Crucial is known for selling affordable SSDs. The manufacturer made many consumers happy by frequently lowering the price of its popular m4 SSDs, keeping them more affordable than comparable models from the competition. It will probably be difficult for Crucial to keep the m4 as the cheapest SSD around, especially now that Samsung is attacking the market with very low prices as well. In order to remain competitive, Crucial has released a line of budget SSDs called the v4. We tested the 128 GB and 256 GB models.
The v4s have a controller that we haven't seen yet, called the Phison PS3105. Phison is a Taiwanese designer of controllers, until now primarily known for USB flash drives and memory cards. The company claims to have created the controller for the first USB flash drives ever, the Pen Drives. The PS3105 is a budget controller, which is apparent from the SATA 300 interface instead of SATA 600. Judging from the specs from Crucial we shouldn't expect too much in terms of performance, up to 10,000 4k IOPS for reading and a maximum of 4,000 IOPS for writing. It actually reminds us of the specifications of the very first SSDs from years back, it feels like a 2009 SSD in a 2012 coat. The Phison controller is supported by 25nm synchronous NAND flash chips from Micron, Crucial's parent company.
The main selling point of these SSDs is therefore their price. Crucial has 32, 64, 128 and 256 GB models of the v4, priced £37, £56, £74 and £141, respectively.
|Capacity||Max. read speed||Max. write speed||IOPS read||IOPS write||Avg. price||Price/GB|
|32 GB||200 MB/s||60 MB/s||10,000||1,200||£ 37||£ 1.16|
|64 GB||230 MB/s||100 MB/s||2,400||£ 56||£ 0.87|
|128 GB||230 MB/s||175 MB/s||4,000||£ 74||£ 0.58|
|256 GB||230 MB/s||190 MB/s||4,000||£ 141||£ 0.55|
The 32 GB and 64 GB models have a relatively high price per GB, which is standard. The 128 GB and 256 GB models cost £0.58 per GB and £.055 per GB, cheaper than the Crucial m4, Samsung 830 or OCZ Agility 4 (click here for a 128 GB comparison table and here for a 256 GB comparison table).
So the v4s are definitely affordable. The question remains whether you still get decent performance for that price, and the benchmarks on the following pages will tell us.