Corsair Neutron GTX 480GB SSD Review

The Corsair Neutron GTX 480GB and its LAMD Amber controller represent the next generation of high capacity SSDs. Typically large SSDs suffer performance degradation compared to smaller counterparts, and today we test the Neutron GTX with its Toshiba Toggle NAND to see if this holds true with Corsairs next generation controllers.

Corsair Neutron GTX 480GB Basics

We have reviewed both of the current Corsair flagship products here at HardOCP in the last few months. Both the 240GB Neutron and the enthusiast-version 240GB Neutron GTX proved to be excellent performers in our steady state testing. The only thing that tempered our enthusiasm a bit was the LAMD Amber controllers' relatively new status on the market. Many SSD controllers have gone through serious growing pains as the technology matured, and this is always taken into consideration when evaluating SSDs.

When Corsair recently sent us the 480GB Neutron GTX we were excited to have the chance to observe the new LAMD Amber controller at a different capacity point. Taking a fresh look at the drive now that it has matured a bit will give us some perspective of the success of the LAMD powered Neutron series.

In the past larger capacity SSDs tended to lose a bit of performance edge. This is due to the older generation NAND and the inability of the processors to scale well. High capacity SSDs have also suffered from lackluster sales due to lofty price points that simply aren't palatable to most consumers.

The price point for SSDs in general has been dropping rapidly, and this is with good reason. The price of NAND is coming down as each die shrink occurs, and these savings are passed onto the customers. The flash itself is also more advanced, and comes in much higher densities. This higher density NAND results in fewer packages that the SSD controller has to manage, helping to alleviate some of the performance degradation.

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The Neutron GTX 480GB sports a slim 7mm chassis, making it a prime candidate for the latest Ultrabook. Many mobile users forgo flash storage due to capacity concerns, and losing a tremendous amount of capacity simply isn't an option. Large slim SSDs like the Neutron GTX are going a long way to addressing this issue by providing the compatibility that will keep users mobile.

The newer generation Marvell SSDs with advanced controllers and improved flash are delivering great results at higher capacity, but the SandForce controlled SSDs still suffer lower performance with higher density. This is due to the SF-2500 series getting a bit long in the tooth, and until SandForce releases a newer processor this isn't going to change.

This leaves Corsair and its exclusive-access LAMD controller in a good position to dominate the higher end devices. Corsair is still enjoying its period of exclusivity with the LAMD controllers, but for how long is anyone's guess. In the meantime, Corsair is pressing hard. With OCZ experiencing serious trouble with its operations many are predicting that Corsair will jump into the void, taking the market share that OCZ has enjoyed since the beginning of the SSD revolution.

For enthusiasts the reasons not to buy a high capacity SSD were two fold, the high price and the loss of performance. The environment is changing; prices are dropping and the performance of high capacity SSDs are rising.

Today we take a look at the Neutron GTX 480 GB to see if the more mature Neutron series can come away with a HardOCP Gold Editor’s Choice Award this round!