Corsair Force Series GT 180GB Solid State Drive

Conclusion

At the time of publishing for this review, the street price for the Force Series GT 180GB is around $260US, which works out to $1.44/GB.  Looking at the street prices of the Force Series GT in 120GB and 240GB varieties works out the same cost per gigabyte.  So for those shopping for a current generation SandForce based drive with synchronous NAND, having a 180GB variety adds a new step in price for consumers.  It's a smart move for Corsair to offer a middleground capacity, since the 120GB capacity seems to be very popular nowadays, but the jump in price for a 240GB drive can be daunting for many.

Looking at performance, it was expected that there would be some lost performance when moving from utilizing eight channels like in all the other 240GB SandForce based drives down to six with 180GB drives.  With the use of 4-way interleaving, Corsair was able to stem the drop in performance, while boosting 4K page size transfer speeds in some situations.  Small page sizes like that make up a high percentage of a typical user's drive usage pattern.  That's why the 180GB drive was able to perform in line with the other top end drives in the PCMark 7 test, which replicates typical user functions.

While we didn't test any 120GB drives, we can assume that the NAND configurations used in the smaller drives would result in slower performance compared to 180GB and 240GB drives (with the same type of controller and NAND).  This gives users an extra incentive, other than the 60GB higher capacity, to stomach the ~$85 step up in price to get a 180GB Force Series GT instead of the 120GB version.

Support options and warranty for Corsair's SSDs are pretty good.  They offer a 3 year warranty which is inline with most other competing SSD manufacturers.  Contact options for customer service and technical service are all online, via forms or forums.  There is an RMA shipping location in the United States, the Netherlands and Taiwan.  The downside for Corsair's support revolves around Mac users.  They do not offer a Mac compatible version of their firmware update tool, so any updates require you to remove the SSD and perform the format on a Windows based computer.  Hopefully Corsair will rectify this and provide a Mac option like a few other manufacturers have done.

So to sum up everything, circuitREMIX strongly recommends Corsair's 180GB Force Series GT solid state drive.  Performance is great for the price level of the drive, and support options are good.  Consumers who are looking at buying a current generation 120GB SSD should consider getting the 180GB Force Series GT instead.  The step up in price isn't big, and users would have gains in capacity and performance.  circuitREMIX awards the Corsair's 180GB Force Series GT SSD with it's Editor's Choice award.

For Mac owners, while our statements of high performance hold true for OS X, it's a big oversight to not have a Mac compatible firmware upgrade utility.  With the rate of growth for Mac ownership easily outpacing that of the PC market, it's just a matter of time until more SSD manufacturers offer compatible firmware update tools.  So why not start now?  From a Mac owner's point of view, circuitREMIX awards the Corsair's 180GB Force Series GT SSD with it's Bronze award.

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