While hard disk storage solutions currently have the affordability and the capacity edge over solid state drives (SSD), as far as performance is concerned there's no contest. Micron Technology has announced a new RealSSD portfolio with drives that are more than 10 times faster than standard HDDs, benefit from lightweight construction, consume less power and are more durable. The new 1.8-inch and 2.5-inch form factor C400 drives are being made available both as part of ready-built systems and direct to the consumer.

The company says that the new C400 RealSSD portfolio will be the first to use Micron's 25nm NAND flash technology in capacities ranging from 64GB right up to 512GB, and in 1.8-inch and 2.5-inch form factors. The utilization of the SATA 6Gb/s interface (which is backward compatible to SATA 3 Gb/s) and third-generation flash translation layer is said to enable the new drives to deliver sequential read speeds in the region of 415MB/s - that's 17 per cent faster than Micron's previous generation of SSD solutions.

Sequential write speeds vary according to capacity but the 512GB drive promises up to 260MB/s – a 20 percent increase on the fastest C300 units. Micron says that by combining its MLC NAND technology and optimized NAND management algorithms, boot and application load times are dramatically improved.

Because the drives identify themselves in Windows 7 as solid state drives, they can take advantage of the SSD optimization features built into Microsoft's latest operating system, which means that HDD-centric tasks can be switched off. Trim command support also enables the SSD to identify and free up blocks of deleted files, helping with write speed gains.

Active power consumption runs from 2.3W for the 64GB version up to 4.9W for the 512GB flavor, and standby draw is less than 80mW. Micron says that the new RealSSD solutions have an operational lifespan (MTBF) of 1.2 million device hours.

Samples of the new C400 RealSSD solutions are being made available to device manufacturers now, and the company expects that full production will begin in February. Consumers will be able to get their hands on the range during the first quarter of 2011 via Crucial – a division of Micron – under the name Crucial m4 SSD.

There's no word on pricing at the time of writing.

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