Corsair Force Series MP500 M.2 NVMe SSD Review

512GB Performance Testing

Comparison Products

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512GB is one of the most popular NVMe SSD capacities. Prices start at $179.99 (Intel 600p) and span up to $358.99 (Samsung 950 Pro). The Samsung 960 Pro 512GB is absent from our charts due to availability. The drive currently sells for a wallet-busting $569.99 at Newegg, but we've seen it at Amazon for $329.99 before selling out at that price (again).

The Force Series MP500 480GB is also one of the more expensive NVMe SSDs on the market. This drive features many of the same basic specifications as the MyDigitalSSD BPX and Patriot Hellfire M.2.

The Plextor M8Pe(Y) makes an appearance in our test pool. The drive was not available in the 256GB capacity when we tested the M8 series. The Y version designates the add-in card form factor with a heavy heatsink to dissipate the Marvell Eldora's high heat output. 

The Intel SSD 750 Series add-in card and Toshiba OCZ RD400 are also in our tests. They both fall into the premium category.

Sequential Read Performance

To read about our storage tests in-depth, please check out How We Test HDDs And SSDs. We cover four-corner testing on page six of our How We Test guide.

Moving up a capacity point generally doubles the number of NAND die available to the controller. This increases parallelization, so performance often increases with more die. The low-latency NVMe protocol in tandem with the high-throughput PCI Express bus can ratchet up performance quickly at lower queue depths.

We hope to see the MP500 separate itself from the other E7 drives at some point. The sequential read test doesn't show that as the three drives group together. At QD2, the MP500 squeaks ahead of the other E7 drives. The rest of the competition is more formidable.

Sequential Write Performance

The MP500's sequential write test reveals increased performance over the previously-released E7 SSDs. The 480GB model closes the gap on the Samsung and OCZ drives, but it still trails them by a fair margin.

Random Read Performance

The Force Series MP500's random read performance nears 12,000 IOPS at QD1. The drive trails the 960 EVO (16,000) and 950 Pro (14,000), and that lower level of performance may show up later in the review during our real-world software tests.

Random Write Performance

The Corsair Force MP500 480GB has a low score in the random write tests at low QD. By QD4, the MP500 turns the tables and outpaces every other M.2 drive. The only model with higher random read performance is the enterprise-derived Intel 750 Series 400GB. Corsair relies on Microsoft's NVMe driver, so Windows handles the host-side power management. We've asked for a Phison NVMe driver for the last year to help increase random performance, but as of yet, the custom driver doesn't exist.

80 Percent Sequential Mixed Workload

We describe our mixed workload testing in detail here and describe our steady state tests here.

The MP500 480GB delivers exceptional mixed sequential performance outside of steady-state conditions. This is a change from the 240GB model's underwhelming performance.

80 Percent Random Mixed Workload

The random mixed workload performance is very good, but the MP500 doesn't pull away from the other drives like it did in the previous test.

Sequential Steady-State

The three Phison E7 SSDs deliver roughly the same sequential steady-state performance. There is a nice bump at the 50-percent read mark, and that works in favor of users performing heavy video editing with large files that aren't CPU-restricted by plugins.

Random Steady-State

The MP500 480GB doesn't top the random write steady-state chart like the smaller drive we tested, but it still delivers an excellent showing. The performance isn't as consistent as many of the other high-performance NVMe SSDs, an issue that we would like to see Phison focus on in the future. This is an issue we've come to expect from Phison-based controllers, but the company has made progress on random data performance over the last several years.

PCMark 8 Real-World Software Performance

For details on our real-world software performance testing, please click here.

The Corsair Force Series MP500 480GB delivers strong performance in the real-world software tests compared to SATA-based SSDs. The drive looks average compared to other NVMe SSDs during light workloads.

Application Storage Bandwidth

We averaged the results and then present the data as an easily-digestible throughput value. The Force Series MP500 480GB failed to outperform the mainstream Patriot Hellfire M.2 and low-cost MyDigitalSSD BPX, and both use the same controller. It did run over the Intel SSD 750 Series 400GB, 600p 512GB and Samsung 960 EVO 500GB to some degree. It seems we're getting to a point with NVMe that we observed with SATA--many of these products perform about the same and you rarely spot a difference. 

PCMark 8 Advanced Workload Performance

To learn how we test advanced workload performance, please click here.

By this point, we didn't expect the Force Series MP500 480GB to be much different than the smaller model we tested on the previous page. The drive does deliver higher performance under lighter workloads than the smaller SSD, but you will notice the increase in normal use. The larger competing SSDs also perform better as capacity increases.

The MP500 performs very well during normal light workloads, but under heavy use, it can't keep pace with some of the other drives that may have been built with workstation use in mind.

Total Service Time

The disk busy time test backs up the data presented in the throughput tests. If priced aggressively, the MP500 could be a very good SSD for gamers and users with read-heavy workloads. Even if you edit a lot of video, the drive is still faster than the best SATA products on the market.

Disk Busy Time

Data passes over the bus when the CPU requests it, but it's not a constant stream. The disk busy time test measures how long the drive is active before it completes the entire workload. There are some processing time and non-storage related activities that add storage idle time, but we only show the active portion of the test. 

Notebook Battery Life

Phison E7 SSDs have historically scored low in our notebook battery life test. We received some push-back about our results that we measured with a Lenovo Y700-17 gaming notebook. Phison tells us that internal tests with Acer notebooks provide more competitive results, but we have yet to test with a non-Lenovo system.

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17 comments
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  • jmnorthern
    yes
  • beaulieu80
    typeo in the description of the RAM, it say MB instead of GB
  • bmguyii
    The real world tests seem to indicate that all of the choices are on par and that the diffs in the specialized tests mean nothing to real world. Buy the cheapest one with the best warranty that doesn't eat your battery life. Spending 2X for <1 second?
  • Bruce427
    Not a bad review, but for about $55-$60 less (in the 240GB capacity) I will stick with the MyDigital BPX (2 year longer warranty and double the TBW endurance rating).
  • xXBananasXx
    Way too expensive for the performance. Not worth it whatsoever.
  • Nossy
    Meh, People still buy Corsair's memory and SSDs? I've never had one that lasted. Either a dead stick or a failed SSD. Stopped buying them for two years now. Crucial and Samsungs never gave me any problems.
  • xXBananasXx
    118801 said:
    Meh, People still buy Corsair's memory and SSDs? I've never had one that lasted. Either a dead stick or a failed SSD. Stopped buying them for two years now. Crucial and Samsungs never gave me any problems.

    Bought a 4x4gb ddr3 1600mhz Corsair Vengeance back in 2012. Still running strong.
  • vern72
    The capacity is too low for my liking. I wouldn't consider anything under 1TB.
  • Elysian890
    174163 said:
    typeo in the description of the RAM, it say MB instead of GB


    1024MB = 1GB
    No one's going to die because of that lol
  • Bruce427
    Chris,

    When will the review on the 500GB EVO 960 be posted?

    Thanks
  • mikeangs2004
    1905851 said:
    118801 said:
    Meh, People still buy Corsair's memory and SSDs? I've never had one that lasted. Either a dead stick or a failed SSD. Stopped buying them for two years now. Crucial and Samsungs never gave me any problems.
    Bought a 4x4gb ddr3 1600mhz Corsair Vengeance back in 2012. Still running strong.


    could just be poor quality control that affected more units than usual
  • HERETIC-1
    Hi Chris,great review as usual-the separating of the sizes,although more work
    is excellent.
    As you noted-would be a great drive if priced to it's performance-It's Corsair
    not going to happen.
    Flash shortage and using flash not cut and binned by Toshiba is a bit of a
    worry.(Remembering that's what helped kill OCZ)
    As to Corsair being late to market-I am of the opinion Phison uses customers
    as"Crash test dummies"Perhaps Corsair was thinking the same way.............
  • Q3D
    It feels odd to me that this wasn't compared to the Samsung 960 EVO, which to me would seem like it's immediate competition?
    At least they're prized more or less exactly the same in Denmark.
  • mlee 2500
    Since NVMe is still relatively new for many people, it would be both useful and interesting to have a mainstream SATA attached SSD, as well as a traditional mechanical drive, thrown in for comparison.
  • RuizitO
    The 960 Pro is available through Newegg and 5 other sellers at 329.99. Couldn't understand why you didn't fuse the specs here. :\
  • Bruce427
    Newegg is currently selling the 240GB capacity MP500 for $134.99.

    https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820236157&cm_re=corsair_mp500-_-20-236-157-_-Product

    This makes it more competitive -- as long as it lasts.
  • grgppsc
    Despite an apparently good piece of hardware MP500 represents, CORSAIR didn't "Force" themselves to develop the software part of things. The "so acclaimed" and necessary SSD Toolbox is in fact an old and rusty "Emptybox", at least for this new series...

    They are advertising on the product's page about SSD Toolbox support for S.M.A.R.T, over-provisioning, firmware update etc. and it is a HUGE LIE! How can they let us buy their products without providing not only the necessary support but the promised one... This is very unusual for a company like this... It seems like they didn't update this app since 2013!!!

    So, if an ordinary extension-utility like this doesn't yet support the involved hardware to fully-enable it's features and extend it's life, how can we expect anything else from CORSAIR... ?