31
Aug 11

Crucial M4 SSD Now Faster with Firmware 009, Benchmarked !! Best Value SATA3 SSD

Crucial M4 SSD

Crucial has released firmware version 009 for the M4 SSD line. The firmware version jumps from 002 directly to 009, giving an indication that this is a significant update. The 009 firmware release notes make some big claims of improvement.

We will test to find out if the new firmware improves the already fantastic drive.

Crucial M4 SSD firmware 009 vs 001

Test System

  • CPU – AMD Phenom X6 1055
  • RAM – 8 GB DDR3 1300
  • Disk – Crucial C4  64 GB (CT064M4SSD2 )
  • Graphic Card – Zoatc Geforce GT 460 768Mb
  • SATA version – 3.0 (6 Gbps)
  • OS – Windows 7 Ultimate Sp1 – 64 bit

 AS SSD Results

AS SSD Benchmark 1.6.4237.30508 - Higher is Better

With AS SSD Benchmark, we find impressive gains in read speed. The 100 MB/s improvement in sequential read is striking. There is also gain in Write , but not a significant as we see with Read. Crucial lives up to the claims in the Release Notes

Release Date: 08/25/2011

Change Log:

  • Changes made in version 0002 (m4 can be updated to revision 0009 directly from either revision 0001 or 0002)
  • Improved throughput performance.
  • Increase in PCMark Vantage benchmark score, resulting in improved user experience in most operating systems.
  • Improved write latency for better performance under heavy write workloads.
  • Faster boot up times.
  • Improved compatibility with latest chipsets.
  • Compensation for SATA speed negotiation issues between some SATA-II chipsets and the SATA-III device.
  • Improvement for intermittent failures in cold boot up related to some specific host systems.

via Crucial.com Product Downloads – Firmware Updates.

Installing the Firmware

Installing the firmware was straight forward.

  • Download the firmware from http://www.crucial.com/support/firmware.aspx (Caution – Make sure you get the correct firmware for your drive)
  • Unzip the download firmware, it turns out to be a very small iso disk image
  • Burn the iso to a CD using your favorite CD burner
  • Keep the CD in the drive and restart the computer
  • During the BIOS POST press the appropriate key to bring up the boot selection menu. Select boot from CD ROM
  • This boot into some kind of live Linux ( at this stage I felt I wasted a CD, I could have tried burning the iso to a USB flash drive – never mind 🙁 )
  • Once the live CD starts it will try to locate if you have any upgradable drive installed.
  • When the utility find the M4, type yes. Upgrade will be done in 10-15 seconds
  • Reboot  and enjoy the new speed gain of your Crucial M4

Final Words

The is good job from Crucial and a big win for the end users. When I had purchased the Crucial C4, I found it a better value for money compared to OCZ Agility3. With this update, the Crucial C4 SSD is likely the best value for money SSD now.


31
Aug 11

Android Moment – Mass Market Androids Phones for India

A week back when I wrote this post, I described what I though would be a real mass market Android phone in India.

What would it take for a successful mass selling Android phone in India –

Price should be sub-5K INR, a capacitive screen, a processor adequate to make the UI responsive without lag and at least 5 day standby without mobile data. All fancy features can be cut, as long as the phone is not crippled by a underpowered CPU and badly customised OS. Think like GPS, 3G , even wifi can be skipped to keep the cost down. At this time 3G services in India is a sham, too expensive and cant do much with the crippled metered plans.

via Android Moment | Luhit – Reviews, Analysis.

It was inevitable that someone would come out with such a device. This morning I came across this news in Times of India. On the face value these pair of sub-5K INR phones is what I thought is required for Android to go mass market.

Sistema Shyam TeleServices Ltd ( SSTL), which operates under the brand name MTS, has launched two Android-based smartphones priced below Rs 5,000.
via MTS launches sub-Rs 5K Android-based smartphones.

Will this be the beginning of things to come ?

I could not locate any information on these phones or the contract required on MTS website. Their website does show another Android MTS Pulse3 ( looked pretty much like a rebadged HTC device).

MTS MTAG 3.1 – Rebadged Huawei, Capacitive Screen with 240×320 resolution, runs on Froyo. Could not find much else on the web. Recently, Huawei got a lot of press on the stellar success of the USD 100 device called IDEOS in Kenya. It could be the same phone coming to India.

MTS Livewire – Rebadged ZTE. I am still to mind out anything informational  about this device. Will update the post when I got more information.

While this could be a beginning of Android going mainstream and mass in India, but I pretty much doubt these devices from MTS will make any significant difference ? People will continue to buy feature phones, unless one of the big big guns like Samsung or LG would come up with a affordable smartphones without carrier contracts.


27
Aug 11

Linux Browsers Compared – Firefox Aurora, Opera Next, Chrome Dev

Web Browsers Compared

The browser war is once again at it’s peak. Google Chrome has shaken up the web browsers landscape on Linux in terms of speed and it’s agile release cycle. Older established players like Firefox and Opera have responded with their own faster release cycles. All of the browsers allow ends uses to preview and test  upcoming versions. Firefox now has the Aurora channel and Opera has the Next release channel to preview the future versions.

This review compares the current in-development versions of the Chrome, Firefox and Opera web browsers on Linux.  Is the new release cycle of Firefox and Opera helping them to match Chrome in speed and performance? Cutting the chase, lets find out.

Browsers Tested

  • Opera Next 12 pre-alpha amd64
  • Firefox Aurora 8.0a2 2011-08-25 amd64
  • Google Chrome dev  15.0.861.0  amd64

Test Methodology

  • All extensions disabled in each browser
  • Only one test was run at a time
  • All browser cache in a tmpfs ram disk

Test System

  • CPU   – AMD Phenom X6 1055
  • RAM –  8 GB DDR3 1300
  • Disk – Intel X25V  40 GB
  • Graphic Card – Zoatc Geforce GT 460 768Mb
  • OS Ubuntu 11.04 running Unity/ 2.6.38-11-generic #48-Ubuntu SMP

The Tests

V8 Benchmark Suite – version 6

V8 Benchmark Suite - version 6 - Higher is Better

Google  Chrome dev  is the stand-out winner in the benchmark, for obvious reasons.  This is the bench mark that developers of Google Chrome uses to baseline he V8 javascript engine and most likely Chrome is heavily optimised for  this benchmark.  Firefox and Opera fall way behind as a distant second and third respectively.

Sunspider

Sunspide 0.9.1 - Lower is better (ms)

This is another javascript benchmark.   Here the difference between Chrome and Firefox is not so dramatic as in the V8 benchmark, but tables are turned.  Firefox is significantly faster in this benchmark, interestingly even Opera is faster then Chrome.

HTML 5 Test Suite

HTML5 Suite - Higher is better

The HTML5 test suite indicates how well the browser can render HTML5.  Google Chrome with 342/450 leads the pack, with Opera coming last with 286/450. Firefox is in between with 314/450.

This will be a bench mark to watch out for in future. As HTML5 becomes more widespread in the future, the winner will be the one that has the best support for HTML5.

Acid3 Test

Sunspide 0.9.1 - Lower is better (ms)

Only Firefox Aurora misses out the perfect hunderd and could manage 97/100; while both Google Chrome dev and Opera Next came up with perfect 100/100.

Final Words

It is clear from all the benchmark Chrome remains the king of speed and performance on Linux.

These preview versions of the web browsers we have compared will be released before the end of this year, and Chrome will remain the leader for 2011.

What does Firefox and Opera have for 2012 that will beat Chrome ?


20
Aug 11

Android Moment

Last weekend after I had after boarding a Jet Lite flight at Guwahati, I noticed the gentlemen on the aisle seat pull out a Galaxy S. He did not seem to be the usual tech savvy person I would have expected to see with a high end android phone. I little later I noticed a younger girl with a Xperia X10 mini  on the other aisle seat in my row.. This made four android phones in a row of 6 people, this after counting my Galaxy S and wife’s Galaxy 3 Apollo.

Only a couple of days back, the tenant at my father’s house in Guwahati was talking about buying a Galaxy Tab 10.1 and not buy a iPad2.

All this time, I was under the impression that Android phones were becoming a hit only with the tech savvy folks in bigger cities. It is common to see plenty of folks with Android phones at my office in Bangalore. In a place like Guwahati and other smaller cities where feature phones still rule and where Nokia is still a very strong brand, I was not expecting to see Android making such a headway.

This is the Android moment.

The mainstream tech press hails Android as a success because it now sells more than iPhone in US. But can the Android phone makers get a true mass market phone for places like India.

What would it take for a successful mass selling Android phone in India –

Price should be sub-5K INR, a capacitive screen, a processor adequate to make the UI responsive without lag and at least 5 day standby without mobile data. All fancy features can be cut, as long as the phone is not crippled by a underpowered CPU and badly customised OS.  Think like GPS, 3G , even wifi  can be skipped to keep the cost down. At this time 3G services in India is a sham, too expensive and cant do much with the crippled metered plans.

 


27
Dec 10

Benchmarked WD Green 1TB 64MB vs Seagate 7200.12 1TB 32MB on Ubuntu Linux

Results of read-only comparison between between Western Digital WD10EARS-00Y5B1 and Seagate ST31000358AS hard disk drives (HDD).

Test System

Phenom II X6 1055, 8 GB DDR3 1600, 890 GX board SATA3 6 Gbps

Linux Mint (Ubuntu 10.10) – Kernel  2.6.35-23-generic #41-Ubuntu SMP Wed Nov 24 11:55:36 UTC 2010 x86_64 GNU/Linux

Gnome Disk Utility Read Benchmark

WD Green 1 TB WD10EARS-00Y5B1 Seagate 7200.12 1 TB ST31000358AS
Disk Capacity1 TB1 TB
Disk Cache64 MB32 MB
Rotation Speed less than 7200 rpm (variable)7200 rpm
Advanced FormatYesNo
Minimum Read48.7 MB/s67.6 MB/s
Maximum Read117.6 MB/s133.5 MB/s
Average Read86.9 MB/s107.8 MB/s
Average Access Time14.7 ms13.7
wd-green-1tb

Western Digital Green 1 TB

st-7200-12-1tb

Seagate ST7200-12 1 TB

hdparm Read Benchmark

Western Digital WD10EARS-00Y5B1 hdd
$ sudo hdparm -tT /dev/sda
/dev/sda:
Timing cached reads: 6714 MB in 2.00 seconds = 3358.17 MB/sec
Timing buffered disk reads: 326 MB in 3.01 seconds = 108.40 MB/sec

 

Seagate ST31000358AS hdd
$ sudo hdparm -tT /dev/sdb
/dev/sdb:
Timing cached reads: 6786 MB in 2.00 seconds = 3394.21 MB/sec
Timing buffered disk reads: 374 MB in 3.01 seconds = 124.25 MB/sec

Temperature

The Seagate ST31000358AS  hdd is cooler on my test set-up with temperature going up to +10 C above ambient, while the Western Digital Green WD10EARS-00Y5B1 hdd going up top +13 C over the ambient temperature.

Conclusion

The Seagate drive is significantly faster than the WD Green drive of the same capacity. The Seagate drive though is faster, but is  noisy –  when the spindle spins the noise can be annoying at time. WD Green is whisper  quiet and consumes less power. The WD Green hdd is slightly warmer in operation compared to the Seagate 7200.12.

My recommendation is the WD Green HDD WD10EARS-00Y5B1, the speed is adequate for a average desktop, low power and silent. If you are looking for performance use this WD Green WD10EARS-00Y5B1 with a SSD as a boot disk.