Crucial M4 SSD 2.5-inch SATA 6GBs Review
This is my review of the Crucial M4 SSD 2.5-inch SATA 6GBs, solid state drive.
Solid State Drives - SSDs
Some of the recent craze I've plugging into around SQL Server has been the ability to speed up the disk access, the IO, the slowest part of the database from what I understand so far. There's talk of plugging in Fusion-IO drives in the last couple of years, and this year at SQL Bits I came across some similar but slightly different approaches, but alternatives. They're all using some kind of flash memory to effectively cache popular parts of the disk, or something along those lines, and basically this speeds up the time spent (or lost) waiting on the hard drive to retrieve the data. SSDs, Solid State Drives have been around for a while now, and more and more PC users are starting to scream about them, how they speed up their PCs.
Well, choosing a hard drive for my new PC build, SSDs were always on my wishlist, the price was enough that eventually I'd given up on getting one to keep the PC price down, and having an SSD was going to be something for a future project upgrade. Luckily I found this Crucial SSD, though only 64GB, for about £65. Couple this with a cheap hard drive which cost about £70, and I'd decided the extra £30-£40 over the £90-£100 budget I wanted to spend, would be worth the stretch.
Crucial M4 SSD 2.5-inch SATA 6GBs
Well this little device is sized for a 2.5 inch fitting, a little smaller than the 3.5 inch hard drives. It's so light, I thought they must have forgotten to put it in the box, when I started to open the box! Luckily it was there once I got into the contents. Very light, very nice, also doesn't make any noise.
You only have to glance around the net to see people raving about Windows boot times on the SSD. So for my new PC build, Windows 7 was put onto the SSD which was to house the operating system, and a secondary 1TB hard drive would look after less frequently used bigger stuff. 64GB soon gets filled up, so I decide carefully what goes onto the SSD, and what goes onto the hard drive.
Following some web articles, I checked the SSD was using something called TRIM in Windows. I've moved Temp files and Internet temp files to the hard drive, and disabled some Windows logging, as suggested in one article (although another article argued against doing this, I certainly don't have spare time checking this out). Word, Visual Studio 2010 Express get to their start up windows in what seems less than 1 second, SQL Server Management Studio 2008 R2 Express takes about 2 seconds, SQL Server 2012 Express Management Studio takes almost what counts about 8 seconds, I wouldn't like to see that on a normal hard drive! So it would it seem just as we can conquer our apps and their slowness, the apps take another big stride which we'll have to wait for even faster hardware to catch up with.
I had originally considered settling for a normal hard drive, I'd considered thr Hybrid drives, the cross between Flash and hard drive in one, which looked impressive, but then a bit of exploration on prices, and the Crucial M4 SSD 2.5-inch SATA 6GBs drive filled the void very well.
Needless to say I'm very happy with the Crucial SSD so far, it's fast and quiet and helped to make my PC look so much faster than my previous one. I think it will be SSD all the way now for me.