SSD Review: Corsair Neutron 240GB
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Corsair just launched a new series of drives dubbed Neutron. Having already reviewed the Neutron GTX 240GB we know the Neutron Series is a force to be reckoned with and could be poised to grab the performance crown. Today we will be taking a close look at Corsairs other Neutron drive. This drive is simply Neutron with no moniker. We have the Neutron 240GB SSD on the bench today.
Corsair’s Neutron is very similar to their Neutron GTX. Neutron uses the same LAMD “Amber” Flash Processing Unit (FPU) as the Neutron GTX, has the same type and amount of DRAM cache as well as pretty much the same PCB. Differences between the Neutron GTX and the Neutron as far as we can tell are obviously the choice of flash memory, the Neutron uses 25nm synchronous flash memory and the Neutron GTX utilizes Toshiba 24nm Toggle mode flash memory. There is another not so obvious difference and that’s firmware. Corsair has chosen to restrict sequential writes of the Neutron through firmware as a way to distinguish performance and pricing between the Neutron and Neutron GTX. We like this approach because it allows Corsair to market their products at different price points without compromising on quality like we see with asynchronous flash equipped drives.
Speaking of quality, Corsair’s Neutron series of drives comes with an industry leading 5 year warranty which is rarely seen these days. Corsair is touting the LAMD Amber FPU used in the Neutron series as professional grade processor. The Amber Flash Processing Unit (FPU) features a technology called eBoost that claims to bring enterprise type endurance and reliability to the consumer level. The Amber FPU can be variably overprovisioned and Corsair has chosen to use 13% OP space on the Neutrons. The Amber FPU uses 8 NAND channels capable of supporting both ONFi flash as well as Toggle flash.
The Neutron GTX we reviewed dished up very impressive numbers and set some records for our lab however, there were a couple points of concern. Sequential small file read performance and performance with data on the drive. Firmware can probably remedy both those concerns and more than likely will in the near future. I know the NAND used in the Neutron will go a little ways toward addressing the data on drive performance because 25nm ONFi flash consistently puts up better performance with data on the drive than 24nm Toggle mode flash does. How much difference? We will find out but let’s begin by taking a look at what Corsair has to say about the Neutron 240GB:
Neutron Series Solid-State Drives: superior storage performance without tradeoffs
Neutron Series SSDs give you consistently fast storage speed, no matter what kind of work you do with your PC. The advanced Link_A_Media (LAMD)SATA 3 SSD controller provides both high IOPS and super-fast sequential read speeds for reliably fast results.
Serious Real-World Performance
Neutron Series delivers strong overall storage performance without tradeoffs. It's performance that goes beyond great benchmark scores, and speed you can count on no matter what type of work you do on your PC.
Fast loading of large audio files, images and videos
Many SSDs achieve quick load times with files that can be compressed and decompressed at the read/write stage, but slow down significantly reading data that's already compressed. Neutron goes one better by offering impressive performance even with compressed and non-compressible data.
Broad compatibility with PCs, notebooks, and ultraslim notebooks
Neutron Series SSDs snap into place on most notebooks, even in many of the latest slim designs that have additional space restrictions. An adapter is included for wide desktop PC support.
Professional-grade LAMD SSD controller
The LAMD controller is designed to deliver both super-high IOPs — important for data-intensive tasks like video and image editing — as well as superior sequential read speeds for lighting fast file access.
Great sequential read speeds, regardless of file type
SSDs compress and decompress files on the fly. Some solid-state drives hit a performance bottleneck when opening files that can’t be further compressed. This includes video, audio, and image files — and if your PC is also your entertainment center or you work with media files as part of your job, lesser SSDs can slow you down. Neutron’s real-world performance design focus means impressive file loading times even with non-compressible data.
Install it almost anywhere
Neutron follows the universal 2.5” standard, for quick installation into most notebooks. It fits into place on newer PCs which have built-in 2.5” drive support, and with the included 3.5” adapter, you can install it in a standard hard drive bay.
Many newer slim notebooks get that way at the expense of height restrictions for SSDs. Neutron is just 7mm high, so it can go where some other SSDs can’t.
Built for SATA 3 6Gb/s
Neutron Series is designed to support the latest high-speed standard to get the most performance out of the latest PCs. It’s also fully backward compatible with SATA 2.
Maintains its Performance Over Time
Neutron Series SSDs support the Windows 7 TRIM command. This allows them to store only the data they need and perform memory optimization to ensure the fastest possible write speeds.
Because SSDs have no moving parts, they can handle shock, vibration and temperature changes far in excess of traditional hard drives. That's important for desktop PCs, and essential for notebooks.
Cool and Quiet, with Low Power Consumption
Traditional mechanical hard drives spin at thousands of revolutions per minute. This takes power, and generates noise and heat. Since SSDs have no moving parts, there's no noise or vibration, and the lower power consumption helps keep things cool inside your PC. It can also save battery life on notebooks.