Corsair Force 90GB SSD Single & RAID Review
Note: After this review was published, Corsair clarified their firmware nomenclature with us and accordingly, the F90 seems to ship with the "full speed" firmware. As such, minor changes have been made to the original article to reflect this new information.
Even though the price of solid state storage has drastically fallen in the last year or so, modern SSDs with decent capacities are still completely out of reach for most consumers. But while very few can afford 120GB or more of high performance space, there are other options. 40 and 60GB drives catering to the OS “boot drive” market have been around for a while but some feel the need for a bit more space. It is for this market which Corsair created their new Force 90GB drive. As the name suggests this is a 90GB SandForce based drive which should in theory be a good balance between performance, price and size.
The idea of smaller size drives from companies like Corsair isn’t all that new and the first one we looked at was actually one of the smallest SandForce drives on the market: the 40GB Force. As with the 40GB Force, the 90GB version uses the same NAND as the larger version (in the case of the 40 the same NAND as the Force 60 and in the case of the Force 90 the same NAND as the Force 100/120) but it loses capacity in order to hit a lower price point.
We have seen in the past that Sandforce-based SSDs which don’t carry the full complement of NAND chips on their PCB tend to fall behind their full-spec’d brethren. In addition, some versions of the Force line don't use the custom “full speed” firmware some of its competition does which may lead to some limitations in certain tests if this is indeed the case. Editor's Note: We're told by Corsair that they do indeed use the faster firmware on the F90.
More importantly than any performance considerations, Corsair decided to price this drive around the $190 USD mark even though their own 120GB product currently sits between $210 and $220 depending on where you look. This could have a drastic impact upon the Force 90’s place in the market.
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