SSD = Super Speedy Drive?
Slow secondary storage has been the biggest persistent gripe about PC gaming for quite a while now. While CPUs, RAM, graphics cards and system busses have all been improving at a steady rate; hard drives have stayed more or less stagnant for the past decade. Sure, capacities have gone up tremendously, but access times and transfer rates have only improved marginally.
Enter the solid state drive. At its most basic level, a SSD has the same basic structure as a USB flash drive: a bunch of NAND flash memory chips, a controller to tie them together, and an interface that talks to the outside world. Where a SSD pulls ahead is, naturally enough, in the performance of those three components. Today we’ll be looking at the RealSSD C300 256GB SSD from Crucial. Taking advantage of the still-uncommon SATA 6.0 GBps interface, this drive promises to deliver blisteringly fast performance.
Promises are one of the few truly binary things in this world; you either keep them or you break them. Today, we’ll see which side Crucial has landed on.
First, let’s take a look at what Crucial has to say about their drive:
The need for speed
If you’re looking for unhindered speed, Crucial’s RealSSD C300 is here! The new 2.5-inch Crucial RealSSD C300 drive offers mobile and desktop users scorching-fast read speeds of up to 355MB/s. And because it has no moving parts, you will also enjoy a quieter, cooler, and more durable storage solution and a better alternative to a traditional notebook hard drive.
Comment: Note the use of the weasel words “up to” in the read speed claim. This will become important later on
Improved data transfers
Designed with high-speed synchronous MLC NAND, advanced controller technology, optimized NAND management, and the new SATA 6Gb/s interface, these drives dramatically improve data transfers for bandwidth-demanding applications like audio and video.
Comment: As with most SSDs on the market, this drive uses MLC flash memory. While this allows for cheaper and larger SSDs, it does have a negative impact on the speed. Given how brutally expensive SLC memory is, though, the use of MLC flash is hardly a mark against Crucial.
Push your performance
The improvement in boot time and application load times push performance to new levels at the desktop too. You will experience improvement across a variety of common tasks such as viewing and editing photos, video, music and other media, gaming, communications, productivity and security.
Comment: Faster is better. Got it.
The Crucial brand of memory has long been synonymous with reliability and high-performance. Our expertise in NAND process technology enables us to optimize the performance and durability of Crucial solid-state drives.
Comment: Crucial has been in the memory business for a long while, and they’re not in the habit of making crap. We’re guardedly optimistic about this drive’s performance.
Crucial RealSSD C300 series employ a standard hard drive interface and dimensions, so it is an easy storage upgrade for most notebooks.
Comment: The 2.5″ hard drive form factor is the one most SSD manufacturers have standardised on, since flash memory isn’t terribly bulky. Many enthusiast cases now offer a 2.5″ mounting bracket to accommodate a SSD; adapter rails can be used to mount this drive in most 3.5″ bays otherwise.