As we’ve seen countless times now, due to overprovisioning and the bit needed for OS administrative purposes, the end user is left with 111 GB out of the 128 GB physically on board. So, no surprises here and exactly what we see with competitor drives – at least in terms of those powered by SandForce.
Overall, the Force 3 drive is pretty much what you expect to see with the average, more affordable SandForce SF-2200 drives. Very good all around performance, but not among the elite drives across all tests. Then again, it’s not supposed to be. The GT is the flagship for the Force series and has the performance to back it up – but the non-GT is no slouch. This is really due to the hardware difference between them, with the GT having synchronous NAND and the non-GT having asynchronous NAND. The latter being slower and less expensive. Where we really see the difference in performance is on incompressible data which was clearly reflected on the benchmarks and real world tests. The architecture of the synchronous NAND is simply better suited to handle these types of workloads.
The Force 3 120 GB can be found online for $179.99 and the GT version for just a bit more after mail in rebate at $189.99. Without the rebate, the GT is closer to $204 which make the purchasing decision a little tougher but if you can get in on the rebate, a $10 difference between the two makes it a no-brainer to pick up the GT. As far as comparisons to competitor drives, $1.61 per usable GB is a very good price and below where we see most of the other similarly equipped drives. Corsair does also package their drive with the 2.5″ to 3.5″ adapter plate and offers a 3-year warranty so they offer an attractive package.
It seems like yesterday that we got our first SF-2200 drive in our hands and we were amazed by the incredible performance it brought together with the SATA III interface. Right now, SandForce drives are dominating the SSD market. As such, dozens of companies are offering drives that are more or less clones of each other and the SSD landscape is starting to feel a little stale. CES is just around the corner so we may be seeing changes coming, especially with changes in the industry like the purchase of Indilinx by OCZ. Until then, the number of available drives will increase and that should help drop the prices down as long as the price of NAND flash doesn’t start to increase. Although the Force 3 series is one of many options out there, it’s certainly more prudent to stick with tried and true brand like Corsair rather than gamble on those non-mainstream companies that will likely be out of the SSD business before the warranty ever expires.
Legit Bottom Line: While the GT version is a faster overall drive, the Force 3 120 GB drive is a solid offering from Corsair and at a price that is hard to beat.