|Corsair Force F100 SandForce SSD CSSD-F100GB2|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Storage|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Thursday, 22 April 2010|
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Corsair Force F100 SSD Review
The biggest mistake PC hardware enthusiast make with SSDs is grading them by their speed. File transfer speed is important, but only so long as the operational IOPS performance can sustain that bandwidth under load. Based on the high-performance SandForce SF-1200 SSD Processor, Corsair's Force F100 solid state drive is in an excellent position to take the entire market. In this article, Benchmark Reviews tests the 100GB Corsair Force SSD CSSD-F100GB2-BRKT against some of the most popular storage devices available and demonstrates that 4K IOPS performance is more important than speed.
Overclockers around the world demand Corsair memory kits for their high-speed performance computer systems, and similarly the Corsair SSD products line has continued this tradition. The Corsair Force F100 Solid State Drive kit is based on the SandForce SF-1200 controller and designed to deliver 285 MB/s maximum read speeds and offer 275 MB/s write performance. In this article, Benchmark Reviews tests ACHI speeds and operational IOPS performance for the Corsair Force-series F100 SSD against the fastest SSDs available.
In a very short time span the entire SSD market has created and recreated itself many times over. Counting the generations of SSD processors has become difficult for experienced experts, and keeping-up with controller architecture has come with its own set of challenges. Benchmark Reviews has tested many Solid State Drive products, and we've seen everything from dual-SATA controllers in RAID-0 to extremely large cache buffer modules used inside of them. While the SSD industry grows daily, only a few select manufacturers offer popularly-accepted Flash NAND SSD controllers. As of April 2010 the most popular consumer SSD controllers are designed by: Indilinx, Intel, JMicron, Toshiba, Samsung, SandForce, and Marvell.
For decades, the slowest component in any computer system was the hard drive. Most modern processors operate within approximately 1-ns (nanosecond = one billionth of one second) response time, while system memory responds between 30-90 ns. Traditional Hard Disk Drive (HDD) technology utilizes magnetic spinning media, and even the fastest spinning desktop storage products exhibit a 9,000,000 ns - or 9 ms (millisecond = one thousandth of one second) initial response time. In more relevant terms, The processor receives the command and waits for system memory to fetch related data from the storage drive. This is why any computer system is only as fast as the slowest component in the data chain; which is usually the hard drive.
The theoretical goal for achieving optimal performance is for system memory to operate as quickly as the central processor, and the storage drive to operate as fast as memory. With present technology this is an impossible task, so enthusiasts try to close the speed gaps between components as much as possible. Although system memory is up to 90x (9000%) slower than most processors, just consider that the hard drive is an added 1000x (100,000%) slower than that same memory. Essentially, these three components are as different in speed as walking is to driving and flying.
Solid State Drive technology bridges the largest gap. The difference a SSD makes to operational reaction times and program speeds is dramatic, and takes the storage drive from a slow 'walking' speed to a much faster 'driving' speed. Solid State Drive technology improves initial response times by more than 450x (45,000%) for applications and Operating System software, when compared to their HDD counterparts.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Benchmark Reviews has used this SSD to publish our SandForce SF1200 RAID-0 SSD Performance review.
Bandwidth Speed vs Operational Performance
As we've explained in our SSD Benchmark Tests: SATA IDE vs AHCI Mode guide, Solid State Drive performance revolves around two dynamics: bandwidth speed (MB/s) and operational performance (IOPS). These two metrics work together, but one is more important than the other. Consider this analogy: operational IOPS performance determines how much cargo a ship can transport in one voyage, and the bandwidth speed is to fast the ship moves. By understanding this and applying it to SSD storage, there is a clear importance set on each variable depending on the task at hand.
For casual users, especially those with laptop or desktop computers that have been upgraded to use an SSD, the naturally quick response time is enough to automatically improve the user experience. Bandwidth speed is important, but only to the extent that operational performance meets the minimum needs of the system. If an SSD has a very high bandwidth speed but a low operational performance, it will take longer to load applications and boot the computer into Windows than if the SSD offered a higher IOPS performance.
About Corsair Memory, Inc.
Founded in 1994, Corsair specializes in premium, high-performance peripherals and components for personal computers. Corsair's award-winning products are the delight of the world's most demanding hardware enthusiasts.
Corsair has been a leader in the design and manufacture of high-speed modules since 1994. Our focus has always been on supporting the special demands of mission-critical servers and high-end workstations, as well as the performance demands of extreme gamers. While maintaining this core focus, in recent years, we've also brought our expertise, technology leadership and legendary quality and reliability to memory and other technology products for the more mainstream consumer.
With more high-speed experience than anyone in the industry, we know the importance of design features like tightly-controlled trace lengths, controlled impedances, clock trace design, unbroken power and ground planes, and selectively plated gold. Corsair has developed an industry-wide reputation for quality, compatibility and performance.