Building a Solid State drive on a controller other than SandForce in this day and age might not seem like a sound financial move, even Intel has jumped on the bandwagon. Corsair has SandForce driven Solid State Drives on the market already for much less than the cost of this drive. So why use one of the first SATA 6Gbps controllers on the market, one that historically is an under performer? Especially when it costs more to produce.
Quite simply, straight read/write performance in best case scenarios is not indicative of real world usage. In fill tests we find that although the drive still scores lower than a SandForce SATA 3 drive, it is far more consistent in both linear and random writes and even in worst case scenarios, the access time (the original reason to purchase a SSD) remains much lower than most other drives tested to date.
Background Garbage Collection is stunning on this drive, as was to be expected. The Marvell 9174 controller does an incredible job of maintaining performance in almost all conditions. Perfect drive for running RAID or for use with Mac or Linux based Operating Systems.
Aesthetically the drive is interesting. Most storage device manufacturers have moved to at least mostly black devices, be they SSD or HDD. The brushed aluminum shell gives it an industrial or even a retro look back to the late 90’s when brushed aluminum computer cases were all the rage.
6.6% more storage capacity than a 120GB SandForce drive. Excellent garbage collection, which for workstation/server duties that might not be running a TRIM enabled Operating System is a huge plus. Most importantly for some (all I would hope) reliability. The 9174 has seen an upgrade which increased performance since its debut on the C300 SSD two years ago, but has stuck around because it is a reliable controller. Corsair also has a staffed support forum for helping customers get fast support for issues, as well as establishing the need for RMA. Check them out here.
As with all things though price is a major factor. Currently the Performance Series Pro 128 GB is retailing at just over $200. Which is $35 more than the higher performing Force 3 series SSD (prices based on Newegg results). The average enthusiast might see the price and bypass the SSD altogether. If you look at the 256 GB Version of the Performance Pro drive, that is where the price point becomes interesting as it actually costs less than the Force 3 drives. This review must focus on the 128 GB and without further ado…
The Corsair Performance Series Pro 128 GB SATA 3 Solid State is given the TechREACTION Silver award for excellent performance, including low access times, excellent reliability and a 1.5 million hour MTBF with 3 year warranty all backed by Corsair’s excellent customer service. A poor Price/Performance ratio however keeps the drive from being given our top award.
Thanks to Corsair for providing the sample used for testing.