Corsair Neutron GTX 480GB SSD Review
The length and width of the Neutron GTX is equal to that of any 2.5" device, making this drive compatible with any product which has a 2.5" slot. In order to enhance the compatibility of their new SSD even further, Corsair reduced the height of their Neutron GTX drives to 7mm, allowing it to be installed inside laptops which require low-profile drives and at the rear of the motherboard tray in certain computer cases.
The bottom side of the Neutron GTX is clean, with the exception of two warranty stickers placed at the two edges of the drive. The new warranty stickers essentially fixed the vulnerability which previous generation SSDs using the same chassis had, as the chassis is not held together by screws and could be opened without any sign of intrusion, which is no longer the case.
The PCB of the Neutron GTX drive is typical for a high performance SSD, being a typical green board which is about 20mm shorter than the length of the drive's chassis. The controller can be seen right in the middle of the PCB, surrounded by NAND flash memory chips. The small chip at the top right side of the PCB is a DDR2 cache, with 256MB total installed in the Neutron GTX.
As we mentioned in our introduction, the Neutron GTX is powered by the Japanese Link_A_Media (LAMD) LM87800 controller, a new player in the SSD market. On paper, this controller is capable of speeds up to 555MB/s read and 500MB/s write, although the Corsair GTX can surpass that write speed, indicating that Corsair might have fiddled with the controller's hardware and or firmware more than just a little. The LM87800 has enterprise-oriented features as well, such as an integrated AES encryption engine, however they are disabled in the Neutron GTX, possibly in order to maximize the drive's performance and long term reliability.
The NAND flash chips come from Toshiba and they are essentially the only difference between the GTX model and the standard Neutron drive. These NAND flash chips are toggle-mode and are the fastest design which is currently commercially available, whereas the chips found in the standard Neutron are synchronous type open NAND (ONFi). Although the capacity of the installed chips is 512GB, Corsair reserved about 12.5% for reliability purposes and internal maintenance, leaving 447GB available.