Final Words

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.

Update: 

Corsair Neutron/Neutron GTX Pricing
  120GB 240GB
Corsair Neutron $119.99 $209.99
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.

Power Consumption
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  • name99 - Tuesday, August 21, 2012 - link

    "Load power consumption is much more competitive. It's not what I would consider low, but it's not unreasonably high either."

    Well I guess we all have different opinions...
    IMHO the only number that matters is whether the maximum power draw (usually sequential writes) is below 2.5W. Below 2.5W and you know you can use it safely in a USB2 enclosure. Above that and it will appear to work but fail at random times.

    You might think you only want to use this drive INSIDE a laptop. OK, if you are SURE of that. My experience is that drives move with time from one location to another, and it sucks if I have to throw them away when they're still good.

    You might think you will only want to use this drive in a USB 3 enclosure (and now you have 4.5W to play with). OK.... but again life's going to suck if for some reason you want to use that drive on a USB2 machine.

    IMHO SSD architects are behaving like Pentium4 architects, doing what they like while ignoring power issues. This is a path that does not end well. We'll already at the point where nobody gives a fsck about the difference between a streaming rate of 300MB/s and 330 MB/s --- but people DO care about battery life, and they do care about devices that are gratuitously heating up their rooms and warming their palms.
    At some point point, these architects need to grow up and follow Intel down the path of speed at reasonable power, not speed at any power whatsoever.
    Reply
  • KAlmquist - Monday, August 27, 2012 - link

    Yes, it is disappointed to see SSD designs get worse over time in terms of power consumption. The Samsung 830 does a good job of holding down power usage when idle, but can draw more than the 4.5W limit of USB 3.0 when busy. Reply
  • dishayu - Wednesday, August 22, 2012 - link

    Can we have the Plextor M5 Pro review please? I can't make up my mind if i should just pick up a Samsung 830 or wait for M5 Pro. Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Wednesday, August 22, 2012 - link

    I know this sounds archaic, but could you throw a mechanical laptop drive into the power charts? At this point in time I honestly have no idea if these SSDs even have a power advantage over a modern spinner. It's hard to tell if a "bad" SSD is still better then a good mechanical, battery wise. Reply
  • Visual - Monday, August 27, 2012 - link

    Unfortunately I do not have any media that I can link. ;) Reply
  • killabee_me - Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - link

    Hi Anand,

    The test results didn't make it into Anandtech SSD Bench for some reason.

    Could you make sure they get there?

    Thanks.
    Reply

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