This type of drives requires having a modern PC, either a desktop one or a laptop, but they are the best example of what the new storage technologies have to offer, which are also available for more affordable home PCs. Using the Corsair Force Series MP500 means making a major qualitative leap for any PC, and Corsair makes it easy with an affordable drive, sporting features that are most sought after by home users, that can be adapted to any PC by having the right format.
M.2 and NVMe
A PCI Express unit is considerably more powerful than any SATA SSD. Not only in terms of data transfer rates, but also in terms of data processing capabilities. This type of units offers you a look into the storage future, where mass storage will keep most traditional interfaces, but they will run on PCI Express as their main interface, such as Intel’s Thunderbolt, and they will have protocols inherited from professional systems, such as NVMe.
Two major improvements have merged on these SSD models. We have the M.2 (in its different variants), which is a small and versatile interface that offers support for legacy SATA interfaces and high speed PCI Express interfaces with a bandwidth of up to 32 GB/s for now. This interface is an evolution from the mSATA that we used to see in some small motherboards and in many laptops that dared using the SSD as their main system drive some years ago.
The Socket 3 is the most common socket. It is 22 mm wide and we can use units of ant length, although it is rare to see units over 110 mm, being 80 mm the most widespread format nowadays. Almost every modern storage units are this long, although we can find smaller sizes, such as 60 mm and 42 mm. This socket can be adapted to any type of PC (even if they are bigger and more compact) and it is compatible with SATA and PCI Express units.
Shortly after the incorporation of this new socket that is able to make use of the high speed PCI Express, home units with the NVMe protocol were introduced. Said protocol has been in the business sector for quite some time and replaces the AHCI protocol.
The NVMe has been a revolutionary protocol because it improves the processing speeds and the bandwidth significantly. The greatest improvement for these modern SSDs comes from this protocol rather than the interface, as we would still have processing speeds similar to those from SATA units without it.
NVMe supports multicore processing. It does not require any register reads, therefore its latency decreases radically. These two improvements are fundamental to minimize bottlenecks and take advantage of the new interfaces’ speed potential. The increase in PCI Express units would not be possible without NVMe.
Corsair sells this model in three capacity variants: 120, 240 and 480 GB. These models use 7% of their capacity for overprovisioning. Many manufacturers do this to increase their units’ lifespan, which in this model is backed by a 3-year warranty.
The Corsair Force Series MP500 is built using MLC NAND memories, which in theory gives it a better performance than most low-cost units that use systems with more layers, known as TLC.
Of course, the speed depends on each unit’s capacity. The more cells in parallel, the better the SSD unit’s performance will be, especially in its write speed. Corsair manages to keep a good performance on its low-capacity devices, specifically in this 240 GB model, which is just a little slower than the 480 GB model in terms of read speed.
We already stated that this unit has a M.2 2280 format (22 mm wide, 80 mm long) compatible with M.2 Socket M slots, also known as Key-M. It offers up to 349 TBW (349 TB data write lifespan) and sequential speeds of up to 3000 MB/s read and 2400 MB/s write. It has a processing power rated at 250K IOPs for random read QD32, and up to 210K IOPs for random write.
The renowned Phison Technologies PS5007-E7 is the unit’s controller, and Corsair joins it with 512 MB of cache that goes up to 1 GB on the 480 GB model. It is a remarkable controller that we can find on almost every high-speed SSD, except for those made by Samsung, which uses its own controllers. It is also a powerful controller that adds a parity check, AES-256 encryption and enhanced error correction.
Operating temperature and software
Something that worries many users is the high operating temperatures that SSD units reach, as they combine powerful controllers with a format that does not support any type of cooling other than the one we can install by ourselves, or the one our motherboard or our laptop has. SSDs consume a lot of power, around 5 W, but we usually do not buy these units for their power consumption but for the outstanding processing power they offer.
Our idle power consumption measurements read an average of 66°C, in a room temperature of 23°C and inside a completely closed PC, as any of us would have it at home. Our testing motherboard is an ASUS Strix X99 equipped with Core i7-6950X. Its temperature can rise to 77°C while using it. In all our tests, performance has been consistent with what the manufacturer has specified, and we have not used any kind of extra cooling.
The hottest component in our system was the MP500 with a temperature of 62°C.
Corsair also offers a toolbox to manage its units. It supports monitoring, disk cloning, firmware updates and the possibility to overprovision memory cells in order to improve the drive’s endurance, which is everything we need to keep our units in good condition.
The results are great for a 240 GB drive, defending itself well against the other two models that are also good examples of the potential that this type of units offer. We only noticed a small inconsistency in the AS SSD benchmark, but that is a variation that can be found in synthetic benchmarks.
The Corsair Force Series MP500 is one of the few units found in Europe that can really compete with the new Samsung 960 Evo units in terms of price and power. Its performance is outstanding and its price has been adjusted precisely to compete with the Korean giant.
- Amazing speed and processing power
- A 80 mm format compatible with desktop PCs and laptops
- Balanced price
- High power consumption: 5 W
- Operating temperature