Corsair Force 3 120GB SSD Review
On May 16th, Corsair turned the enthusiast SSD market on its ear by announcing their new Force 3 series of drives. In and of itself, the Force 3 introduction wasn’t groundbreaking but at the time its price left every other high end SSD in the dust even though its performance (at least on paper) was on par with some of the fastest drives around. Partially because of this drive the competition had to lower their prices to more reasonable levels and we now have SATA 3 SSDs that are well within most people’s budgets.
To be fair, with the advent of SandForce’s second generation controller, the entire SSD market has seen a lot of turmoil lately due to its rapidly expanding stable of products. The mid-tier ranges are becoming increasingly cluttered while the goal posts in the enthusiast bracket keep getting moved further afield. So what was yesterday’s cutting edge drive is today’s budget class.
These new realities are certainly a boon for consumers since high performance drives will now fit into the budget of a wider audience. However, consumer confusion on exactly what signifies a “bargain” has been significantly increased. For example, for about $190 dollars you can obtain an OCZ Vertex 2 120GB SSD or for about $215 you can purchase the venerable Crucial C300 128GB. In the middle of this price range lays Corsair’s Force 3 120GB which can be found for about $200 online. Further aiding in consumer confusion, is the fact that for only a touch more you can purchase an OCZ Vertex 3 120GB at $229.
The interior architecture of the Force 3 is what allows it to hit the mid-tier market without sacrificing too much performance. Popping open the case reveals a layout that looks similar to that of the Force GT 120GB. All 16 IC spots are populated with 8GB (64 gigabit), single bank NAND modules while there is also an SF2281 controller chip nestled in its own space.
As with the GT, Micron NAND has been used but in this case Corsair went with 25nm 29F64G08CBAAA ONFi 1.0 chips rather than the higher performance and more costly ONFi 2.0 ICs used on their flagship drive. This difference in NAND selection is what sets the Force 3 and the Force GT apart from one another.
As with many other SSDs, Corsair has included a drive bay converted so the Force 3 can be easily installed into any PC enclosure.
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