Micron c400: Micron C400 mSATA (128GB) SSD Review

Micron C400 mSATA (128GB) SSD Review

by Anand Lal Shimpion April 10, 2012 8:00 AM EST

  • Posted in
  • Storage
  • SSDs
  • Crucial
  • Micron
  • m4
  • C400
  • mSATA



The ReviewRandom & Sequential Read/Write SpeedAnandTech Storage Bench 2011AnandTech Storage Bench 2011 — Light WorkloadTRIM Performance & Power Consumption

The arrival of affordable, high-performance client SSDs gave us two (closely related) things: 1) a high-speed primary storage option that could work in both a notebook or a desktop, and 2) independence from traditional hard drive form factors.

Unlike traditional hard drives, solid state storage didn’t have the same correlation between performance and physical size. The 2.5″ form factor was chosen initially because of the rising popularity of notebooks and the fact that desktops could use a 2.5″ drive with the aid of a cheap adapter. Since then, many desktop cases now ship with 2.5″ drive bays.

It turns out that even the 2.5 wide, 9.5mm tall form factor was a bit overkill for many SSDs. We saw the first examples of this with the arrival of drives from Corsair and Kingston, where the majority of the 2.5″ enclosure went unused. Intel and others also launched 1.8″ versions of their SSDs with performance levels comparable to their 2.5″ counterparts.

Moore’s Law ensures that large SSDs can be delivered in small packages. Take the original Intel X25-M for example. The first 80GB and 160GB drives used a 50nm 4GB MLC NAND die (1 or 2 die per package), across twenty packages. Intel’s SSD 320, on the other hand, uses 25nm NAND to deliver 300GB or 600GB of storage in the same package configuration. As with all things Moore’s Law enables, you can scale in both directions — either increase capacity in a 2. 5″ form factor, or enable smaller form factors with the same capacity.

The Ultrabook movement has encouraged development of the latter. While Apple and ASUS (among others) have picked custom form factors for their smallest form factor SSDs, there’s always a need for standardization. One option is the mSATA form factor:

Take a mini PCIe card, use the same connector, but make it electrically compatible with SATA and you’ve got mSATA. It’s even possible to build an mSATA/mini PCIe connector that can switch between the two interfaces.

We met our first mSATA SSD with Intel’s SSD 310, however today Micron is announcing an mSATA version of its popular C400 drive:

The best part of the C400 mSATA? Identical performance to its 2.5″ counterpart:

Micron C400 Comparison
  C400v C400v mSATA C400 C400 mSATA
Capacity 64GB 32GB, 64GB 128, 256, 512GB 128, 256GB
Interface SATA 6Gbps mSATA 6Gbps SATA 6Gbps mSATA 6Gbps
Sequential Read Up to 500MB/s Up to 440MB/s (32GB)

Up to 500MB/s (64GB)
Up to 500MB/s Up to 500MB/s
Sequential Write Up to 95MB/s Up to 50MB/s (32GB)

Up to 95MB/s (64GB)
Up to 175MB/s (128GB)

Up to 260MB/s
Up to 175MB/s (128GB)

Up to 260MB/s
Endurance Spec 36TBW 36TBW 72TBW 72TBW

Given the extremely small surface area the mSATA/mini PCIe form factor allows, there’s only enough room for the Marvell controller, 256MB of 1. 5V DDR3 DRAM and four NAND packages. On a 128GB drive that works out to be 32GB per package, or four 8GB 25nm MLC die per package. You can scale up and down accordingly depending on capacity. Each package has two channels routed to it, thus behaving like a full eight channel drive but with only four chips.

Micron will offer two distinct flavors: the C400v mSATA and C400 mSATA, similar to what we see in the 2.5″ version. The major difference? Write endurance. The C400v is rated for 36TB of writes over the course of the drive compared to 72TB for the C400. The same type of NAND is used on both, this is merely a function of available spare area vs. the workload Micron is using to rate the drives. Note that Micron is using a client (read: largely sequential, PCMark-like) workload to determine endurance ratings here, not a 4KB random write test.

Similar to the breakdown with the 2.5″ drive, Micron will sell the C400 to OEMs while Crucial will offer a retail/etail version direct to consumers under the m4 brand. Micron isn’t announcing pricing but you can expect it to be a little cheaper than the 2.5″ version thanks to a slightly lower BOM (bill of materials).

Micron sent a 128GB C400 mSATA drive along for review so we put it through its paces in our standard SSD test suite. I’ve included comparison results to Intel’s SSD 310 mSATA, but keep in mind this is a much faster, 6Gbps drive.

The results, as I mentioned above, are in-line with the 2.5″ version:

Note that this is pretty incredible performance in an extremely small form factor. We’re not too far away from being able to have a tablet capable of reading files at 500MB/s thanks to SSDs like this.


I’ve included our usual benchmarks in the subsequent pages but you can also use Bench to compare drives directly.

The C400/m4 have always been good drives, backed by a trustworthy name. Thanks to Micron’s in-house firmware development team and extensive system testing courtesy of the memory side of the house, compatibility should be quite good.

As promised, performance of the C400 mSATA is nearly identical to the 2.5″ version, making it a formidable competitor in the mSATA space. It’s also insane to think that you can pull 500MB/s from something this small — oh what SSDs have done to the world. I have no issues recommending this drive should you be in the market for an mSATA based SSD. Furthermore, I hope to see more small form factor variants of other major SSDs. While I don’t know that this mini PCIe/mSATA form factor will be what replaces 2.5″ for ultraportables, it’s clear that 2.5″ drives are going to be the new 3.5″ as far as SSDs are concerned and smaller form factors will emerge to take the place of 2.5″ drives.

Random & Sequential Read/Write Speed
The ReviewRandom & Sequential Read/Write SpeedAnandTech Storage Bench 2011AnandTech Storage Bench 2011 — Light WorkloadTRIM Performance & Power Consumption


The Crucial m4 (Micron C400) SSD Review

by Anand Lal Shimpion March 31, 2011 3:16 AM EST

  • Posted in
  • Storage
  • SSDs
  • Crucial
  • Micron
  • m4
  • C400



Crucial’s m4, Micron’s C400Random Read/Write Speed & TRIM AnalysisSequential Read/Write SpeedAnandTech Storage Bench 2011: Much HeavierAnandTech Storage Bench 2011 — Light WorkloadPerformance vs. Transfer SizeAS-SSD Incompressible Sequential PerformanceOverall System Performance using PCMark VantageSYSMark 2007AnandTech Storage Bench 2010Power ConsumptionFinal Words

Last week I was in Orlando attending CTIA. While enjoying the Florida weather, two SSDs arrived at my office back in NC: Intel’s SSD 320, which we just reviewed three days ago and Crucial’s m4. Many of you noticed that I had snuck in m4 results in our 320 review but I saved any analysis/conclusions about the drive for its own review.

There are more drives that I’ve been testing that are missing their own full reviews. Corsair’s Performance Series 3 has been in the lab for weeks now, as has Samsung’s SSD 470. I’ll be talking about both of those in greater detail in an upcoming article as well.

And for those of you asking about my thoughts on the recent OCZ related stuff that has been making the rounds, expect to see all of that addressed in our review of the final Vertex 3. OCZ missed its original March release timeframe for the Vertex 3 in order to fix some last minute bugs with a new firmware revision, so we should be seeing drives hit the market shortly.

There’s a lot happening in the SSD space right now. All of the high end manufacturers have put forward their next-generation controllers. With all of the cards on the table it’s clear that SandForce is the performance winner once again this round. So far nothing has been able to beat the SF-2200, although some came close—particularly if you’re still using a 3Gbps SATA controller.

All isn’t lost for competing drives however. While SandForce may be the unequivocal performance leader, compatibility and reliability are both unknowns. SandForce is still a very small company with limited resources. Although validation has apparently improved tremendously since the SF-1200 last year, it takes a while to develop a proven track record. As a result, some users and corporations feel more comfortable buying from non-SF based competitors—although the SF-2200 may do a lot to change some minds once it starts shipping.

The balance of price, performance and reliability is what keeps this market interesting. Do you potentially sacrifice reliability for performance? Or give up some performance for reliability? Or give up one for price? It’s even tougher to decide when you take into account that all of the players involved have had major firmware bugs. Even though Intel appears to have the lowest return rate out of all of the drives it’s not excluded from the reliability/compatibility debate.

Crucial’s m4, Micron’s C400

Micron and Intel have a joint venture, IMFT, that produces NAND Flash for both companies as well as their customers. Micron gets 51% of IMFT production for its own use and resale, while Intel gets the remaining 49%.

Micron is mostly a chip and OEM brand, Crucial is its consumer memory/storage arm. Both divisions shipped an SSD called the C300 last year. It was the first 6Gbps SATA SSD we tested and while it posted some great numbers, the drive launched to a very bumpy start.

Crucial’s m4 Lineup
  CT064M4SSD2 CT128M4SSD2 CT256M4SSD2 CT512M4SSD2
User Capacity 59. 6GiB 119.2GiB 238.4GiB 476.8GiB
Random Read Performance 40K IOPS 40K IOPS 40K IOPS 40K IOPS
Random Write Performance 20K IOPS 35K IOPS 50K IOPS 50K IOPS
Sequential Read Performance Up to 415MB/s Up to 415MB/s Up to 415MB/s Up to 415MB/s
Sequential Write Performance Up to 95MB/s Up to 175MB/s Up to 260MB/s Up to 260MB/s

A few firmware revisions later and the C300 was finally looking good from a reliability perspective. Although recently I have heard reports of performance issues with the latest 006 firmware, the drive has been working well for me thus far. It just goes to show you that company size alone isn’t an indication of compatibility and reliability.

Crucial RealSSD C300 (back), Crucial m4 (front)

This time around Crucial wanted to differentiate its product from what was sold to OEMs. Drives sold by Micron will be branded C400 while consumer drives are called the m4. The two are the same, just with different names.

The Marvell 88SS9174-BLD2 in Crucial’s m4

Under the hood, er, chassis we have virtually the same controller as the C300. The m4 uses an updated revision of the Marvell 9174 (BLD2 vs. BKK2). Crucial wouldn’t go into details as to what was changed, just to say that there were no major architectural differences and it’s just an evolution of the same controller used in the C300. When we get to the performance you’ll see that Crucial’s explanation carries weight. Performance isn’t dramatically different from the C300, instead it looks like Crucial played around a bit with firmware. I do wonder if the new revision of the controller is at all less problematic than what was used in the C300. Granted fixing any old problems isn’t a guarantee that new ones won’t crop up either.

The 88SS9174-BKK2 is in the Intel SSD 510

The m4 is still an 8-channel design. Crucial believes it’s important to hit capacities in multiples of 8 (64, 128, 256, 512GB). Crucial also told me that the m4’s peak performance isn’t limited by the number of channels branching off of the controller so the decision was easy. I am curious to understand why Intel seems to be the only manufacturer that has settled on a 10-channel configuration for its controller while everyone else picked 8-channels.

Crucial sent along a 256GB drive populated with sixteen 16GB 25nm Micron NAND devices. Micron rates its 25nm NAND at 3000 program/erase cycles. By comparison Intel’s NAND, coming out of the same fab, is apparently rated at 5000 program/erase cycles. I asked Micron why there’s a discrepancy and was told that the silicon’s quality and reliability is fundamentally the same. It sounds like the only difference is in testing and validation methodology. In either case I’ve heard that most 25nm NAND can well exceed its rated program/erase cycles so it’s a non-issue.

Furthermore, as we’ve demonstrated in the past, given a normal desktop usage model even NAND rated for only 3000 program/erase cycles will last for a very long time given a controller with good wear leveling.

Let’s quickly do the math again. If you have a 100GB drive and you write 7GB per day you’ll program every MLC NAND cell in the drive in just over 14 days—that’s one cycle out of three thousand. Outside of SandForce controllers, most SSD controllers will have a write amplification factor greater than 1 in any workload. If we assume a constant write amplification of 20x (and perfect wear leveling) we’re still talking about a useful NAND lifespan of almost 6 years. In practice, write amplification for desktop workloads is significantly lower than that.

Remember that the JEDEC spec states that once you’ve used up all of your rated program/erase cycles, the NAND has to keep your data safe for a year. So even in the unlikely event that you burn through all 3000 p/e cycles and let’s assume for a moment that you have some uncharacteristically bad NAND that doesn’t last for even one cycle beyond its rating, you should have a full year’s worth of data retention left on the drive. By 2013 I’d conservatively estimate NAND to be priced at ~$0.92 per GB and in another three years beyond that you can expect high speed storage to be even cheaper. In short, combined with good ECC and an intelligent controller I wouldn’t expect NAND longevity to be a concern at 25nm.

The m4 is currently scheduled for public availability on April 26 (coincidentally the same day I founded AnandTech fourteen years ago), pricing is still TBD. Back at CES Micron gave me a rough indication of pricing however I’m not sure if those prices are higher or lower than what the m4 will ship at. Owning part of a NAND fab obviously gives Micron pricing flexibility, however it also needs to maintain very high profit margins in order to keep said fab up and running (and investors happy).

The Test


Intel Core i7 965 running at 3.2GHz (Turbo & EIST Disabled)

Intel Core i7 2600K running at 3.4GHz (Turbo & EIST Disabled)—for AT SB 2011, AS SSD & ATTO


Intel DX58SO (Intel X58)

Intel H67 Motherboard


Intel X58 + Marvell SATA 6Gbps PCIe

Intel H67

Chipset Drivers:

Intel 9. 1.1.1015 + Intel IMSM 8.9

Intel + Intel RST 10.2

Memory: Qimonda DDR3-1333 4 x 1GB (7-7-7-20)
Video Card: eVGA GeForce GTX 285
Video Drivers: NVIDIA ForceWare 190.38 64-bit
Desktop Resolution: 1920 x 1200
OS: Windows 7 x64


Random Read/Write Speed & TRIM Analysis
Crucial’s m4, Micron’s C400Random Read/Write Speed & TRIM AnalysisSequential Read/Write SpeedAnandTech Storage Bench 2011: Much HeavierAnandTech Storage Bench 2011 — Light WorkloadPerformance vs. Transfer SizeAS-SSD Incompressible Sequential PerformanceOverall System Performance using PCMark VantageSYSMark 2007AnandTech Storage Bench 2010Power ConsumptionFinal Words


0005 • FIPS-certified, hardware-based AES-256 encryption


• ATA modes supported

— PIO mode 3, 4
— Multiword DMA mode 0, 1, 2
— Ultra DMA mode 0, 1, 2 , 3, 4, 5

• Industry-standard, 512-byte sector size support
• Hot-plug capable
• Native command queuing support with 32-com-

mand slot support

• ATA-8 ACS2 command set compliant
• ATA security feature command set and password

login support (when TCG/Opal is not enabled)

• Secure erase (data page) command set: fast and se-

cure erase

• TCG/Opal cryptographic erase, complete and se-

cure in under 4 seconds

• Self-monitoring, analysis, and reporting technology

(SMART) command set

• Performance

1, 2

– Sequential 128k READ: up to 500 MB/s
– Sequential 128k WRITE: up to 260 MB/s 9000 to 45,000 IOPS
– Random 4k WRITE: up to 50,000 IOPS


Vantage (HDD Test Suite Score): Up To


— Read/Write Latency: 55µS (TYP)

9000 — MTBF: 1. 2 Million Device HUURS

— Static and Dynamic Wear Leveling
— Uncorrectable Bit Error Rate (Uber): <1 SecTOR

PER 10


Bits Read

• Low Power Consumption

40002 40002 — <280MW Typ

4000 — <280MW Typ

4000 — <280MW Typ : Total bytes written (TBW) - 72TB
• Capacity


(unformatted): 128GB, 256GB, 512GB

• Mechanical – 9.5mm height

– SATA connector: 5V ±10% 90mm005 – 2.5-inch.5 drive
– Weight: 75g (MAX)

• Mechanical – 7.0mm height

– SATA connector: 5V ±10%
– 2.5-inch drive: 100.5mm x 69.85mm x 7.0mm
– Weight: 73g (MAX)

• Field-updateable firmware
• Operating temperature

– Commercial (0°C to +70°C)


2. 4K transfers used for READ/WRITE latency


3. The product achieves a mean time between

failure (MTBF) based on population statistics-
tics not relevant to individual units.

4. Active power measured during execution of



2007 with DIPM (device-initi-

ated power management) enabled.

5.1GB = 1 billion bytes; formatted capacity is


6. Drive case temperature.

C400 2.5-Inch NAND Flash Self-Encrypting Drive SSD


PDF: 09005aef848722e9
realssd_c400_2_5_sed.pdf — Rev. A 09/11 EN


Micron Technology, Inc. reserves the right to change products or specifications without notice.


2011 Micron Technology, Inc. All rights reserved.

Products and specifications discussed herein are subject to change by Micron without notice.

Applications for the issuance of passports with chips are suspended

Applications for the issuance of passports with chips are suspended

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  • Russia has suspended the acceptance of applications for international passports with a chip

  • VisualRian

Russia has suspended the acceptance of applications for the issuance of new passports with a ten-year validity period. This was reported on the portal «Gosuslugi».

«From February 2, the acceptance of applications for the issuance of new-style passports with an electronic storage medium has been temporarily suspended,» the statement said.

Those who have already submitted an application through the «Gosuslugi» should wait for a response from the department and act according to the instructions in the response.

If the application for a passport was not submitted through the portal, but, for example, through the MFC, the applicant needs to contact the migration department at the place of submission of the document.

Meanwhile, Goznak reported the reason for the suspension. They clarified that the chip manufacturer needs to reconfigure the equipment. Goznak plans that the restoration of the rhythm of production and personalization of international passports will occur within a month after the reconfiguration of the equipment by Mikron is completed.

«In recent months, Goznak has received an increased volume of applications for the personalization of foreign passports, thereby significantly increasing the need for microcircuits that are built into the form of a foreign passport.