There are so many places where I can start this introduction, I'm not even sure where to start. I am feeling a bit chatty today, so we'll cover it all. You wouldn't accept anything less, I'm sure!
Let's knock this whole recall thing out first. On June 16th Porsche recalled 1,702 911-Series sports cars. If you drive the cars hard, your center locking wheel hub will wear, your wheel could loosen and fall off. So, basically 1700 speed freaks like me who routinely drive 2x the speed limit were in danger of having their wheels fall off while doing 140 on the highway (err, I mean on the track), crash and die. That's what I call a recall.
Around the same time, Corsair shipped hardware review nerds a handful of samples. At the same time the first retail products were being shipped to retail and e-tail businesses. The reviewers found a previously unknown stability issue with their samples and reported the issue. Normally review nerds get products before resellers, but in this round a few cases of products were sold. I don't know how many drives ended up in the hands of end users, but I doubt it was 1,700 in the short amount of time they were available. I do know the end results aren't as potentially deadly as the Porsche issue. Yes, technically it was a recall, but it was handled quickly, openly and honestly. Corsair really showed what kind of company they are while handling this issue. The new, issue free drives are hitting e-tail, retail and hardware review nerds alike this week.
Just recently we had our first taste of the new SandForce SF-2281 controller paired with IMFT 25nm asynchronous NAND flash. On the surface the OCZ Technology Agility 3 looks pretty good; the 240GB model that we looked at is rated for 525MB/s read and 500MB/s write. The quoted maximum 4K random write IOPS are 85,000, an amazing achievement, but after a run of our new Fill Test Benchmark we weren't all that impressed any more.
The Corsair Force 3 is based on the same SF-2281 controller and async flash combination as the OCZ Agility 3. Both drives also use the same firmware and I can only assume the same programming. That's about where the similarities end. Corsair uses a different PCB design, includes a desktop adapter bracket and at the time of writing has an even lower cost when comparing equal 120GB capacity sizes.
Now that I have your attention, let's find out if Corsair managed to deliver a drive that performs like a proper SandForce drive should.