New Force drives
|Read speed (up to)||285MB/s||285MB/s||285MB/s||285MB/s|
|Write speed (up to)||275MB/s||275MB/s||275MB/s
|Controller||SandForce SF-1200||SandForce SF-1200||SandForce SF-1200||SandForce SF-1200|
|Etail price (16/06/10)||£160||£320||£299
|£ per GB||2.67||3.20||2.49
* not widely available.
Corsair's Force series currently comprises of five drives, split into two camps. The F100 and F200 launched three months ago and represented Corsair initial foray with the SandForce controller.
The F120 and F100 are ostensibly the same physical drives, save for two rather pertinent implementation differences. As you may recall from the F100 review, the drive shipped with a NAND capacity of 128GB but Corsair/SandForce left significant space aside for over-provisioning - helping keep performance at near-new levels at all times. Corsair also used a special firmware which gave the SandForce SF-1200 controller better-than-expected performance in 4K randomised writing scenarios.
What's telling is that the F100 hasn't been widely available since the original announcement - in the UK at least. We can infer that the F120 takes its place in retailers' catalogues. Look back at the four-drive table and you will see that the F120 is, on paper, a better bet, because it provides more capacity at a lower price, albeit without a semi-turbocharged firmware.
The left-hand connector is still SATA 2 (3Gb/s) spec.
A look at the PCB shows that the Force F120 uses 16 chips - eight on each side - from Intel/Micron. Each chip is 8GB, intimating a 128GB SSD-wide capacity, and Corsair reduces over-provisioning by having an unformatted 120GB available to the operating system.
Here's the other side, removed from the casing. Bear in mind that doing so will void the three-year warranty with Corsair. Think you've seen this before? You probably have, on the Corsair F100.
The real magic is contained inside the SandForce SF-1200 controller. The one from the F120 is show in the above picture, and the one residing in our review-sample F100 is shown below. There's no physical difference between the ASICs.
As should be clear by now, Corsair's Force F120 is fundamentally the same drive as the F100. It differs by significantly reducing the over-provisioning, thereby giving you 20GB extra capacity, and it ships with SandForce SF-1200-specific firmware, meaning lower speeds in scenarios where 4K randomised writing is important.
We'd take the extra 20GB at a lower price any day, but what effect does the difference in firmware have on our benchmarks. Let's find out.