22 - 10 - 2017
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CORSAIR Neutron NX500 NVMe PCIe Gen.3 x4 Add-In Card SSD Review

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corsair neutron nx500 400gba

   M.2 NVMe solid state drives may have taken the market by storm recently (largely thanks to the very successful 950/960 lines by Samsung) but that doesn't mean enthusiasts and professionals have only that form type to rely upon. I am of course referring to "regular" PCIe solid state drives which have been around for many years now and have established themselves as the by default choice for people looking to bring professional grade durability and performance even to "older" systems. Needless to say that the arrival of the NVMe standard has also boosted the performance of PCIe drives so we weren't really surprised to see many manufacturers release such models in the market. One such model is the Neutron NX500 NVMe PCIe Gen.3 X4 add-in card which is not only the successor to the award winning MP500 model by Corsair but one of the few models to have all its components mounted directly on the card/PCB itself and not an M.2 drive.


   Founded in 1994, CORSAIR supplies high-performance products purchased primarily by PC gaming enthusiasts who build their own PCs or buy pre-assembled customized systems. The company's award-winning products include DDR3 and DDR4 memory upgrades, computer cases, PC cooling products, gaming headsets, gaming keyboards, gaming mice, power supply units, USB flash drives, solid-state drives and system monitoring and control devices.


   The Neutron NX500 is an HHHL (half-height, half-length) PCIe Gen.3 X4 add-in card based on the Phison PS5007-E7 NVMe controller (4 CPU cores with 8 NAND flash channels) with 15nm NAND flash by Toshiba and 1GB DDR3 cache (2GB for the 800GB model). The PS5007-E7 controller features several technologies to enhance performance and endurance including SmartECC (reconstructs defective/faulty pages when regular ECC fails), SmartRefresh (monitors block ECC health status and refreshes blocks periodically to improve data retention), SmartFlush (minimizes time data spends in cache to ensure data retention in the event of power loss) and DevSlp (power save mode). Corsair currently only has two capacities available (400GB/800GB) but there are plans to release even a 2TB model soon. The 400GB model which we have here is rated for a write endurance of 698TBW (terra bytes written) while the 800GB model is rated for 1396TBW (both have an MTBF rating of 2 million hours and are covered with a 5 year limited warranty). What we are curious to check with the NX500 is its performance due to its high overprovisioning levels since we're actually talking about a 512GB SSD with a total usable capacity of just 372GB (roughly 120GB are used for overprovisioning).