Corsair P64 Performance Series 64GB SSD (CMFSSD-64GBG2D)Aug 9th, 2009 | By Simon
Corsair P64 Performance Series 64GB SSD (CMFSSD-64GBG2D)
: 08/9/09 – 08:54:41 PM
Page 1 : Introduction
Corsair has been a leader in design and manufacturing of high speed memory modules for the past 15 years and when they release something new to the market, you know they are only going to sell you the best. Have a peek at their lineup of Solid State Disks and you get either the Performance of Extreme series. They're not going to sell you junk.
The Performance Series is based on the second generation Samsung controller with 128MB cache and a storage capacity of up to 256GB. Today, we have the 64GB model – an affordable capacity with enough space to spare for your netbook, notebook or desktop PC.
Page 2 : Corsair P64 Package & Content
Every piece of hardware I've received from Corsair or every product I've purchased from them has always come in a very basic package. The Corsair P64 is no different. There is no fancy box with pictures or specifications printed on. What we have is a plain white box with a sticker indicating the model number, batch number and assembly location. The ends of the box are sealed with Corsair tape for integrity purposes.
Inside the box, the P64 is enclosed in a clamshell package. Also stuffed inside the package is a note from Corsair on ‘Performance Recovery’. The package doesn't contain any information about how fast the P64 can perform, how to install/format or what the warranty period is. All of that information has to be found online.
As a standard 2.5′ hard drive, once you've seen one you have seen them all. The chassis of the drive is brushed aluminum with all information conveyed to the owner by means of stickers. The label says removal of the cover will void warranty; however, unless you strip the screws, it'll be hard for Corsair to know you opened the drive up.
Unlike the Indilinx Barefoot based drives, there is no jumper for firmware updates. All updates would need to be done by a utility of some sort.
With no warranty label to tamper, there's absolutely no reason why I wouldn't open up this drive! A mere four screws later and the printed circuit board is free. The PCB is capable of holding 16 Samsung MLC NAND flash modules and the P64 has 8 in use, six on the top and 2 on the backside.
The Samsung ARM Controller (S3C29RBB01-YK40 N1R29MMF manufactured 0915) and 128MB flash memory (K4X1G323PD-8Gc6 GMC312A2 manufactured 919) are the brains of this drive. The storage itself is provided by Samsung K9HCGZ8U5M SCK0 manufactured 919.
Page 3 : Features & Specifications
Corsair's website is easy enough to navigate that a features and specifications page is almost redundant. However, to keep all the information you would want to know about this drive, we won't skip any details. From the Product Overview page, here's what Corsair has to say about the Performance Series.
Replacing your hard disk drive with a Corsair Performance Series SSD will revolutionize your computing experience. Games load quicker, your computer starts faster, and multiple applications run smoother, all while running cool and silent.
Corsair's Performance Series family is the ideal choice for your mobile or desktop computing needs. Proven Samsung technology guarantees out-of-the-box performance, worry-free compatibility, and rock-solid stability without the need to adjust complex system-level settings or update firmware. Its 220MB/s read and 180MB/s write speed provide outstanding performance, and capacities up to 256GB provide ample storage for lots of applications, photos, music, and video.
The speed, capacity, and compatibility of the Performance Series drives are supported by the inherent reliability of solid state technology, resulting in a truly compelling solution for your mass storage requirements.
- Fast – Games and apps load faster, Windows is more responsive
- Compatible – The Performance Series technology is extensively validated in major computing platforms
- Stutter free – Samsung controller ensures smooth performance, unlike that of cheaper SSDs
- Silent – No moving parts means zero noise and high reliability
- Low Power – Longer battery life for laptop users means greater productivity
- Backed by Corsair – A respected name with a passion for great service and support
- Maximum sequential read speed 220MB/s
- Maximum sequential write speed 180MB/s
- Samsung controller and MLC NAND flash for compatibility and consistent performance
- 128MB DRAM cache and NCQ support for stutter-free performance
- No moving parts for increased durability over standard hard disk drives
- Decreased power usage for cool and quiet operation and increased laptop battery life
- 100+ Year Life Expectancy (MTBF)
- Two year warranty
The specifications claim sequential speeds of 220MB/s read and 180MB/s write. This will be highly dependent on the firmware being used. It's also worth noting that while sequential rates will be very fast, we also need good random read and write rates to round out overall performance.
Page 4 : Installation, Power Consumption & Test Configuration
There's not much to share with installation. The drive gets installed like any other and at most you may wish to obtain a 2.5′ to 3.5′ bracket for a sturdy installation. Once installed, I compared the power consumption of the P64 to a few other SSDs and a conventional 500GB Seagate hard drive. With no surprise, the SSDs are a few watts below the conventional hard drive. Please note, the power consumption numbers are for my entire system. The difference you see if between my various SSD.
I will be testing the Corsair P64 on my test bed as the primary drive with the OS installed on it. Here is my system specification:
- CPU: Intel C2D Q6600 (G0 SLACR L731B434) @ 2.71 GHz
- MB: Asus P5E3-Dlx Wifi-AP Edition
- GPU: Sapphire HD 4850 X2 Catalyst
- RAM: Aeneon 2×2GB XTune DDR3-1600 (AXH860UD20-16H) @ 1800Mhz 10-10-10-30 1T
- PSU: Cooler Master Real Power Pro 850W
- CPU Cooling: Thermalright HR-01 w/ 120mm Antec Tri-Cool Fan
- PWM/NB/SB Cooling: Stock/Stock/Stock
- OS: Windows Vista x64
- Corsair 64GB P64 (CMFSSD-64GBG2D)
- Super Talent 128GB MasterDrive SX (SAM28GM25S)
- Patriot Memory 64GB Torqx SSD (PFZ64GS25SSDR)
- G.Skill FM-25S2S-64GB
- Seagate Barracuda SATA 500GB 7200.11 (ST3500320AS)
To test out the drive we'll be using DiskBench, Crystal DiskMark, SiSoft Sandra, HD Tune 3.10, ATTO, HDTach, IOMeter and Boot Timer. All benchmarks were executed 5 times and the average result was recorded. The system was reset between each benchmark.
To add a little flavour to the review, I'm going to benchmark the Corsair P64 twice – once when the drive has only Windows Vista and the benchmarking software installed, denoted ‘New’ in the benchmarks, and once when the drive is completely full with files then deleted to make room for the benchmark test files. These results will be denoted ‘Full’. I'm doing this to see what the performance impact is once the drive is full of files.
Page 5 : ATTO, Crystal Disk Mark & Disk Benchmark Performance
ATTO Disk Benchmark
ATTO Disk Benchmark is probably one of the gold standards when it comes to basic drive performance. The software itself is fairly old but it works, measuring transfer rates at different transfer sizes for a file being 256MB in size.
Our first reading benchmark shows negligible read transfer rate differences between second generation Samsung based SSDs and Barefoot controller based drives. The Corsair P64 easily smashes through the 200MB/s wall and stays up with its bigger brother the 128GB second generation Samsung SSD branded by Super Talent.
When it comes to file writing, the Corsair P64 starts off on par with the 128GB Super Talent MasterDrive SX but loses steam as the block sizes increase. However, comparing the P64 to the same size Patriot Memory 64GB Torqx based off the new Indilinx Barefoot Controller, the two drives have very similar performance.
Crystal Disk Mark
Crystal Disk Mark is another disk benchmark software commonly used and unlike ATTO Disk Benchmark, Crystal Disk Mark is our first look at sequential transfer rates as well as 4KB and 512KB Random transfer rates.
Crystal Disk Mark paints a very similar picture. The differences in read transfer rates between the P64 and the competition are very small. We also see no difference between the empty drive and full.
When it comes to writing, the Corsair P64 goes toe-to-toe with its same sized 64GB Indilinx cousin with 4KB random writing. The P64 is a few MB/s slower with the 512KB random writing but has a significant lead with sequential writing. The 128GB SSD has the upper hand in all our benchmarks but that's generally expected with SSDs – the bigger the drive, the better the performance. I bet if we had the P128 on hand, Corsair and Super Talent would be dancing on a very thin line of difference.
Nodesoft Disk Benchmark
There's nothing fancy to DiskBench – I commonly use it to see how long it takes to copy a file from one source to another. Seeing as this is a hard drive review, I'm going to use the ‘Create File’ feature and determine the speed at which the hard drive is able to create a 200MB file consisting of 100 2MB blocks.
The Corsair P64 puts up numbers closing resembling the mechanical Seagate drive and the SSDs, with the exception of the G.Skill JMicron.
Page 6 : Sisoft Sandra, HD Tune, HD Tach Performance
Sisoft Sandra – File System
Another common benchmarking program, we have SiSoft Sandra File System Benchmark. The File System Benchmark gives us a quick glance at the overall performance and whether we have a new or full drive, the performance is both consistent and comparable to the 64GB Indilinx drives and 128GB second generation Samsung based drives.
Corsair stays with the class in our File System benchmark. This time we see little difference between a 128GB drive and a 64GB Samsung controlled drive. The one slip I kept seeing was the slow random write speed when the drive is full. The P64 is only performing at 25% the original rate as the newly installed drive.
SiSoft Sandra – Physical Disk
The Physical Disk Benchmark benchmarks the hard disks and not the file system, meaning the graph below compares the performance of the physical disk to the storage adapter, unlike the SiSoft Sandra File System benchmarks which shows performance between the file system itself and the adapter.
The Corsair P64 takes the cake in the Physical Disk benchmark. The random access time is the quickest we've seen in a while and the index speed is right at the top with only a 7% difference between a new and full drive.
HD Tune is another hard disk utility to determine the performance of your drive. HD Tune runs a few tests to provide a transfer rate (minimum, maximum and average). It also trends the performance through the entire disk and gives you the access time, burst rate and CPU usage.
HD Tune lets us clearly see the performance drop between a new empty drive and one that is completely full. The empty P64 gets to spend about half its time up in the 200MB/s barrier where the full drive stays relatively flat at 170MB/s. The burst speed, random access time and CPU usage is not affected by the free space of the drive, this is a very welcome change compared to the Indilinx drives I've worked with in the past; it's often a 20 point increase in percentage when the drive is full.
HD Tach is a low level hardware benchmark for random access read and writes. The performance numbers are quite similar to HD Tune.
Basically the same HD Tune story but imposed onto the HD Tach graph. There is roughly a 20MB/s drop between the new and full drive.
Page 7 : IOMeter & Boot Time
IOMeter is the latest addition to my hard drive benchmarking suite. The software is highly customizable and what I'm doing only scratches the surface of its capability. I added IOMeter because of flaws in the original solid state drives on the market. After completing all the benchmarks on my first JMicron SSD, I popped into my laptop and made it my day-to-day drive. I found overtime the performance to become really sluggish. At first, MSN messages would take longer to appear and videos would stutter. After some digging on the net, it turned out to be a problem with the random write performance. More information on the issue at hand can be found at AnandTech.
With IOMeter, I set the program up to pepper the drive with a 1GB file with 4KB record sizes, 100% random (as opposed to 100% sequential), 50% read and 50% write for 5 minutes. I generated results for average read and write access times and average read and write transfer rates.
The P64 puts up respectable transfer rates and access times when the drive is completely empty, but with the drive full, the numbers take a big hit. The random read and write performance are at levels similar to the JMicron. However, with the 128MB cache the drive doesn't stutter which makes the impact hard to notice during day to day use.
With the slower random access performance, I expected the boot time to take a bit longer and it did. It's still less than 26 seconds which is still impressive and quick.
Page 8 : Conclusion
Corsair's P64 Performance Solid State Disk lives up to its name. By using only tried, tested and true Samsung hardware, you know you will not be sacrificing reliability with this drive. It may not be the fastest SSD on the market, but you can bet it'll last a lifetime.
The Corsair P64 is the smallest drive in the family but don't be fooled. The capacity is more than enough for your notebook or netbook. The numbers may claim that the drive isn't the fastest but the difference has been hard to notice in day to day use. The drive has been completely stutter free since day one and that's the biggest improvement and best reason to pick Corsair's Performance Series over everyone else in the market. Truly, the only change I can recommend is for Corsair to step up and stand by a much longer warranty than the two years it is currently offering.
- Reliable Samsung technology
- Smooth stutter free performance
I'd like to thank Corsair for making this review possible