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Written by Olin Coles   
Wednesday, 03 February 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
Crucial RealSSD-C300 SATA-III 6Gbps SSD
Features and Specifications
First Look: Crucial RealSSD
Marvell 88SS9174-BJP2 Controller
SSD Testing Methodology
ATTO Disk Benchmark
HD Tune Pro Benchmarks
Iometer IOPS Performance
EVEREST Disk Benchmark
CrystalDiskMark Tests
HD-Tach Benchmark Results
SSD vs Hard Disk Drive
Crucial RealSSD-C300 Conclusion

SSD vs Hard Disk Drive

The last days of old technology are always better than the first days of new technology. Never has this saying been more true than with the topic of storage technology, specifically in regard to the introduction of Solid State Drive technology a few years ago. The only things standing in the way of widespread Solid State Drive (SSD) adoption are high storage capacity and affordable price of Hard Disk Drive (HDD) devices. Because NAND flash-based SSD technology costs more per gigabyte of capacity than traditional magnetic hard drives, the benefits of immediate response time, transfer speeds, and operational input/output performance often get overlooked. Like most consumer products, it wasn't a question of how much improvement was evident in the new technology, it was price. I'll discuss product costs more in just a moment, but for now consider how each new series of SSD product employs greater performance than the one before it, convincing would-be consumers into waiting for the right time to buy.

Crucial_RealSSD-C300_SSD_Corner.jpg

There's also a gray area surrounding SSD performance benchmarks that has me concerned. You might not know this, but SSDs can be very temperamental towards the condition of their flash NAND. My experience testing dozens of Solid State Drives is that a freshly cleaned device (using an alignment tool) will always outperform the same device once it's been formatted and used. A perfect example is Indilinx Barefoot-based SSDs, which suffers severely degraded performance when writing to 'dirty' flash NAND. The reason that all of this will matters is simple: the performance results reported to consumers in product reviews (such as this one) often report the very best performance scores, and the process used to obtain these results is not applicable to real-world usage. This is where garbage collection techniques such as TRIM become important, so that end-users will experience the same performance levels as we do in our tests.

Manufacturer Indilinx Intel JMicron Samsung Toshiba SandForce Marvell
Controller IDX110M00-FC PC29AS21AA0 JMF612 S3C29RBB01-YK40 T6UG1XBG SandForce SF-1200 88SS9174-BJP2
Max Cache 64MB 16MB 128KB+256MB 128MB 128MB Integrated 128MB
Max Capacity 256GB 160GB 256GB 256GB 512GB 512GB 256GB
Read/Write Speed 230/170 MBps 250/70 MBps 250/200 MBps 220/200 MBps 230/180 MBps 260/260 MBps 355/215 MBps
Interface SATA-II 3-Gbps SATA-II 3-Gbps SATA-II 3-Gbps SATA-II 3-Gbps SATA-II 3-Gbps SATA-II 3-Gbps SATA-III 6-Gbps
Garbage Collection GC/TRIM None TRIM GC/TRIM GC/TRIM GC/TRIM GC/TRIM

Chart By:

BmR

Garbage Collection (GC) is the current solution for keeping flash NAND in 'clean' condition, while maintaining optimal performance. Windows 7 offers native TRIM support, and most retail SSDs also include this special GC function or at least offer a firmware update that brings the drive up-to-date. For anyone using an Operating System or SSD that does not offer Garbage Collection functionality, you'll be using 'dirty' flash NAND modules and suffering sub-optimal performance for each write-to request. A few SSD manufacturers offers free tools to help restore peak-level performance by scheduling GC to 'clean' used NAND sectors, but these tools add excessive wear to the NAND the same way disk defragmenting tools would. SLC flash modules may resist wear much better than MLC counterparts, but come at the expense of increased production cost. The best solution is a more durable NAND module that offers long-lasting SLC benefits at the cost of MLC construction. Adoption is further stalled because keen consumers aware of this dilemma further continue their delay into the SSD market.

Getting back to price, the changes in cost per gigabyte have come as often as changes to the technology itself. At their inception, high-performance models such the 32GB MemoRight GT cost $33 per gigabyte while the entry-level 32GB Mtron MOBI 3000 sold for $14 per gigabyte. While an enjoyable decline in NAND component costs forced consumer SSD prices down low in 2009, the price of SSD products has been on the rise during 2010. Nevertheless, Solid State Drives continue to fill store shelves despite price or capacity, and there are a few SSD products now costing only $2.03 per gigabyte. Although the performance may justify the price, which is getting dangerously close to the $1.00 per gigabyte WD VelociRaptor hard drive, costs may still close some buyers out of the market. Price notwithstanding, the future is in SSD technology and the day when HDDs are obsolete is nearing; but there are still a few bumps in the road to navigate.



 

Comments 

 
# What about RAIDWW_Dagger 2010-02-17 22:27
I would be very interested to see how this drive performs in Raid 0 compared to it's stand alone.
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# RAID 0allmoney.ws 2010-07-14 01:30
I ordered 2 Crucial RealSSD-C300 & soon write how it is faster! ;)
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# RE: Crucial RealSSD-C300 SATA-III 6Gbps SSDWW_Dagger 2010-02-17 22:32
And what I mean by "performs" is how close a raid 0 setup can get to the 6GBs SATA limit. I mean, I can buy 1 256GB SSD or 2 128GB SSD's and put them in Raid 0 for the exact same price, right? What are, if any, the disadvantages of one over the other? Just trying to maximize the potential power in these puppies.
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# pricesviciouslyevil 2010-03-18 16:42
nope the 128gb model is about 480$ on newegg while the 256gb model is 760$ and is on sale for 660$ atm
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# Might want to add random 4k read/writeRafale 2010-02-27 17:56
You might want to add the random 4k read/write speed to this comparison table. To some it will be more relevant than the sequential max read and write speed. Also why did you not have the hugely popular Intel X25-M to this comparison? My understanding is that the Intel and Jmicron JMF612 both support TRIM
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# We already have those things...Olin Coles 2010-02-28 12:17
4K read/write is in the HD Tune Pro Benchmarks section... you just need to read the article or look at the test screen captures. Also, the Intel X25-E is used in several tests and charts while the Kingston SSDNow (rebranded X25-M) has been reviewed and tested over and over.
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# Highpoint Rocket Raid 620 questionRussell 2010-03-07 06:53
I have just got one of these C300 drives along with the Highpoint RocketRaid 620 LF mentioned in the review.

If I use the drive attached to the highpoint card is TRIM still going to work?
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# TRIM & Windows 7Olin Coles 2010-03-07 16:53
Supposing that you have the Microsoft Windows 7 O/S, then you will have TRIM support on any controller. The Highpoint RocketRaid 620LF is nearly identical to the one on the motherboard, as they both utilize the PCI-E lane. The only difference is that one is surface soldiered, and the other plugs in.
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# Wrong test benchstas 2010-03-08 23:58
Do not think Marvell-based controller may be of any use as part of a test bench, as it in principle can not work at full 6Gspeed. Why not to use SAS 6G HBA - at least there would not be controller limitations involved.
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# RE: Wrong test benchOlin Coles 2010-03-09 08:02
Nobody uses SAS controllers on their computers. Benchmark Reviews tries to match hardware with what users could have on their own system. Since most new motherboard include the Marvell controller, we've decided to use it. While it's true that there's a 5Gbps limit, it's also true that no SSD comes close to reaching this limitation.
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# RE: RE: Wrong test benchStas 2010-03-09 09:12
No sane overclocker uses Marvell controller with top-end SSD - either Intel chipset or MegaRAID SAS 9260-4i.

Marvell controller can not provide more than 450MB/s in 6G mode even in theory (and only halve of that in 3G), so, at least in reading, you tested SATA controller, not the SSD.
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# PCI-Express bandwidthOlin Coles 2010-03-09 10:40
I suppose that you're forgetting how any SAS adapter would connect to the PCI-Express bus, and that this very same bus is the reason Marvell controllers are limited to 5 Gbps bandwidth. So, in theory, any SAS or other adapter connected to the PCI-Express bus on consumer motherboards would have the same effect.

Also, you might want to read around... nobody actually uses the MegaRAID SAS 9260-4i for their personal computer... especially overclockers. Most have spent enough money on the SSD that they use what's available on the motherboard.
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# RE: PCI-Express bandwidthStas 2010-03-09 11:15
:)

Are you interested in real data or in Marvell pseudo-SATA-6G based?
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# Yes, they doMr. Crankypants 2011-09-10 16:45
"nobody actually uses the MegaRAID SAS 9260-4i for their personal computer"
Yes, they do. Sometimes they even search Google for comments that help them decide which SSD they should buy.
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# RE: Yes, they doDavid Ramsey 2011-09-10 18:11
Snort. I recently met a guy whose home system comprises two 12-core Magny Cours Opteron processors on a server motherboard with 48G of memory. However, it's still probably pretty accurate to say "Nobody runs a 24-core Opteron setup as their home system."
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# RE: Yes, they doOlin Coles 2011-09-10 18:26
Hello, nobody. You're exactly who I was referring to. :)
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# RE: Crucial RealSSD-C300 SATA-III 6Gbps SSDJeff 2010-03-10 21:27
Hey, this SSD looks good but i just checked out a SANDFORCE based SSD released from a company called MACH XTREME, looks great and I have been told will be released at a very competitive price point.
##dramexchange.com/WeeklyResearch/Post/5/2304.html
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# re: what about raidjon doe 2010-03-17 22:31
I believe I read somewhere that Windows 7 does not support Trim for SSDs when configured in a RAID array, so stripping for performance doesn't sound like a good idea at the moment. I may be mistaken, but I swore I read that...
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# RE: Crucial RealSSD-C300 SATA-III 6Gbps SSDvasileios 2010-03-19 11:02
hmmmmmmmmm
so i do not understand the acard ans010 was in the test or not?
cause it showed only in one graph???
in the io meter graph that would kick ass was not.
so all drives were tested in the sata3 channel??
or only the crusial??? cause i wonder if acard ans010 can gain anything from the new bandwith of the sata3.
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# RE: RE: Crucial RealSSD-C300 SATA-III 6Gbps SSDStas 2010-03-19 11:06
Acard has a SATA I+ internal interface, so SATA 6G would not help it run faster
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# RE: RE: RE: Crucial RealSSD-C300 SATA-III 6Gbps SSDvasileios 2010-03-19 11:16
so the max therotical of sataI is 150mb/sec?? cause i get 166mb/sec read speeds with my ans010
so the unit pusses the sata bus to the outmost limit
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: Crucial RealSSD-C300 SATA-III 6Gbps SSDStas 2010-03-19 13:12
Ya, jast a bit. In some conditions even close to 200 (modern SSDs may run at up to 280 - that's a real limit of SATA II).
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# 3 G/sJonathan 2010-08-16 10:57
No laptop has a 6 G/s interface and therefore it would be useful to compare this product with the earlier Crucial SSD on the same 3 G/s controller?
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# RE: Crucial RealSSD-C300 SATA-III 6Gbps SSDrealneil 2010-09-07 05:25
Thanks,.....good review. I wish these bad to the bone drives were a little more affordable for us mainstream guys to buy in decent sizes. I put an OZC Agility-2 drive in one of my boxes and it's amazing how fast it speeds up most tasks. I think that this is probably the most significant upgrade one can do to a gaming computer. But I could only afford the 60GB drive, so I have to run a 1TB drive for data along side of the SSD.

I'm used to the 'new tax' associated with the latest shiny technology for a time after it's release, but it's high time that the prices for these drives came down out of the Stratosphere. These prices turn the phrase "The Leading Edge" into The Bleeding Edge" for us PO-Folks.
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# pricesEric 2010-09-11 12:54
Hopefully the prices do drop enough so I can do 24 off an Areca controller ;)
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# MBL HatsMBLHats 2010-11-24 18:52
Thanks,.....good review. I wish these bad to the bone drives were a little more affordable for us mainstream guys to buy in decent sizes. I put an OZC Agility-2 drive in one of my boxes and it's amazing how fast it speeds up most tasks. I think that this is probably the most significant upgrade one can do to a gaming computer. But I could only afford the 60GB drive, so I have to run a 1TB drive for data along side of the SSD
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# RE: MBL HatsRealNeil 2010-11-25 06:46
You liked my comment that much? LOL!
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