Crucial M4 Adrenaline 50GB Cache SSD Review – Watch Your Hard Drive Perform Like an SSD

PCMARK VANTAGE X64 HDD SUITE

The SSD Review uses benchmark software called PCMark Vantage x64 HDD Suite to create testing scenarios that might be used in the typical user experience. There are eight tests in all and the tests performed record the speed of data movement in MB/s to which they are then given a numerical score after all of the tests are complete. The simulations are as follows:

  • Windows Defender In Use
  • Streaming Data from storage in games such as Alan Wake which allows for massive worlds and riveting non-stop action
  • Importing digital photos into Windows Photo Gallery
  • Starting the Vista Operating System
  • Home Video editing with Movie Maker which can be very time consuming
  • Media Center which can handle video recording, time shifting and streaming from Windows media center to an extender such as XBox
  • Cataloging a music library
  • Starting applications

Last but not least, lets take a look at the PCMark Vantage results for the HDD alone and with Crucial Adrenaline Caching in place.  I did not look forward to this portion of the evaluation as Vantage benchmarking a hard drive takes a very long time as does the first two runs after the caching solution was applied.  It was worth it though and a significant performance increase can be seen in Vantage as well.

The highest speed attained was 30MB/s which is very slow.  The overall score of 2479 points is a bit low, but understandable, for a hard drive that has been in constant use.  And as for the cached result….

We expected a drastic change in typical performance before and after Adrenaline caching was applied but another interesting thing transpired as well.  When comparing the individual tests of Vantage (HDD1-HDD8), the Adrenaline seems to have changed the dynamics of the individual tests when we compare the cached results individually to those originally tested.  We ran the test three tmes to confirm these results, all of which resulted in similar performance results.

REPORT ANALYSIS AND FINAL THOUGHTS

The most visible performance upgrade we can see in any computer today is that seen when upgrading from a hard drive to an SSD but there have been serious speed bumps in the transition, at least until now.  SSDs can be very costly in comparison to a hard drive, they cannot match the capacity of a hard drive and, for the most part, movement to an SSD has been a relatively difficult process as we could not avoid a fresh OS installation or migration through other software to get the job done.

The landscape changes significantly with the Crucial Adrenaline Solid State Caching SSD.  At $99, the cost for a system facelift is far from prohibitive, installation is quick and easy, there is no need to change your computer landscape whatsoever and NVELO Dataplex will work with any capacity SSD.  It is like supercharging your car.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Consider the time it takes you to start your computer right now and we don’t even need to add in shut down times which also decrease significantly with the Crucial Adrenaline.  If we agree that a minute and a half start time is typical, we would see a savings of one minute and seventeen seconds in the start time of your system after Crucial Adrenaline has been installed.

What, at first, seems like only just over six and a half minutes a day (if the average person starts their system five times a day) then becomes just under two days of your life each year and we haven’t even started to examine the performance increase while using your system or shut down times.  Is spending $99  a few minutes for installation worth getting back a day plus of your life each year?

Personally, I was never a ‘caching solution’ supporter and thought that the initial attempts displayed no visible improvement for the typical user for the cost gain, however, NVELO has changed all of that with Dataplex and their teaming with Crucial for the Crucial Adrenaline.  The only question that seems to remain is ‘Why not?’

See Crucial Adrenaline Prices at Amazon.com

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Les@TheSSDReviewXacTactXRbarkleyCarl HillET3D Recent comment authors
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hamsteyr
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hamsteyr

I find it funny how you say this is the game changer where the OCZ Synapse has been out for quite some time now.

I was looking forward to a comparison between this to the OCZ Synapse, It would be nice to have a comparison review on them, such that I can know as well the performance differences on a similar system.

Les@TheSSDReview
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Did I say game changer? There is no comparison to the Synapse, or even the new Crucial for that matter, simply because the software (Dataplex) used in all is exactly the same and simply amplifies the hard drive speed to that of the SSD being used. If you want to run a comparison of both, simply examine both reviews. We choose not to do the comparison because the main point of interest is the caching solution and its effectiveness on the system in this case. Having said that, we could have probably run a caching comparison but I feel we… Read more »

ayle
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ayle

Could you make a comparison with srt using the same drive?

Les@TheSSDReview
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I don’t use SRT as there is no comparison. Dataplex simply changes the performance of the hard drive to that of the SSD in use, something that SRT has yet to match. Tx for taking the time to comment.

Carl Hill
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Carl Hill

Also, if you like, i can upload my results with testing SRT, which, i have been using since z68 boards dropped, i have yet to see anything similar “match” IT!

Les@TheSSDReview
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Carl,

I didn’t mean to upset you and only expressed my opinion and experience. Nice to have you jump in though.

XacTactX
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XacTactX

Hi there Mr. Tokar. I’d like to thank you for two things, and I also have a question. One, thank you for all the reviews you’ve done, knowledge is power and this site has helped me tremendously with SSDs. Second, thanks for writing about your subjective experience with SRT. I have seen benchmark comparisons in the past but never had someone explain that Dataplex works better than SRT in the real world.

XacTactX
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XacTactX

And my question is, if I have a caching SSD such as the Synapse or the Adrenaline, should I do the SSD optimizations? I’m talking about the articles that you guys have in the ‘beginner’ section that tell you to change Windows 7 settings for your SSD.

Thank you and take care.

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

I am going to suggest not to do the SSD optimizations as the background of these was made through use of a primary recognizable drive, unlike the Adrenaline and other cached designs. Remember, your primary drive is still a hard drive, although it is cached.

Paulalcorn
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Paulalcorn

wow that is some great improvement from such a small ssd, tbh i am really surprised at how well that works 🙂

ET3D
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ET3D

Does the cache work for the entire hard disk or only the partition?

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

The cache is et for the drive that it is identified, regardless of the number of partitions on the drive.

ET3D
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ET3D

Thanks. That’s a decent deal, then. I usually have quite a few partitions on the disk and won’t want to have only one of them cached.

BTW, does this solution work with disk partitioning tools? If I change the size of a partition using such a tool, would it kill everything or work as if there was nothing behind the curtains.

GoldenGuy
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GoldenGuy

Hello Les, may I ask you a favour? I only want to know if in SATA 2 it would be approximately the same boot time (slower it’s sure but how), because still now the majority of people are using SATA 2 in their computers and this solution could be very attractive for older computers.

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

You will not observe a difference in the boot time as it is disk access which is instrumental in your boot time, regardless of whether it is SATA 2 or SATA 3.

Actually, I was shocked as heck to get such a quick boot time in these tests.

Mullmo1
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Mullmo1

BUT HOWDO YOU ACTUALLY PLUG IT IN OR CONNECT IT TO WERE???

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

You plug it n as you would any normal hard drive or SSD.