Corsair has a history of releasing high-quality products into the PC market. Whether you are a gamer or an avid PC builder, we’re willing to bet you have had experience with them. While their product line-up has traditionally been focused on this crowd, with their many case, fan, and power supply options, Corsair has had a history of delivering some very high-performance SSDs to help diversify their product line-up as well. In recent times, they have partnered up with Phison to aid in the design of their latest SSDs. The most recent we had tested, until today, was the Corsair Neutron XTI, which contains Phison’s S10 controller, a bit of Toshiba’s MLC NAND and twice the normal amount of DRAM we would normally see in an SSD. This made for a killer performance combination and though it came at a high cost, it still earned our Gold Seal of approval.
Now, times have changed and PCIe SSDs are now all the rage, but Corsair’s partnership with Phison continues to grow strong. In today’s review, we are going to take a look at the latest addition to Corsair’s enthusiast/prosumer class SSD line-up, the Force MP500. The Force MP500 is Corsair’s first PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe SSD and based upon the high price tag and high-performance specs and slick black PCB, this SSD is definitely out to compete with some of the best. It features a similar cocktail to the Neutron XTI with its Phison controller, Toshiba MLC and twice the DRAM we would typically see, but will its performance be improved much over all the other E7 powered SSDs we have tested? Will the Force MP500 truly be a force to be reckoned with? Read on and find out in today’s review!
SPECIFICATIONS, PRICING, AND AVAILABILITY
The Corsair Force MP500 is a PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe SSD that comes in an M.2 2280 form factor. It is available in capacities of 120GB ($112.77), 240GB ($173.04) and 480GB ($339.95). Sequential speeds are rated for up to 3GB/s for read and 2.4GB/s for write. The MP500 is also rated for up to 250K IOPS read and 210K IOPS write. It has an endurance rating of 175TBW, 349TBW, and 640TBW per respective capacity and it is covered by a 3-year warranty.
This SSD features End-to-end Data Path Protection which is an enterprise level CRC/ECC that corrects soft errors and detects and corrects any errors between the DRAM, controller, and the flash. SmartECC reconstructs faulty pages when regular ECC fails. SmartRefresh monitors block ECC health status and refreshes NAND blocks periodically to improve data retention. SmartFlush minimizes time data spends in the cache to ensure data retention in the event of power loss. Additionally, it features garbage collection, TRIM support, DevSleep support, as well as SMART support and static and dynamic wear leveling.
Finally, the Corsair Force MP500 is compatible with Corsair’s SSD toolbox which you can use for drive health monitoring, secure erasing, firmware updating and more.
PACKAGING AND COMPONENTS
The Corsair Force MP500 comes in a slick, blacked out, premium packaging. The front side has a graphic of the SSD and in big bold letters is the name. All the main features are listed on the front and back. Inside is simply the SSD itself, which is contained in another plastic clamshell to help protect it during shipping.
The Corsair MP500’s PCB design no different than any other Phison E7 powered SSD we have tested. It is double sided, which means there are components on both sides of the PCB. As we stated before, this can be an issue for certain laptop models that require single-sided M.2 SSDs, but for the rest of the market, it is not an issue.
As previously mentioned, the controller is Phison’s latest PCIe 3.0 x4 PS5007-E7 controller. It is a feature packed controller that offers a lot of performance to many manufacturers and based upon our previous testing with it, the Corsair MP500 shouldn’t disappoint in today’s review. Additionally, there are two Toshiba 15nm toggle MLC NAND packages on each side of the PCB and each is 128GiB in capacity. Once formatted you will have 447GB to utilize. Finally, the DDR3L DRAM package is from NANYA and is 1GB in capacity for our 480GB model. The Force MP500 features 2x the DRAM to help improve performance. We will see if there is much of a difference in our testing next.