Crucial realSSD C300 64GB £98

24th Sep 2010 | 08:23

Crucial realSSD C300 64GB

Does adding SATA 6Gbps unleash the power of SSD drives?

TechRadar rating:

5 stars

Top performance for bottom dollar. Hard to fault.

Crucial realSSD C300: Overview

Solid state drives are definitely coming of age. Not only are they increasingly the norm for mid-range laptops and pre-built gaming systems, but we've seen huge leaps in performance lately. From Kingston's SSD Now V+ series to the SandForce-powered Agility 2 and Vertex 2 from OCZ, things are looking good for SSDs.

Crucial's latest realSSD C300 drive is available in three sizes, 64GB, 128GB and 256GB. Inside the drive, the memory chips naturally come from Crucial's parent company Micron, and the controller is by way of Marvell.

There are two things that are really interesting about the realSSD C300, though. First up, it's reasonably priced – a little bit more expensive than Kingston's perhaps, but a lot cheaper than OCZ's offerings.

Secondly, it's one of the first internal drives of any flavour we've seen that make use of the new 6Gbps SATA standard.

SSD read speeds have been getting very close to the limits of the older SATA 3Gbps bandwidth cap. Does changing the interface let them off the leash?

Crucial realSSD C300: Benchmarks

Our benchmarks measure the performance of the hard drive in sequential read and write tests to give an overall measure of maximum performance. The key figure, though, is the AS SSD 4K 64 thread test. This simulates lots of small files handles simultaneously – which is exactly what happens in normal desktop apps that slow your PC down. The OCZ drive here is the one to beat, while the Kingston V+ has a few characteristics that have dogged SSDs since they first appeared.

ATTO max sequential read

OCZ Vertex 2 120GB: 236MBps
Kingston V+ 60GB: 213MBps
Crucial SSDnow C300 64GB: 322MBps

ATTO max sequential write

OCZ Vertex 2 120GB: 249MBps
Kingston V+ 60GB: 110MBps
Crucial realSSD C300 64GB: 80MBps

HDTach burst speed

OCZ Vertex 2 120GB: 256.1MBps
Kingston V+ 60GB: 240MBps
Crucial realSSD C300 64GB: 330MBps

AS SSD average read

OCZ Vertex 2 120GB: 166.75MBps
Kingston V+ 60GB: 198.33MBps
Crucial realSSD C300 64GB: 303.7MBps

AS SSD average write

OCZ Vertex 2 120GB: 132.04MBps
Kingston V+ 60GB: 108.9MBps
Crucial realSSD C300 64GB: 73.26MBps

AS SSD 4k 64thread read

OCZ Vertex 2 120GB: 23.45MBps
Kingston V+ 60GB: 23.96MBps
Crucial realSSD C300 64GB: 31.96MBps

AS SSD 4k 64thread write

OCZ Vertex 2 120GB: 79.12MBps
Kingston V+ 60GB: 2.37MBps
Crucial realSSD C300 64GB: 58.19MBps

Crucial realSSD C300: Verdict

Even pitched against the ludicrously swift OCZ Vertex 2, with its much-vaunted SandForce SF-1200, Crucial's new drive puts in an admirable performance. When weighed against the price saving, it makes it well worth considering as a performance enhancer for your existing system or laptop.

The C300 realSSD capitalises on the traditional strength of solid state storage with blistering read speeds that far exceed the limits of older SATA 3Gbps ports, justifying at last the rush to get newer 6Gbps controllers into the wild recently.

So long as you have the motherboard to go with it, it's the fastest SSD in this respect bar none.
When reading small files simultaneously, it's benchmarked around 30 per cent higher than its nearest competitor. That means fast boot times and level loads – exactly what you want an SSD for.

The C300 realSSD is slightly weaker when it comes to write speeds. It falls short of the new standard set by the SandForce SF-1200 drives, but it's a long way ahead of older drives that barely scraped double figures in the key AS SSD 4K 64 thread test.

Unlike many technologies, where competing benchmarks cluster together like caravans on a motorway, what the C300 means is that you have a clear choice if you're after an SSD at the moment. If it's out of this world write speeds for a good overall performance boost, then the OCZ Vertex 2 is the drive for you.

But if you want the fastest read times bar none and a very attractive price point to boot, then the Crucial C300 realSSD is a clear winner.

We liked

What's not to like about the C300 realSSD? It boasts read speeds like nothing we've seen before, which finally make use of the raised bandwidth cap of SATA 6Gbps and beats all but the very best drives in write operations too. Even better, it's priced at the bottom end of the SSD spectrum.

We disliked

The only complaint you can lay at the C300's door is that it doesn't match the superlative SF-1200-based drives for write performance.

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