Update, 7/11/17, 8:18pm PT: It appears that the listings have been removed.
Original article, 7/10/17, 6:26pm PT:
Two new Corsair Add-in Card NVMe SSDs tipped up on Newegg today. The cards fall under the company's flagship Neutron umbrella, but with a new model name: NX500. Corsair claims up to 3,000 MB/s sequential performance, according to the listing, but these flagship products carry a flagship price.
The new Neutron NX500 appears to use a Phison PS5007-E7 add-in card reference design like the Zotac SONIX. The Newegg listing doesn't show the amount of DRAM used on the 400GB or 800GB drives, but these may be the long-awaited retail versions of the "Double-DDR" prototype we tested in March.
The Newegg listing doesn't specify the controller, of course, but other indicators lead us to lean in the E7's direction. There is no mention of 3D NAND, but the listing specifically states MLC flash. Marvell, Silicon Motion, and Realtek have shifted focus from MLC to 3D TLC flash on existing and emerging controllers. Phison is one of the few companies with a planar MLC NAND product in reserve that we haven't seen yet.
|Product||NX500 400GB||NX500 800GB|
|Interface / Protocol||PCIe 3.0 x4 / NVMe||PCIe 3.0 x4 / NVMe|
|Sequential Read||3,000 MB/s||3,000 MB/s|
|Sequential Write||2,400 MB/s||2,400 MB/s|
|Random Read||300,000 IOPS||300,000 IOPS|
|Random Write||270,000 IOPS||270,000 IOPS|
The Neutron NX500 add-in cards on Newegg come in 400GB and 800GB capacities. That would indicate heavy over-provisioning to increase random performance during very heavy workloads. The drives should feature the full binary capacities, 512GB and 1024GB, with ample amounts in reserve. We haven't see this much over-provisioning in a consumer product since the early SandForce SF-1200 released in 2010.
The Neutron NX500 listing shows performance identical to Corsair's MP500 M.2 2280 NVMe SSD, which uses the Phison E7 controller. The NX500 has better random performance—300,000 IOPS read compared to 250,000 on the MP500. The increase would come from over-provisioning and the massive heatsink used to cool the tiny controller under heavy workloads at high queue depths.
The NX500 800GB will be the first Phison E7 to ship in the U.S. with 1TB of flash. We've only tested one E7 with this much memory so far—the Galax HOF PCI-E. Kingston lists the KC1000 M.2 2280 SSD with the same controller in a 960GB model, but we've yet to see the drive listed for sale, except on Kingston's website (for $552.50).
Newegg shows the Neutron NX500 in stock and ready to ship at the time of this writing. The NX500 400GB sells for $319.99, and the 800GB sells for a wallet-bending $699.99. In contrast, the Samsung 960 Pro 1TB sells for $579.99 at Newegg in a single-sided M.2 2280 form factor. It looks like Corsair is ready to take on the giant. With a larger form factor that allows increased cooling to combat thermal throttling, Corsair brings more to this fight than a slingshot.