One interesting thing about this SSD is that it uses the Marvell 88SS9174 controller instead of the SandForce SF-1222 that dominates the SSD market. What's even more interesting is that this controller means the C300 integrates a 6 Gbps SATA-3 interface, at a time when all current competitors (at the time of writing) stick to 3 Gbps SATA-2 connections. It looks like we may finally have found an SSD capable of getting the very best out of the Marvell SATA-3 controller on our motherboard!
The rest of the spec is all pretty standard stuff, with Micron MLC memory chips and a practical 2.5-inch format that can be used in either laptop or desktop computers.
It literally blows the Intel X25-M's current record for sequential read speeds out of the water, blasting its way through 230 MBps to reach 316 MBps! Plus, the other performances observed are good enough to rival the very best drives we've reviewed to date.
As usual, we then used the AS-SSD test to double-check the results obtained above.
The results are just as good, apart from the random write speed of smaller files, which drops all the way down to 38 MBps with an NCQ of 64 threads. Another disappointment was the rather unimpressive access times, particularly in our random write tests.
Thankfully, slowness in the latter mode is not usually a problem in practice, as we'll see below.
Among the SSDs that we've tested to date, only the OCZ Vertex 2 did better, with a score of almost 36000.
However, in our strictly practical tests, the results are a little more mixed.
These results are mostly equivalent to those obtained by the best SSDs we've tested so far, and our second benchmark—loading the game Arma II—is actually a little faster. The results for installing the demo of Crysis and Windows Office Pro 2007 are, however, a little more disappointing. This slight slowness can be explained quite simply by a write mode access time that's slower than in the best SSDs out there. Remember that during these tests, the installation files are actually on the SSD itself, and so read and write access to the drive is highly frequent and alternates repeatedly. The scores are by no means disastrous though, as the C300 is only 10% and 20% slower respectively in these two tests than the best SSDs.
- Excellent performances in sequential access (over 300 MBps in read mode!)
- SATA-3 interface (good for sequential access)
- Inferior access times penalise performance in certain practical tests
Over 300 MBps in sequential read mode is really something! However, to reach speeds like this you'll need a very recent computer with a SATA-3 interface. For the rest, the C300 is definitely at the higher end of the SSDs we've tested, but it doesn't beat the OCZ Vertex 2 or the Intel X25-M, especially in our practical tests.