Review: Corsair MP700 PRO SE - PCIe 5.0 NVMe SSD - 14GB/s

Memory (DDR4/DDR5) and Storage (SSD/NVMe) 370 Page 15 of 15 Published by

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Final Words & Conclusion

The Corsair MP700 Pro SE PCIe 5.0 NVMe SSD demonstrated peak read speeds well above 13 GB/s reaching 14GB/s, with outstanding peak sequential read and write speeds. This performance is attributed to its NAND Flash technology, operating at 2400 MT/s, combined with a big 8 GB LPDDR4 cache.  In the context of PCIe Gen 5 Solid State Drives, thermal management has been a significant challenge, especially for models with Phison controllers, which often struggle to dissipate heat effectively. This issue has led manufacturers to adopt various heatsink designs. Long story short, you'll need to tool this puppy under the heatsink or order a custom SKU with heatsink/liquid cooling.  Under a mobo heatsink, we do advise a bit of airflow inside that chassis though as the heat needs to go somewhere.  Despite the absence of an official price announcement, the estimated cost of 635 USD for the 4TB model suggests that this PCIe 5.0 SSD represents the current technical extreme for end-users, including gamers and creators, seeking a balance of high-performance and thermal stability without the nuisance of fan noise. 


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However, the question remains: in the realm of storage units, do we truly need 10GB/s or faster speeds? Some argue that these premium performance products are often synthetically measured, requiring significant workloads to utilize their capabilities fully. While it's true that your average users may not experience significantly faster boot times, slightly quicker game loadings, or noticeably faster application start-ups compared to NVMe SSDs with read/write speeds in the 2 GB/sec range, there is more to consider though. Let's elaborate on that. While the average user may not perceive a substantial difference, individuals who invest in top-tier components like a GeForce RTX 4090 or Radeon RX 7900 XTX, coupled with a powerful processor like the Core i9 14900K or Ryzen 9 7950X3D series, often seek that extra edge of performance, even if it may seem somewhat unrealistic. Technological advancements, such as DirectStorage, will slowly be aiding this terrain. With DirectStorage, graphics cards can directly access textures from the SSD, bypassing the processor and freeing up valuable processor cycles for other tasks. This technology significantly accelerates texture load times, providing a tangible benefit to those equipped with fast M.2 disks. Consider a scenario where you're launching a game with vast, intricate maps. With a fast M.2 disk and DirectStorage in action, you'll find yourself immersed in the game within seconds, an almost negligible loading time when compared to the long waits we've grown accustomed to. So, while the need for 10GB/s or faster storage units may not be immediately apparent, for those seeking every bit of performance, the potential gains in specific scenarios cannot be overlooked. Whether these gains are entirely realistic or not remains a topic for discussion. However price-wise, you can flip around that thesis, we'll talk about that in the conclusion though.


Endurance

Corsair offers 700 TBW (Terabytes Written) for the 1TB model, 1400TBW for the 2TB model and a massive 3000TBW for our tested 4 TB model. We talked so much about this in the past already, endurance, the number of times NAND cells can be written before they burst and shatter into small pieces (well, they die and are mapped out, any data present on that cell is written to a healthy one). Bigger volume sizes mean more NAND cells; more NAND cells thus increase endurance. For the 2TB model, you'll get a rated 1400 TBW; the 1 TB model marks 700 TB written. So how long does a 1400 TWB storage unit last before NAND flash cells go the way of the dodo? Well, if you are an extreme user, you might be writing 50 GB per day (normal users likely won't even write that per week), but based on that value, 50GB x 365 days = 18.25 TB per year written. So that's almost 77 years of usage, double that for the 4TB SSD. And again, writing 50 GB per day is a very enthusiastic value. So likely other components like the NAND controller are far more prone to fail as opposed to NAND cells dying. 

Thermals

You know it, and we have shown it in the past, the E26 controller gets far too, resulting in thermal throttling or a shutdown once it passes 90 Degrees C. A proper heatsink cooler from your motherboard combined with some airfloqw inside your chassis is sufficient to cool down the SSD. But it all relains rather challenging. This is the problem with these massive heatsinks. Now we can't fault Corsair for the controller running ridiculously hot, for that we need to point our finger at Phison.

Performance

The performance outcomes of the  Corsair MP700 Pro SEis quite remarkable, particularly in terms of sequential transfers. The claim of "up to 14 GB/s" is accurate, as we observed peak rates at that threshold. Under massive sequential write loads we see at roughly 12% of the drive written the performance drop, here the pSLC buffer runs dry, but recatches itself rather quickly. 

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This occurs at higher queue depths and thus sequential and linear queued workloads. For typical consumer workloads at lower depths, you'll easily see anywhere from 7 GB/s read and 10 GB/s write speeds, which are still impressive. Random IO results and trace tests, however show this series to be virtually on par with those of PCIe Gen 4 drives, such as the Phison E18-NVMe SSDs. The  Corsair MP700 Pro SE PCIe 5.0 NVMe SSD  has a big (dynamic) SLC cache allowing it to accommodate substantial incoming write bursts easily. 

Concluding

Solid State Drives (SSDs) have been boosting computer performance in the past five years, particularly evident in the gaming sector where their adoption has accelerated significantly. The market is particularly prudent to the 4 Terabyte (TB) SSDs, favored for their substantial storage capacity. Price-wise, the Corsair MP700 Pro SE 4 TB is set at $635, a steep investment for storage. In comparison, the Crucial T705 4 TB, which shares similar specifications, is priced at around $545, presenting a more budget-friendly option by nearly $100.

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Those with financial constraints or just the 'hell-no' attitude should consider PCIe 4.0 SSDs, which offer substantial savings and still provide excellent performanceThe Phison E26 controller, commonly utilized in these SSDs, exhibits notable power consumption, typically drawing around 11 Watts under high load, with an average operational consumption of 6 Watts. This can lead to overheating and potential device failure within 30 seconds under intense load if not equipped with a sufficient heatsink. So remember, you must cool down this SSD.  This problem can be mitigated by incorporating a proper heatsink, provided there is adequate space in the user’s PC or motherboard. For those prioritizing storage over speed, older SSD generations such as Gen4 and Gen3 present far more economical alternatives. For example, the cost of a Gen5 4 TB SSD can be more than double that of a Gen4 and 2.5 times that of a Gen3. In terms of reliability and warranty, the MP700 Pro SE comes with a five-year guarantee, underscoring its durability which is supported by Micron's established NAND technology. Nonetheless, users should be aware of potential wear from frequent switches between pSLC and TLC modes. Corsair is making notable strides in Gen5 SSD technology, enhancing cooling solutions, controller speeds, and the integration of advanced NAND and DRAM technologies. While the MP700 Pro SE is a top performer, especially with the Hydro X configuration suited for high-performance builds, alternatives like the T705 and Rocket 5 are viable for those seeking better price-to-performance ratios, particularly in sustained use scenarios. Ultimately, while 4TB SSDs offer extensive storage capacity and are at the technological forefront with PCIe 5.0, their high cost remains a barrier for many. As far as performance goes, we're looking at a maxed out PCIe Gen 5.0  SSD, this is probably as fast as it gets. 

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