Micron Unveils Bigger, Faster C400 SSD - Hands On

Micron Unveils Bigger, Faster C400 SSD - Hands On

Earlier today, before the onslaught of consumer tech goodness that is CES 2011, our man Mat Miranda had a chance to catch up with Micron representatives at the Storage Vision 2011 conference that is taking place before the big show opens in sunny Las Vegas.  Micron it appears is readying their next generation of SSDs to follow-up their very successful RealSSD C300 line-up.  The new top-end model in the family will be named, you guessed it, C400 and in the event you were feeling really clairvoyant, you might also guess that Micron is rolling out SSDs that are bigger and faster versus the previous generation.  Enough with our keen sense of the obvious though.  We'll let Justin from Micron tell you all about their new blisteringly quick SSD technology. 

Make sure you stick it out through the marketing pitch to the 1:18 mark where Justin gets down and dirty with a demo of the C400's blinding speed.  415MB/sec read throughput with 260MB/sec for writes; what's not to love about that?

And of course we have the obligatory candid photos of the new C400 beast, in the buff mind you.  Hide the women and children...






And there's the new C400 family.  We should note that these are all "enterprise" level drives and that the C400 M4 is coming with similar specs and targeted to consumer applications (read cheaper, thank god).  Regardless, we say RAID a pair of these 256GB models up and rock some throughput.  We certainly will for you in the weeks that follow, once we get them in for testing and review.  Here's the official PR from Micron with the rest of the delicious details...

MICRON INTRODUCES FASTER, HIGHER CAPACITY SOLID-STATE DRIVES FOR NAND FLASH-BASED NOTEBOOKS
First SSD Portfolio to Use Industry’s Most Advanced 25-Nanometer NAND Technology

BOISE, Idaho, January 4, 2011 – Micron Technology, Inc. today unveiled a new portfolio of the industry’s most advanced RealSSDTM solid-state drives (SSDs) for the fast growing flash-based notebook market. A new breed of notebooks are entering the market that have lightweight construction, snappier system responsiveness and a longer lasting battery—all made possible because of the innovations in flash-based storage products.

“SSDs are bringing excitement back into personal computing,” said Dean Klein <http://www.micronblogs.com/?p=1292> , vice president of memory system development at Micron. “Micron is accelerating this enthusiasm with our new RealSSD portfolio, providing even greater performance and higher capacities than our previous generation SSDs.”

The new portfolio <http://www.micron.com/products/solid_state_storage/client_ssd.html>  is the first SSD product line to incorporate Micron’s 25-nanometer (nm) NAND flash technology, creating a broad portfolio of capacities ranging from 64-gigabyte (GB) to 512GB. The drives will be available in 1.8-inch and 2.5-inch form factors. As with its predecessor, the product line also supports the SATA 6Gb/s interface, which opens up the data path between the host processor and the SSD delivering improved overall system responsiveness including faster boot times and speedier application loads. The new drives reach read speeds up to 415 megabytes (MB)/second, which is 17 percent faster than Micron’s previous generation drives. With write performance varying by capacity, the new 512GB drive achieves up to 260MB/second write speeds, which is more than 20 percent faster than the fastest C300 drive. The new SSDs also provide benefits that desktops, workstations and industrial applications can take advantage of including low power consumption, lightweight construction and resistance to shock and vibration.  

“At IDC we expect total portable PC SSD shipments to increase significantly every year for the next three years,” said Jeff Janukowicz, research manager for Solid State Storage Technologies at IDC. “The use of leading-edge NAND technology and product innovations, such as in Micron’s RealSSD drives continue to bring SSDs into the mainstream by enabling higher performance and lower power consumption in a more cost effective solution.”

Micron is currently working with notebook manufacturers to qualify its new RealSSD drives: http://www.micronblogs.com/?p=1295  under the C400 product name. With samples of the RealSSD C400 drives available now, Micron expects mass production to begin in February.

Bringing the drives to business customers and consumers, Crucial, a division of Micron, will begin selling the portfolio under the name, Crucial® m4 SSD. The Crucial m4 SSD product line is expected to be available online at crucial.com and through select global channel partners in the first quarter of 2011.

Micron Offering NAND Flash Design to System Solutions
 As a NAND developer and manufacturer, Micron is in a unique position to apply proprietary management algorithms to its RealSSD portfolio that yield tremendous performance gains and maintain quality control. Micron continues to push NAND process geometries—the company is currently at 25nm with visibility into several more generations—which brings great benefits to solid-state storage applications including greater capacity and more cost-effective designs.

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It's great that  SSD technology is getting faster and more efficient , but I think companies are still focusing more on speed and performance rather  than affordability , example on this story   "We should note that these are all "enterprise" level drives and that the C400 M4 is coming with similar specs and targeted to consumer applications" later.

In this particular case, I rather have their predecessor c300(34 nm) technology SSD for a great price , than to pay a premium for the new generation. But hey , that's just me.

I don't see SSD becoming mainstream till late 2013.

But, if there's a company that can make it happen faster than the rest, I think it's INTEL. If they can make , for example , what is today, The Sandy Bridge 2600k. a $300+ chip  ,out perform a 1000 dollar monster that was the 975 ,than why not be able to do the same when the new batch of their SSD's come out?

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I'd guess that the biggest reason manufacturers seem to be concentrating on speed and power of SSDs is that there's already a device that is way more appealing to the cost-conscious market: HDDs.

I'm sure they are trying to one-up each other somewhat on price, but they all have the same high manufacturing costs at this point.

Plus... they're probably all in collusion to keep the prices up. Big Smile

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SammyHayabuza:

But, if there's a company that can make it happen faster than the rest, I think it's INTEL. If they can make , for example , what is today, The Sandy Bridge 2600k. a $300+ chip  ,out perform a 1000 dollar monster that was the 975 ,than why not be able to do the same when the new batch of their SSD's come out?

 

I keep reading around that the Intel gen 3 SSDs are to come down to a cool $1/GB

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The only problem with the C300, and now the C400 it seems, is that at any size smaller than 256 they don't reach max write throughput. In fact, the random read performance also dropped noticeably. If your going to buy a RealSSD C, make sure you get the 256GB size or buy another brand.

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