Corsair Neutron GTX SSD Review (240GB): Link A Media Controller Testedby Anand Lal Shimpi on August 20, 2012 6:00 AM EST
Overall I have to say I'm fairly impressed with Corsair's Neutron GTX, at least from a performance standpoint. The LM87800 controller proved to be very potent in my testing, ending up near or at the very top of most of our benchmarks. Even though we're still ultimately bound by the limits of 6Gbps SATA, the Neutron GTX manages to pull ahead of the competition in a few areas. Idle power consumption, low queue depth sequential reads and small transfer size performance are the only performance related complaints I have about the drive. Other than idle power consumption, I'm not too concerned about the issues although I would like to see them addressed with a future firmware update.
The regular Neutron is pretty good in most cases, but its power consumption under load and lower high qd sequential write performance keep it from being a knockout like the GTX. I don't have final pricing from Corsair yet, but depending on how wide the Neutron/Neutron GTX gap is I might be inclined to just recommend the GTX across the board.
|Corsair Neutron/Neutron GTX Pricing|
|Corsair Neutron GTX||$139.99||$249.99|
The Neutron GTX is appreciably more expensive than the standard Neutron, and unfortunately more expensive than Samsung's SSD 830. Street pricing tends to be more aggressive than MSRPs, but I'd really like to see the Neutron GTX closer to the standard Neutron's pricing in e-tail. We'll have to see how this plays out in the coming weeks.
I was pleased with the firmware update process on the Neutron drives and I'd love to see the addition of other toolbox features into the software (e.g. spare area customization, secure erase, SMART data analysis).
As is always the case with a new controller, the big unknowns are reliability and compatibility. I've been playing with the Neutron GTX for a good while now without any issues, however my SSD testbed never seems to be where I find problems with drives. Keep your eye on user reviews at Newegg and discussion forums to see how the Neutron GTX fares in a broad set of systems. Having been burnt by SSD firmware issues in the past, I have a feeling that Corsair will be fairly cautious in its release of the Neutron. Whether or not that caution manifested itself in an extremely well tested firmware remains to be seen. Firmware updates for the Neutron GTX have been coming through fairly regularly in the development of the drive, which is hopefully an indication that LAMD is committed to fixing bugs and improving performance.
At the end of the day this is a huge step forward for Corsair. The Neutron GTX is a great performer. If Corsair can deliver on the reliability and compatibility fronts, the Neutron GTX will be a huge win for Corsair. This is also a good day for Link A Media. If SK Hynix wants to follow in the footsteps of Samsung, combining its own controller with its own NAND, the LM87800 could be its ticket to get there.