It’s been a while since we last took a look at a Crucial product, so for the next one, how about we make it interesting? SSDs aren’t uncommon, but high-end SSDs that don’t feature a SandForce controller are – and of course, that’s what makes Crucial’s m4 notable. Does its lack of a SandForce controller hold it back? Let’s take a look.
Synthetic: PCMark 7
Futuremark’s PCMark benchmarking suite should need no introduction as it has been a staple of PC benchmarks for the better half of a decade. PCMark offers a range of tests to gauge every aspect of a computer’s performance and presents it in a neat simple final result. Thankfully it also breaks down the overall score with individual subsystem scores (such as Memory, Storage, etc) in addition to given individual test results.
With the latest 2011 release of PCMark 7 we should hopefully see quite a few changes to how SSDs are handled, and the resulting scores computed, as previously, results were biased towards sequential read and write performance. With its Windows 7 focus PCMark 7 offers a variety of storage system tests, such as simulating a Windows Defender scan and using Windows Media Center to using other built-in programs for video and music file manipulation. But for those that just want a nice overarching score, it has those too.
PCMark 7 is a welcome refresh of the well-known PCMark series and brings with it optimizations to better handle SSDs when computing scores. This results in a much flatter spread of SSDs in both the overarching score and the final storage system score.
The m4 solid-state drive slots into a close fourth, clearly hanging with the big guys in the array of results. Given the top drives are all SandForce SF-2281 powered, the M4 is starting off by delivering a very strong showing for a non-SandForce drive.