If there was one thing we wouldn’t have predicted, it was the rush of computer enthusiasts lining up to be the first to have what amounts to be the smallest and most powerful consumer storage medium available.
For the most part, we have Lenovo to thank for that as millions of Thinkpad owners played a key role in mSATA SSDs flying off the shelves quicker than they could restock. Industry has responded well, however, as mSATA becomes the new ‘SSD Du Jours’ for the new ultra crowd.
Our report today is going to be our second of the Micron C400 family, the first being the C400 128GB capacity with today’s being what will soon be the industry standard ultrabook size of 256GB. For those wondering about similarities between the Micron C400 and the newly released Crucial M4 SATA 3 SSD, they are twins. Crucial handles the consumer side of things while Micron deals with the OEM and enterprise world; the sole difference between the two seems to be exterior branding sticker only.
The C400 is available in capacities of 32 and 64GB, for SSD caching applications, as well as 128 and 256GB where the sample we are reviewing today is the 256GB capacity. Performance is increased with capacity and the 32GB version is capable of 440MB/s read and 50MB/s write with 55,000 IOPS, whereas the 256GB C400 tops out at 500MB/s read and 260MB/s write and 75,000 IOPS.
C400 MSATA COMPONENTS
The Micron C400 relies on the Marvel 88SS9174 controller with a Micron 256MB DDR3 cache module. There are also four modules of Micron 25nm NAND flash memory of which each is 64GB in capacity for a RAW total of 256GB.
Once formatted, the total capacity available to the end user is reduced to 238GB.
The Mushkin Atlas SATA III mSATA SSD is still not reviewed here?????
Only found out yesterday that one is on its way…so it will be soon enough.
Nice review. But what about power consumption ? I would like to put one msata in my dell laptop. Is there any big difference between the Crucial and the ADATA ?
Typically, we don’t address power consumption as it is not indicative of something the typical consumer concerns themselves with. See below for manufacturer listed specs:
C400 – 85/200mW
ADATA – .45/1.5W
Could this be as good as having Samsung 830 256GB SSD? ( not mSata version )? I am thinking to use this with 7.2K RPM 750GB , but not sure if its worth using SSD or mSata SSd with HDD? Thanks
We have done the 830 Series 512GB notebook form factor review and it is here:
As for performance between the 2.5″ and mSATA, we had initially seen mSATAs with performance below notebook drives but that doesnt appear to be the case any longer.
I have found that AS SSD transfer testing is not accurate. If you manually transfer a large file and I guarantee you the transfer rate is nowhere near what AS SSD shows.
Thanks Bill but we find it’s results to be consistent, not only in this analysis but also, in every analysis we have done and used it on the site.
umm…pretty sure Bill Gates doesn’t know how to use a computer
You need to turn off your virus scanner. On access virus scanning really hurts transfer performance of fast SSDs. The reason why AS SSD doesn’t show this degradation is that AS SSD writes to a pre-created file and is not reading from another drive, so the virus scanner isn’t triggered.
I dont run AV
Is this available anywhere on the web?
Useful review, thanks Les. Thinking of getting one for my Lenovo T420s (which has an mSATA slot) but as yet, Crucial’s compatibility tool is marking them as not compatible with any of the Thinkpads. Given what you mentioned about the Thinkpad market for mSATA upgrades I’m guessing they’re being over cautious, wondering if you have any thoughts on this. Thanks.
I have yet to find ANY mSATA incompatible with any of my laptops and, specifically the X100, we did testing of serveral drives. Yes, they will list it as incompatible until tested. I can not for the life of me see any reason why one mSATA would be compatible while another would not though. They all serve the same purpose in the same way after all.
Sounds sensible – thanks. Keep up the great work on these reviews – much appreciated. Cheers
Keep an eye out for our Mushkin Atlas mSATA review today or tomorrow.
I have the Crucial M4 mSATA 256GB model on order. It should arrive later this week. Looking forward to using it. Thanks for the review Les.
No prob Keith… Hope all goes well!!!
Hy, first of all, I would like to thank you for the huge amount of information I found on this site. Nice review, Im almost convinced about this one but Im not sure my lenovo Y570 would support sata3 in the msata slot. Im wondering if you have any information regarding this :). I plan to use it as my boot drive with the original 2,5″ hdd as a “movie shelf”. The other options Im considering are -OCZ Nocti mSATA 120GB
-Crucial RealSSD M4 mSATA SSD 128GB
-Adata XPG SX300 128GB mSATA
They have almsot the same price and rigth now i cant deside wether to go for 256gb or just stay with 128gb. The 128gb range seems more valuable.
If you could help me decide I would really appreciate. Thanks
a quick check seems to return that it is SATA 3 so I might suggest confirmation through a Google search. The next question deals with capacity as the three others you highlighted seem to be lower capacity drives. as for my choice of the bunch…..no need to answer on that one!
Very useful review!
Having one question though:
NAND IC’s use dual die internally or not? 4K Random reads should be greater if so, if not it’s explained in a way (less channels)