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Corsair NX500 400GB NVMe HHHL SSD Review - One Flashy SSD

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Corsair

Internals, Testing Methodology and System Setup

Internals

First the outside:

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...and now for the warranty breaking:

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Note that despite the large heat sink area, only the E7 controller is mated to it via a thermal pad. Corsair's design team gets some serious points from me here because they appear to actually understand how flash memory endurance works. For those unaware, flash memory is designed to operate at higher temperatures, as the cells will wear less. The controller is the part that would thermally throttle at high temps, and is therefore the only part that needs to be directly cooled by the heat sink. Nice job Corsair!

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The Phison E7 is surrounded by four flash packages (on this side), as well as half of the 1GB of DDR3. The 800GB model keeps the same number of packages while doubling the DDR to 2GB.

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The power section of the PCB also has room for a bank of power loss capacitors, not needed on this consumer model since the E7 can mitigate most of the potential issues with how its firmware is coded.

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At the rear, we have the other half of the DDR3 along with the remaining four flash packages.

Testing Methodology

Our tests are a mix of synthetic and real-world benchmarks. IOMeter, HDTach, HDTune, Yapt and our custom File Copy test round out the selection to cover just about all bases. We have developed a custom test suite as off-the-shelf tests just no longer cut it for in-depth storage testing. More details on the next page. If you have any questions about our tests just drop into the Storage Forum and we'll help you out!

Test System Setup

We have several storage testbeds. A newer ASUS P8Z77-V Pro/Thunderbolt and a Gigabyte Z170X SOC Force (for RAID testing). Future PCIe and SATA device testing, including this review, take place on an ASUS Sabertooth X99, which comes equipped with USB 3.1, M.2, and can also handle SFF-8639 (U.2) devices with the proper adapter.

PC Perspective would like to thank Intel, ASUS, Gigabyte, Corsair, Kingston, and EVGA for supplying some of the components of our test rigs. 

Hard Drive Test System Setup
CPU Intel Core i7 5820K @ 4.125 GHz
Motherboard ASUS Sabertooth X99
Memory 16GB Micron DDR4 @ 3333
Hard Drive G.Skill 32GB SLC SSD
Sound Card N/A
Video Card EVGA GeForce GTX 750
Video Drivers GeForce Game Ready Driver 347.88
Power Supply Corsair CMPSU-650TX
DirectX Version N/A
Operating System Windows 8.1 Pro X64 (update)
  • PCPer File Copy Test
  • HDTach
  • HDTune
  • IOMeter
  • YAPT
  • NEW TEST SUITE!!!

August 10, 2017 | 10:05 PM - Posted by Hood

This kills my Intel 750 400 GB in sequential, which matters not at all for my typical workloads. About the same or worse in random IOPS. Probably feels exactly the same in daily use. $320 price is not bad - Intel launched theirs at $400 and it's still the same price today (luckily I got mine for $300 during a rare sale at Newegg).
I'd love to see a direct comparison review, but I'm sure these will sell better - cheaper and better looking. I'll keep my Intel drive, because their reliability is legendary, and it just feels like it will last forever.

August 10, 2017 | 11:20 PM - Posted by CNote

You can get 3 sm951 for a little more...

August 11, 2017 | 09:58 AM - Posted by Anonymously Anonymous (not verified)

as nice as those are, if I had that money to spend on storage then i'd rather just get more cheap sata ssd(s), like a 1TB samsung 850evo for about ~ $340.

August 11, 2017 | 11:25 AM - Posted by Adam S. (not verified)

Funny, at the conclusion page I remembered you were reviewing the Corsair NX500, I was much more interested in the details of the new testing method. Excellent work Allyn!

August 11, 2017 | 01:53 PM - Posted by Anonymouse (not verified)

Request: Can we get more reviews of gaming headsets?

August 12, 2017 | 07:57 AM - Posted by edward ahkee (not verified)

gaming headsets are almost never good though. Just buy a hyperx cloud or sennheiser game zero/one

August 11, 2017 | 11:44 PM - Posted by Evan (not verified)

I had an old OCZ Z-Drive R4 SSD with a bunch of unpopulated capacitor pads on the PCB too. Do you think they designed in some kind of power smoothing / filter stage or something and then figured the cost of adding tantalum caps to the BOM outweighed any noticeable benefit to the user?

August 11, 2017 | 11:49 PM - Posted by Evan (not verified)

Of course, that would be for power loss protection on the enterprise version of the card, now that I read what Al wrote instead of just looking at the pretty pictures. That brings up another topic I find crazy, the UPS. Convert AC to DC to store it in a battery, then back to AC to feed it into the computer's PSU, where it is converted again to DC to run all the circuits. Can't make it any more better. Computers are solved, guys.

August 14, 2017 | 10:58 AM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

Yeah, it makes more sense to just have a single version of the PCB, and add components as applicable for the enterprise version, etc.

August 13, 2017 | 07:02 AM - Posted by djotter

Wow Allyn, that performance comparison history is legendary! Pulled out every SSD you could dig up in the office? You need to make that model list searchable so people can find this. A recent SSD review comparing sooooo many models is a rare find!

August 14, 2017 | 08:11 AM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

I kinda treat SSDs like Pokemon :). We definitely want to do better things with the data, but with this site design, we're limited to pics of charts.

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