Hot off the presses for Computex 2018 is the new Corsair Force MP300 NVMe 1.3 M.2 SSD. Corsair announced the drive during our flight over, so we learned about it at the company's booth, where the drive was prominently on display. We also spotted the series on Newegg as well with prices ranging from just $57 (120GB) to $362 (960GB).
The drive is up to 3x faster than SATA and was designed to help users transition away from the antiquated serial bus that was built for slower media. Yet Corsair's approach to the entry-level SSD market comes at a bad time, with pricing pressure coming from all directions. High-quality SATA SSDs like the Samsung 860 EVO 1TB just hit $250 (and even $150 for a few hours) and mainstream NVMe drives like the Adata SX8200 960GB sell for just $350.
Corsair will have a difficult time getting this ship off the ground with current pricing for all but the 120GB model, which sells for dinner money at less than $60. At that price it's hard not to consider the MP300 for a secondary drive used to ease the load on your primary storage by keeping cold data like movies, music, and even games on the MP300.
Corsair backs the new MP300 with a 5-year warranty, the same as the mainstream NVMe MP500 we tested here. The new series also comes with support for Corsair's SSD Toolbox software and features a copper sticker that spreads the controller heat to aid in keeping the drive cool under intensive workloads.
|Product||MP300 120GB||MP300 240GB||MP300 480GB||MP300 960GB|
|Form Factor||M.2 2280||M.2 2280||M.2 2280||M.2 2280|
|Interface / Protocol||PCIe 3.0 x2 / NVMe 1.3||PCIe 3.0 x2 / NVMe 1.3||PCIe 3.0 x2 / NVMe 1.3||PCIe 3.0 x2 / NVMe 1.3|
|Controller||Phison PS5008-E8||Phison PS5008-E8||Phison PS5008-E8||Phison PS5008-E8|
|Sequential Read||1,520 MB/s||1,580 MB/s||1,600 MB/s||1,600 MB/s|
|Sequential Write||460 MB/s||920 MB/s||1,040 MB/s||1,080 MB/s|
|Random Read||80,000 IOPS||110,000 IOPS||220,000 IOPS||240,000 IOPS|
|Random Write||110,000 IOPS||180,000 IOPS||200,000 IOPS||210,000 IOPS|
And again, if its just music and video that is being streamed off the disk by a media player, then using any SSD at all will have minimal benefits, at least from a performance standpoint, since even a 5400RPM platter-based drive should have plenty of performance for that. Newegg has 2TB 3.5" hard drives for $60 shipped, which is just 3 cents per GB, and provides far more storage than any SSD remotely near this price range. That 120GB NVME drive costs nearly 16 times as much per GB as a platter-based drive, and either option should have enough performance for serving media files.
Game storage could be a better use case where there can be significantly better load times on an SSD compared to a hard drive in many games, but even there, the benefits of NVME over a SATA SSD tend to be minimal, since a good portion of load times are the result of the CPU decoding the data, so performance can only be improved so far. A SATA SSD gets you most of the way there, so even if an NVME drive is theoretically multiple times as fast, it will generally do little to improve performance much further. And of course, many modern games have install sizes up around 50GB, and some even around 100GB, so a 120GB drive is not going to be a very suitable option for game storage. Anyone looking for an SSD to store games on in this price range would again likely be far better off with a SATA model with double the capacity.
About the only common use for a 120GB NVME drive that makes some sense would be the one thing that wasn't mentioned, using it as a boot drive to store the OS and applications on a system that doesn't need much additional local storage. Even then, a SATA SSD would probably make more sense for most use cases. The ability to add additional storage in the M.2 form factor also tends to be more limited, since it requires more motherboard space than SATA, and as a result most motherboards only have one or two M.2 slots.
While the NVMe interface can transfer data much faster than SATA, the question is if low end drives are so much faster it makes a real difference. Then the only reason to use NVMe over 2.5" SATA is physical space, or lack thereof.