Monday, February 6, 2012

Crucial m4 SSD FW ver.0009 256gb, for Faster Lightroom and CS5 performance

Crucial m4 SSD FW ver.0009 256gb, for Faster Lightroom and CS5 performance
I am sold on SSD drives!

4/28/12  UPDATE :   FW  000F  Newest  ...  Probably a good idea.
4/10/2012 UPDATE:  Cruical M4 SSD "BSOD" FW update - Warrning

Moving to the D800 , we all need Hard Drive speed.
I have been a big advocate of SSD ... and Cruical M4 SSD 256gb and Adrenaline Cache SSD.
So, I also feel obligated to WARN users to UPDATE to FW 0309 on the M4 256gb SSD ... no matter if you have the issue or not. It will happen on Hour 5184 (seriously)
I got a "BSOD" ... Blue Screen Of Death ... in Win7 64-bit.
And because I have been running the SSD flawlessly for months , I did not suspect the Cruical M4 SSD.
The DATA does not seem to get effected ... but, I did not know that (at the time) ... so I partitioned and re-installed ... which is something I did not have to do.
  • What needs to be done is a FW update.
When you get the "BSOD" you can shut down and reboot. But in an hour you will get it again. That's how you know, that it is this FW update you need.
My guess is that it also means ANY M4 SSD ... even the cache SSD.

More info on this link:

Yes, I have run Raid 0 and 0+1  on spinning hard drives.  Just did a "step" upgrade on my Win7 64-bit i7 Dell 435MT.
4/10/12 UPDATE :  changing my MotherBoard to a ASUS  with  SATA3 and USB3 on the board.
First, I ran out of space on my image drive.  So I went from a  1 TB drive to the Fastest  3TB hard drive I could find at 7,200 rpm.  That was the Seagate Barracuda XT with 64mb cache,  7,200rpm, with a 5 year warrantee.   The slightly larger cache did not impress me.  Small pop to my Lightroom  to CS5  CTRL+E   … LR users know what I mean.  Nothing to write home about.
Then, I increased my Memory from 6gb of  Tri-Channel  DDR3 to 24gb of Fast Tri-Channel  DDR3.  CS5 seems to like the increase in memory with a 60% use setting in the preferences (that was worth it).  But Lightroom v3.6  was a bit apathetic.  Imho LR v3.6 saw little if any change.  And my CTRL+E  did not improve much.  It seems that LRv3.6 only loads half into memory and even at 24gb of memory “still” loads the other half in the swap file.  What’s worst is, I don’t know how to change that.
I made sure to run this set up a few days, to really feel the speed and see if I could tweak it faster.
So, next was the SSD.   Obviously, I had some clue that this would give me a bump in speed. But, I have been waiting for SSD’s to get to a us$ 1.00 per GB.    Well, as luck would have it  B&H came up with a $ 329.00 price with Free shipping  till 1/30/12 on the Crucial m4 256gb SSD.   Imho,  prices on SSD’s will drop this year.    I have a need for speed as I prep for the new Nikon D800 36mp camera in LR (probably v4)  so I decided to make the jump.    It’s not the fastest,  but it was the cheapest.  And with the FW ver 009 it seems to be up with the top performing SSDs  at a very good price.  It  also seems to have good reliability and a 3 year warrentee.    Plus, there is a fact that I have bought  all my memory upgrades for the past 5 years from the Crucial website with NO problems EVER.
Amazon on 2/6/12 us$339. with true Free shipping to Hawaii:

Here is some info:   Crucial m4 SSD 256GB Specs
Formatted Capacity 238.47gb
SATA 6GB/x interface   ... compatable  SATAIII or SATAII
Marvell 88SS9174-BLD2
3 year warrenty
2.5" form factor
Some have tested with FW 0009 at read performance nearing 500MB/s with write speeds around 243MB/s.
August 2011 review of the FW ver9

There is also a interesting  Crucial m4 256gb RAID 0  review done on Feb. 1 2012-02-12 … and they have said this m4 SSD has been on the market for 9 months (as of 2/1/12) ……   so there is a lot known about this SSD , and most if not all issues solved in FW 009.    
MY  clean install went VERY smooth with NO issues.   
I  bought a - two(2) SSD -  3.5 to 2.5 inch Bay Converter on Amazon for $8.99 and Free shipping.  Love this two(2)  SSD Bracket .. because I plan on  buying a  SSD  Disk Cache, more on this latter)  and I will need the slot.    
This is the boring (sausage making info)  part …    on this DELL i7  I clean installed the  OS with the original DELL install disk.  Which I know had all the drivers (with all my acc. like my eSATA external hard drive ON and plugged in) .
Started with VISTA 64-bit,  then to Win7 64-bit home, then finally Win7 64-bit PRO SP2 .  Did the Windows Update.  ZERO problems.   I just plugged in the SSD and used the install DVD to format and load the VISTA 64-bit OS (to start).
After all the updates I did a TRIM check.    Fyi: here’s how Set / Check , in Win7 (which supports TRIM)
Locate CMD and Run it as Administrator (Right Click CMD, Run as Administrator)
On the Command Line … type out
C:\Windows\system32>fsutil behavior set DisableDeleteNotify 0
DisableDeleteNotify = 0

Once the value of “0” is set for this parameter, TRIM is enabled. And, that is all there is to verifying that TRIM is set for your SSDs. By making certain that your SSDs are being maintained by Microsoft’s TRIM function, you are guaranteeing that your system will operate your solid-state drives at their highest level possible.  In Win7

Another thing I did was make sure my Windows  Swap file is on the C:  SSD drive.  And my PS CS5 Scratch disk.  Also moved my Lightroom Catalog to the SSD drive.

Windows Experience Index "Disk Data Transfer RATE" increased from 5.9 to 7.3  … the  rest of my system is at 7.5.

AFTER the SSD,   Lighroom v3.6 is about as fast as I can expect. There is a clear improvement. Even Brushes in Lighroom work better and has stopped hanging on me on heavy use.  The CTRL+E to CS5 really POPs. CS5 noticeably opens faster.

The SPEED increase you will really notice, and you do not have to take out your stop watch to measure.  You KNOW!  There will be no doubt.

Programs open faster.  There is a POP to it.

Yes, Win7 64-bit PRO opens faster  … but,  for me it does not matter    most of the time I have this computer running.
2/6/2012 UPDATE:  Just noticed on a  large number of Export to JPGs from DNG/PSD in Lightroom v3.6 that it was "noticably" Faster.  I did a multi-thread Export, by doing two parts.  First one was 177 files to full res JPG, the other part was 47 files to full res JPG. I have done the two part Export to JPG before , but this time it was faster. fyi

Of all the upgrades I have done …  this  us$ 329  Crucial m4 FW 0009   256gb SSD to my OS drive has  “Clearly”  given me the biggest SPEED INCREASE !
NEXT  is to fill that empty SSD bay on my two(2) SSD bracket  with my next upgrade …   an SSD disk cache.     This will give you a easy and low cost SSD boost to your large 3TB  spinning 7,200 rpm drive.   Imho, SPEED  / Performance  is the most important factor on this buy.  And it’s  caching SOFTWARE  will probably play a big role (to make sure you get Maximum hits to the SSD cache drive.   Cost will probably be relatively low because they will be using  128 or 64gb  SSD drives as the cache.    Look for them to ship soon.  Two companys  OCZ  and Crucial.  I am leaning towards the 128gb OCZ disk cache.  But, a  reveiw compairing the speed will be important.
Hope this helps someone,
Ross D. Hamamura
The Tourist of Light