While having a total of 256GB (1GB = 1,000,000,000 bytes) on board the Corsair Neutron 240GB drive, it actually translates to just over 238GiB
(1GiB = 1,073,741,824 bytes). This leaves about 7% for the spare area that’s used by the controller for drive
maintenance and overall endurance. This is the same level of overprovisioning we see in SandForce controlled drives so there’s some common ground there. In the end the user
is offered 223GB (actually GiB) available as shown in Windows properties.
Let’s start our final thoughts with a look at performance. Corsair touts the 240GB version as reaching max performance numbers of 555 MB/s reads and 370 MB/s writes which we found to be spot on for the ATTO benchmark and not far off on the other tests. Given that performance is not impacted by data compressibility, that’s to be expected as well as solid performance numbers in the real world tests. We didn’t spot anything amiss in any of the numbers and general usage of the drive in Windows yielded positive results with no hint of stuttering, lagging or BSOD’s. TRIM and idle garbage collection seem to be working fine as well so no worries there. Overall, our first impressions are very positive.
Those wanting a little extra something might want to consider the GTX version which offers a bit more in the writes department although we don’t have one off-hand to prove it out. Corsair covers their drives with a generous five year warranty and the current pricing we can find online for the 240GB version is $174.99 after a $25 mail-in rebate. This works out to $0.78 per usable GB, although we expect this price to decline in the months ahead.
We’ll reiterate that we’re pleased that there’s a promising new controller in the SSD market with the Link_A_Media Devices LM87800. SandForce has pretty much ruled the roost with Marvell, Indilinx (essentially Marvell to this point) and Samsung taking most of
the rest of the market share. Competition breeds excellence so we say
keep ’em coming. Corsair has done well to be the first to be able to
offer up product with this controller, giving them extra prominence in an SSD market that is extremely crowded right now. This helps position Corsair to weather the attrition we see looming ahead as price wars peel off the weaker players. With the rewards come the risks as this is a relatively
unproven controller, at least in the wild, so there’s always the
possibility of bugs or shortcomings that haven’t manifested themselves to
this point. Given that this has cropped up on a good number of other
controllers in the market (largely firmware issues), it’s not something that should be taken lightly if you are considering buying the first generation of this or any product for that matter.
Legit Bottom Line: The Neutron series from Corsair powered by the rookie Link_A_Media Devices LM87800 appears to be another solid competitor with the potential for shaking up the SSD market and grabbing a good chunk of market share although consumers might be wary of relatively a unproven hardware.