Uses new flash controller, available next year

Solid State Drives have been held back by the 300 MB/s limit of the SATA II interface for much of the last year. This led many SSD makers to produce SSDs using the PCIe interfaceMotherboards supporting the new 6Gbps SATA interface hit the market last month, and enthusiasts have been eagerly awaiting SSDs that would support the new speeds.

Micron might not be the first name you think of when you consider SSDs, but the company is announcing its new RealSSD C300. It is the first to use a native 6Gbps SATA interface and also first to use ONFI 2.1 high-speed synchronous NAND, making it the fastest SATA-based SSD for notebook and desktop personal computers.

“The C300 SSD not only delivers on all the inherent advantages of SSDs – improved reliability and lower power use – but also leverages a finely tuned architecture and high-speed ONFI 2.1 NAND to provide a whole new level of performance,” said Dean Klein, Vice President of Memory System Development for Micron.

The new drive is capable of read speeds of up to 355 MB/s and write speeds of up to 215MB/s. No random read/write performance figures are available yet. The C300 SSD turns in a score of 45,000 from PC Mark Vantage's HDD Suite. A competitive performance benchmark video is available at

“Hard drives gain little performance advantage when using SATA 6Gb/s because of mechanical limitations,” said Klein. “As a developer of leading-edge NAND technology, along with our sophisticated controller and firmware innovations, Micron is well positioned to tune our drives to take full advantage of the faster speeds achieved using the SATA 6Gb/s interface. The combination of these technology advancements has enabled the RealSSD C300 drive to far outshine the competition.”

The C300 is built using 34nm MLC NAND flash from IM Flash Tech, Micron's joint venture with Intel. It uses a new proprietary NAND flash controller and firmware that was designed in partnership with the Marvell Technology Group.

The new drive is backwards compatible with SATA II motherboards, and will be available in
128GB and 256GB capacities, as well as 1.8-inch and 2.5-inch form factors. Micron is currently sampling the C300 SSD in limited quantities and expects to enter mass production in the first quarter of next year. First availability of the drive will likely be through subsidiary, which sells SSD and memory products made by Micron to consumers.

The C300 is expected to be just the first of many new SSDs in the new year. New NAND flash controller chips from Samsung, SandForce, and Indilinx are expected to provide 6Gbps SATA support, while new high speed DDR NAND flash chips will test their limits.

Update: Micron has confirmed that the C300 uses a new proprietary controller and firmware that was designed in partnership with the Marvell Technology Group. It also uses 2Gb of DDR3 DRAM as cache.

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