Corsair MP300 SSDs bring NVMe to every neighborhood

Peak SSD throughput exceeded the capacity of the aging 6 Gbps SATA bus a long while ago. Additionally, the NVMe interface has plenty of advantages over SATA than just straight-line performance. However, the first wave of mainstream NVMe SSDs cost considerably more coin than their SATA brethren. Corsair's first-generation Force Series MP500 NVMe drives were pretty pricey, but the manufacturer's new Force Series MP300 storage sticks are considerably more affordable.

There's no such thing as a free lunch, though, and the MP300 drives aren't quite as fast as the MP500 units. That said, the peak read performance of up to 1600 MB/s and peak write speeds up to 1080 MB/s are way faster than what one will ever get from a SATA device. The random performance of the MP300 drives is nipping at the heels of equivalent-capacity MP500 models, too. For the record, Corsair rates the MP300s at up to 210 K random read IOPS and up to 240 K write IOPS. Those performance figures refer to the largest 960 GB model.

Corsair says the MP300 drives use 3D TLC NAND flash chips, but didn't name the chips' manufacturer or the partner behind the drive controller that links the NAND's contents to the host over two PCIe 3.0 lanes. The presence of a chip bearing RAM-maker Nanya's logo leads us to suspect the MP300 drives have an onboard DRAM cache, a fact that would be a surprise given the drives' very competitive pricing. 

Corsair didn't have a street date for its Force Series MP300 SSDs, but it did have pricing info locked and loaded. The 120 GB version enters the fight at a very-trim $50, the 240 GB mainstream model lands at just $85, the 480 GB unit costs $155, and the range-topping 960 GB model comes in at $320. Corsair backs the MP300 drives with the same five-year warranty it applies to the Force Series MP500 SSDs.

Comments closed
    • albundy
    • 2 years ago

    why did they short the capacity on the 960GB? most TLC nvme drives around that size are 1TB. this seems a bit expensive compared to other high performers in that price range.

      • Thresher
      • 2 years ago

      Overprovisioning?

    • cmrcmk
    • 2 years ago

    How much does an x2 link really save manufacturers vs a x4 link? The x4 chip can’t be THAT much bigger (maybe a couple mm2) and the few dozen extra traces on the PCB probably aren’t worth more than a penny per unit. Is this just strict market segmentation or are there meaningful cost savings “passed on to the consumer”?

      • mad_one
      • 2 years ago

      That whole market makes zero sense.

      M.2 SATA and M.2 PCIe SSDs should have the same BOM. The high end controllers might be a bit more expensive, but we’re talking a couple $ at most. The flash is the same, the RAM is the same.

      So any difference in price is just a case of “it’s faster so we can sell it for more, with better margins”. This makes absolute sense if you are Samsung with a huge market share and the fastest products (only WD is competitive).

      Does anybody else even sell anything in retail? A product that is much closer in price to the 960/970 Evo than SATA, but much slower than the 960 makes little sense. If you don’t care too much about perf, why spend 50% more than on SATA, but not 10-20% more for the much faster Evo?

      I can only assume that notebook OEMs are the primary market and they probably pay far less for these PCIe SSDs.

        • frenchy2k1
        • 2 years ago

        The price premium comes from R&D costs.
        By now, SATA controllers/drivers/support are a known quantity and most of the work has been done.
        For NVMe, you need to develop new firmware with a completely different protocol and new tests.
        This is partly why newer is more expensive.
        (also, because marketing likes market segments and price their offering for it)

    • dragontamer5788
    • 2 years ago

    960GB for $320 is a bit expensive, especially for a PCIe x2 product.

    If it came out a few weeks ago, I’d probably think it was a good step-down from the Samsung 970 Evo at $400.

    But then Techreport showed off that HP EX920 (PCIe x4 lanes) and… that seriously is the best PCIe price/performance on the market right now. I like the idea of cheaper PCIe x2 products trying to bridge the gap between SATA and PCIe x4. But the gap seems to be shrinking. PCIe x2 products need to come in closer to the SATA-price to interest me, especially because anyone looking at NVMe is clearly concerned about performance.

    Most casual users are probably fine with a SATA SSD.

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