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Crucial M4 vs Crucial C300 at 64 GB, 128 GB and 256 GB
by Marc Prieur
Published on June 24, 2011

Practical tests: Applications
To finish with we carried out the purely practical tests, namely various timed operations after installation of Windows 7 (64 bit) on each of the SSDs:

- Boot Windows 7
- Start up 3D Studio Max
- Start up 3D Studio Max + Photoshop + Word + Excel
- Launch of a game in Civilization V
- Launch of a game in Crysis 2
- Installation of Photoshop CS 5

We did our best to limit the variations as much as we could, however as the timing was carried out by hand and the results themselves can vary slightly, there is a definitely a small margin of error here. As you can see, the results for the various SSDs are very close one to the next and there was no point in trying to test for the differences between SATA 3G and SATA 6G: therefore only the results at 6G are given.

For comparison purposes we added a hard drive, the very rapid Western Digital Caviar Black 2 TB, and the score obtained on an 8 GB RamDisk! With sequential speeds measured at over 5 GB/s and 100,000 IOPS in random 4KB accesses (QD1), the RamDisk is 10-15 x faster than the best SSD!

Windows 7 start-up was timed from the appearance of the load screen to full load of desktop (hourglass disappears). The results are very close, with just 0.2 seconds between the slowest and the fastest SSD. This is much faster than a hard drive.

The results for launching 3D Studio Max shows a small advantage for the C300s over the M4s, whatever the capacity, which is probably due to the faster 4K random accesses on the C300s. The M4s offer a very good level of performance, in among the leading group of those in our latest report.

It’s in combining the launch of 3D Studio Max, Photoshop, Word and Excel, where the storage device is pushed hardest in terms of intensive multitasking, that the gaps in comparison to a standard hard drive are the most significant. This combined launch is 37.2s slower than 3DS alone on the HDD, but in the worst case scenario adds just 0.8s on an SSD! Note once again a slight advantage for the C300s over the M4, the M4 256 GB being the slowest.

The RamDisk does give peformance gains but they remain quite low given the gigantic difference in performance on paper in comparison to SSDs. Accessing data in double quick time is all very well but when it doesn’t simply consist of reads/writes, this data still has to be processed by the system!

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