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Corsair Neutron Series Solid State Drives Review - LAMD or Wolf in a 7mm Package?

By: Chris Ramseyer | SSDs in Storage | Posted: Aug 20, 2012 10:00 am
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


In this test we look at performance with data on the drives. Control data is added at roughly 25% of overall NAND flash capacity and tests are ran at 0%, 25%, 50% and 75% of the drives overall flash size. An additional test is run with all of the data deleted to verify that TRIM is working as it should.


Both the Neutron and Neutron GTX start out with stellar numbers, just over 86K HDD Marks per PCMark's Vantage scoring system. The performance quickly degrades to just 42K with the GTX model and 45K with the non-GTX model, so in this low queue depth, heavy read set of tests the non-GTX model is actually a little faster. The same holds true for the 50% capacity fill test, the non-GTX model is a bit quicker, but as I said this is low queue depth, heavy read workload.


Where we start to see issues is when other products are looked at when half full as well. For a long time SandForce drives took the crown in these tests because they compress data that is compressible. The end result was the flash didn't actually store all of our data as it was written to the drive so the performance of the NAND was higher in these tests. When SandForce started playing around with their firmware is when we saw 50% capacity testing slow down. Now products like the Plextor M3 Pro (as shown on the chart today) have increased performance so the SandForce advantage is now matched by other drives. Both of the Neutron drives offer an amazing amount of performance, but there is still some tweaking that could possibly increase real-world performance in this area.


We did notice that TRIM is working very well with the LAMD Amber. With Intel's new RAID 0 TRIM drivers making their way to market enthusiasts looking for working TRIM right now don't have to wait for TRIM to be turned back on with a new firmware update like they do with their SandForce products. This is obviously a very big check mark if you are looking at building a system right now with two drives in RAID 0.

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