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CHARLES B.

CHARLES B.

Joined on 01/02/03

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Most Favorable Review

Should be slower at this price

Corsair Force LE 2.5" 480GB SATA III TLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) CSSD-F480GBLEB
Corsair Force LE 2.5" 480GB SATA III TLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) CSSD-F480GBLEB

Pros: This is an inexpensive SSD. Not quite as cheap as the Silicon Image S55 or Crucial BX100, but still slower than high-end SSDs. That said, most people want "affordable and still really good". Today's SSDs are *so much faster* than traditional hard drives that fretting over their differences is like worrying about which Ferrari use for your commute: The F12 Berlinetta may be the fastest, but they are all overkill. Corsair Force LE features: - Uses TLC flash (see below for what this means), like most cheap SSDs. - Includes a fast SLC (see below) cache to improve performance. This doesn't help much for large file copies, but it is a huge help for day to day tasks like starting programs, saving documents, rebooting. - The most important factor in an SSD's performance is the controller -- the processor that handles reading, writing and bookkeeping. This SSD uses a Phison PS3110-S10, which is a faster and higher-end controller than the PS3108-S8 used in the Kingston SM2280S3, the Silicon Power S55, and the MyDigitalSSD BP3. BUYING TIP: There is rarely much difference between SSDs that use the same controller. Once you know this, you simply look for the cheapest SSD with that controller to get the best deal. In the case of Corsair specifically, they tend to use higher-quality parts and offer other value-add features such as custom high-performance firmware and configuration software. I have not often been impressed with their software, but it is far better than anything from the low-end manufacturers. PERFORMANCE WITH SMALL TRANSFERS: (Note that all my benchmarks use a queue depth of 1 because that is the most common for non-server systems) This drive reads random small pieces of data (4KB) at 33.3MB/sec. This may sound slow, but it is faster than many inexpensive drives including the Crucial MX200, BX100, and the OCZ Vector 180, and it is about 45 times faster than an average hard drive, which often can't even handle a single megabyte per second. Phison controllers are still not known for their speed with small file transfers, but this is among the best Phison TLS SSDs. Still, choose a different drive if small IOs are important to your workload (for example, software development). It writes 4K random data about twice as fast as it reads (147MB/sec), which is about twice as fast as most TLC SSDs based on the Phison PS3108 controller (mentioned above). PERFORMANCE WITH LARGE TRANSFERS: Almost all SSDs today, even cheap ones, get around 500MB/sec for large transfers (546 in the case of this SSD). This is because the SATA port is the mitigating factor, not the SSD. Note that large transfer performance does not happen much in the real world other than when copying large files. Nothing to see here. MIXED READ/WRITE PERFORMANCE: Heavy daily computing tasks are mostly reads with occasional writes, for example, to save a configuration file or overwrite a document. When most of the reads and writes are small (under 4K) and random (not isolated to a subset of files), the Force LE doesn't do very well compared to some competitors, averaging about 40MB/sec compared to almost 80MB/sec from the Crucial MX200 and 75 from the 850 EVO. This When those transfers are larger, around 128KB, the performance changes drastically: The Force LE can manage 340MB/sec, which is faster than the Samsung EVO (255 MB/sec), OCZ Vector 180 (301MB/sec), and the Sandisk Extreme Pro (261MB/sec). The Force LE seems to be marketed towards those looking for an upper-end affordable SSD. Its use of TLC memory makes it inexpensive but slower than MLC SSDs, but its higher-end Phison controller and SLC cache make it perform better than many, but not all, TLC SSDs. While this drive is more expensive than the Silicon Power S55s that I recently reviewed, it also blows them away in terms of performance.

Cons: Normally in a Corsair review I would mention how the Corsair name comes with a price tag and how you can get similar hardware for cheaper from companies that don't have such an established name if you are willing to let go of Corsair's SSD software, but I looked for similar SSDs (SSDs that use the same Phison controller and use TLC flash memory) but they are all the same or slightly more expensive except for the Toshiba, which has awful reviews. Corsair has priced this thing *really* aggressively. Specifically, I looked at the OCZ Trion 150, the Toshiba Q300, and the PNY CS1311. Note that the prices may have changed since this review was a written, so it never hurts to look.

Overall Review: First: If you are building a PC, you should use an SSD and not a hard drive. Hard drives are useful only when you need to store terabytes of data cheaply (and slowly). Many benchmarks show the read speed of hard drives vs SSDs only for large file transfers (over 256KB). SSDs outperform hard drives by several times, but this does not reveal how important an SSD is to the system. SSDs can make your PC tens of times faster. How? Most real-world file access involves many reads/writes of very small amounts of data (under 8KB). For these, the Corsair Force LE is *more than 110 times faster* than a modern hard drive (specifically the Seagate 8TB Barracude Pro). TLC/SLC flash definition: TLC stands for "three level cell. Each flash memory cell stores three voltages instead of one (SLC) or two (MLC). This makes the cell slower because it has to read and write three values, and makes it wear faster because as it ages, it becomes more difficult to distinguish so many voltage levels, but it *triples* the SSD's capacity vs. SLC (or increases it 50% vs MLC). This means the SSD is more affordable and still fast enough for most users. I wouldn't suggest most TLC SSDs for servers, but for home computers they are just fine. Power users know that a high-end SSD like an Intel 750 is faster and will last longer, but this is an SSD for your friend's computer, your dad's computer, or your computer when you don't have unlimited cash. My credentials: I helped edit articles for StorageReview.com for years and was their first moderator. I have a degree in computer science and work as a senior engineer for a multi-billion dollar semiconductor manufacturer. My company does not make any SSD-related products and I have no investment in any PC hardware manufacturer.

Most Critical Review

An okay card.

3ware Internal 9750-8i SATA/SAS 6Gb/s PCI-Express 2.0 w/ 512MB onboard memory Controller Card, Single
3ware Internal 9750-8i SATA/SAS 6Gb/s PCI-Express 2.0 w/ 512MB onboard memory Controller Card, Single

Pros: + Stable. No sign ever losing or corrupting any data, though I haven't tested the card under a truly heavy server load. + Fast if nothing is going on in the background. + Works with Linux. + Pretty good documentation.

Cons: - Many performance features cannot or should not be enabled without the battery pack, which sells for a ridiculous $200 - Inconsistent performance even with the battery. - Copying large blocks of data (movies) from the array to another part of the same array often drops to about 50MB/sec (this is with 8 drives) and then back up to 90MB/sec, then back down. Nothing else going on in the background. - Controller seems noticeably laggy when minor transfers are going on in the background (such as a 20MB/sec write to the array). - Software used to configure the controller is insecure by default (full admin access for any user which looks up the password) - Software used to configure the controller is written in 32-bit Java, requiring that you install a 32-bit JVM just for that software if you have a 64-bit OS that otherwise doesn't need a 32-bit JVM. - I had to buy a new server motherboard. This card was totally incompatible with my Supermicro Xeon-3000 series board.

Overall Review: I have one of these (with the insultingly overpriced battery/BBU) with 8 Samsung F4 2TB drives on server-grade hardware (Supermicro, Xeon, ECC mem, etc.) running Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise x64. Using the latest firmware (which hasn't been updated in some time) configured with high-performance settings.

Unable to reach rated speed at rated voltage

G.SKILL Ripjaws V Series 32GB (2 x 16GB) 288-Pin PC RAM DDR4 3600 (PC4 28800) Intel XMP 2.0 Desktop Memory Model F4-3600C16D-32GVKC
G.SKILL Ripjaws V Series 32GB (2 x 16GB) 288-Pin PC RAM DDR4 3600 (PC4 28800) Intel XMP 2.0 Desktop Memory Model F4-3600C16D-32GVKC

Pros: + Inexpensive compared to most other DDR4 3600 memory rated at CAS 16, RAS to CAS 19, RAS Precharge 19, tRAS 39, tRC 58 @ 1.35v.

Cons: - Does not actually hit the rated speed with stability. At 1.35v, my system experienced random application crashes for a few minutes, then a BSOD (0x1000007e (0xffffffffc0000005, 0xfffff8077052bab0, 0xffffa10ad46de0c8, 0xffffa10ad46dd910). This suggest that the memory is being sold at the very bleeding edge of its capability, is minimally overclockable, and is a bit of a gamble as to whether it works as listed. To be fair, this memory is not QVL for this board, but I have never had an issue with that in the past, especially with Asus ROG boards.

Overall Review: - Asus ROG Crosshair VII Hero with X470 chipset and latest BIOS as of April 2, 2020 - Ryzen 7 3700X, not overclocked, 83.29°C core temperature running Prime 95 with AVX, FMA enabled (using stock cooler until my Noctua adapter arrives) - Seasonic Prime 750W Platinum PSU - Windows 10, latest The memory has survived for 20 minutes so far at 1.36v.

Good design, fair price, good cable management

Fractal Design Define R6 USB-C Blackout Brushed Aluminum/Steel ATX Silent Modular Tempered Glass Window Mid Tower Computer Case
Fractal Design Define R6 USB-C Blackout Brushed Aluminum/Steel ATX Silent Modular Tempered Glass Window Mid Tower Computer Case

Pros: - The "Blackout" series takes the term to heart. Every panel, every fan, even every screw is completely blacked out. Fractal Design provides screws for everything, including those things that usually come with their own (e.g. the power supply). - Every edge is rounded, every surface is coated. Almost every cable pass-through is rubber-lined (one is not, but it uses smooth, folded metal, so I do not expect any chaffing). - Every screw lines up absolutely perfectly. There is no need to, for example, push the motherboard this way or that to get everything to line up. It "just fits immediately". - The front panel looks like an imposing monolith. - The feet look and feel very, very solid. I have had problems with this in other cases. They are metal, rather than just a rubber sticker, and lift the case enough to allow good underside airflow. - I really like the location and number of USB ports. The USB-C port is a nice addition. - The visible "Designed in Sweden" stamp in the metal adds a bit of class. I don't know about other areas of the world, but in the U.S., Sweden is a very well-regarded country.

Cons: - Cable management is good -- not fantastic. There are several rubber-lined cable passthroughs that are not at spots near cable connections in some of the most popular higher-end motherboards (those that would likely be purchased with an upper-tier case such as this), such as Asus ROG Hero series. There are also no cable routes above the motherboard so that cables can plug downward into the board rather than up-and-loop-around. This is not an actual problem, but might be an opportunity for future design consideration. - Many of the motherboard cables are routed along the top and back of the case, but are not long enough to reach the motherboard if that routing is used. This is not much of a problem because the cables can be pulled out of the twist ties that temporarily hold them, then routed straight to the motherboard, but it seems a bit unintuitive. - The mechanism for release of the top cover is a bit "plasticky". The release runs plastic sliders along the length of the case. These sliders have a surprising amount of resistance and do not appear to be lubricated. The plastic is not thin, but it does not look like it could handle much force. For comparison, say, the Lian Li PC-V2000 case has similar releases that run the length of the case, but they are solid aluminum. Granted, that case costed more than 2x what this case costs. The top lid seems to have difficulty "locking in", at times with one corner sticking up. - The glass side window "feels fragile", not due to a quality issue, but due to the sheer size of the glass panel and lack of structural support. This is a necessary evil. On my Lian-Li, the glass side was about 50% the size of the panel, and was riveted into the large aluminum structure. The Fractal Design panel is nearly all glass, which looks fantastic, but may not be the best idea if you have toddlers in the house, if you move your PC often, or if you keep it on the floor near your feet. - While most of the screws are hand-removable, I feel like to really elevate this case, they should use screws that stay in the case even when unscrewed like Lian-Li does in their higher-end units. Because these screws are a specific eggshell black look, it would be tricky to find replacements without ordering from the vendor, should they become lost. - The pre-drilled holes for power supply ventilation look like they block more air than they could. Less metal/more hole may be an improvement. Note that, to my knowledge, this has never caused a real problem.

Overall Review: The Fractal Design Define R6 USB-C is a very solid, well-designed, upper-mid-range case. It has good cable management, plenty of expandability, and is among the best-reviewed cases available today. It is not a super-premium case, but it is priced well for what you get. Having always used top-end cases for the last 20 years of builds, I can say that I do not regret my decision, and that this purchase was the result of more than 10 hours of recent case research.

A great deal for a system SSD

Silicon Power Slim S55 2.5" 240GB SATA III SLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) SP240GBSS3S55S25FR
Silicon Power Slim S55 2.5" 240GB SATA III SLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) SP240GBSS3S55S25FR

Pros: This is an inexpensive SSD. Yes it is a bit slower than a high-end SSD, but most people want "affordable and still really good". Today's SSDs are *so much faster* than traditional hard drives that fretting over their differences is like worrying about which Ferrari use for your commute: The F12 Berlinetta may be the fastest, but they are all overkill. Because this SSD is only 240GB, I suggest using it only for a system drive -- that's your "C:" drive in Windows, the drive that Windows is installed on. You may need second SSD or a larger one if you store a lot of photos, videos, music, or games. I have also reviewed the 480GB version of this unit and found it to be nearly identical (but twice the size). Silicon Image S55's features: - Uses TLC flash (see below for what this means), like most cheap SSDs. - Includes a fast SLC (see below) cache to improve performance. This doesn't help much for large file copies, but it is a huge help for day to day tasks like starting programs, saving documents, rebooting. - The most important factor in an SSD's performance is the controller -- the processor that handles reading, writing and bookkeeping. This SSD uses a Phison PS3108-S8. BUYING TIP: There is rarely much difference between SSDs that use the same controller. Once you know this, you simply look for the cheapest SSD with that controller to get the best deal. Other models with this Phison controller include the Kingston SM2280S3, the Corsair Force LS, and the MyDigitalSSD BP3, all of which are more expensive as of this writing, making the Silicon Power S55 the best deal. PERFORMANCE WITH SMALL TRANSFERS: This drive reads random small pieces of data (4KB) at 33MB/sec. This may sound slow, but it is faster than most, including the more expensive Samsung 845 EVO (by about 5MB/sec), and it is about 44 times faster than an average hard drive, which often can't even handle a single megabyte per second. It writes 4K random data about twice as fast as it reads (60MB/sec) Note that compared to the 480GB model, this smaller SSD reads slightly faster and writes slightly slower. See my review of the 480GB model for details. PERFORMANCE WITH LARGE TRANSFERS: Almost all SSDs today get around 500MB/sec for large transfers. This is because the SATA port is the mitigating factor, not the SSD. The same goes for this SSD. Nothing to see here. REAL WORLD PERFORMANCE: It is difficult to *properly* benchmark real-world performance myself without special software, so I'll summarize results from the most technically competent hardware review website: Anandtech.com. Note they benchmark an SSD with the same controller and firmware, but it isn't the exact same SSD and the size is smaller, so these numbers are just a good ballpark figure. Google "anandtech MyDigitalSSD bp3" for details: Light workload (most users): 242 MB/sec: 66% of the performance of the fastest SSD, 5x the performance of the slowest. Heavy workload (Photoshop, gaming, installing, etc.): 166MB/sec: 60% of the performance of the fastest SSD, 4.4x the performance of the slowest. Overall the Silicon Power S55's performance is average, not extremely far from the top performers and far above the low performers. This is good news since the drive is so affordable.

Cons: Silicon Power has been criticized for changing the controller on some models of their SSD (not this one). For example, the S60 SSD can have either a Sandforce or Phison controller. Having multiple suppliers helps ensure that no supplier can suddenly jack up the price, and it is not evil as long as the company doesn't promise a specific controller. Still, Silicon Image should have made it very clear that the performance of some of their drives can differ -- there aren't many bigger changes that you can make to an SSD design than changing the controller it uses!

Overall Review: First: If you are building a PC, you should use an SSD and not a hard drive. Hard drives are useful only when you need to store terabytes of data cheaply (and slowly). Many benchmarks show the read speed of hard drives vs SSDs only for large file transfers (over 256KB). SSDs outperform hard drives by several times, but this does not reveal how important an SSD is to the system. SSDs can make your PC tens of times faster. How? Most real-world file access involves many reads/writes of very small amounts of data (under 8KB). For these, the Silicon Power S55 is *more than 100 times faster* than a modern hard drive (specifically the Seagate 8TB Barracude Pro). TLC/SLC flash definition: TLC stands for "three level cell. Each flash memory cell stores three voltages instead of one (SLC) or two (MLC). This makes the cell slower because it has to read and write three values, and makes it wear faster because as it ages, it becomes more difficult to distinguish so many voltage levels, but it *triples* the SSD's capacity vs. SLC (or increases it 50% vs MLC). This means the SSD is more affordable and still fast enough for most users. I wouldn't suggest most TLC SSDs for servers, but for home computers they are just fine. Power users know that a high-end SSD like an Intel 750 is faster and will last longer, but this is an SSD for your friend's computer, your dad's computer, or your computer when you don't have unlimited cash. My credentials: I helped edit articles for StorageReview.com for years and was their first moderator. I have a degree in computer science and work as a senior engineer for a multi-billion dollar semiconductor manufacturer. My company does not make any SSD-related products and I have no investment in any PC hardware manufacturer. I use an Intel 730 480GB SSD in my personal desktop computer, which I built from parts ordered from Newegg, because they are the only big online seller that knows technology and makes it easy to research between PC parts.

A great deal on an SSD

Silicon Power Slim S55 2.5" 480GB SATA III TLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) SP480GBSS3S55S25
Silicon Power Slim S55 2.5" 480GB SATA III TLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) SP480GBSS3S55S25

Pros: This is an inexpensive SSD. Yes it is a bit slower than a high-end SSD, but most people want "affordable and still really good". Today's SSDs are *so much faster* than traditional hard drives that fretting over their differences is like worrying about which Ferrari use for your commute: The F12 Berlinetta may be the fastest, but they are all overkill. Silicon Image S55's features: - Uses TLC flash (see below for what this means), like most cheap SSDs. - Includes a fast SLC (see below) cache to improve performance. This doesn't help much for large file copies, but it is a huge help for day to day tasks like starting programs, saving documents, rebooting. - The most important factor in an SSD's performance is the controller -- the processor that handles reading, writing and bookkeeping. This SSD uses a Phison PS3108-S8. BUYING TIP: There is rarely much difference between SSDs that use the same controller. Once you know this, you simply look for the cheapest SSD with that controller to get the best deal. Other models with this Phison controller include the Kingston SM2280S3, the Corsair Force LS, and the MyDigitalSSD BP3, all of which are more expensive as of this writing, making the Silicon Power S55 the best deal. PERFORMANCE WITH SMALL TRANSFERS: This drive reads random small pieces of data (4KB) at 29MB/sec. This may sound slow, but it is faster than most, including the more expensive Samsung 845 EVO (by about 2MB/sec), and it is about 40 times faster than an average hard drive, which often can't even handle a single megabyte per second. It writes 4K random data about twice as fast as it reads (71MB/sec) PERFORMANCE WITH LARGE TRANSFERS: Almost all SSDs today get around 500MB/sec for large transfers. This is because the SATA port is the mitigating factor, not the SSD. The same goes for this SSD. Nothing to see here. REAL WORLD PERFORMANCE: It is difficult to *properly* benchmark real-world performance myself without special software, so I'll summarize results from the most technically competent hardware review website: Anandtech.com. Note they benchmark an SSD with the same controller and firmware, but it isn't the exact same SSD and the size is smaller, so these numbers are just a good ballpark figure. Google "anandtech MyDigitalSSD bp3" for details: Light workload (most users): 242 MB/sec: 66% of the performance of the fastest SSD, 5x the performance of the slowest. Heavy workload (Photoshop, gaming, installing, etc.): 166MB/sec: 60% of the performance of the fastest SSD, 4.4x the performance of the slowest. Overall the Silicon Power S55's performance is average, not extremely far from the top performers and far above the low performers. This is good news since the drive is so affordable.

Cons: Silicon Power has been criticized for changing the controller on some models of their SSD (not this one). For example, the S60 SSD can have either a Sandforce or Phison controller. Having multiple suppliers helps ensure that no supplier can suddenly jack up the price, and it is not evil as long as the company doesn't promise a specific controller. Still, Silicon Image should have made it very clear that the performance of some of their drives can differ -- there aren't many bigger changes that you can make to an SSD design than changing the controller it uses!

Overall Review: First: If you are building a PC, you should use an SSD and not a hard drive. Hard drives are useful only when you need to store terabytes of data cheaply (and slowly). Many benchmarks show the read speed of hard drives vs SSDs only for large file transfers (over 256KB). SSDs outperform hard drives by several times, but this does not reveal how important an SSD is to the system. SSDs can make your PC tens of times faster. How? Most real-world file access involves many reads/writes of very small amounts of data (under 8KB). For these, the Silicon Power S55 is *more than 100 times faster* than a modern hard drive (specifically the Seagate 8TB Barracude Pro). TLC/SLC flash definition: TLC stands for "three level cell. Each flash memory cell stores three voltages instead of one (SLC) or two (MLC). This makes the cell slower because it has to read and write three values, and makes it wear faster because as it ages, it becomes more difficult to distinguish so many voltage levels, but it *triples* the SSD's capacity vs. SLC (or increases it 50% vs MLC). This means the SSD is more affordable and still fast enough for most users. I wouldn't suggest most TLC SSDs for servers, but for home computers they are just fine. Power users know that a high-end SSD like an Intel 750 is faster and will last longer, but this is an SSD for your friend's computer, your dad's computer, or your computer when you don't have unlimited cash. My credentials: I helped edit articles for StorageReview.com for years and was their first moderator. I have a degree in computer science and work as a senior engineer for a multi-billion dollar semiconductor manufacturer. My company does not make any SSD-related products and I have no investment in any PC hardware manufacturer. I use an Intel 730 480GB SSD in my personal desktop computer.

seller reviews
  • 1

Worked out well

I ordered a blue earring set, 1Ct TW .95 platinum. The diamonds were a bit dark, though even the jeweler can't predict what shade of blue a radiation treatment will yield. I can tell the cut isn't the greatest, but it's much less important with earrings than with, say, an engagement ring. This seller shipped the order within a week and it arrived on time. The whole shipping process did take a while, but it was being shipped from the East Coast to the West, so I can't complain. The price was also very good. Would buy from this seller again. I only wish the seller would advertise the cut/color/clarity of the products, though I assume it varies greatly.

On-time
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Satisfactory
10/17/2011