on December 16, 2015
* Same performance encrypted vs decrypted.
* Warranty is only 3 years.
* Failed hard 2.5 months after warranty.
* Warranty page gives java errors.
I liked this because it was mid-priced, decent performance. I used this as a secondary drive, so some bulk installers for work, a couple of games, and a 45M truecrypt volume. Free space ranged from 10-50%. Twice, I did a wipe and reload just so long-duration archives would not overly affect wear leveling. 11 weeks after the warranty, it started hanging on boot, crashing, etc. I thought it was my M.2 socket for my primary drive.
I got home from my week of travel, and decided I would replace both of my SSDs with a single 1TB drive. I ordered it, cloned my M.2 to the new drive, then connected the Crucial drive to my USB3-to-SATA adapter. All of the data copied fine, including the payload inside of the 45M encrypted container.
During the copy, I noticed this drive making noise. Yes. This drive. Not the USB3 adapter. Not the laptop. This device made a faint buzz/squeal noise as data copied. Larger files were less noisy. Weird. I didn't notice that before. Once I was done, I went on to other things, then noticed the drive was making noise again. I un-plugged it. A couple of hours later, I plugged it back in, and nothing. It doesn't show up. I tried two controllers, two ports, and same thing. It buzzes for 2 seconds faintly on power up, then goes silent. Nothing shows up from device detection.
At the beginning of the year, SMART said I had 98% life left. A couple of months ago, it said 97%. I was happy with this. Until it failed.
This shakes my confidence in Crucial/Micron overall. I originally bought it because it was the second highest reliability for an SSD at the time, bested only by Intel which was much more expensive.
Unfortunately, I'm still cheap, so I went with a SanDisk Ultra II instead of a Samsung EVO as my 1TB replacement.
Since this was originally 00FH firmware, I thought maybe there would be a recall on it, even though I had loaded 070H in 2013. To request a return, you have to have the "Material Number", which was only on the original box. This is 132304 for the CT512M4SSD2. Then, I put in my serial number from the sticker on the drive, and I get a "Java Null Pointer Exception." If I remove a character, it says invalid. I tried both Chrome and FireFox ESR. Java is 8. Nothing like a manufacturer whose RMA system doesn't work.
Also, searching for the Material Number, it seems like a large number of us who bought these in mid to late 2012 are having sudden failures. Unfortunately, I have several other Crucial drives, and I really do not like that now I have to track their age and replace them preemptively. They should survive through their wear indicators.
A couple of hours later, it worked when I tried plugging it in again. I'm hesitant to consider it "good".
SUMMARY: This is a decent SSD now that firmware problems are resolved. The kit comes with a great USB to SATA bridge and easy to use, great functioning software.
DETAILS: I got one of these for my new system. The system isn't here yet, so I'm using it on my old system, a Thinkpad T61p.
This came with an Apricorn SATA-Wire 2.5. This works great with SSD and SATA disks of any vintage I could throw at it.
The software is simple, clean, and can be used booted from a CD, or from running Windows.
The software has a performance test button. This is great. It also copied my system recovery partition on a Thinkpad.
I use TrueCrypt system encryption on Windows 7, and the SATA-WIRE cloned my disk from inside running Windows 7 in several hours. I was nice and had nothing running, nothing extra mounted, etc. I just let it run overnight.
This morning, I swapped the disk, and skipped preboot authorization (copy was not encrypted). Everything boots up properly. Then, I use TrueCrypt to decrypt, and it takes 1 second to reset the pointers. I tell it no, don't reboot, and then tell it to encrypt the whole drive. Test, reboot, etc... all works.
The hardware is just a decent USB to SATA bridge. Everything you'd expect, and very low power consumption. Even my 3-platter 2.5" disks would spin up from it.
The only drawback is that there isn't a USB 3.0 version of this device. It runs at 27.8MB/sec (about as much as you can get out of USB2 considering protocol overhead).
As for the drive, it's what you'd expect from a current generation, consumer grade SATA SSD. I picked this one because it was rated as having the lowest return rates by a certain retailer, and was half the cost of Intel. This might not be the best reason, as the return rates for Intel were apparently due to a temporary firmware issue, and Intel was on track for being on top again. That's fine though, I'm okay with #2, considering it's still less than half of the return rates of the next brand (Corsair).
The cost of Intel is probably due to the higher Total Writes. The M4 is rated for 72TB of 4k random writes. The Intel 710 is rated for 500TB of 4k random writes. If you're running a database, or a high-write random workload, then the Intel 710 is less than 2x the cost of this. Go there. But, if your workload is 90% read, and your writes are large blocks (downloads, a few documents, normal desktop/laptop workloads), then this drive should last way past its 3 year warranty.
If you want to track the wear on your device, you can use smartmon tools to track total writes, and under 0xE4, the percentage of wear (divide by 1024).
The performance is tested out by HW reviewers at:
* 415MB/sec or 40kiops sequential read
* 260MB/sec or 50kiops sequential write
All of the performance tests I've been able to find shows the m4 to be in the top 4 for all read tests, but quite a way down in the write tests.
* Random 4k Read 78.6MB/sec (#2 to OCZ Vertex 4)
* Random 4k Write 181MB/sec (Bottom 5 out of 20 drives)
* Sequential 128K Read 417MB/sec (#1 out of 20 drives, including Intel 510, but not Intel 710)
* Sequential 128k Write 205MB/sec (Bottom 3 out of 20 drives)
* Incompressible read/write - no change in perf, which pushes it higher in the rankings vs many others
The HW specs for this device are:
* Exact same device as Micron RealSSD C400 (parent company)
* Marvell 88SS9174-BLD2 (vs the BKK2 at 3gbit in Intel 510)
** SATA III 6gbit/sec host-side interface
** SSD 8 channel controller (vs 10-chan for intel)
* 2x 32GByte Micron 25nm MLC NAND chips per channel (29F256G08CFAAB-12)
** Endurance: 72TB (40GB/day for 5 years)
* 256MB internal cache RAM
The main thing to consider here is that there is no spare area. If you fill your drive to 99%, the time to failure will be much less than if it were half full. This is where Intel wins out. Their spare area is roughly half of the drive's actual capacity, plus 2 extra SSD channels.
Refs: ownership, anandtech, linuxlookup, crucial,