It's a fact, the SSD arena is not ruled and dominated by SandForce any longer, we have deep respect for the Performance Pro series from Corsair. In every way and manner the product managed to surprise us in a positive way.
Now that said, the peak read and write performance on SandForce 2281 based product will be a notch higher. We however doubt you'd ever notice that. When we look at IOPS RW performance, again the Marvell based Performance Pro series shocks in a very positive fashion. That means with incredibly small files this SSD rocks hard. However it doesn't end there ... the sustained read and write performance really is excellent as well, that means with massive writes on large files like ISO's, movies etc the overall performance for both read and write is extremely consistent at very high numbers.
If you put a drive like this into your SATA 3 compatible laptop or SATA 3 compatible PC, you'll have no idea what is about to hit you. We very much enjoy the grand sustained performance of this SSD series, so you you copy a fast amount of compressed data, then the Performance Pro will slay and slaughter in performance.
Some overall recommendations then. Should you be in the market for a SATA3 SSD then we have a couple of hints: we absolutely prefer the performance of the Intel Series 6 (H67/P67/Z68/X79) integrated SATA 6G controller over anything else available on the market. If you run an AMD chipset with the added Marvell 6G controller for example, you will see lower performance. The Asmedia controllers we spotted lately on motherboards is offering good performance, albeit still 25% slower than Intel. Also make sure you run your drive in AHCI mode, it does make a difference.
Prices HDD versus SSD -- well my advice is simple and I'll keep repeating this in each and every SSD conclusion; you probably should stop looking at the Solid State Disk technology as if it were a traditional HDD. We all will be old and grey before the two reach the same prices or top the multiple TB volume storage the HDD offers for less money. Comparing an SSD with an HDD is making a comparison in-between an integrated IGP or a dedicated graphics card, that last one will cost you a heck of a lot more yet you gain incredible overall performance. It is the very same with an SSD, use it as boot drive on Windows and applications and you instantly have removed a huge bottleneck, load and access times. It is a difference in-between night and day (in a proper system). For massive storage like movies, MP3 files and bulky data you do not access on a regular basis, sure that's where the HDD remains the winner.
The magic simply is finding a good combination in-between the two and balance things out. That's where the magic happens. I kid you not, all my test systems and work systems run on SSDs, not once have I considered going back to HDDs. The benefits of a good SSD are simply grand. But that doesn't mean I do not understand the budget and cost dilemma that many of you are facing though. There are still many variables and unknowns regarding life-span.
We think with 2012 ahead of us we'll see some very interesting things. The competition in-between brands and more overly controllers used inside the SSDs is heating up fast. Where SandForce (LSI these days) was dominant to its bare essence anno 2011 we can now see the other players kicking in hard with SATA3 product that really do deliver.
The choice for the Marvell 9174 controller combined with that seriously substantial 512MB data cache clearly was an obvious one as it delivers precisely what you guys expect, want and need. The usage of eight Toshiba toggle mode 34nm NAND flash memory we like as well, 34nm has a longer lifespan opposed to 25nm NAND flash, so again a plus. Whatever your choice in an SSD will be, the Marvell 9174 controller based Corsair Performance Pro products are a massive win in our book and I have no hesitation whatsoever to grant it our Top pick award, what a lovely product -- man.
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