Pricing, which dictates market positioning, is important. We've seen several Phison E7 SSDs come to market over the last year and a half, but only a few have been successful against the industry giants like Samsung and Intel. The E7 is a very powerful four-core controller that wields eight channels to address an ample number of NAND die. Still, positioning is important. The MyDigitalSSD BPX is the most successful E7 we've tested, and its biggest draw is the good mixture of price and performance. We've yet to find another company use the same formula to replicate its success.
Instead, we've seen companies utilize the E7 controller to go the other direction with elaborate value-add components that increase cost. We've been handed one part after another with a price increase each step of the way. The E7 is an excellent entry-level and mainstream controller, but it has lagged the 960 series time and time again.
The NX500 400GB adds more bling and more curb appeal, but it carries a 50% price premium over the BPX 480GB. Worse, it has 80GB less usable capacity and a marginal performance increase during real-world workloads. The drive isn't a good value, and it's also not as fast as a Samsung 960 EVO, 950 Pro, or even an Intel SSD 750 400GB. The 512GB-class is highly contested, and there are several products that are as good or better than the NX500. The problem is many are also cheaper.
Moving up the capacity ranks amplifies the NX500's biggest weakness. In a world of 960GB, 1000GB, and 1024GB SSDs, you lose a lot of capacity moving down to 800GB. Compared to some models, like the full-capacity 960 Pro, you lose nearly the capacity of a 256GB SSD! The 960 Pro also retails for $579.99 -- that's $70 less than the NX500 800GB. It's not difficult to see where the NX500 comes up short.
We don't know about the pricing for the high-capacity model that will come to market in August. The Corsair NX500 1.6TB has only one competitor at the time of writing, but new 64-layer flash technology will change the 2TB SSD landscape entirely. We should start to see many of those products around the same time frame in August. The Samsung 960 Pro 2TB sells for $1,199 at B&H and $1,299 at Newegg. If Corsair doubles the price of the NX500 800GB, the 1.6TB model will have a tough time at $1,300.
The Neutron NX500 is a good SSD, and it has a place in the market. I just don't think the high price and extreme overprovisioning boosts performance in desktop applications enough to offset the lost capacity. The NX500 is over the top, but there is already a superior product that you can turn to if you decide to invest this much cash in an SSD. The better product simply costs less and delivers more.
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