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Corsair Nova 128GB Review

by: admin Thursday, June 10th, 2010

Until recently, Corsair has been known mostly as one of the world’s largest RAM manufacturers, but these days the company is also a major player in the SSD market with six series and counting. One of the latest has been dubbed Nova, and today we are taking a look at the 128 GB version. Nova comes with the Indilinx Barefoot Eco controller with support for TRIM and Garbage Collection, as well as 64 MB of cache. Both its pricing and stated performance figures are appealing.

Specifications

* Storage Capacity: 128GB
* Form Factor: 2.5 inches
* Memory chips: Intel 29F64G08CAMD8
* Controller: Indilinx 1DX110M01-LC
* Technology: MLC
* Interface: SATA II 3.0Gb/s
* Internal Data Transfer: 270 MBps (read) / 195 MBps (write)

corsair nova ssd

$329

Rating:

 ★★★½☆ 

nova 128The Nova is covered in a black aluminum casing that isn’t much to look at. But that is not the issue here since you will be putting it in your soon-to-be high-end computer. If you plan to place it in a desktop machine, Corsair has been kind enough to supply it with a converter box that allows you to mount it in a standard 3.5-inch hard drive bay.

As previously mentioned, Indilinx has supplied the controller and the NAND memory modules come from Intel. This is a widespread combination so in theory it should be similar to several other solid state drives on the market. However, Corsair claims to be ahead since they are using the Barefoot Eco, specific NAND memory and 64MB cache. Let’s see how it measures up:

Benchmarks

PCMark Vantage’s HD score is an interesting benchmark as it simulates real-world performance in multiple scenarios including system boot, gaming, importing images and music, application load times and more.  We let it run its course and got an overall score of 24,642. This number puts it on par with the OCZ Vertex, but it still has some way to go to nudge the Intel X-25M G2 or Crucial’s RealSSD C300.

AS SSD Benchmark

AS SSD combines reading and writing 4KB blocks into a total score, which is a fair way to measure overall performance as it’s the standard NAND page size. The Nova’s half-decent score here compared to the Intel and Crucial drives feels a bit misleading, as it doesn’t really “feel” half as fast in everyday activities. This figure can be compared to the quoted read/write speeds from the manufacturer (which are usually surprisingly accurate or even understated):

rw nova

Conclusion

The Corsair Nova 128 GB obviously utilizes a good combination of its Indilinx Barefoot Eco-controller, cache and Intel NAND flash. There are lots of products based on similar components, but the Nova does it slightly better overall, even if the difference is marginal. It is not quite on par with the fastest consumer drives, but there is also a question of price/performance ratio.

Nova also has TRIM and Garbage Collection, which are extremely important tools to prevent performance deterioration over time. It is not advisable to buy a new SSD without these features today.

Whereas this model of the Corsair Nova offers a storage capacity of 128 GB, there are also other sizes – from 256GB down to 32GB – all with the same basic features.

Pros:

+ Decent price/performance ratio
+ TRIM and Garbage Collection
+ Better performance than similar drives on average

Cons:

– Not as speedy as some of the latest drives

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