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Corsair's Force Series MP500 240GB NVMe SSD reviewed


Another NVMe challenger girds itself with 15-nm MLC
— 1:01 PM on May 18, 2017

Howdy, gerbils. It's been awhile since our last full-fledged SSD review. With the notable exception of Intel's long-prophesied Optane products, there hasn't been much new or exciting happening in the storage scene of late. But the market marches on regardless, and many new drives have launched without novel technological underpinnings. The NVMe competition has continued to heat up, as more of the smaller manufacturers get their hands on capable commodity controllers and NAND from the actual OEMs.

Last time around we examined Patriot's Hellfire SSD, which blended Toshiba's 15-nm MLC with Phison's PS5007-E7 NVMe-enabled controller. Today, we've got a drive built on the same basic chassis: Corsair's Force Series MP500 240GB.

We haven't gotten a fresh Corsair SSD in our storage labs in some time, but the company's drives are veterans in these parts. The Neutron GTX suffered horrible indignities under our infamous endurance experiment, and Force LS drives serve as the primary boot drives of our current storage rigs. The new MP500 is Corsair's debut NVMe drive, as its official specs give away.

Patriot Hellfire
Capacity Max sequential (MB/s) Max random (IOps)
Read Write Read Write
120GB 2300 1400 150K 90K
240GB 2800 1500 250K 210K
480GB 2800 1500 250K 210K

Much like the Hellfire, the MP500 is an NVMe-equipped M.2 gumstick that'll occupy four lanes of your PCIe Gen3 bandwidth. We've seen this NAND so many times now that I just keep the phrase "Toshiba 15-nm MLC" permanently copied to my clipboard. That's OK, though, since we've generally had good experiences with those chips. Phison's E7 controller impressed us in the Hellfire with good all-round performance and especially good scaling, so we hope to see more of the same this time, too.

One thing that stands out about the MP500 is its sticker. As I peeled it back, the label had a curious heft to it that the Hellfire's lacked. The secret hidden therein turns out to be a layer of heat-dissipating copper, akin to the sticker tech Samsung employs in its 960 Series drives. We'll see whether that thin metal layer translates to any tangible advantages over drives without such novelties (like the Hellfire).

Corsair backs the MP500 240GB with a three-year warranty and an endurance rating of 349 terabytes written—higher than might be expected for a 240GB drive, since the RD400 480GB and Hellfire 480GB are only rated for 296 TBW and 230 TBW respectively.

The MP500 250GB currently sells for $135 at Newegg. Now let's see what the thing can do.