Corsair Force 3 180GB SSD Review
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Corsair has been kind enough to send us a sample of their newly configured Force 3 180GB Asynchronous NAND equipped drive. Nothing special about that right? Well not so fast. Digging a little deeper we find this drive is similar to the Corsair Force GT 180GB drive we just reviewed in that this drive is also equipped with a LSI SandForce 2282VB1-SCC Solid State Drive Processor. During the review of the GT we did in fact find the 400 pin 2282 Processor is indeed capable of producing slightly higher performance than the 256 pin 2281 Controller PROVIDED it is complemented by MORE than 16 NAND Modules. This is because of the increased parallelism offered by the 2282 Controller which can access up to 32 NAND Modules simultaneously whereas the 2281 Controller is limited to 16 NAND Modules simultaneously.
Asynchronous NAND equipped drives bring 2 things to the table. One has been welcomed and one not so much. What we like is the overall cost of the drive can be greatly reduced and makes the most important performance part in anyone’s system more accessible to more people. In fact I was able to find this Force 3 180GB drive for as low as $195 with free shipping at Amazon.com which is a very good price for a 180GB drive. What Asynchronous carries with it though is of course lower performance in comparison to Synchronous or Toggle NAND. This lower performance is mainly when dealing with incompressible data as we will see. Keeping things in perspective though this Asynchronous NAND drive has about 50 to 100 fold better random 4K performance than a typical Spinning HDD. Make no mistake the performance between a HDD and a SDD is that pronounced. This is why I say a SSD is the most important component in a high performance system PERIOD.
Corsair has chosen to offer their 180GB drives with the LSI SandForce 2282 processor which naturally peaked our interest at the lab. What really grabbed our attention though is the fact that Corsair has chosen to take advantage of the increased parallelism and use more NAND modules, 24 modules to be exact. We already know that this will give us somewhat better performance than a 2281 Controller and 16 Modules of NAND, so how much? First let’s take a quick look at the specifications as given by Corsair.