The C300 128GB, like the rest of the C300-series, is head and shoulders ahead of the competition when it comes to read speeds thanks to its SATA 6Gbps interface. Nowhere is this more apparent than in AS SSD’s sequential performance tests, where the C300 128GB manages a sequential read of 345MB/sec, 135MB/sec faster than a Sandforce-based drive such as the OCZ Vertex 2E 120GB. Sequential write speeds in AS SSD are also very good in AS SSD, with the C300 128GB managing a speed of 135MB/sec – some 45MB/sec faster than best SandForce-based drives in the same test following heavy use.
In the more synthetic test of ATTO disk benchmark the C300 128GB again puts in an impressive showing, with a towering sequential read speed of a 364MB/sec and a decent, if not earth shattering sequential write speed of 143MB/sec. In this particular test SandForce drives rally thanks to the benchmark’s data being fully compressable, allowing the DuraWrite technology in the SandForce controller to boost sequential write speeds to 268MB/sec and read speeds to 278MB/sec – the limit of the SATA 3Gbps bus.
Moving onto random disk performance measured by IOmeter we were surprised to find the C300 128GB was able to eclipse even the theoretically superior 256GB C300 in ours tests, delivering an excellent random read speed of 69MB/sec and an even better random write speed of 102MB/sec. On paper the C300 128GB should be notably slower in random performance than the 256GB model, so we can only presume that the settings of our IOmeter benchmarks, which use 3 outstanding operations, data are more favourable to the C300 128GB than the larger drive. In day to day use though we couldn’t tell any difference, with all three of the C300 drives booting Windows, opening applications and browsing through files just as quickly.
Moving to real world testing, and like the C300 256GB and 64GB, the C300 128GB loaded STALKER: Call of Pripyat in a nippy 20 seconds, 4 seconds, or 16 per cent, faster than any SATA 3Gbps drive.
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The C300 128GB rounds out the C300-series nicely, offering an extra helping of write performance above that of the comparatively sluggish 64GB model, which caps out at around 75MB/sec. Read speeds using a SATA 6Gbps controller are predictably superb, peaking above 360MB/sec in ATTO disk benchmark. What's more, the benefits of the SATA 6Gbps bus are palpable in both real world circumstances and when loading games. You simply can’t get these sort of read speeds from any other consumer SSD on the market today.
However, the competing SandForce drives, while slower in real world circumstances and reliant on a compressable workload to achieve their best speeds do have one major advantage now; price. Including the cost of a Highpoint Rocket 620 for its pair high speed SATA 6Gbps ports, the C300 128GB will alleviate your wallet of over £250. While this would have been a great price six or nine months ago, SSD prices are finally coming down and a £/GB of £2.13 is a long way off the £1.53/GB that you can now get from drive’s such as the Corsair F120. These prices will likely drop even further when Intel’s 25nm NAND starts shipping later this year.
Still, we can’t help but feel the price premium is worth it, even now. The C300 128GB delivers its headline speeds regardless of workload and the real world benefits of running a SATA 6Gbps drive capable of 340MB/sec read speeds are clear. TRIM support works very well too and despite the SSD market being as competitive as ever, the C300 128GB is still a strong contender.