Articles: Storage

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Solid state drives are currently one of the most rapidly developing products of the computer market. This industry is on the rise due to its low entry barrier. You don’t need heavy investments or extensive manufacturing facilities or a team of highly skilled engineers to start making your own SSDs. That's why there are a lot of companies – well-known storage systems manufacturers, flash memory makers and even DDR3 SDRAM suppliers – that have taken up this business to cater to enthusiastic users who are impressed at the huge advantage of SSDs over conventional HDDs in performance. Of course, SSDs are still too expensive to become a truly mass product, yet they have already become an indispensable component for computer enthusiasts.

It is no wonder that aggressive marketing and well-functioning distribution channels were the key factors to success for early SSD makers. Product specs were but of secondary importance, especially as there were few hardware platforms available for building SSDs (only a few teams of engineers took to developing SSD controllers since it was much more complicated than actual manufacturing). Using third-party controllers and flash memory, smaller players managed to compete with giants like Intel and Samsung for the leading positions on the SSD market.

This situation has begun to change, though. Having satisfied the first wave of demand for SSDs and saturated the market with identical products selling under different brands, the manufacturers now want to attract the potential customer with original products that can offer superior consumer properties. They do this in different ways like hiring a previously independent team of SSD controller developers, programming their own firmware or focusing on perspective hardware platforms that haven’t yet been used on the mass market. The outcome can be seen on shop shelves in the form of innovative and original products such as Intel’s SSD 520 and SSD 330, OCZ’s Vertex 4 and Agility 4, Plextor’s M5S and M5 Pro. We guess that every company who wants to have a substantial share of the SSD market will eventually have to offer something of this kind.

As you may have already guessed, we are going to talk about such innovative products in this review. These are Corsair’s Neutron and Neuron GTX series which feature controllers from Link_A_Media_Devices (LAMD) that have not been installed into consumer-class SSDs until now. The new SSDs sport highly promising specs, so some experts have already hailed them as the best option available even before they have actually arrived. We won’t make any guesses or predictions, though. Our job is to do some real testing and we’ve got this opportunity because Corsair has provided us 240GB Neutron and Neutron GTX drives.

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