Corsair Force Series 3 120 GB SSD SATA 3 Review – PCMark Vantage Comparison Testing and Final Thoughts

The SSD Review uses benchmark software called PCMark Vantage x64 HDD Suite to create testing scenarios that might be used in the typical user experience. There are eight tests in all and the tests performed record the speed of data movement in MB/s to which they are then given a numerical score after all of the tests are complete. The simulations are as follows:

  • Windows Defender In Use
  • Streaming Data from storage in games such as Alan Wake which allows for massive worlds and riveting non-stop action
  • Importing digital photos into Windows Photo Gallery
  • Starting the Vista Operating System
  • Home Video editing with Movie Maker which can be very time consuming
  • Media Center which can handle video recording, time shifting and streaming from Windows media center to an extender such as XBox
  • Cataloging a music library
  • Starting applications

If you are new to testing and considering benchmark software, this is the best you can get because the program goes well beyond the results of simulated testing as we have already done. In comparing SATA 2.0 SSDs, we have reached the bandwidth limit and the performance of most new SATA 2 SSDs is as high as it can get with typical high sequential access speeds in the area of 270MB/s read and 270MB/s write.

We needed a way to differentiate these drives and to find a method that can actually put one drive above another and this is exactly what Vantage testing does. Its tests combined can provide an accurate comparison between drives and its tests individually can assist a smart shopper in finding the best SSD for their needs.

Although we have yet to reach SATA 3 bandwidth max, there will be a number of manufacturers introducing SATA 3 drives in the next few months. Next to actual true to life testing which can take an insurmountable length of time, PCMark Vantage is the only program that can compare any SSD, side by side, regardless of SATA interface or controller in use.


The Force 3 PCMark Vantage Total Score is 62227 which is rather unexpected as it fared just over 8600 points higher than the OCZ Agility, the only other SSD tested using async NAND.  In fact, both the AData S511 and Patriot Wildfire, the WildFire of course using 32nm Toggle Mode NAND and the AData using Intels 25nm synchronous NAND, fared right in the 62000 point mark with the Force 3.  Lets take a look at the transfer speed comparison between the Force 3 and the Intel 510.

Now lets see where it placed amongst all new generation SATA 3 drives we have tested thusfar:


Our testing of the Corsair Force Series 3 120GB SSD shows it to perform as no less than an upper tier SSD which is amazing considering Corsair has chosen to use async NAND flash memory to keep the price low.  Considering that AS SSD and Crystal DiskMark (random sample data) brought into question where this SSD might stand in the dog pack, PCMark Vantage has proven that, in typical user scenarios, this SSD is right up there with the best.

As to whether the consumer will see any difference between a SSD utilizing sync or async flash memory, we can confidently state that not even an expert can visually tell the difference in typical usage patterns.  In fact, considering that the observed upgrade from a hard drive to a SSD is primarily the result of disk access time which is roughly 90 times faster in a SSD, it would be very difficult for even the best to see the difference in any SSD during ‘typical usage patterns’.  After all, just about every consumer SSD has a 0.1ms access time or better compared to the hard drive with an average 9ms.

Considering that the Corsair Force Series 3 120GB SSD is a top performer, we did a bit of background on the value and found it to be the lowest price new generation ‘SandForce Driven SATA 3 SSD available at the time of print for $194.99.  Given the performance and price of the Force 3, it is certainly deserving of our Editors Choice Award!



Pg1 – Understanding Todays SATA 3 SSDs & Introduction

Pg2 – Interior Components @ Test Protocol

Pg3 – ATTO, Crystal DiskMark & AS SSD

Pg4 – Anvil Storage Utilities and IOMeter

Pg5 – HDTune Pro Testing

Pg6 – PCMark Vantage Comparisons and Final Thoughts


One comment

  1. blank

    So good to see that when I upgrade to a SATA 3 motherboard Corsair will still be a great choice.

    My current SSD is their original Force 120 and is serving me well.

    Many thanks for the review!

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