Corsair Force LS 240GB SSD Review
With value-oriented SSDs becoming viable options for entry level consumers and enthusiasts alike, manufacturers have been rushing to meet the demand. Corsair have done this by introducing the Force LS which represents a turning point for their venerable Force line.
As many already know, the Force series has garnered solid reputation in both mainstream and enthusiast circles and even on the pages of HWC. This reputation was built upon a simple sounding, but hard to consistently implement philosophy of offering powerful and reliable solid state drives that also were a great value. Over the years Corsair has been able to offer a Force drive for nearly any budget by the simple expedient of pairing the same SandForce controller with different types of NAND. By consistently using this pproach the different performance characteristics of the NAND itself allowed the multiple Force models to differentiate themselves from each other, Corsair’s other non-Force based units and the competition. This is a time tested and proven formula is what’s changing this time around.
With the third generation SandForce controller still in a partial state of limbo, Corsair is in a rather tricky predicament as the SF2281’s performance has been surpassed by numerous newer controller designs. This does make it rather difficult to have a new Force model stand out in a sea of SandForce based units running every imaginable combination of NAND.
Over the years, Corsair has seen great success with a large number of controllers, from Indilinx to Marvell being used at one time or another. Considering the Neutron series uses the LAMB controller and Marvell offerings are everywhere, some out of box thinking was necessary. Hence, the Force LS uses the little known Phison PS3108.
Using Phison is not unheard of but their past controllers were more focused on the value segment than raw performance. The ante has been upped this time around. Very little is known about what makes this new PS3108 controller so radically different from the previous offerings but with an IOPS rating of 50K read / 62K write and 560MB / 535MB sequential file performance this eight channel model offers quite a bit more throughput that its predecessor.
To help ensure the PS3108 can achieve every bit of its performance potential, Corsair is using sixteen of Toshiba’s high performance 19nm Toggle Mode NAND ICs. Backstopping both the NAND and the controller is a whopping 512MB of DDR3 cache.
This new drive certainly needs all the help it can get since unlike previous Phison based drives, Force LS 240GB’s MSRP is a bit over $200 which places it firmly in the mainstream rather than the value marketplace. At this price range it has to compete against the likes of Corsair’s own Neutron GTX and Force GS along with the Crucial M500 and numerous other drives which have a proven track record.
In order to help the LS 240GB achieve its goal of appealing to as wide a market as possible while justifying a relatively high asking price, it is equipped with an all-metal chassis. This isn’t something we see much of and gives the whole setup a premium feel. Whether this is enough to distinguish the LS from its competition remains to be seen but we always enjoy seeing a unique SSD hit the market so the expectations are high this time around.
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