Corsair Accelerator 30GB & 60GB Reviewccokeman - July 8, 2012
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The Accelerator drives are built to fit within the limits of the industry standard 2.5 inch form factor. The casing differs from many of the Solid State Drives I have seen because the shell is a thin sheet metal rather than a combination of thicker cast aluminum or plastic. Externally, the drive looks good for something that will not be seen once installed in the system. Connectivity on the Accelerator lineup is standard SATA with both a data and power connection. This series of drives use a SATA 3Gb/s interface rather than the newer SATA 6Gb/s standard. Mounting points are standard for the form factor and can be used with the included adapter or in cases that have specific 2.5 inch form factor mounting provisions. The front of the drive shows the series and the capacity while the back side shows the unique serial number used to activate the NVELO Dataplex software so that the drive can be used as a caching drive. The warranty sticker on the back is used to show that the warranty has been voided if the drive is taken apart. With a three year warranty there should be no need to pull the drive apart.
Inside the shell, the Corsair Accelerator drives are equipped with half size PCB's to house the controller and DRAM. The shell is not held together with screws but is clipped together and locked in place via a few punched-out clips on each side of the drive.
The 30GB drive is controlled by a Sandforce 2141 four channel NAND controller and holds a total of four 8GB NAND modules with two on each side of the PCB. The 60GB version of the Accelerator uses a Sandforce 2181 eight channel controller to handle the eight 8GB NAND modules for a total of 64GB on board to cover over-provisioning mechanisms used by the Sandforce controller. Micron 8GB 25nm asynchronous NAND modules with part number 29F64G08CBAAA are used on both the 30 and 60GB drives, represented in the maximum read/write characteristics of the drives. The 30GB drive is rated for up to 270MB/s / 240MB/s sequential read/writes while the 60GB drive is rated at up to 280MB/s / 260MB/s sequential read/write operations.
Even with last generation SSD architecture, the read/write operations of the Accelerator drives are much faster than a traditional spindle driven drive. These faster, smaller, and more affordable drives are perfect for use with caching software, with Intel's IRST, or even ASUS SSD caching utility on supported boards. The software that allows the drive to be added to an existing OS installation without loss of data or re-installation of the OS is made by NVELO. The Dataplex software package is used to intelligently manage the caching operations and is used to provide the performance lift seen with the addition of a caching drive.
Installing the software is pretty straightforward and results in a significant reduction in the boot cycle after a second reboot. Just make sure to use the Dataplex utility to verify that the caching drive and software is actually enabled. Lets see if the touted "up to 5x performance increase" in drive performance is indeed a real lift in performance, or whether it is just a bunch of smoke and mirrors.