HD Tune — Transfer rates
HD Tune lets us look at transfer rates in a couple of different ways. We use the benchmark's "full test" setting, which tracks performance across the entire drive and lets us create the fancy line graphs you see below. This test was run with its default 64KB block size.
As you can see, we've painted our results in a rainbow of colors to make the graphs easier to interpret. In the bar graphs, drives are colored by manufacturer, with the m4 highlighted in bright red. The line graphs follow a similar color scheme with some additional shades to cover the multiple Intel and OCZ drives.
The m4 gets off to a good start by besting the 510 Series and nearly catching the Vertex 3 in HD Tune's read speed test. Sequential read performance is much improved over the old C300, which is nearly 70MB/s slower. Even the C300 is several times faster than our lone mechanical hard drive. Modern SSDs are in a whole other ballpark when it comes to performance.
Things get a little messy with writes, which cause transfer rates to oscillate wildly with some of the drives. The m4 is one of the erratic examples, although it's arguably not the worst offender. Overall, the drive's sequential write average is only 24MB/s faster than the C300's. Intel and OCZ occupy the top three spots, leaving Crucial off the podium.
As you can see, our mechanical hard drive is much more competitive with sequential writes than it is with reads. The m4 still offers twice the throughput of the Spinpoint, though.
HD Tune's burst speed tests are meant to isolate a drive's cache memory.
As long as you're reading from it, the m4's cache is very fast. Only the Vertex 3 scores higher in this test, although that particular drive is a cacheless design that's probably bursting from buffers built into the controller.
Switch to writes, and the m4 tumbles down the standings. Forget competing with the Intel 510 Series and Vertex 3, the m4 isn't even close to keeping up with the C300. Or the Spinpoint.