Corsair Neutron SATA III SSD Review
Introduction and Specifications
Corsair tends to be somewhat measured in their approach to certain markets and only enters them with products that are clearly differentiated from the competition. That’s true for their cases, peripherals, power supplies, and many other product lines. Corsair, however, has been relatively adventurous in regard to Solid State Drives. Over the last few years, Corsair has offered SSDs built around controllers from virtually all of the major players, including Marvell, SandForce, Indilinx, and Samsung, among others.
While Corsair has been open to working with multiple controller designs, they have not typically be first to market with drives based on brand new controllers. But that all changed with the recent release of the Corsair Neutron line of Solid State Drives. Corsair’s Neutron SSDs feature a new controller from Link_A_Media Devices (LAMD) that is not yet available in any other consumer storage product. For now, Corsair’s got an exclusive on the LAMD LM87800, which is at the heart of the Neutron SSD we’ll be showing you here today and a higher-end counterpart, the Neutron GTX.
||DRAM Cache Memory
The drive you see pictured here is a 240GB Corsair Neutron. Externally, it looks just like many other consumer-class 2.5” solid state drives, save for all of the Corsair branding and decals. Internally though, you’ll notice a shorter-than-average PCB and the new LAMD LM87800 controller that’s at the heart of the drive.
The LAMD LM87800 controller is outfitted with a pair of ARM-cores to service the host interface and NAND, has eight memory channels, and a SATA III 6Gbp/s interface. The controller is compatible with both ONFI and Toggle NAND, and although the controller features proprietary error correction technologies and tech to minimize write amplification—dubbed eBoost—it is not susceptible to performance degradation due to the compressibility/incompressibility of data.
This particular Corsair Neutron drive features 256GB of ONFI synchronous Micron NAND flash memory, of which 240GB is useable (the rest is used for wear leveling and other maintenance operations). There is also 128MB of DRAM cache on board.
We should point out that the Neutron GTX line of SSDs features Toshiba Toggle NAND, which should improve performance in some scenarios, but is also more expensive.