Crucial M4 512GB SATA 3 SSD Review – PCMark Vantage


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

If you are new to testing and considering benchmark software, this is the best you can get because the program goes well beyond the results of simulated testing as we have already done. In comparing SATA 2.0 SSDs, we have reached the bandwidth limit and the performance of most new SATA 2 SSDs is as high as it can get with typical high sequential access speeds in the area of 270MB/s read and 270MB/s write.

Crucial SSD 512GB m4 2.5-inch Solid State Driveblank

We needed a way to differentiate these drives and to find a method that can actually put one drive above another and this is exactly what Vantage testing does. Its tests combined can provide an accurate comparison between drives and its tests individually can assist a smart shopper in finding the best SSD for their needs.

Although we have yet to reach SATA 3 bandwidth max, there will be a number of manufacturers introducing SATA 3 drives in the next few months. Next to actual true to life testing which can take an insurmountable length of time, PCMark Vantage is the only program that can compare any SSD, side by side, regardless of SATA interface or controller in use.


As the makeup of the 256GB and 512GB versions of the M4 are strikingly similar, we already knew that this would play out as a top tier SSD but never expected it to better the 256GB version by just over 2000 points which it did. The M4’s final Vantage point total of 63076 is a great result in confirming that this drive is up there with the best and it wasn’t so long ago that we were demonstrating that even RAID configurations could no longer keep up.  Lets look at this beside the next competitor in line which is the Intel 510 with the same Marvell controller.


Both SSDs are SATA 6Gbps and both use the Marvell 9174 controller.  We may have even believed that Intel could have taken the lead with their own 3xnm flash to Marvells 2xnm flash but the advantage for on board cache goes to Crucial with 256MB to Intels 128MB.  In the end, both manufacturers had the advantage of selecting from their own ‘in house’ flash but Crucial seems to have really perfected how theirs interacts with the Marvell controller and what they have done with their firmware.


Introduction ~~ Test Bench ~ ATTO & Crystal Diskmark ~~ AS SSD

HDTune Pro ~~ PCMark Vantage ~~ Final Thoughts


One comment

  1. blank

    The real feather in Crucials cap is the price you can buy the drive at. I found the 512mb M4 for $799 and the OWC 6G 240GB for $599 and the OCZ Vertex 3 240GB is also $599. I rather doubt most people would see/feel the speed differences in real world use between these drives and for my money I would rather double the storage than get a microsecond faster boot time. That is unless you’re rich and money doesn’t mean anything to you.

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