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Corsair Neutron NX500 400GB & 800GB NVMe PCIe SSD Review

Corsair Neutron NX500 400GB & 800GB NVMe PCIe SSD Review
Neutron NX500 is Corsair's brand new add-in-card SSD. Borderline enterprise-grade SSD, it will handle the toughest sustained workloads with ease.
By: Jon Coulter | PCIe in Storage | Posted: 1 week, 6 days ago
TweakTown Rating: 91%Manufacturer: Corsair

Introduction

 

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Corsair caters to PC enthusiasts like no one else. Their newest SSD, the Neutron NX500, is definitely an enthusiast grade piece of hardware. The NX500 is designed to tackle the most demanding sustained workloads you can throw at it without skipping a beat. Taking a page from Intel's playbook, Corsair's NX500 is essentially an enterprise SSD in consumer trim. The only difference between it and a full-blown enterprise SSD is a lack of capacitors for protection against host power-loss which is a relatively unnecessary feature in the consumer space.

 

When it comes to sustained workload performance, the main differentiator between an enterprise SSD and a consumer SSD comes down to factory overprovisioning. Overprovisioning, or OP, is space on the drives flash array that is reserved for internal drive maintenance and is not user accessible. The more OP a drive has, the better it will handle demanding workloads and the more endurance it will have. Typically, if a consumer SSD has any OP at all, it is about 7%. Corsair's NX500 has a massive 28% (4X the typical consumer OP) of its flash array dedicated for overprovisioning; 112GB for the 400GB model and 224GB for the 800GB model.

 

 

As is common with enterprise-class SSDs, the NX500 may not deliver the absolute best burst performance. However, when it comes to sustained heavy workloads, the NX500 can deliver 2-3x the performance of a typical consumer SSD as demonstrated by our brutal "Sledgehammer" test:

 

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High temps go hand-in-hand with sustained heavy workloads. High temps can cause any SSD to throttle-back performance to keep from overheating. Corsair designed the NX500 with a large and highly efficient aluminum heat sink which is so effective; there isn't really anything that you can throw at the drive that will cause it to throttle. Corsair states that thermal throttling will be triggered when the temperature exceeds 80°C. Scale is decreasing performance by ~50MB/s per lowering temperature by 1°C. They also state that with the heat sink, thermal throttling won't be triggered.

 

Powering the NX500 is Phison's potent PS5007-E7 (or E7) NVMe SSD controller. The Phison E7 has earned a reputation for blazing fast low-latency performance and extreme reliability, making it ideal for enthusiast grade SSDs. Corsair pairs the E7 controller with a high-grade and potent BGA packaged Toshiba 15nm Toggle MLC Planar NAND-flash array and a DDR3 DRAM cache with a 2MB to 1GB ratio. The DDR3 DRAM cache on the NX500 is twice that of any other consumer SSD on the market.

 

The Corsair NX500 has all the attributes that make for an exceptional enthusiast grade SSD, now let's take a detailed look at its factory specifications, and get these powerhouses on the bench.

 

 

Specifications

 

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The Corsair NX500 AIC NVMe SSD is currently available in two capacities: 400GB and 800GB. A 1.6TB model is expected to be available in the coming months.

 

  • Sequential Read: up to 3,000 MB/s (ATTO)
  • Sequential Write: up to 2,400 MB/s (ATTO)
  • Sequential Read: up to 2,800 MB/s (CDM)
  • Sequential Write: up to 1,600 MB/s (CDM)
  • Max 4K Random Read Speed: up to 300,000 IOPS
  • Max 4K Random Write Speed: up to 270,000 IOPS
  • Endurance: 400GB up to 698 TBW
  • Endurance: 800GB up to 1,396 TBW
  • MTBF: 2 Million Hours
  • Warranty: 5-Year Limited Warranty
  • SMART
  • TRIM
  • Garbage Collection

 

MSRP: 400GB = $319.99 MSRP: 800GB = $649.99

 

Features

 

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The Phison E7 controller is designed for high performance over a Gen3 x4 PCIe NVMe interface. The E7 controller sports four CPU cores and eight NAND channels. Multiple features are built into the Phison E7 controller to ensure stability and reliability. These features include SmartECC which reconstructs defective/faulty pages when regular ECC fails, SmartRefresh monitors block ECC health status and refreshes blocks periodically to improve data retention and SmartFlush minimizes time data spends in cache to ensure data retention in the event of power loss.

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