It was quite a shock when Corsair announced their entry into the solid state market. Just weeks before the announcement a Corsair representative stated that the company was not looking to enter the market until they were ready. At that point just about everyone took the news at face value and pretty much planned to revisit the situation a year or so later. It is strange how fast things turn around; Corsair has now released a couple of solid state drives and done it so quietly that few even noticed.
Memory companies branching out into other markets is nothing new, even Corsair who is known and pretty much defined by their memory products has released a successful line of power supplies and most recently enthusiast cases. To date just about every major memory company has added a solid state division and several SSDs in their portfolio. While Corsair may have been reluctant to join the party they are now getting down on the dance floor and are holding the hand of one of the best SSD chipsets on the market.
So far most of the other memory companies have chosen to team with Intel, JMicron and more recently Indilinx for their SSD products. Corsair, the company that brought us the innovative Dominator memory products once again chose to do something different. The Corsair P256 uses a Samsung S3C29RBB01-YK40 chipset, a second generation chipset that should approach performance levels of the fastest Indilinx and consumer Intel products. The latest Samsung chipset allowed Corsair to use 128MB of cache, twice that of the early Indilinx drives that we have tested.
As always the cost of an SSD plays a big portion in its success in the retail market. The Corsair P256 costs less than the Intel X25-M when comparing cost per gigabyte. Let's see how all of this breaks down.