Crucial M4 256GB SSD Review
Packaging and bundle
Crucial supplies the M4 SSD inside an elegant cardboard box which resembles the design of a DVD boxset. The artwork on the box is relatively simple but in line with the company's professional theme.
In the main box there are two cardboard trays. One of the trays holds the SSD drive, well protected inside a body of polyethylene foam, as well as a basic instructions leaflet. The other tray holds the USB interface and CD with the data transfer suite software, the EZ Gig IV Cloning Software with Data Select. The software is fully featured and its use is unlimited but also requires the presence of the USB interface, meaning that you cannot work on a disk not connected via the supplied USB interface itself.
The Crucial M4 SSD is a standard 2.5" drive in terms of size, built inside a gunmetal grey body with rounded corners. Half of the body is metallic, half is plastic. A rectangular sticker with two rounded corners decorates not the top but the bottom side of the drive, which is very peculiar.
A plain sticker with the drive's specifications, bar codes, serial numbers and certifications has been placed on the top side of the chassis. Once again, this is very strange and Crucial is the first company we have seen placing the decorative sticker at the bottom of the drive instead.
After removing the screws which keep it together, the body of the Crucial M4 drive comes apart into three pieces and releases the PCB which holds the components of the drive itself. We should note that the metallic bottom part of the SSD and the full size PCB are making the M4 noticeably heavier than most other similar products.
As we mentioned before, the Crucial M4 is based on a Marvell controller, specifically the 88SS9174-BLD2. This is the same controller which Crucial used for their previous generation C400 drives and is also being used by other companies, such as Intel and Corsair. A 256MB DRAM chip is acting as a buffer for the controller.
Naturally, the NAND flash chips of the Crucial M4 are being supplied by Micron. The 29F128G08CFAAB-12QA chips are synchronous type 25nm MLC memory chips; not the best currently available but definitely very reliable and high performance.