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Corsair Performance Series Pro review

Corsair Performance Series Pro

Verdict

Corsair's latest trumps rivals thanks to a decent price and lightning-quick performance

Review Date: 12 Jul 2012

Reviewed By: Mike Jennings

Price when reviewed: £230 (£276 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
6 stars out of 6

Features & Design
6 stars out of 6

Value for Money
6 stars out of 6

Performance
6 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

Many companies produce high-speed SSDs, but the trick to producing a winner is to balance high levels of performance with a price that's low enough to tempt enthusiasts to open their wallets. Corsair's latest, the Performance Series Pro, is the latest drive to arrive in the Labs.

The Corsair costs £276 for the 256GB model we've reviewed here, which works out at £1.15 per gigabyte. That's more than the 61p per gigabyte Crucial asks for its budget M4 but, in the realm of high-end SSDs, it's a very reasonable price.

SandForce is one of the biggest names when it comes to SSD controllers but, under the hood of the Performance Series Pro, Corsair has opted for a Marvell 88SS9174 chip. It's an unusual decision given how many drives use SandForce hardware but, crucially, it's the same controller used by the M4 drive, so it has plenty of pedigree when it comes to shifting data quickly.

Corsair Performance Series Pro

Corsair has gone against the grain when it comes to the memory too. The chips used are still made of familiar MLC memory, but the 32nm modules are Toshiba-made "Toggle Mode" NAND chips rather than the synchronous chips used on most other SSDs. Toshiba claims these can process more data transfers per second, and that’s backed up by the consistent speed shown in our benchmarks.

Its result of 500.9MB/sec in our large file write benchmark is superb, easily outpacing the 387.4MB/sec score of the Crucial M4, and both SSDs returned fine scores of 320MB/sec when reading large files. The Corsair also impressed when handling small files: its write and read results of 186.4MB/sec and 30.4MB/sec were better than the M4's 167.4MB/sec and 29.7MB/sec speeds.

The Corsair is also quicker than its rival in the AS SSD sequential write speed test with a result of 413.85MB/sec, and it followed that up with excellent pace in the rest of the app's tests.

That's consistent raw speed, and it's balanced with a competitive price. It makes the Corsair Performance Pro the best SSD we've yet seen, especially for enthusiasts who want top-quality performance. The M4 is still a fine budget choice but, if you're after the best an SSD can offer, the Corsair Performance Series Pro is it.

Author: Mike Jennings

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User comments

Performance Hit

There's an interesting article over at Tom's hardware. The upshot (at least with the Vertex 4) is that when a drive is more than 50% full write speed takes a substantial hit.
Do you think it would be a good idea to benchmark drives when empty and when, say 60% full to see if this is a common
issue with SSD's.

For the article at Tom's Hardware see
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/vertex-4-ssd-write-p
erformance,review-32471.html

By simontompkins on 12 Jul 2012

Performance Hit

As stated by simontompkins would be good to see what happens with high levels of data on this and other SSD drives.

I was set to get a 256GB SSD for its performance increase ( and mine is fairly sick ) but read that article. As they are not cheap and buying 512 or 1GB is out of most peoples reach just now, then the chances of people filling more than half is very likely.

By assylum on 15 Jul 2012

Performance Hit

As stated by simontompkins would be good to see what happens with high levels of data on this and other SSD drives.

I was set to get a 256GB SSD for its performance increase ( and mine is fairly sick ) but read that article. As they are not cheap and buying 512 or 1GB is out of most peoples reach just now, then the chances of people filling more than half is very likely.

By assylum on 15 Jul 2012

Disappointing conclusion

I have to say I'm disappointed with this review. Sure this may be one of the fastest SSDs out there, but it's pointless at this price. Both the M4 and the Samsung 830 are available for around £150-160 quid inc VAT online (from reputable retailers) and I'd be willing to bet that nobody who is using them in the real world will notice any real difference in performance between any of the three in day to day usage.
The price of SSDs has dropped massively in the last 3 months to the point where 256GB drives are just about a sensible purchase. Coming in at £276 is commercial silliness.
The point has been made before, but the real upgrade comes from moving from a hard disk to an SSD. The differences between any of the higher rated SSDs are negligible in anything other than synthetic benchmarks, so price is now the real differentiator unless you are loyal to a particular brand.
Just my tuppence worth...

By benbackhouse on 19 Jul 2012

Sorry ben...

I can't agree with you that no one would notice.

There's always a set of users who need this kind of lively performance from the disk, we are the usual suspects of High end Illustrators, Photoshopers, CAD, Video RT and Post Production, Local Db SQL hacks, Coders etc.

To be honest even if your just ripping and re-compiling DVD's or Blu Ray it will make a huge cut in wait times.

Basically anyone who neees this kind of thing has probably progressed through ultra 320 scsi, Fibre Channel, and SAS rather than Vanilla IDE and SATA.

I find Corsair products to be highly reliable, and have used them heavily.

Avoiding Sandforce chips is no doubt a reliability choice, if you google around there have been huge issues with Sandforce and OCZ drives in particular.

By Gindylow on 19 Jul 2012

I might have over-generalised a tad..

I confess I had excluded the real power users from my rant above, but it frustrates me that magazines always major on synthetic benchmarks with these drives.
What opened my eyes somewhat was some testing that Tom's Hardware (sorry PCPro - I'm still a loyal subscriber though!) did earlier this year to ascertain whether you really need a SATA 6Gb/s interface to get the most from the newer drives. The answer is of course yes in the synthetic benchmarks, but they did some real world tests (http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/sata-6gbps-performa
nce-sata-3gbps,review-32370-7.html) where it was only file copies that showed up a difference. In the Win 7 bootup and steam folder backup all the SSDs were within a whisker regardless of model or SATA3Gb/6Gb. In the file copies the M4 took 70secs rather than 47 for the Samsung 830 to copy 16GB, but that's till only 23 seconds longer for a pretty chunky file.
I would still maintain that as long as you get one of the higher rated drives - eg an 830 - then price should the real differentiator at this capacity point. I can't imagine it will be long before the Corsair drops £100 (actually it's already down to £239 from Scan)).

By benbackhouse on 20 Jul 2012

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