A few months back, we rounded up a half dozen SATA III solid state drives in this article. In that showdown, we had drives based on SandForceSF-2200 series and Marvell controllers represented, with both synchronous and asynchronous memory types. We ultimately found the SandForce-based drives when paired to synchronous NAND flash memory offered the best all-around performance, but they were also the most expensive. Generally speaking though, each of the drives featured in that article had merit, all things considered.
Since that article was published, however, we received some updates to a couple of the products that were featured. First, Corsair sent over the 240GB variant of their excellent Force GT drive and Crucial made available a firmware update that significantly changed the performance profile of their M4 SSD.
From the outside, the Corsair Force GT 240GB drive looks just like the 120GB version we took a look at in our round-up, with its red enclosure, distinctive decals, and 2.5” form factor.
Pop the drive open, however, and the PCBs are totally different. The Corsair Force GT uses a much more compact PCB design and the SandForce SF-2281 controller is paired to eight pieces of 25nm Micron 29F128G08CFAAB MLC NAND. The combo is rated for 555 MB/s sequential reads and 525 MB/s sequential writes with 85K max random 4k writes.
The Crucial M4 we’ll be testing alongside the Corsair Force GT is the same one we used previously, but with the latest firmware (v009) installed.
Crucial claims the v009 firmware for the M4 increases sequential read speeds by up to 20% and enhances write latency for better performance under heavy write workloads. The firmware also reportedly improves compatibility with latest chipsets and fixes intermittent failures in cold boot up related to some systems.