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Crucial C300 256GB SSD

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Posted August 9, 2010 by Jake in Storage, HDs & SSDs

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by Jake
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Summary

The single biggest bottleneck in modern systems is indeed the traditional plattered hard drive, and using an SSD in your system will make such a difference that you’ll want to cry if faced with having to use an HDD afterwards. No exaggeration, the speed boost is that pronounced and alluring.

As we’ve seen with Solid State Drives in our extensive testing, the controller is the biggest difference in performance, and there have been some teething problems during their development of various solutions from difference manufacturers. In terms of performance and popularity, the Indilinx and SandForce drives have sat atop the performance heap since their release. However, the Micron controller in the Crucial C300 takes them to task, but only in certain situations.

The SATA 6G interface allows the C300 to crush the competition in sequential Read speeds, and the Writes are impressive too but not quite as stratospheric. As we move to small file speeds, the C300’s performance starts to drop relative to the competing drives. And by the time we get to the random small file 4K results, the Crucial drives comes back down to earth. Is this a sign of inherent weakness in the C300? Not really. The fact remains that the Marvell controller is a force to be reckoned with. The technology produces some astonishingly impressive performance results, and the results need to be taken in context; the reality is those numbers are stil lightning quick, and users won’t really ever notice the difference in daily use. However, moving to the C300 from a traditional plattered hard drive will leave you speechless; the performance increase is that significant.

The 256GB version of the C300 does come with a steep price tag though. We managed to find the C300 for $600 USD at the time of review, which is considerably lower than its initial launch price of almost $800. That is a significant improvement in price. However, the 256GB Indilinx-based SSDs cost about $600 as well and can’t touch the C300 in terms of performance. And SandForce-based drives comes with a reduced capacity, down to 240GB capacity, for the same price. Prorating the capacity against the peformance difference, the C300 actually offers pretty good value for what you get against its competitors. The reality, however, is that if you’re in the market for a 256GB drive like this, then price isn’t your primary concern; performance probably is. And the C300 will certainly satisfy that.

So what’s the downside here? Well, you must have a SATA 6G motherboard to truly take advantage of the C300’s capabilities. If you’re stuck with SATA 3G, then a SandForce drive might be a better option. But keep in mind that the C300 is more future proof, since it will give you the speed boost if you do upgrade to SATA 6G in the future. The only other thing is that the C300 has a 3 year warranty. That’s on par with other drives and manufacturers, so we can’t really complain, although we would love to see that as 5 years for a 256GB drive at this price. Perhaps that’s being picky on our part, but we can still hope.

The Crucial 300 256GB has killer performance, no two ways about it. If you need a larger capacity solid state drive and want one with lightning quick speed, then we have no hesitation in recommending the C300 as a top pick if you need the best.

Crucial C300 256GB

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