Fresh off the Dec. 2 launch of its smallest-ever (25nm) flash memory chip, Micron Technology on Jan. 5 hustled to unveil its newest solid-state drive for laptop computers using that chip: a 512GB monster that doubles the capacity of the company's previous drive.
The C400 SSDs, the first new drives from Micron in a year, come in the standard smaller sizes, 1.8-inch and 2.5-inch (3.5-inch SSDs are not available in this release) and can be ordered in capacities ranging from 64GB to 512GB.
The new RealSSDs are equipped for the 6G bps SATA (serial ATA) interface, which vastly improves application loading speeds and boot-up times, even for SSDs.
The new drives also feature low power consumption -- thanks to the smaller and more efficient NAND flash chips -- and lighter-weight construction, Micron SSD Marketing Manager Justin Sykes told eWEEK.
Data read times have also been upgraded 15 percent to 20 percent (to a benchmarked high of 415MB per second) from previous releases, Sykes said.
"We're doing two things with our next generation: the RealSSDs for OEMs and channel partners, and the Crucial brand M4, for standalone consumer-type drives," Sykes said.
"The main difference is the service and support model, with Micron [RealSSDs] set up for BOM [bill of materials, meaning changes in hardware or firmware] and a high level of factory and field support. Crucial is set up for the consumer market with limited support and no notification of changes."
Device makers require BOM control in their SLAs, and SSD manufacturers need approval from them before the changes in the SSDs can be included in shipments, Sykes said.
"In a consumer model, as long as Micron's doing the testing, we just roll with them," he said.
Micron's previous frontline SSD, the C300, was released in early 2010 and was the company's first to feature 6G bps throughput, Sykes said.
Sykes said Micron expects to begin mass production of all versions of the C400s in February. Micron sells its SSDs to all major laptop manufacturers.