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Micron RealSSD C400 128GB mSATA SSD Review – Performance and Capacity At Under 10 Grams

It wasn’t so long ago that we had a sit down with Crucial/Micron at Storage Visions 2012 and they spoke of their SSD plans for the year, the Adrenaline Caching SSD and production of a mSATA SSD being high priorities on the list.

Shortly after that venture, we reviewed the Adrenaline and here we are back once again with announcement, and full review, of the new Micron C400 SATA 3 Client mSATA SSD.  The C400 is not a retail item, however, fret not as we are sure that release of the M4 mSATA can’t be far behind.

INTRODUCTION

Over the past few years, a new face has reared itself in technology and, more specifically, PC sales.  Whereas the typical consumer might only have cared about the size of the hard drive in their notebook purchase a short time ago, today’s buyer now finds the opportunity to choose their storage medium and, in doing so, wants to know what makes this ‘SSD thing’ so special.

From our standpoint, we see it in our Forum activity, numerous e-mails and most importantly, in the number of readers that read specific articles.  We can easily guage consumer interest this way and, quite unexpectedly, SATA 3 mSATA SSDs have been a popular read for some time.  By unexpectedly, we mean that the interest really does not match the number of avenues for mSATA application just yet.

Could it be the fact that the mSATA SSD is only a third the size of a business card and just a little taller than a twenty-five cent piece? Or could it be that something this small can make a computer run faster than most could ever imagine?  Myself, I think the attention is tied in with the fact that, only with this technology, we now see ultrabooks that weigh about 1/2″ thick and 2.5 lbs.

MICRON C400 SATA 3 128GB MSATA SSD

This morning Micron announces the release of the new C400 mSATA SSD and we are aware that oem’s are already scooping up countless 256GB versions for their soon to be seen ultrabook releases.  This is a good start.  The C400 is available in capacities of 32 and 64GB, these being designated the C400v and ideal for caching although they would still make an ideal boot drive, as well as the C400 128 and 256GB capacities, performance of all increasing with capacity. For instance, the 32GB version is capable of 440MB/s read and 50MB/s write with 55,000 IOPS, whereas the 256GB C400 tops out at 500MB/s read and 260MB/s write and 75,000 IOPS.  The 128GB version we are testing today has performance of 500MB/s read and 175MB/s write with 65,000 IOPS.

C400 MSATA COMPONENTS

The Marvell 88SS9174 controller is found under the drive label and is just above the module of Micron 256MB DDR3 cache.  There are also four modules of 25nm NAND flash memory, each module being 32GB in size for 128GB RAW total. Once formatted, the end user capacity is brought down a bit to 119GB.

For our testing today, the C4oo will use a be Renice mSATA to SATA converter for testing on our test bench. As much as we would like to test it within a SATA 3 capable ultrabook, the only we have on hand is the Asus Zenbook and this form factor is not compatible with that ultrabook.

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