The Bottom Line
Introduction & Drive Details
Today Corsair is launching two new Gen4 x4 SSDs, the MP600 CORE and the MP600 Pro. We don't have the faster MP600 Pro at this time, but we do have the value-oriented MP600 CORE 2TB model for your viewing pleasure. Corsair's MP600 CORE series is their custom version of a Phison E16 Gen4 controlled NVMe SSD with a 96L Micron QLC (4-bit) flash array.
We've tested several brands that feature this Phison Gen4 powered hardware combination, and all have delivered an impressive performance to cost ratio. This configuration can deliver right at 5,000 MB/s throughput and up to 900K random write IOPS. An amazing feat considering these are QLC based NVMe SSDs.
The MP600 CORE differs from other brand's E16/QLC configurations that we've previously tested in that it comes with a factory-installed heat sink. This heat sink is substantial and is the same as Corsair used on all its Gen4 SSDs to date. One thing we like about the heat sink that Corsair uses, other than its effectiveness, is that it can be easily removed by the consumer.
A removable heat sink is preferred because it allows the end-user to utilize the integrated M.2 heat sinks typically found on Gen4 enabled motherboards. Remove it, or use it, we like to make that choice ourselves and are happy Corsair affords us that option. Either way, it has been our experience that E16 controlled SSDs will almost always run throttle free even without any thermal mitigation whatsoever.
Okay, now let's dive into the review and see what the MP600 Core 2TB can do as served up by TweakTown's enthusiast-level Ryzen 5900X powered SSD test bench.
Removing the heat sink reveals the drive's Phison E16 controller and we note that this is the most powerful version with 32 CE (Chip Enables). Nice.
Jon's Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG Crosshair Hero VIII Wi-Fi (buy from Amazon)
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5900X
- Cooler: ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 420 (buy from Amazon)
- Memory: Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB 32GB (2x16GB) DDR4 4000 (PC4-32000) C19 (buy from Amazon)
- Video Card: GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 2070 WINDFORCE 8G (buy from Amazon)
- Power Supply: Corsair AX1000 (buy from Amazon)
- Case: InWin X-Frame
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (buy from Amazon)
Free SSD Software
Corsair SSD Toolbox
Corsair provides a free (via download) SSD Toolbox to compliment the SSDs they sell. With Corsair's full-featured SSD Toolbox, you can monitor SSD health, clone your system, update firmware, and even perform a secure erase. Corsair's SSD Toolbox is among the best in existence and a nice value add.
Synthetic Benchmarks: CDM & Anvils
CDM is typically used to establish factory sequential specifications and the results reflect what we usually see. Sequential read is at or above spec, and sequential write is a bit lower than advertised. The cause for this, at least as it relates to sequential write speed, is our more demanding user state of system disk 50% filled with data.
The numbers look good, especially sequential read where we are getting better than factory spec numbers. Additionally, random write performance at Q1T1 is the best we've seen from any QLC based SSD.
Anvil's Storage Utilities
Really stout score here, more than we expected. The MP600 CORE delivers our first 22K total score for a QLC based SSD. Impressive. As is typical of Phison powered SSDs, two-thirds of the total score is coming from the drive's stellar write performance. A total read score of almost 7,300 is outstanding for a QLC based SSD.
Factory specs list maximum random write performance as up to 580K IOPS. We beg to differ, as we find the MP600 CORE can easily do 900K plus at QD64. The max random read performance we can hit, as expected, falls a bit short of the given factory spec of 380K IOPS due to our more demanding user state.
Synthetic Benchmarks: AS SSD & ATTO
AS SSD brings the MP600 CORE 2TB back down to earth. The score is decent as it exceeds 7K, but it is still near the bottom of our chart. Again, pretty much as expected for a 2TB Phison powered QLC based SSD. 4TB QLC SSDs can do much better, as evidenced by the Rocket Q4 4TB, due to their superior random read performance.
We are looking for full performance at 128K transfers and 40 MB/s plus at 512B transfers. We get what we want at 512B and sequential writes at 128K transfers, but we don't quite get there with sequential reads at 128K transfers. Nevertheless, a good showing here. We take note that the MP600 CORE can serve ATTO's data to the host at a whopping 5.6 GB/s.
Real-World Testing: Transfer Rates & Gaming
Our 100GB data block proves to be a bit hard to swallow for the MP600 CORE as it falls to the bottom of our chart, reminding us that this is a QLC based SSD. Even so, a transfer rate of 874 MB/s is nothing short of excellent for a 2TB QLC SSD.
Read transfers are more important than write, and the MP600 CORE 2TB gives about as good as it gets for any E16 powered SSD, whether it be QLC or TLC based. Impressive.
Game Level Loading
Phison powered QLC based SSDs typically hover near the bottom of our game level loading chart, and the MP600 CORE is no exception. Mind you, we feel it's still well within an acceptable range and likely not noticeable to the end-user unless they break out a stopwatch.
Real-World Testing: PCMark 10 Storage Tests
PCMark 10 Storage Test is the most advanced and most accurate real-world consumer storage test ever made. There are four different tests you can choose from; we run two of them.
The Full System Drive Benchmark and the Quick System Drive Benchmark. The Full System Drive Benchmark writes 204 GB of data over the duration of the test. The Quick System Drive Benchmark writes 23 GB of data over the duration of the test. These tests directly correlate with user experience. Of the two tests, we feel that the Quick System Drive Test most accurately replicates a typical user experience.
PCMark 10 Full System Drive Benchmark
QLC-based SSDs tend to struggle with extended heavy-duty workloads. This test writes over 200 gigabytes of data in about 40 minutes. Hard to deal with for anything QLC based, as reflected by our chart above. No worries, though, as most consumer-related workloads are much less demanding and are better reflected upon by the next test we will run.
PCMark 10 Quick System Drive Benchmark
This is the test we consider our most important as it correlates most directly with a typical consumer user experience.
The Corsair MP600 CORE 2TB, although near the bottom of our Gen4 exclusive chart, delivers a storage bandwidth that is only around 10% lower than the best we've seen from any Phison powered SSD, including E18 TLC based flagship models. Anything over 350 MB/s we consider to be good performance.
Today Corsair has expanded their Gen4 SSD portfolio by 300%, and we couldn't be happier with what they've done. Corsair is a retailer that always tends to give you a bit more than much of its competition, and their new MP600 CORE series is no exception. It comes with an effective, substantial, and delightfully dangerous-looking heat sink that can easily be removed. Additionally, Corsair's SSD Toolbox is a perfect and free compliment as it performs every function you will ever need, including cloning.
In terms of overall user experience, the 2TB MP600 CORE is hovering near the bottom of our Gen4 exclusive chart. This may be a bit misleading in the case of the MP600 CORE because it is only one of two QLC based SSDs that populate this new chart, so it's not easy to place high on it. The drive gives us a lot more than our 4K minimum and excels with moderate consumer workloads.
As we look back on our test results, we can find some standout performances delivered by Corsair's first Gen4 QLC based SSD. As tested against CDM, the MP600 CORE delivered 5,000 MB/s sequential reads and a lab record for QLC random write performance at Q1T1. Anvil's was even better, with the MP600 CORE delivering our first 22K score for a QLC SSD. Finally, the MP600 CORE delivered excellent consumer workload performance as evidenced by its 360 MB/s storage bandwidth as measured by PCM10 Quick Storage testing.
Corsair's MP600 CORE 2TB SSD presents a great value and excellent performance, earning it a well-deserved TweakTown Award.
- Sequential Performance
- SSD Software
- Consumer Workloads
- 5-Year Warranty
- Random Read
Gen4 speeds plus capacity and a removable heat sink make the MP600 CORE 2TB highly desirable.