Best SSD on a budget: Corsair Force Series 3 review

Most buyers looking for a SATA3 SSD would expect the blazing fast performance of drives in the Vertex 3 class and for good reason. Why else would SSD manufacturers bother putting such a speedy interconnect in place if the rest of the drive can’t keep up with it? They’d probably have their expectations reinforced if they saw the mighty SandForce SF-2281 was powering said drive. The Corsair Force Series 3 ticks both of these boxes but there’s a very important feature missing that you’ll only discover after a little research.

It turns out that there’s two types of the Series 3 – the GT and the non-GT. The GT is the premium version of the two while the non-GT offers better bang for buck. There’s a good reason for the GT to be much more expensive; it’s stocked with synchronous memory while the non-GT has the much cheaper asynchronous memory. There’s a reason why it’s cheaper – this memory type has half the theoretical bandwidth of the synchronous type. Unfortunately most buyers wouldn’t dig this deep and would probably assume the non-GT is almost as fast as the GT thanks to the SATA3 interface. They’d be wrong.

It’s not half the speed of the synchronmory drives thanks to the intricacies of SSD technology – it’s actually worse offering just 43% of the sequential read speed of the similarly specced Vertex 3. Write speeds are anywhere between 50% and 99% of OCZ’s Vertex 3 so you’ll definitely notice a performance difference. The question is whether the price difference is big enough to make the performance drop palatable; after all this drive is still exponentially faster than a mechanical drive and will put most SATA2 drives to shame.

For around just $200 this drive offers excellent value for money and is the one of cheapest SSD drives per megabyte you’ll find on the street. If you’re looking for blazing performance at a price that won’t burn a hole in your wallet look no further than this entry-level offering from Corsair.

Available from Corsair retailing for $209.
APC rating: 8/10 (Highly Recommended)