The Corsair Performance 3 at this time is the tiger hiding in the bushes. The 64GB, 128GB and 256GB drives have been in e-tail warehouses for several weeks now. Corsair hasn't done a whole lot to advertise the drives or get them into reviewer's hands. Maybe it is the current economy, or maybe it is the complexity in testing this new generation of products that has Corsair a little worried to pull the trigger on this release. A few drives have shown up in 'forum reviews', but no one has touched on the most impressive or relevant features. SSDs are complicated and storage products are entering an area where there are more variables involved than ever before. The Corsair Performance 3 pulls resources from one area that makes benchmarks look good, but does so to give a better overall user experience.
Right out of the box the current lineup of Team SandForce consumer drives appear faster than the new Corsair Performance 3 that uses an updated Marvell controller. You and I might benchmark drives right out of the box, but when it comes to using solid state drives in our computers, they are dirty; like how your kids get at the little league ball park. Once that dirty weight builds up on your SandForce drive it slows down like it has a few pounds of mud on its shoes. The Corsair Performance 3 is like having a pair of shoes made of Teflon and Stainguard covering it. The drive can perform at full speed while tromping through the mud. If benchmarking your drive is all you want to do, then by all means, stick with the 2010 standard and have a good time. If you want to actually use your new SSD as a boot drive, then it might be time to look to the future.
That said, there is some deep mud out there and it might be deep enough to get past the shoes; your pants might get a little dirty. The first issue is cost. When Newegg first started selling the 256GB Performance 3 it cost 499 USD. At the time of writing Newegg listed the 256GB drive at 749.99! - Okay, maybe the mud is high enough to make your pants dirty. This isn't anything new, though. Over the next few weeks more drives will hit their warehouse and the prices will start to drop back down to levels that aren't so offensive.
The next issue is Sandy Bridge. If you want to really rock the Corsair Performance 3, you are going to need Sandy Bridge and at this time it just isn't possible. Sandy Bridge will be back on the shelves in a few days, maybe a week or two at the latest. Personally, I think most enthusiasts are already running X58 systems and waiting on X68 or whatever Intel will call their new enthusiast platform at the end of the year. Most X58 boards already have SATA 6G via a Marvell PCIe to SATA 6G chip. These will work fairly well; we've shown the benchmarks today, but if you want to really see full speed with the Corsair Performance 3 you need native Intel PCH SATA 6G and at this time it is only available on Sandy Bridge.
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