Corsair 30GB Accelerator: Cuts Price, Not Performance


When we reviewed Corsair's 60GB Cache Accelerator back in May, we were impressed by the drive's ability to boost the speed of an HDD-based PC without the need for a fresh OS installation. Today, we'll be evaluating the performance of Corsair's 30GB Cache Accelerator. At $54.99 ($44.99 w/ rebate from NewEgg), it's considerably cheaper than the $84 ($74 w/rebate) price tag on the 60GB flavor -- but is 30GB enough to deliver the same performance boost?

Looks a little familiar
Let's find out.

Cache Course
For those of you who didn't read the original review, we'll quickly recap where things stand. Corsair has partnered with the software developer Nvelo to deliver an SSD product that monitors the data that's accessed most often in a system and mirrors said data to the SSD for faster load times. The software package itself is known as Dataplex, and it's very good at what it does. In the six weeks since we published our first review, I've continued using a Cache Accelerator in my own system with no problems or deleterious effects.

Nvelo's Dataplex solution

Nvelo's Dataplex caches both reads and writes, a feature that sets it apart from Seagate's Momentus XT series. Those drives integrate a read-only flash memory buffer into the drive itself; Dataplex requires a separate disk. We tested the 30GB drive using the same drivers that we used in May. Only one cache drive can be installed per system, only the contents of the OS drive are cached, and you can't RAID cache drives together, though a cache drive can be used to accelerate a RAID array. For more information on the software's technical limitations, we recommend you check our previous article.

As before, our testbed consists of a Core i7-920 on a Gigabyte X58A-UD3R motherboard with 16GB of RAM and a GTX 480 installed. The system drive is a Samsung HD103SI, a 5400 RPM, 1TB HDD with 32MB of cache onboard. Driver updates are downloaded through Corsair's website.

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