Even though the Corsair Performance Pro 256GB didn't give us the steady solid state performance we were hoping for, it still has some really strong points that make it a comparable drive worthy of our praise. For starters this is really one of the few products on that market that is competitive with the Team SandForce SATA III drives. Obviously I would choose this drive over any of the SF-2281 / asynchronous flash drives offered, that is a given. The higher end models like the Vertex 3, Force GT and HyperX with synchronous flash make the decision a little more difficult. If you work with incompressible data quite a bit then we feel the Performance Pro might be a slightly better option since it doesn't care what type of data is being written to it. There isn't a performance penalty when working with MP3s, JPEGS or other highly compressed data.
For everyone else that still leaves the large number of Team SandForce products at the top of the food chain, but the Performance Pro is right behind them in general computing tasks. After using the Performance Pro 256GB in my daily use notebook for about a month now I can easily say that you wouldn't really notice a difference between the Performance Pro and the Force GT. I do see some speed increases when moving MP3s around with the Performance Pro, something I do quite often while trying to keep my 100GB+ FLAC / MP3 collection under control. With only 256GB of space most people aren't going to keep their music or movie collection on their boot drives and I don't either except for importing them all to get the meta data configured how I like.
In order for the Performance Pro to be a big seller and a drive you want in your system it will need to be priced in line with the top SandForce SF-2281 drives. Those products use lower cost 25nm IMFT flash so it might be difficult for Corsair to make that happen. Those drives have also been on the market for almost a year now too, something that retailers use to justify moving away from the MSRP. At this point I don't think I would pay a premium for the Performance Pro over a Force GT unless capacity was an issue. The SandForce drives reserve more space for background tasks so you get a little more space with the Performance Pro.
All things considered the Performance Pro is right on the heels of the competition. It will be very interesting to see what happens after a couple of firmware updates - we'll keep you posted when that happens. For now though, the Force GT is looking like a stronger product for general use. If you need a drive specifically for incompressible data then the Performance Pro is your choice.
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