Are you just as surprised as me to see the SF-1200 perform just as well as the enterprise SF-1500 when both are running MLC flash? SandForce and their partners have been pretty quiet about how the consumer drive performs. Generally when a company has a very fast product we hear about it way before we start to see retail availability. We do know that the first release firmware was finished just days ago so the partners may have been waiting to let the cat out of the bag for the firmware update. Either way, we have the performance numbers now and they look great!
When it comes to the cost, we have yet to see the Corsair Force on retail or e-tail shelves, but we know that the product is on the way. We are expecting to see 100GB drives sell in the range of where the Indilinx Barefoot drives were just a month ago, right around the 400 USD to 450 USD mark. Corsair has already made the move to produce and sell lower cost Indilinx Barefoot drives and we can see their cost already. The Corsair Nova 128GB Indilinx Barefoot controlled drive costs around 330 USD, an all time low for an Indilinx Barefoot controlled drive. This makes room in the Corsair Force at the same 400 Dollar range that we are expecting to see these drives occupy. The complete breakdown ends up with Barefoot in the 300 USD, SF-1200 around 400 USD and the SF-1500/MLC and Marvel SATA 6G drives at the 500 USD price point.
Performance wise, we saw today that the Corsair Force with the SF-1200 controller is able to easily outperform the Indilinx Barefoot products and even compete with the higher priced Marvell SATA 6G Crucial RealSSD C300 in many benchmarks. When compared to the only SandForce SF-1500 / MLC sample we have looked at, the Corsair Force with a SF-1200 is able to run with the enterprise controller, but does give up around 10 MB/s in so in some of the tests. That said, in other tests, mainly Windows specific tasks, the SF-1200 appears to be able to outperform the SF-1500, but we have yet to test the SF-1500 drives with the latest firmware, but that day will come soon enough.
As it sits right now, the SF-1200 is one of the fastest drives we have ever tested, offers more speed than the Intel X25-M G2 and also offers 20GB more capacity than the X25-M. One of the big selling points for the Corsair Force F100 is that you do not need a SATA 6G port or adapter card to get the most out of the drive. Most users still have SATA II for their main interface and the F100 is ready to work in your system right out of the box.