Cheap as chipsWe reckon that the blazing-fast performance of the Crucial RealSSD 256GB solid-state drive has put it near the top of many an enthusiast's wishlist. Performance and value rarely appear in the same sentence as far as high-end PC kit is concerned, and the 256GB drive currently retails for a wallet-beating £500.
Crucial also sells a 128GB version for £309, with pricing in line with other premium 120GB/128GB SSDs, most notably those powered by the SandForce SF-1200 controller. Now, though, Crucial is bringing the RealSSD down to the mainstream with the launch of a 64GB model, priced at a tasty £121.
So how can Crucial launch a drive at significantly less than half the price of the 128GB SSD? The devil is in the details, so let's trot out a simple table and unearth the vital stats.
|Crucial RealSSD C300||64GB||128GB||256GB|
||SATA 6Gb/s||SATA 6Gb/s|
|Read speed (up to)||355MB/s||355MB/s||355MB/s|
|Write speed (up to)||75MB/s
|Random write 4K IOPS||15,000
|£ per GB||1.89
The 64GB model has the same blistering sequential read speed of up-to 355MB/s, necessitating a SATA 6 Gb/s interface, but suffers when it comes to writing files, peaking at just 75MB/s. The RealSSD's Marvell controller works better with a larger number of NAND chips, using them in tandem, and this is why the 256GB C300 is so fast.
A reduction in sequential writing performance is also mirrored in the random write 4K IOPS figure that comes in at one-third of that specified on the 256GB drive.
But we think that SSD reading-speed performance is more important for the majority of consumers. Factor in the read speed and comparatively excellent price-per-GB metric for a small-capacity SSD, which is well under two, and the 64GB C300 makes a decent case as a boot drive for your system.
We hope to have one in the labs soon, so stay tuned for the full review.