|Corsair P64 CMFSSD-64GBG2D RAID-0 Set|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Storage|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Friday, 25 September 2009|
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Corsair P64-RAID-PK1 Conclusion
Manufacturers have been forced to use some creative ideas to help lure consumers to their product. SSD technology already carries a premium price tag over the alternative, which is why product presentation becomes so important. The Corsair P64 SSD packaged into the P64-RAID-PK1 kit we received for testing came in a small plain white box with little more than the part number sticker and bar code on top; not exactly the kind of presentation that coerces you to reach for the wallet. The absence of any product detail is likely due to Corsair's intended product delivery: online retailers and direct e-commerce only, which enable a web page to deliver the data that their packaging does not.
Benchmark Reviews begins each conclusion with a short summary for each area that we rate. The first is performance, which considers how effective the Corsair P64 CMFSSD-64GBG2D RAID-0 set performs in operation against direct competitors. For reference, the Samsung S3C29RBB01-YK40 controller is specified as capable of 220 MBps maximum read performance and 200 MBps maximum write performance, and in comparison, Corsair specifies each P4 to offer the same 220 MBps read, but only 120 MBps write performance. As an individual drive, I was unimpressed by the results this Samsung-based SSD produced - although they exceeded Corsair's specification. However, with two Corsair P64 SSDs joined into a RAID-0 array, the read performance was outstanding. Combined RAID-0 write performance was not very much better than any single current-generation SSD product, and often dropped considerably lower. At it's best the P64-RAID-PK1 kit offered 483 MBps in Everest, then performing at 358 MBps in ATTO and 355 MBps in CrystalDiskMark. Write performance was good only in a fresh NAND state, delivering 290 MBps in Everest before sinking to 276 MBps in CrystalDiskMark and 259 MBps in ATTO. While the SSD bandwidth ranged from quite exceptional to merely acceptable, the IOPS performance was a different story. While read-from IOPS was very good, the Corsair P64 RAID-0 set produced very low write-IO scores near the bottom of all our results.
Looks and appearance isn't a real important part of a Solid State Drive products, but looking good certainly helps for bragging rights and consumer appeal. Corsair keeps appearance up and production costs down on the P64 SSD by using a brushed-aluminum look on the metal enclosure. An adhesive label is attached to the top of the chassis for each product series, and a smaller one with model and serial number is on the underside.
Construction is probably the strongest feature asset credited to any SSD product line, and Corsair products have never been an exception. Solid State Drives are by nature immune to most abuses because of their architecture and technology, but the hard metal shell adds a superfluous level of protection. If a Corsair P-series SSD product does happen to fail during the standard 2-year warranty period, end-users can contact Corsair technical support via the company website or support forums. Fortunately, there's also a toll-free telephone number for support or customer service questions in the US (888-222-4346).
Functionality for the Corsair P64 is going to be identical to other SSDs, at least in terms of purpose and installation. But the twin-SSD P64-RAID-PK1 kit is a little different, and limits the functionality to desktop/server environments using either RAID-0 (striping with no fault tolerance protection) or RAID-1 (mirroring with data redundancy protection). There aren't any 2.5" to 5.25" drive tray adapters included, which means you'll be left to determine the best way to mount these 2.5" drives into the computer case. Touching on SSD NAND functionality, Samsungs self-'healing' NAND controller programming is a nice feature, but doesn't seem to work at restoring a noticeable level of performance. Additionally, it doesn't appear that TRIM support will work behind a RAID array, making Windows 7 a moot point.
As of late September 2009, the Corsair P64 Solid State Drive (model CMFSSD-64GBG2D) was sold at NewEgg for $199 each. In comparison, Corsair's X64 SSD model CMFSSD-64D1 sells for $179 after rebate, making it a better bargain with better performance. The 128GB Corsair X128 SSD (model CMFSSD-128D1) lists for $329 after rebate, and would be an even better option for RAID-0 performance with a suitable storage capacity.
With only three months remaining in 2009, only a small slice of enthusiasts have tasted SSD technology, while even fewer have owned a piece of it. SSD are premium products that deliver outstanding performance over traditional desktop storage solutions, such as Hard Disk Drives. The Corsair P64 is by itself a humble SSD product, tame compared to most other current generation offerings. But when two P64 SSDs are combined to create a RAID-0 array, the read-from performance is astounding. There's a harsh penalty for write-to operations, which makes the P64 unsuitable for most Enterprise server applications, but the enthusiast desktop segment could still benefit. Having two Corsair P64 SSDs in RAID-0 gives consumers a high-performance option, but it doesn't get my total support. Considering that Corsair offers a higher-performing alternative in their X-series SSD (the fastest SSD we've tested to-date) at a comparable price, I can't see any reason not to pair-up two X64 or X128 SSDs instead.
EDITOR'S NOTE: As of 21 January 2010 Corsair Offers Firmware with TRIM Support for P-Series SSDs.
+ Impressive RAID-0 badnwidth: 483 MBps read and 290 write bandwidth in EVEREST
- Unimpressive RAID-0 write performance
Final Score: 8.75 out of 10.
Quality Recognition: Benchmark Reviews Silver Tachometer Award.
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