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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

Final Thoughts




Without pricing information for either the Neutron or Neutron GTX, we feel like this article can only tell part of the story. Due to time constraints with release dates and our inability to update this article as soon as the drives hit Newegg (I'll be on a plane headed to California for the first seven hours of the release), we'll have to come back and update this article later in the day. Hopefully Corsair is able to stand by their initial statement made at Computex and the Neutron drives manage to meet current SandForce price points or be just a hair higher.


In nearly all of our tests the base Neutron model is a SandForce competitor, but the Neutron GTX is what SandForce has nightmares about. Both Neutron drives are extremely fast, but with higher write performance at low queue depth sequential writes and higher queue depth random writes, the GTX is a superior product. I don't think many people outside of the prosumer market will notice a difference between these two drives so once again we really need to see the pricing information to determine a strategy. If Neutron GTX only costs a little more than Neutron then you might as well spend a little more to get the new king of the SSD ring.


There are two areas that we see the Neutron drives struggling in. One we spoke about in the review already and one we have not. The first is performance with data on the drives, both drives are a little slower when 50% full when compared to the new Force GS. The test software is heavily dependent on low queue depth read performance and as you can see in the image above Corsair states Neutron is built for high multi-tasking environments.


The second area where we saw a large difference between the new Neutron and the also newish Force GS is in power consumption. We haven't posted our results yet for our power tests because we haven't nailed down exactly how are going to test, but in everything we've ran so far the Neutron drives pull more power than the Force GS, in some cases a lot more. Neutron is Corsair's first SSD to use the new 7mm Z-height so it's aimed right at the new Ultrabook market where power is important, but regular notebooks and desktops have no problem accepting the new 7mm drives.


Aside from these two areas the Neutron and Neutron GTX look really good in our lab during testing. Just as interesting though is the avenue LAMD took with this product launch. So far the only company to publicly show off Amber is Corsair, something that has a bit of prestige with it. For years we've seen OCZ play the role of innovator with new product launches months before anyone else, but this time Corsair has their moment in the spotlight.


Our long term testing is obviously something that requires time, but in our lab we haven't discovered any bugs or crazy reliability issues like BSODs or TRIM not working. So far Neutron and Neutron GTX feel like products that are already mature. The current firmware on the release drives is 206 and the Computex drives were using 1.3 so a lot of work has went into LAMD's Amber controller in a fairly short amount of time. Given the early issues with some of the other controllers on the market LAMD assured us that Amber wouldn't release half-baked and it appears they truly meant it.


I'll update pricing as soon as I can and add a new section to this review hopefully by Monday evening. TweakTown Storage USA (AKA Paul and myself) are headed to California for Flash Memory Summit. Get ready for all of the latest SSD news all week. We're also helping with a few world record attempts with eight Neutron GTX drives, details to come soon in the coolest RAID Report yet!





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