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Corsair Force 3 120GB Solid State Drive Review - PCMark Vantage - Drives with Data Testing

Corsair's new SandForce controlled Force 3 120GB is currently selling for less than 200 USD, but is it a proper next generation SandForce?

By: | SSDs in Storage | Posted: Jul 6, 2011 9:48 am
TweakTown Rating: 91%Manufacturer: Corsair

PCMark Vantage - Drives with Data Testing


For a complete breakdown on the Drives with Data Testing please read this article. You will be able to perform this test at home with the files provided in the article - full instructions are included.



Brief Methodology


SSDs perform differently when used for a period of time and when data is already present on the drive. The purpose of the Drives with Data testing is to show how a drive performs in these 'dirty' states. SSDs also need time to recover, either with TRIM or onboard garbage collection methods.


Drives with Data Testing - 25%, 50%, 75% Full States and Dirty / Empty Test

Files needed for 60 (64GB), 120 (128GB), 240 (256GB)

60GB Fill - 15GB, 30GB, 45GB

120GB Fill - 30GB, 60GB, 90GB

240GB Fill - 60GB, 120GB, 160GB

Empty but Dirty - a test run just after the fill tests and shows if a drive needs time to recover or if performance is instantly restored.




HDD1 - Windows Defender

HDD2 - Gaming

HDD3 - Windows Photo Gallery

HDD4 - Vista Startup

HDD5 - Windows Movie Maker

HDD6 - Windows Media Center

HDD7 - Windows Media Player

HDD8 - Application Loading


The real benefit to the more expensive synchronized (and Toggle) flash drives like the Corsair Force GT and OCZ Vertex 3 is how they react when data is present on the drive. Most SSDs lose performance when data is on the drive. This is why we see so many people ask in forums why they've lost so much performance on their SSD or ask how they can regain performance.


Car people have a saying; there is no replacement for displacement. The same is true for SSDs. If you buy a 240GB SSD and keep 80GB of data on it, you have 160GB free for background activities. If you have a 120GB SSD and use 80GB of space, you only have 40GB available. The 240GB drive will be faster even though both drives are only holding 80GB of data.


When we reviewed the OCZ Agility 3 we were shocked to see how much speed was scrubbed off when the drive was 25% full (actually using 60GB of space). The drop off is massive and that's the same thing we found on the Corsair Force 3. When you start studying the chart closely you will see that the Crucial m4 128GB is actually a little quicker than the asynchronized SandForce SF-2281 drives, Force 3 and Agility 3.


I'm going to go into a lot more detail on this in the conclusion.

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