Crucial/Micron RealSSD C300 - The Closest Competitor

While OCZ rushes to be the first to ship these superfast SSDs, Crucial and Micron will soon be shipping their RealSSD C300s. Based on a Marvell controller these drives (Crucial for the channel, Micron for OEMs) are far more traditional in their architecture.

Instead, the innovation comes from the use of ONFi 2.0 MLC NAND flash and a 6Gbps SATA interface. The combination of the two results in some extremely high sequential speeds. A seemingly well architected firmware (and a boatload of DRAM) work together to deliver good random access performance as well.

In testing the C300 it performed very much like a faster X25-M, there was one anomaly that bothered me: maximum write latency.

Like Intel’s X25-M, whenever the C300 goes to write data it also does a bit of cleaning/reorganization of its internal data. The more cleaning the drive has to do, the longer this write process will take. Micron did its best to minimize this overhead but eventually you’ll have to pay the piper. Below you’ll see the average IOPS, average MB/s, average and max write latencies for the C300, X25-M G2 and Vertex LE during my 4KB random write test:

4KB Random Write Performance Average IOPS Average MB/s Average Latency Max Latency
Crucial RealSSD C300 36159 IOPS 141.3 MB/s 0.0827 ms 1277.9 ms
Intel X25-M G2 11773 IOPS 46.0 MB/s 0.255 ms 282.9 ms
OCZ Vertex LE 41523 IOPS 162.2 MB/s 0.072 ms 109 ms

 

While both Crucial and OCZ/SandForce offer incredible average write latencies, Crucial’s max latency is over a second! I haven’t actually seen max write latencies this bad since the JMicron days. But if you look at the average write latency, you’ll see that this max latency scenario basically never happens. I only worry about what happens when it does.

Crucial also warned me that despite the controller’s desire to keep performance as high as possible, if I keep bombarding it with random writes and never let up it may reach a point where it can no longer restore performance to an acceptable level. This sounds a lot like what Intel encountered with the original X25-M bug, although it’s not something I was able to bring about in normal usage thus far. Given the early nature of many of these drives, it’s going to take a lot of consistent use to figure out all of their quirks.

Overall performance of the C300 is excellent. Just like the Vertex LE, it performed admirably in all of our tests. Paired with a 6Gbps controller there’s actual a noticeable improvement in real world performance, although it’s limited to those scenarios where you’re doing a lot of sequential reads from the drive.


6Gbps SATA controller on a PCIe x1 card

The drive’s performance does come at a price. The RealSSD C300 will be available later this month in 128GB and 256GB configurations, priced at $499 and $799 respectively.

OWC - Hot on OCZ’s Heels What’s Intel Doing?
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  • v12v12 - Tuesday, February 23, 2010 - link

    YES! You tell these idiot RAID-0 fanboys that it's USELESS and doesn't offer any real world benefit for all the potential catastrophic FAILURE it can cause, and the fact that it's DOUBLE: the drive price, double the heat, double the noise, double the space required, double capacity loss... the list of negatives about RAID-0 go on and on.
    __ WHile nobody talks about RAID-1, like it's some redheaded-step-child. RAID-1 is the BEST thing anyone can do if they value their data. Screw a meager speed increase (very subjective/specific to the intended usage) when you risk losing it all and THEN you'll spend how many HOURS of DOWN TIME cursing your HDs to hell? Logic right out the window folks...

    RAID-O has long been proven to be a complete WASTE OF TIME! Go search Xbit-labs, Storage review and the myriads of other comparisons that PROVE (again not my opinion) that it's a farce and doesn't belong on "desktop" systems at all: stupid gamers/fanboys never learn.
    Reply
  • funkyd99 - Tuesday, February 23, 2010 - link

    I wouldn't call double the capacity useless. Before you generalize everyone who uses RAID-0 as an "idiot fanboy", realize that:

    1. Some people need more than 160GB of storage for their primary drive, and prefer a hardware solution vs. a software solution such as dynamic disks.

    2. Some people have a solid bare-bones backup solution in place, and can recover from a catastrophic failure in less than an hour.

    3. RAID-1 on a desktop is the waste of time and hardly the best thing someone can do if they value their data. Please tell me how RAID-1 will save your data if a faulty power supply fries everything in your computer, or a faulty controller writes a bunch of garbage to both disks, etc. etc. An external drive and a weekly backup is safer than relying on RAID-1 as a backup solution.

    4. Some people can get a point across without resorting to name-calling and CAPS.
    Reply
  • mlambert890 - Thursday, February 25, 2010 - link

    This is so well said. Why are so many people so insanely emotionally involved with disk drives, video cards, etc?

    There is no "final answer" discussing RAID 0. Lots of people like to declare they have a "final answer" and call anyone who dissents an "idiot", but this is just noise.

    As has always been the case with *any* RAID level, cost/benefit analysis really depends almost entirely on your use case and indvidiual situation. It is tempting to try to paint with a broad brush (especially on web forums), but reality just doesnt work that way

    Anyone who understands RAID, storage, or really technology in general in any meaningful way, knows this.

    A lot of technology passes through my hands as a result of my profession (and a lot has come and gone during the course of a 20 year career).

    Annecdotally, I can tell you right now that I absolutely "feel" the difference between Intel SSD single drive and the sames drives in RAID 0. I have the two setups sitting right here for testing. Synethetics show a difference, and the difference is measurable and noticeable. Many people say they don't notice the difference between SSD and *HDD*. They arent wrong - perception is subjective.

    Objectively, however, RAID-0 yields a performance increase. Whether or not one can perceive it or feels the tradeoff is worth it (as is ALWAYS the case with RAID-0), is a subjective and individual decision.

    Some day a lot of these kids are going to look back on their post history (unique thing - your words last forever on the internet) and wonder what the heck they were thinking...
    Reply
  • kmmatney - Friday, February 19, 2010 - link

    I agree. NewEgg just had the Intel 80 GB SSD on sale for $219. They sold out pretty fast, though. I think at the end of the day, you can't go wrong with Intel for an SSD. Their toolbox can schedule a anutomatic TRIM operation once a week for Windows Xp systems as well, so lack of autoatic TRIM in Window XP is not an issue. Reply
  • leexgx - Saturday, February 20, 2010 - link

    intel toolbox will only work in AHCI mode (Sata mode as well i think but you lose NCQ) and no updated chipset drivers or no intel matrix drivers installed Reply
  • mschira - Friday, February 19, 2010 - link


    typo gallore...
    But I am so excited...
    M.
    Reply
  • micksh - Friday, February 19, 2010 - link

    Vertex LE 200GB is $920 at Amazon (preorder, no availability date)
    http://www.amazon.com/OCZ-Technology-Limited-2-5-I...">http://www.amazon.com/OCZ-Technology-Li...-Inch-OC...

    Just one note. Numbers on charts are aligned to bars and text is aligned to the left edge of the chart. If the bar is too short the numbers overlap with text and it's hard to read the numbers.
    Reply
  • Shining Arcanine - Friday, February 19, 2010 - link

    I thought Linux's ext4 and btrfs filesystems supported TRIM too. Why do you say that only Windows 7 supports TRIM? Reply
  • Chlorus - Sunday, February 21, 2010 - link

    Because BTRFS is still experimental and EXT4 is a piece of shit that randomly corrupts large files? Reply
  • gwolfman - Friday, February 19, 2010 - link

    Anand,

    I'm jealous of your serial number: 1.

    OCZ showing some special love to you. :)
    Reply

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