micron c400 msata Micron gets into the tiny SSD market with the c400 mSATA

Predicting technology isn't an easy thing, but if anyone would've said that computers would be using SSD's the size of a mini PCI Express card as their main storage device a few years ago people would most likely have laughed at the notion, least not due to the cost of flash memory back then. Micron has just entered the mSATA SSD market with shrunken version of its c400 SSD series and it's likely to find a home in an Ultrabook or two.

Predicting technology isn't an easy thing, but if anyone would've said that computers would be using SSD's the size of a mini PCI Express card as their main storage device a few years ago people would most likely have laughed at the notion, least not due to the cost of flash memory back then. Micron has just entered the mSATA SSD market with shrunken version of its c400 SSD series and it's likely to find a home in an Ultrabook or two.

Now Micron is hardly the first company to produce an mSATA SSD, but it's one of the first companies to offer one based on a Marvell controller, i.e. the same controller as in its 2.5-inch c400 drives which are more well known as the Crucial m4. At 30x50mm (WxD) the mSATA standard is indeed very suitable for Ultrabooks and we can see why Micron would want to cash in on what Intel is hoping will be the next big trend in mobile computers, although that isn't likely to happen until later this year when Intel's new Ivy Bridge ultra-low power CPU's arrive.

micron c400 msata Micron gets into the tiny SSD market with the c400 mSATA

The c400 mSATA vill be available in sizes ranging from 32GB all the way up to 256GB, with the smaller drives being suitable for things like hard drive caching. That said, performance wise the less spacious models aren't that impressive as the 32GB model only offers a sequential write speed of 50MB/s and a read speed of 440MB/s with the 64GB model offering slightly better write speeds of 95MB/s and read speeds of 500MB/s. This compares poorly with regards to the write performance even to OCZ's Nocti range of mSATA drives using the older SF-2141 controller on paper, but in real world tests thing might be different.

That said, the more capacious models offer equivalent performance to the regular 2.5-inch drives. Do keep in mind though that Marvell based SSD's are vastly superior in general when it comes to handle incompressible data compared to SandForce based models. Sadly there's no word on pricing as yet, but Micron has promised that we'll see m4 models from Crucial later this quarter, albeit we're not sure if the entire range of sizes will be available. For those interested in some performance comparisons, Anandtech has tested the 128GB SKU and it appears to perform very similar to the 2.5-inch equivalent.

Source: Micron