If you paid attention when we toured the innards of the Corsair Nova drive, you’d recall that there are 128GB’s worth of physical NAND Flash on the PCB. However, due to provisioning for performance and wear-leveling, the amount actually available to the user is 119GB. This is less than 10% set aside which is on the low side of how many of the newer drives configured. Don’t be surprised if the next generation of SSD’s provision even more space.
In the beginning of the article, we stated that the real test here is of the firmware since this configuration of NAND and controller exist in other drives. I think it’s safe to say that Corsair’s firmware works just fine and in some cases, better than fine.
The combination of the Indilinx ‘Barefoot’ controller and on board 64MB of cache provided stutter-free performance, even while multitasking with a combination of reads and writes. System response while using the Nova as the OS drive is crisp and lively, as to be expected. With TRIM and garbage collection doing their thing, you can also expect
that performance will remain consistent over time.
While $369 is still a good chunk of green that could buy you at least two 2TB hard drives or one new 600GB SATA 6Gbps VelociRaptor drive, neither will give you the performance boost seen with the Nova SSD. You give up storage space in return but hard drives are so cheap now, you could pick up a 500GB spare drive to store all of your files for less than a nice pair of jeans. That said, there are similar performing SSD’s priced below what we are seeing for the Nova so buyers will be weighing the performance metric variances versus cost differentials to make their purchasing decision. On newly released drive, retailers usually ask a premium so pricing may drop as demand dictates.
*EDITORS NOTE: As of mid May 2010 Corsair has upped the warranty to 3 years.
Legit Bottom Line: Corsair has done a very nice job with their Indilinx-controlled Nova series which has posted results that give other similarly equipped SSD’s a run for their money. Money is the keyword here as where the pricing settles will determine how successful the Nova line will ultimately be.