Intel 320 vs Crucial C300 for MBP 13" 2010

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by oel, Apr 11, 2011.

  1. oel macrumors newbie

    Apr 11, 2011
    Any advice on which of these for a (3Gbps SATA) MBP 13" 2010? Reliability and performance consistency are my main concerns. I'll run the drive with TRIM enabled (using the hack) either all the time or once every three months or so to trim empty blocks.

    I'm leaning towards the Intel because of data reliability.

  2. kdoug macrumors 6502a


    Jun 2, 2010
    Iowa City, IA USA
    Intel 320
  3. oel thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 11, 2011
    Thanks. For both reasons?

    AFAIU the two drives have quite similar performance when they're "good". Give or take 20% or so, doesn't really matter to me. What does matter to me is consistent performance, specifically how they behave when performance is degraded. C300 has some level of built-in GC while 320 doesn't - but I don't think it matters since I intend to trim the disk at least once in a while. And I assume that 320 is designed to degrade somewhat nicely even when it's not trimmed.

    Beachballing would be unacceptable, and I'm a bit worried that at least one user on this forum got that after enabling the TRIM hack on his 320. If C300 would work better with OSX TRIM, then it's a big plus.

    On the other hand I could live with not having real-time TRIM enabled as long as I can manually TRIM the drive (with the hack) once in a while, so that should work with both drives. In this scenario, if one drive degrades slower than the other that's a plus.

    Intel seems to win big on reliability, although I haven't read any horror-stories about C300. If someone knows about data loss problems with C300 then it's a big minus.

    I know that many recommend SF-1200 drives for OSX because it works well without TRIM. For me they seem too unreliable, and once the real-time TRIM story for OSX becomes better I think C300 or 320 are overall as good.

    Has anyone compared real-world OSX performance of Intel G2 160GB and Crucial C300 256GB? I assume that the latter feels notably faster, but would hope that Intel's newer 320 offering has closed the gap. Or if someone has had the opportunity of using both the C300 and 320, I would love to hear about your experiences too.

    Oh, I'm buying the 256GB (C300) or 300GB (320) if that wasn't clear.
  4. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Here is some reliability info showing Intel way in front.

    The Intel 320 does have garbage collection. I think the jury is still out how garbage collection will perform long term. There are scores of users here with the Intel X-25M and they do not report big slowdowns over time. I would not obsess too much over TRIM.

    Look at the chart below from this Anandtech test. AT SATA II connections, the 320 is actually a little ahead of the C300 in this test which Anand says is a good representation of day to day usage.


    If I were you, I would get the Intel 320.
  5. oel, Apr 11, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2011

    oel thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 11, 2011
    Another vote for Intel then. I've read Anand's reviews at length - I'd love to see something similar done on OSX and HFS+ instead of Windows and NTFS.

    Resorting to Xbench the 320 and C300 gets similar scores (judging from various macrumors forum posts) except for random 4K write where C300 is ~3x faster, random 4K/256K read where C300 is ~50% faster. Of course Xbench is just a synthetic benchmark and I don't know how good it is at that even. I wouldn't be surprised to see better synthetic random read performance lead to better application performance though.

    Other interesting things in Anand's PCMark graph is that the old G2 places gets similar score to the C300 (and not far away from the 320). Still I get the impression that most people consider C300 faster, on OS X. I've seen plenty of post where people say that for them C300 or a SF-1200 SSD was notably faster then a G2.

    It's hard to interpret all numbers. More or less all posts I've read by C300 owners has been positive in terms of performance. The big hick-up seems to be 2011 MBP 6Gbps compatibility, but that doesn't matter to me.
  6. oel thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 11, 2011
    I ended up ordering the Intel 320. Data reliability, compatibility and 44GB of extra space closed the deal for me.
  7. amarcus macrumors 6502

    Feb 26, 2008
    London, UK
    Nice choice. That's probably what I would have done. Keep us posted how things turn out!

  8. oel, Apr 20, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2011

    oel thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 11, 2011
    I have now installed the 300GB Intel 320 SSD in my MacBookPro7,1. I first put in in a USB enclosure and CCC'ed over my current installation of 10.6. It's a huge difference in speed compared to the stock 250GB HDD. The system used to boot in 50-60 seconds (measured from the Apple logo appearing), now down to 11. If I measure from when the spinner appears it boots in only 6 seconds. Everything else is really snappy as well.

    Xbench results seem overall consistent with other posts I've seen. The random 4K read numbers are a bit on the low side, but real-world performance is great so I don't really bother. The SSD has 50% free space. Once 10.7 is out I'll do a clean install instead of a CCC.

    I also tried the TRIM hack and haven't noticed any beachballing going on so I'm leaving it enabled for now.

    I have aligned the OS X partition to 512KB (NAND erase block size). I did this using gptfdisk while the SSD was in the USB enclosure. My OS X partition now starts at sector 410624 instead of 409640. I have no idea if this has done anything for anything (shouldn't matter on modern SSD's I'm told) but since it was so easy to do I figured why not. I only took a couple of minutes.

    Overall I'm very happy with the purchase and will recommend the Intel 320 to other Mac owners. 300GB of super fast storage at an (almost) reasonable price. What's not to like about that?

    Results	286.83	
    	System Info		
    		Xbench Version		1.3
    		System Version		10.6.7 (10J869)
    		Physical RAM		8192 MB
    		Model		MacBookPro7,1
    		Drive Type		INTEL SSDSA2CW300G3
    	Disk Test	286.83	
    		Sequential	184.75	
    			Uncached Write	264.76	162.56 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    			Uncached Write	273.46	154.73 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    			Uncached Read	86.41	25.29 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    			Uncached Read	378.23	190.10 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    		Random	640.97	
    			Uncached Write	483.36	51.17 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    			Uncached Write	502.33	160.81 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    			Uncached Read	1269.75	9.00 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    			Uncached Read	717.65	133.16 MB/sec [256K blocks]
  9. JGO, Apr 20, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2011

    JGO macrumors member

    Feb 24, 2009
    Funny thing about that...I recently cloned my system to a C300 and installed it in a Macbook Pro 5,2 with the trim hack. Seemingly good performance was interrupted now and then by the beachball. Eventually I installed the drive in my wife's computer with no trim hack and the beachball did not reoccur.

    I have used the Intel G2 and now have the 320 in my my macbook pro with the trim hack and neither of them beachball and pause. Some people with the Vertex 3 experience the beachball and pause when they do the trim hack. I am not so sure the trim hack is worth messing with when every so often one can boot from a ubuntu live cd and run the trim command.
  10. oel thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 11, 2011
    I didn't know that was possible - thanks for the info! This means that there are two easy options for those who'd like to TRIM their disk manually and occasionally.

    1. Install TRIM hack, erase free space, uninstall/restore hack.
    2. Boot Ubuntu (live CD, dedicated partition or external disk) and let HFS+aware hdparm TRIM unallocated sectors, according to your instructions.

    I think prefer option 2, since that won't cause gigs of unnecessary writes. I'll try that out if I get the beachballitus.

Share This Page