA II

m4

Sequential Read : 268.900 MB/s
Sequential Write : 181.556 MB/s
Random Read 512KB : 248.832 MB/s
Random Write 512KB : 180.043 MB/s
Random Read 4KB (QD=1) : 23.375 MB/s [ 5706.7 IOPS]
Random Write 4KB (QD=1) : 49.977 MB/s [ 12201.4 IOPS]
Random Read 4KB (QD=32) : 123.482 MB/s [ 30146.9 IOPS]
Random Write 4KB (QD=32) : 102.755 MB/s [ 25086.7 IOPS]

Test : 1000 MB [C: 43.3% (51.6/119.1 GB)] (x5)
Date : 2011/09/25 23:38:57

Seagate 7200.10

Sequential Read : 91.427 MB/s
Sequential Write : 91.347 MB/s
Random Read 512KB : 29.099 MB/s
Random Write 512KB : 28.676 MB/s
Random Read 4KB (QD=1) : 0.342 MB/s [ 83.4 IOPS]
Random Write 4KB (QD=1) : 0.624 MB/s [ 152.4 IOPS]
Random Read 4KB (QD=32) : 0.618 MB/s [ 150.8 IOPS]
Random Write 4KB (QD=32) : 0.657 MB/s [ 160.5 IOPS]

Test : 1000 MB [D: 81.1% (188.8/232.9 GB)] (x5)
Date : 2011/09/25 23:46:36

EDIT: Finally got a SATA 3 board and have unleashed the monster

Sequential Read : 506.395 MB/s
Sequential Write : 198.726 MB/s
Random Read 512KB : 395.196 MB/s
Random Write 512KB : 200.751 MB/s
Random Read 4KB (QD=1) : 27.575 MB/s [ 6732.1 IOPS]
Random Write 4KB (QD=1) : 96.820 MB/s [ 23637.6 IOPS]
Random Read 4KB (QD=32) : 258.081 MB/s [ 63008.2 IOPS]
Random Write 4KB (QD=32) : 180.634 MB/s [ 44100.1 IOPS]

Test : 1000 MB [C: 50.1% (59.7/119.1 GB)] (x5)
Date : 2012/04/06 21:20:15
OS : Windows 7 Ultimate Edition SP1 [6.1 Build 7601] (x64)
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