Lexar Media today introduced the 64GB RealSSD™ C300, extending its award-winning portfolio to offer a high performing and affordable SSD option. Like its predecessors, the 64GB RealSSD C300 natively supports SATA 6Gb/s, offering the industry’s most compelling consumer SSD solution for capacity, price and performance.
We thought our readers might want to know more about the newest entry to the RealSSD line of products, so we sat down with Ben Thiel in Micron’s SSD group to shed some light on these new drives and trends in market adoption.
Thanks Ben for talking with us. With Lexar Media introducing the 64GB version of the RealSSD C300 for consumers (available at www.crucial.com), will Micron be introducing this product for OEMs as well?
Yes, the 64GB C300 is available to Micron customers directly and through our key distribution partners.
What are the target applications for this product?
The 64GB C300 is built on the same platform (NAND design and controller) as our initial 128GB and 256GB C300 capacities, and the target applications are the same—notebook/desktop computers. The drive is designed and optimized for these personal computing applications, however; we have seen a good level of interest in the 64GB capacity from customers in the industrial/embedded market as well as the server space. Although these weren’t the initial target applications, the dollars per gigabyte and relative performance of the drive are well suited for these types of applications.
There’s been a pretty strong push for these lower capacity, aggressively priced SSDs recently; do you have any insight on the receptivity in the market? Why is this class of products coming back around? What’s been the market uptake?
Initially, performance and cost were the primary gating factors to SSD adoption. Now with the technology’s significant performance gains over hard drives and drops in pricing, we’re seeing increased interest and greater market demand for SSDs.
While mainstream capacity SSDs (128GB/256GB) may still be too pricey for some cost-conscious system designers or end-consumers, these lower capacity SSDs (30GB to 64GB) provide an attractive alternative. Their reduced cost per gigabyte price and improved performance/reliability over hard drives make them a good option for those that want some of the performance gains of SSDs without the premium price. While these lower-capacity SSDs don’t offer the same performance as their higher capacity counterparts, they are finding a nice niche, particularly in the consumer space, as a fast boot drive. And as a result of NAND's ongoing process shrink, SSD prices will continue to drop bringing this technology to a price point where mainstream adoption is possible.
Why is there a write performance differential from the 256GB, 128GB and 64GB capacity drives?
The reason is parallelism. As we add more NAND die to the C300 platform, the drive can perform more parallel transactions, which increases write performance. The other capacity-specific difference is the amount of over-provisioning that is available. Over-provisioning essentially refers to “spare area” that is reserved for background operations that are fundamental to the drive’s performance. NAND natively has around 6 percent over-provisioning built in, so as SSD capacity goes up so does the corresponding percentage of over-provisioning. This increase in “spare area” results in greater performance in the larger capacity drives.
Thanks for taking time to discuss this with us, Ben. If our readers are interested in getting more information on the 64GB RealSSD where should they go?
OEMs can go to Micron.com/realssd to see our part catalogs, tech notes and other documentation, and of course, consumers can visit Crucial.com.