Corsair Performance Series Pro

6/25/2012 9:28:07 AM

Corsair has been churning out fine SSDs for a while now, so you'd think it would have a formula for success planned out. Its latest drive, though, bucks the trends seen elsewhere for a specification that's unique among many of this month's drives.

Description: Corsair Performance Pro Series

Corsair Performance Pro Series

Taking centre stage is the only controller that's not made by the all-conquering SandForce. Instead, the Marvell 88SS9174 is drafted into action, which is the same controller as used by the Plextor M3 Pro.

Corsair has forged its own path when it comes to the actual memory chips used too. Every drive here uses multilayer cell (or MLC) NAND modules, as it's faster than the single-layer modules used in the first generation of SSDs. The modules used by Corsair are still based on MLC technology, but the Toshiba-made memory used here is described as using 'Toggle Mode', an innovation that can allegedly transfer more data transfers per second when compared to traditional MLC chips.

The only area, in fact, where Corsair hasn't innovated is when it comes to the manufacturing process used: this 256GB drive uses 32nm silicon rather than the 25nm technology that appears on other drives.

There's no doubt, though, that Corsair's innovative design has paid off. In our large file write test the Performance Series Pro recorded a score of 500.9MB/s-only marginally behind the 507.4MB/S of this month's best drives - and its large file write score of 320MB/S was, again, towards the top of our benchmark table.

The Performance Pro was beaten by one other drive in our small file tests, though. While the Corsair's small file write speed was 186.4MB/S, the Plextor M3 Pro ran through the same benchmark at 196.9MB/s, and the Plextor bested the Corsair in our small file read test too, scoring 30.7MB/s to the Performance Series Pro's 30.4MB/S.

Our AS SSD tests also proved that the Corsair is one of the top SSDs here. Its sequential write speed of 413.85MB/s is twice as fast as some rivals and significantly better than the 328.1 MB/s of the Plextor, for instance.

In other AS SSD tests, though, there was less clear air between the Corsair and the Plextor. Its sequential read speed of 471.96MB/S is slower than the 492.25MB/s of the M3 Pro, for instance, but the Corsair's sequential write pace of 413.85MB/s is ahead of the Plextor's 328.1 MB/s result.

Description:  Plextor Announces M3 Pro Series SSD

 Plextor Announces M3 Pro Series SSD

The M3 Pro takes the cake in a handful of tests, then, but the Corsair offers consistently solid performance at a decent price. $441.6 for this 256GB drive is a fine price - the OCZ Vertex 3 is $504 for 240GB -and this translates to a fine price-per-gigabyte of $1.84, which is five pence less than the Plextor's cost per gigabyte.

The combination of excellent speed and admirable value is extremely tempting. Corsair's latest SSD is among the best performers in the majority of our benchmarks, and it's among the best value here, with a price-per-gigabyte that's significantly better than most of this month's drives. If you're looking for a larger SSD and don't want to compromise on speed, this is proof that Corsair's risky approach when building this drive has paid off - even if the Plextor isn't far behind.



256GB (238GB formatted)


$442 ($184 per Gigabyte)




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