Corsair Neutron SSD review: Corsair Neutron SSD

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MSRP: $259.99

The Good The Corsair Neutron solid-state drive (SSD) offers fast performance at a relatively affordable price.

The Bad The Corsair Neutron's pricing could be more friendly, especially its 120GB-capacity version.

The Bottom Line The Corsair Neutron makes a great entry-level SSD thanks to its above-entry-level performance and relatively friendly pricing.

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8.0 Overall
  • Setup 8
  • Features 8
  • Performance 8
  • Support 8

The Corsair Neutron solid-state drive (SSD) is the budget version of the Corsair Neutron GTX and is inferior to its big brother in terms of performance. Compared with other SSDs, however, it's still quite a formidable contender. That in addition to its affordable price -- well less than $1 per gigabyte for the 240GB-capacity version -- makes it a worthy entry-level SSD.

It's not a perfect entry-level SSD, however, since, well, it's not as budget-friendly as other SSDs I've seen, especially its 120GB-capacity version, which costs about $130.

That said, pricing is the only thing that concerns me about the drive. Hopefully soon, like with other SSDs, the street price will get lower to make this truly the best budget SSD on the market. If you're not on a budget, I'd also recommend the Neutron GTX or any on this top-five list.

Design and features

Drive type 7mm thick, 2.5-inch standard internal drive
Connector options SATA 3 (6Gbps), SATA 2, SATA
Available capacities 120GB, 240GB
Product dimensions 7mm thick, 2.5-inch standard
Capacity of test unit 240GB
Controller LAMD LM87800
Integrated DRam Cache memory
256MB of DDR2-800
Flash memory type
Micron synchronous NAND
OSes supported Windows, Mac, Linux

Similar to the Corsair Neutron GTX, the Corsair Neutron comes in the 2.5-inch 7mm standard and sports the new LAMD LM87800 controller. The drive uses Micron's Synchronous NAND (as opposed to the high-performance Toggle Mode NAND from Toshiba), which is slated to offer slower performance at lower cost.

Like all 7mm-thick, 2.5-inch SSDs, the new Corsair Neutron can fit in the vast majority of systems, including the ultrathin laptops that won't work with regular 9.5mm-thick drives. The Corsair Neutron also comes with a 3.5-inch drive bay converter (and all necessary screws). This means it can also be easily used in a desktop system, just like any other 3.5-inch standard hard drive.

It's quite easy to upgrade your system's existing hard drive to the Corsair Neutron, as long as you get your own cloning software. In my testing the drive worked with all SATA standards, but if you want to get the most out of it, make sure you use it with a system that supports SATA 3 (6Gbps). The drive also works with all platforms I tried: Mac, Linux, and Windows.

Similar to the the Neutron GTX, the Neutron comes with an all-metal casing, which helps the drive feel solid and sturdy but doesn't offer anything in terms of looks. This is not a big deal for an internal drive, though. The drive also comes in a very small package that's just slightly larger than the included drive bay converter. I actually prefer this type of packaging; it produces very little trash.

Out of the box, the Neutron is not preformatted, so it will need to be formatted to work with a system. This is not a big task; it takes just about two or three minutes. For those who want to upgrade their system, this actually helps make the process faster since the cloning software doesn't need to delete the existing partition.

Cost per gigabyte
The new Corsair Neutron is noticeably more affordable than its big brother, the Corsair Neutron GTX, but not affordable enough compared with other SSDs. The drive's 240GB-capacity version currently costs about $214, effectively just about 89 cents per gigabyte, which is still slightly more expensive than the Samsung 830 Series, which is also much faster. The drive's 120GB version costs even more at $1.08 per gigabyte.

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