Corsair MP500 SSD review and test: M.2 SSD with support controller NVMe and Phison

Corsair MP500 SSD review and test: M.2 SSD with support controller NVMe and Phison

Corsair has introduced a new line of flagship Corsair MP500 SSD, drives provides data transfer speeds of up to 3,000 MB / s read and 2400 MB / s write. As you can see, they are aimed at the high-end segment and potentially able to oust competitors. SSD is based on Phison controller and high-speed memory MLC, so the technical basis from Corsair MP500 SSD is quite powerful. But what drives will show itself in practice? This you will find out in our review.

Last time we tested the Corsair SSD a few years ago. Meanwhile, the market of SSDs was a lot of events, including the transition to a high-speed PCI Express interface with support NVMe. Corsair did not overlook the new trend by presenting a model MP500. But the controller manufacturer has not changed, Corsair is still working with Phison.

Phison controller in Corsair MP500 SSD drive we meet the first time, in the same SSD Zotac Sonix also used the model PS5007-E7. In fact, the two drives quite a lot of similarities, including a planar memory from Toshiba, which is performed by the 15-nm process and supports the storage of two bits per cell (MLC). But Zotac Sonix SSD is only available as a PCI Express expansion card and MP500 comes in M.2 format, and therefore use more opportunities. Finally, do not forget that significantly affects performance firmware, so it will be interesting to see what level of performance can squeeze Corsair from the same hardware filling.

Corsair MP500 SSD: In detail

As we have noted above, the hardware filling Corsair MP500 SSD we are already familiar. The same controller Phison E7 used Zotac Sonix SSD, and both drives use the same firmware version. However, this does not mean that the firmware Zotac drive and is identical to Corsair. Rather, manufacturers have the same basic version, after which it was adapted.

Both have the same storage capacity, but differ in the number of flash memory units. Zotac Sonix We used eight blocks of 512 Gbps each, at Corsair MP500 SSD block half, but their capacity is twice as large. The memory in both cases is connected via Toggle interface.

Corsair MP500 SSD review and test: M.2 SSD with support controller NVMe and Phison

Both rely on an identical drive DRAM cache. Namely, Low-Power DDR3 chip from Nanya on 1.600 MHz 512 MB. The sticker with the name of the product on the front side comprises a thin layer of copper, which improves heat dissipation.

Like almost any drives today, Corsair MP500 uses a cache pseudo-SLC. Samsung calls TurboWrite technology, Crucial – Dynamic Write Acceleration, but Corsair has not yet come up with a marketing name. The principle of operation is well known: part of the memory is programmed only one bit instead of two, which increases recording capacity. However, short-term gains, while the SLC cache is full. Then the performance is determined by the behavior of the drive after completing SLC cache.

The easiest way to test the long-term performance – record data to the SSD sequentially, waiting for a sharp rate of decline. It is due to the fact SLC cache is full and the data is logged to a less fast memory. In the case of Corsair MP500 SSD cache filling is observed in about 14 seconds when the recorded 16.3 GB space. But further SSD writes data at a rate of about 1.000 Mb / s, which can be called a good result.

Unlike SATA SSD, a storage format M.2 typically generate a significant amount of heat which dissipates even worse because of the compact design. Therefore M.2 drives for continuous load dump clock rates to avoid overheating. In tests, a similar situation can be observed easily, but in everyday scenarios, it is rarely confronted, because the appearance of throttling should be transferred very large amounts of data.

Unlike the previously tested drives, Corsair MP500 SSD does not work on two or three levels of performance, and constantly changes speed. As a result, difficult to identify the point at which performance is reduced. But the most significant decline is observed at a temperature of about 80 ° C, after about 50 seconds the load. At this point on the drive has been recorded with an average of 63.7 GB rate 1.304 Mb / s. Average production from this point until the end of the test was already only 686 MB / s.

The warranty on Corsair MP500 SSD is three years, as in the case of newly tested Samsung SSD 960 EVO. On all other drives in the table is given a guarantee of five years. But in all cases, the warranty is limited to a maximum load of recording (Total Byte Written), which is also shown in the table and varies depending on the manufacturer and model. Corsair gives relatively high load value is substantially higher than the same Samsung SSD 960 PRO. But the value of TBW identical Zotac Sonix SSD.

Corsair MP500 SSD review and test: M.2 SSD with support controller NVMe and Phison

In practice, the value of TBW is not so much as even the enthusiasts are unlikely to achieve a similar recording load. Moreover, the drive can withstand much higher recording load than the specified value TBW. The value of TBW typically used by manufacturers to restrict the use of drives in enterprise and server environments. But if you do not want to purchase a more expensive storage server level, on Corsair MP500 is worth paying attention to.

The results were quite expected: for Corsair MP500 SSD sequential write speed showed just 1.325 MB / s in the test AS SSD, markedly lower than the declared level of 2.400 Mb / s. By speed reading we received 2.366 MB / s, although the manufacturer promises to 3,000 MB / s. The difference lies in the speed recording “transparent” data compression or storage controller. If the data are well compressed, they will be faster in the memory is in a compressed form. Physically, the information would have to burn less, so the write speed will be higher.

Compression Test AS SSD shows an almost linear increase in speed with the improvement of data compressibility. If the compressed data is good, the recording speed may exceed 2.000 Mb / s. The ATTO Disk Benchmark, we finally approach the figures declared by the manufacturer.

Corsair MP500 SSD Tests: Iometer

Iometer can be called a universal test, which estimates the net storage capacity in virtually every conceivable access scenarios. The latest version of the test also had the opportunity to choose what data to use. In particular, are interesting options “Repeating bytes / repetitive bytes” and “Full random / is completely random.” The first option will always use the same repetitive data, so the controller can significantly compress the data. Data compression is performed, not all controllers, however, some controllers (same SandForce) implemented “transparent” compression system which, depending on the data, allows greater bandwidth. The second option creates a data buffer in the 16 MB with high entropy, and compression of the data is very difficult (if not impossible). This enables the controller with integrated compression system two test runs, one of which operates on a fully random data ( “Full random”). The default mode is runs with repeated bytes ( “Repeating bytes”), which corresponds to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Corsair MP500 SSD review and test: M.2 SSD with support controller NVMe and Phison

For desktop systems are characterized by a minimum of all queries (the depth of the command queue, QD). Sometimes it may rise slightly, but still remained within single digits. Tests with a queue depth of 32 QD allow SSD to reveal their full potential. This queue depth available in normal situations, but only in a multi-user or server environment.

4K test uses 8 million of logical sectors of 512 bytes.; sequential read test / writer employs nearly full storage capacity.

Except for the serial data transfer speed, Corsair MP500 SSD bypasses Zotac Sonix SSD.

Corsair MP500 SSD Tests: AS SSD

AS SSD test was designed, as you might guess from the name, specifically for SSD. It uses a fully incompressible data, so the test relates to the worst-case scenarios for the controllers with a compression technology. Serial test and 4K blocks test run with a single queue depth. Again, the test unit with 4K QD queue depth of 1 is the most important for desktop systems, and test QD 64 again demonstrates the depth of SSD maximum possible (with active NCQ).

By reading small blocks with a low speed Corsair MP500 SSD queue depth set a new record. The rest of the results are quite high, unless we get a decrease in sequential write speed.

Corsair MP500 SSD Tests: copying data

Test data backup, as you might guess from the name, indicates the speed with which data can be copied. We carried out tests of typical scenarios: ISO (two large file), the program (lots of small files), games (a mixture of small and large files).

The performance data backup Corsair MP500 SSD showed results from very good to average depending on the scenario.

Corsair MP500 SSD Tests: PCMark 8 – Storage (Part 1)

Synthetic tests represent extreme cases. In everyday conditions, the computer uses a different access patterns, from small to large blocks of data transmission sequence. We simulated a similar load using a pattern recording while using the system. We pattern recorded during a test run PCMark package 8, which includes multiple applications, each read and write certain amount of data, as can be seen from the following table. Test data are not compressible.

Unlike the previous Futuremark PCMark 7 test the new version of compression during periods of inactivity (idle time compression) has been removed, so the pattern better corresponds to real applications. We used to publish the results of PCMark points, now we move on to the theoretical capacity. It is calculated by dividing the volume of read and write data (see. Table) to the query processing time. Higher bandwidth means that the drive idle time is shorter, the response time of the application is also reduced.

According to Corsair MP500 SSD daily performance showed himself very well. The drive is 26% faster than Zotac Sonix SSD, it overtakes Samsung SSD 960 EVO with a noticeable margin. The level of performance is comparable to Toshiba OCZ RD400, inferior MP500 except high-end drives Samsung.

In the previous graph illustrates the capacity of storage devices when performing a test run consisting of individual applications. We continue with the two game tests, starting with the entry into the game, reading saves in Battlefield 3 and ending with the gameplay.

To test the performance of drives in office applications, we use PowerPoint, Excel and Word from Microsoft Office. In this case, it opens the document, edit, save, and then close the application.

Office applications are not so demanding on the storage subsystem can not be said about the Adobe programs. In particular, in the test “Adobe Photoshop (Heavy)” is written large amounts of data, a PSD file is opened, edited and saved in different formats.

In some tests, we did not notice any anomalies.

Corsair MP500 SSD Tests: PCMark 8 – stress load

Test PCMark 8 “Expanded Storage” consists of two parts, “Consistency test” (test integrity) and “Adaptivity test” (test adaptability). The latter shows how well the storage subsystem can be adapted to a certain load. We are interested first test showing loss of storage capacity. We used for the same purpose the stress load and HDTach Iometer: we measured a consistent performance in the new state of the SSD, then imposed an extreme burden Iometer, then the performance of many storage fell by 50% or even more. This test allows you to evaluate the performance of the situation in the worst case.

PCMark 8 The procedure is much closer to everyday conditions: twice completed on the first phase of storage capacity, the second pass assures that the memory is filled, inaccessible to the user. In the second phase (Degrade) drive is loaded eight times the random write operations, the first pass in 10 minutes, each pass is performed for five minutes longer. After each passage is measured by productivity. In the third phase (Steady State) performed five more runs instead of the 45-minute run, parallel to the measured performance. In the last phase (Recovery) measured performance after a period of inactivity of five minutes. This measurement is repeated five times, including the period of inactivity, to give the drive to recover.

The following two graphs show the delay read or write access to the different phases of the test drives. We did not carry out a large number of tests, and choose the profile “Photoshop Heavy”, which reads and writes 468 MB 5640 MB. Of course, this test and our previous tests and Iometer HDTach in their own interest, but for the daily working conditions of the results presented here is still more relevant.

The following diagram shows the throughput we measured on the previous two pages. It just was calculated in all profiles.

Under intense load Corsair MP500 SSD delays significantly increased, but then falling off sharply below the level of most other storage devices in the recovery phase. A similar picture is observed and overall performance. Points MP500 and Zotac Sonix SSD are not the same, but both drives demonstrate similar behavior. Yet common roots are felt.

Corsair MP500 SSD: conclusion

The performance Corsair MP500 SSD proved to be a good thing. In the test of daily performance PCMark Corsair Drive noticeably beat Samsung SSD 960 EVO, yielding perhaps that faster Samsung SSD 960 PRO. At Corsair MP500 drive uses the same hardware stuffing, that of Zotac Sonix SSD, so you would expect comparable performance, but in practice Corsair drive was significantly faster. The reason probably lies in the firmware.

By reading small blocks with a low speed Corsair MP500 SSD queue depth of all I set a new record for the first time overcome the bar to 60 MB / s. In the case of serial transmission rate we got 2.3 GB / s for reading, except that the recording speed is much lower. But because the drive uses background data compression, recording rate strongly depends on the compressibility of the data.

We used to compare prices on the European market. However, Corsair MP500 price here seems excessive, since the drive is even more expensive per gigabyte than the Samsung SSD 960 the PRO, while the latter provides a higher level of performance, longer warranty and feature set. Performance Corsair MP500 is between about 960 and PRO 960 EVO, so the price should be appropriate. It is a pity that Corsair MP500 does not support encryption, and models with capacity of 1 TB is not on the market.

But Corsair MP500 SSD came out recently, so prices probably will decline in the coming months. With this in mind, Corsair MP500 will be a very interesting alternative.

Advantages Corsair MP500 SSD:

  • Very good performance
  • Very high level of TBW

Disadvantages Corsair MP500 SSD:

  • The warranty is only three years
  • (So ​​far) too expensive

Source: corsair

Corsair MP500 SSD review and test: M.2 SSD with support controller NVMe and Phison was last modified: January 18th, 2017 by Tomas Shellby