Corsair Force GS 240GB SSD Review
As with many of the more successful companies in the Solid State Drive arena, Corsair hasn’t taken a one size fits all approach to their line-up. Rather they have always had clearly delineated models, each designed to meet the needs of a specific customer base. For the truly budget minded crowd, there is the Accelerator, Force 3 and Performance 3 series; for mainstream consumers the Force GT and Performance Pro models should be a perfect fit. The one segment focus which has been conspicuous by its absence is the ultra high performance, ‘enthusiast grade’ category which relies upon quick Toggle Mode NAND. Considering how long some other manufacturers have offered this kind of drive the all new Corsair Force GS 240GB may be a fashionably latecomer to the party, but being late does give it some significant advantages.
With an average online price of about $210, the new Force GS 240GB drive turns conventional wisdom on its head. Usually ‘enthusiast grade’ is just another way of saying extreme performance with a nosebleed-inducing price. Some of the GS’ reasonable price comes from the fact that the LSI SandForce SF2281 controller is getting a touch long in the tooth and is not as expensive as it once was. However what really allows this drive to be so frugally priced is not the cost of the controller; rather it is the use of cutting edge 24nm Toggle Mode NAND rather than the previous generation NAND used on other SF2281-based drives. The older generation Toggle Mode NAND – while cutting edge at its time – wasn’t precisely cheap to purchase whereas the new SanDisk-branded ICs within the GS are actually fairly reasonably priced.
To be perfectly candid this is one of the Corsair Force GS is one of only a few SSDs which use the newer SanDisk branded 24nm Toggle Mode NAND ICs. While 19nm Toggle Mode NAND is starting to appear in some newly released storage products, 24nm is still considered cutting edge and readily available. It certainly will be interesting to see what unique characteristics this new generation of Toggle Mode NAND brings to the table.
With its bold red and black color scheme, the Force GS does stand out from a crowd of seemingly endless black and silver solid state drives. Though by the same token, when a manufacturer releases a newer, higher performance model they usually try and help distinguish the ‘new’ from the ‘old’ with a bolder, more aggressive look. This is not the case with the GS as both it and the GT model use a similar red race car inspired color scheme. Except for small difference on their labels it would be very difficult to tell these two models apart without actually reading the model name. This is unfortunate on some levels, but the red all metal chassis’ construction is still well above average. To be honest, the Force GS 240GB strongly reminds us of the older Patriot Inferno 100GB which also was something rather special in its day.
Opening up the case and looking inside we can see that while the NAND may be unique, the GS’s overall layout and architecture is not all that unusual. The PCB may be smaller than most but there are still eight NAND ICs on each side and one SF2281 controller. Having 16 NAND ICs is actually very reassuring given the different PCB since the layout will ensure full utilization of the controller’s channels. Usually when a company does something different with the internal architecture, it involves cost cutting procedures –such as fewer NAND ICs – which will ultimately hinder performance but it looks like Corsair has kept the best for their Force GS line.
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