Corsair introduces a new PCI-Express SSD that has to compete in the high-end segment. Previously this turned out to be quite the challenge: a lot of other companies with the same plan could not compete with the solid products of Samsung in this segment. Can Corsair compete with their Neutron NX500 SSD?
The Neutron NX500 is a PCI-Express 3.0 x4-SSD based on the NVMe-protocol, which mainly offers higher speeds when working with small files compared with the AHCI-protocol that we know from the SATA-standard. A Phison PS5007-E7-controller is responsible for controlling the 15nm Toshiba-flash chips, that are used with two bits per cell. This is supposed to result in higher performance and a longer lifespan than TLC-memory which we find in a lot of affordable SSDs.
Corsair sent us the 800GB-version of the NX500. This variant has twice as much cache memory as the Corsair MP500, namely 2 GB. According to the manufacturer it can reach sequential speeds of 3000 MB/s when reading and 2400 MB/s when writing. For 4kB-files, Corsair promises 300,000 and 270,000 IOPS respectively. Aside from this version there is also a smaller 400GB-model with a smaller cache of 1 GB. In August a top model with a capacity of 1.6 TB will be released.
The used Phison-controller supports, among other things, SmartECC for advanced fault correction, SmartRefresh for keeping the stored data fresh (preventing problems such as those that we saw with the 840 Evo) and SmartFlush for minimalizing data loss with a power outage. There is no hardware support for encryption – with the spiritual successor of this SSD, the Force MP500, it was promised as a future feature, but this promise is nowhere to be found. You can update the firmware of the Corsair SSD using the Toolbox-software, as well as view your SMART-values and perform a secure-erase.
The Corsair Neutron NX500 SSDs come with a five year warranty. At the time of writing the price for the 800GB-model seems to end up slightly below 937 dollars while the 400GB-version is available for about 439 dollars. These prices are quite steep: a Samsung 960 Pro 1TB can be purchased for about 727 dollars, although you are missing the PCIe-card with the heatsink in that case.
Editorial note: Originally this article was under embargo until July 11th of this year. At the last moment, Corsair told us that the embargo was extended to July 25th, and after that once again, to August 10th. This means that this review dates back to July 11th.