For our power consumption tests, we measured the voltage drop across a 0.1-ohm resistor placed in line with the 5V and 12V lines connected to each drive. We were able to calculate the power draw from each voltage rail and add them together for the total power draw of the drive. Drives were tested while idling and under an IOMeter load consisting of 256 outstanding I/O requests using the workstation access pattern.
The F120's power consumption closely matches that of the other SandForce-based drives. Even without cache memory chips onboard, the SF-1200-based SSDs draw more juice than the SSDNow V+ and Nova V128.
Noise levels were measured with a TES-52 Digital Sound Level meter 1" from the side of the drives at idle and under an HD Tune seek load. Drives were run with the PCB facing up.
Our noise level and power consumption tests were conducted with the drives connected to the motherboard's P55 storage controller.
I've consolidated the solid-state drives here because they're all completely silent. The SSD noise level depicted below is a reflection of the noise generated by the rest of the test system, which has a passively-cooled graphics card, a very quiet PSU, and a nearly silent CPU cooler.
Solid-state drives have no impact on system noise levels. If you're starting off with a quiet rig, adding an SSD isn't going to make the system any louder. A mechanical hard drive will, especially when it's seeking.
Capacity per dollar
After spending pages rifling through a stack of performance graphs, it might seem odd to have just a single one set aside for capacity. After all, the amount of data that can be stored on a hard drive is no less important than how fast that data can be accessed. Yet one graph is really all we need to express how these drives stack up in terms of their capacity, and more specifically, how many bytes each of your hard-earned dollars might actually buy.
We took drive prices from Newegg to establish an even playing field for all the contenders. Mail-in rebates weren't included in our calculations. Rather than relying on manufacturer-claimed capacities, we gauged each drive's capacity by creating an actual Windows 7 partition and recording the total number of bytes reported by the OS. Having little interest in the GB/GiB debate, I simply took that byte total, divided by a Giga (109), and then by the price. The result is capacity per dollar that, at least literally, is reflected in gigabytes.
The F120 isn't available just yet, but Corsair expects the drive to sell for $339 when it arrives. At that price, the 120GB Force offers quite a bit more capacity per dollar than SandForce-based drives with higher overprovisioning. However, the F120's cost per gigabyte is only about average for a consumer-grade SSD. Corsair's Nova V128 also serves up 120GB at close to the same price point, while SSDs from Plextor, Kingston, WD, Crucial, and Intel provide a little more capacity per dollar.
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