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...

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.