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Review: Corsair Neutron Series GTX (480GB)

by Parm Mann on 14 November 2012, 12:00 4.0

Tags: Corsair

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qaboyz

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Introduction

 

Corsair has a wide selection of SSDs in its product range, but this here 480GB Neutron Series GTX is the company's crème de la crème.

Priced at around £400, the top-of-the-range drive marries a Link_A_Media Devices LM87800 controller with a sprinkling of 24nm Toggle Mode NAND memory chips from Toshiba. This optimum pairing is reserved for the GTX line and offers maximum performance for those willing to pay the extra, though it's interesting to note that Corsair doesn't yet offer a non-GTX version in a 480GB capacity. The combination of maximum speed and maximum capacity, then, is reserved exclusively for this model.

 

Getting inside the 7mm shell reveals that not a lot has changed between the 480GB model and the 240GB variant we examined back in August. The PCB layout is practically identical, with the central processor flanked by eight Toggle Mode NAND memory chips and a 256MB cache.

What's different, of course, is that the NAND memory chips have doubled in size - from 32GB to 64GB - taking the total drive capacity to 512GB. As with the smaller models in the range, a percentage of the overall capacity is set aside to preserve long-term performance and reliability, leaving the user with the advertised 480GB to play with.

 
480GB Neutron Series GTX
240GB Neutron Series GTX
120GB Neutron Series GTX
Total drive capacity
512GB
256GB
128GB
Unformatted capacity
480GB
240GB
120GB
Max. sequential read speed
555MB/s
555 MB/s
555 MB/s
Max. sequential write speed
511MB/s
511 MB/s
330 MB/s
Max. random 4k write
85k IOPs
85k IOPs
80k IOPs
NAND type
Toggle Mode
Toggle Mode
Toggle Mode
Max. power consumption
4.6 W
4.6 W
4.6 W
Warranty
5 years
5 years
5 years
Approx. price

Perusing the specification sheets tells us that the 480GB range-topper is identical to its 240GB sibling in every way other than price and capacity. But that itself is an interesting point. Corsair is quick to point out that many high-capacity SandForce alternatives take a performance hit when they jump from 240GB to 480GB.

Corsair's own product range is a prime example. Compare the 480GB Force Series GT to the 240GB Force Series GT and you might be surprised to find that the larger-capacity drive suffers in terms of speed. Sequential write performance drops from 525MB/s to 455MB/s, while random 4k IOPs performance plummets from 85,000 to a more-average 55,000. This is due to the way in which the SandForce processor interacts with the drive's memory, but the Link_A_Media Devices processor used by the Neutron Series GTX doesn't appear to have any such limitations. According to Corsair's specification, the 480GB drive is every bit as quick. Let's find out if the numbers hold true.