|Price:||£222.06 inc VAT (Price per GB: Â£6.94 inc VAT)|
|Reviewer:||James Gorbold & Antony Leather|
|Review Date:||Feb 2009|
Verdict: Appallingly slow and overpriced.
Crucial's parent company, Micron, is one of the largest DRAM manufacturers in the world, but it has taken some time to produce its first SSD. Like most of the SSDs in this Labs test, the cryptically named CT32GBFAB0 is a flash drive, employing MLC NAND memory.
Curiously, although MLC NAND flash is typically much cheaper than SLC NAND flash, costing around £3 per gigabyte, the CT32GBFAB0 is similarly priced to an SLC drive, costing close to £7 per gigabyte. Crucial currently manufactures two models - this 32GB drive, which is rated as capable of reading at up to 100MB/sec and writing at 60MB/sec, and a 64GB drive that has the same read speed but can only write at up to 35MB/sec. This is so incredibly slow that we didn't even bother reviewing the 64GB drive.
We measured the CT32GBFAB0's average read rate as a credible 124.9MB/sec, midway up the performance graph. However, its average write speed was a mere 57.1MB/sec. Like many of the MLC NAND flash drives, the memory controller inside the CT32GBFAB0 suffers from massive write latency, dramatically slowing down write operations. For example, while most of the SSDs took around ten minutes to copy Crysis from the hard disk, the CT32GBFAB0 took close to an hour.
The memory controller also appears to lock up after an intense period of writing data. The file search test took nearly ten times longer than any other SSD, and it took a ridiculous 235 seconds to load Crysis. The CT32GBFAB0's terrible write performance was confirmed by its result of 1,072 in the GIMP image editing test - the lowest of any SSD - and its second-lowest score of 1,097 in the multitasking test. To add insult to injury, the test PC drew 148W from the wall with the CT32GBFAB0 installed, so it consumes more power than some 2.5in hard disks.
You'd expect that a company with Crucial's amount of experience manufacturing memory products would make a brilliant SSD, but the CT32GBFAB0 is simply terrible. Although it's reasonably fast at reading data, its incredibly slow write speed and stuttery memory controller makes any PC in which it's installed frustrating to use. Crucial needs to return to the drawing board for its next SSD.