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  • Legit Reviews, Vengeance™ 8GB DDR3 1600MHz Memory Kit Review — "The Corsair Vengeance 8GB 1600MHz CL9 DDR3 memory kit is a great performer in every regard. Being able to overclock this memory kit easily to 1866MHz is huge! While it does not win outright in benchmarks it is narrowly behind. The results are so close that it would be tough to actually see the difference in everyday scenarios. Its true value lies in its cost per GB where at just $5 more provides double the capacity of the highest performing 2133MHz kit! The Corsair Vengeance memory kit has a good looking heat spreader and is much more aggressive looking than the Dominator and XMS lines. Those of you showing off your PC are going to have a tough call on your hands, but again looking at the GB per dollar ratio it is hard to ignore the Vengeance kit."   PC Perspective, Gaming Audio Series™ SP2500 Speakers Review — "If Corsair wanted to make a big splash in computer audio, they certainly have succeeded. The SP2500s are the best 2.1 set of computer speakers that I have set ears to." And... "Most users will balk at paying $250 for a set of 2.1 speakers. Then again, there are those who do take audio much more seriously than others. While $250 is a lot of money, I feel that Corsair delivers a product worth every cent. I have been following computer audio since the days of those tiny, tinny 2.0 speakers that were battery powered. The jump to the Altec Lansing ACS-31s was massive from those terrible speakers. This was followed by plenty of competition from Creative (the original Megaworks 510D were fantastic), Klipsch (ProMedia series), and Logitech (Z-560 followed by the Z-5x00 series). Over the past 20 years we have seen tremendous leaps in sound quality in computer speakers. Now as we enter 2011, I can honestly say that these are the most accurate, well rounded, and best engineered desktop speakers that I have yet heard."  /corsairmedia/sys_master/productcontent/blog_corsair-weekly-review-round-up-very-long-quotes-edition-Content-4.jpg ThinkComputers, Graphite Series™ 600T Mid-Tower Case Review — "As I said earlier in this review all Corsair products either are best in class or right up there, so does the 600T make the cut?  It sure does, it is everything that a case should be.  Starting out with the build quality the internal steel chassis feels very strong and sturdy.  There is some plastic on this case, but it feels very solid.  The case doors come off very easily and the latch system works great and I wouldn’t expect the latches to break either."   /corsairmedia/sys_master/productcontent/blog_corsair-weekly-review-round-up-very-long-quotes-edition-Content-5.pngBenchmark Reviews, Gaming Audio Series™ HS1 USB Review — "It may be pure coincidence or genuine quality, but somehow the Corsair [HS1] USB Gaming Headset hit a sweet spot. It is instantly my favorite headset for listening to music, watching movies, and gaming. Much of it can be attributed to the fine-tuned 50mm drivers delivering top-notch audio. The decision to use Dolby for surround sound is wise, as they are the industry standard for music, games and movies. This is also the most comfortable pair of headset I've used. The mic isn't the best but if you're in a noisy room with lots of ambient noise this mic will manage to capture your voice and your voice only."     That's all from me this week... have a good weekend!

  • Introduction: Drive Specifications and the Test Bed  We all know by now, or should know that SSDs are fast. And they are getting faster according to the specifications. One example is the Corsair Force Series SSDs which are SATA2/3Gb SSDs based on the SandForce 1200 series controller. /corsairmedia/sys_master/productcontent/blog_corsair_force-Content-1.jpg   I was browsing a popular online retailer recently and I noticed the Crucial C300 128GB SATA3/6Gb SSD listed. Retail at that time was $289. I had also noticed that our Corsair Force Series F120 SATA2/3Gb drive was retailing for $229. Naturally, I wondered what that extra $60 was supposed to buy other than an additional 8GB of unformatted capacity.. /corsairmedia/sys_master/productcontent/blog_corsair_force-Content-2.jpg   The Corsair F120 is spec’d at 285MB/s read speed and 275MB/s write speed. The Crucial drive is rated at 355MB/s read speed and 140MB/s write speed. Benchmarking SSDs can be a tricky business. Pure speed and technical specifications are not the only indicators of the SSD experience. So, I decided to take a look at a variety of indicators to see what these 2 drives offered other then their raw spec numbers.  For my test setup I used the following: Gigabyte X58AS-UD7 Rev 1.0 Intel Core i7 950 CPU, stock settings, no overclock and cooled with a Corsair H70 Corsair CMP12GX3M3A1600C9 Memory Kit Corsair AX850 PSU ATI HD5970 GPU Corsair Force Series F40 SSD for the system drive The  OS is Windows 7 64bit with all current updates I used the driver for the Intel ICH10-R, the most current driver at the time of testing. The board was flashed with the most recent F8e beta BIOS which, according to Gigabyte provides improved SSD support and a new firmware for the Marvell 9128 SATA3/6Gb drive controller. All Force series drives used have firmware 2.0. The Crucial drive carried the most recent firmware available at the time of testing. I have bit of skeptic in me and it emerges each time a new computer related specification is released. As we all know, specifications are important but do not always show the true measure of the actual performance of a computer component. I remember a lot of people getting excited back in the time when the ATA133 standard was certified and released. Interestingly enough, the first SATA drives appeared around this same time. ATA133 drives just had to be faster than ATA100 drives…...right? Wrong! The ATA133 drives listed a higher specification but did not perform any better than the ATA100 drives. So of course I began to wonder if that would hold true again. Here are the specifications for each drive from their respective product pages. Corsair Force Series F120 SSD  Maximum sequential read speed 285 MB/second Maximum sequential write speed 275 MB/second Random 4K write performance of 50,000 IOPS (4K aligned) Latest generation SandForce controller and MLC NAND flash for fast performance Crucial C300 128GB SSD Read speeds up to 355MB/s Sequential Access - Write up to 140MB/s SATA 6Gb/s interface High-speed Synchronous NAND Random 4K Read/Write: 60K / 30K IOPS For more information on the SATA2/3Gb or SATA3/6Gb specification, check with the Serial ATA International Organization.   Testing and Benchmarking the Drives ATTO Corsair has used ATTO to validate SSD performance since our initial entry into the SSD market 2 years ago.  According to Crucial, they have validated their drive speeds using the HD Suite from Futuremark’s PCMark Vantage. I decided to test both drives with each benchmark. Here are the screenshots from ATTO. ATTO and all benchmarks used in this testing were run 3 times with the high and low run dropped. The machine was rebooted between every benchmark run.  /corsairmedia/sys_master/productcontent/blog_corsair_force-Content-4.jpg   As you can see, both drives maxed out the READ measurement. However, the Force drive is clearly faster in the WRITE measurement. Due to the Crucial drive not meeting specification on READs, I decided to check both drives again with ATTO using the Marvell 9128 SATA3/6Gb controller. The maximum write speed with this controller for the Crucial drive was 322638MB/sec transfer rate. However, the WRITE speed dropped almost 10% using Crucial drive on the Marvell controller. The Corsair Force drive results were within 2%-3% on both controllers with a slight overall drop on the Marvell controller.   PC Mark Vantage - PC Marks I tested both drives using PCMark Vantage. From the Futuremark website: A PCMark score is a measure of your computer’s performance across a variety of common tasks such as viewing and editing photos, video, music and other media, gaming, communications, productivity and security. I ran the benchmark using the Marvell controller and the Intel ICH10-R. In this test, the Intel ICH10-R was the superior performer over the Marvell controller. The Force drive performed approximately 25% better on the Intel controller and the C300 drive performed 16% better on the Intel controller. The Intel controller results are shown here. The Force drive is best in both the overall PC Marks score and the HD Suite   . Crystal Disk Mark /corsairmedia/sys_master/productcontent/blog_corsair_force-Content-5.jpg   PC Mark Vantage—HD Suite  Here are the actual raw numbers PCMark Vantage compiles and then uses to determine a score for the drive suite. In this simulated actual usage, the Force drive is clearly the better performer. According to Futuremark, this should be a good indicator of real world usage. Results are shown using the Intel ICH10-R controller. /corsairmedia/sys_master/productcontent/blog_corsair_force-Content-6.jpg   Crystal Disk Mark Crystal Disk Mark uses a different default testing methodology from ATTO. The default test is a random mix of 0 and 1 data. You can also select a 0 Fill or 1 Fill test. The C300 is a strong performer here. We’ll need to do some more testing to see if this translates to real world performance or in other benchmarks that use different methodologies and data types. F120 results are on the left, C300 results are on the right.                     Corsair F120                                                                           Crucial C300 /corsairmedia/sys_master/productcontent/blog_corsair_force-Content-7.jpg   File Transfer Test For the file transfer test, I added a 2-drive RAID-0 stripe using 3 Force Series F40 SSDs to the ICH10-R. I then created a 5GB test file from my server using a combination of Word documents, Excel documents, uncompressed photos, MP3s, AVIs, and Matroska movie files. I also included .zip files comprised of these files to be sure to include a variety of compressed and uncompressed data types. I transferred them to and from the Force 120 and the C300 using the RAID-0 stripe. For the test, I copied and pasted the individual files, not the folder in which they were contained. The transfer times for both the F120 and the C300 were within 2 seconds of each other in both directions and averaged from 31 seconds to 33 seconds reading from and 33 seconds to 35 seconds writing to. I hand timed each transfer using a stopwatch. The time difference in each was insignificant and well within the margin of error of my thumb on the stopwatch. . /corsairmedia/sys_master/productcontent/blog_corsair_force-Content-8.jpg   Conclusions /corsairmedia/sys_master/productcontent/blog_corsair_force-Content-9.jpg So, what does that extra $60 for the SATA3/6Gb drive get a person aside from an extra 8GB of unformatted space? It appears that it simply buys a newer specification. The first thing I discovered is that while the Crucial drive does test faster on the Marvell controller in WRITE speed, the READ speed suffered approximately an equal amount. To date, I have only tested this single motherboard using a SATA3/6Gb but I tried it with 3 BIOS revisions and 2 different driver versions. This may be an indicator that the current SATA3/6Gb controllers are not ready for prime time. If this is the case, any implied advantage of current SATA3/6GB drives cannot be fully utilized. ATTO and Crystal Disk Mark are both very valid benchmark tools for pure speed. However, pure speed is not the only measure of SSD performance. ATTO uses only 0 Fill data which works well with the SandForce Durawrite Technology. This technology involves a patented form of data compression. According to SandForce, DuraWrite technology extends the endurance of MLC memory providing at least 5 year lifecycles w/ 3-5K cycle MLC Flash. Over the long term, his technology should easily offset the slower benchmark results we see in the Random and 1 Fill tests using Crystal Disk Mark and many other benchmark utilities tested but not shown here. In the PCMark Vantage tests, the SandForce based Force 120 was the clear winner in both overall PC Marks and in the HD Suite. Purely numeric benchmarks are only theoretical indicators of actual performance as we noted at the beginning of this article. However, the PCMark Vantage benchmark was chosen for its ability to emulate real world usage. The file transfer test was a general illustration of the blazing speed of SSDs. Moving 5GB of data in 30 seconds is spectacular on both drives and especially so when compared to standard hard disk drives. The SandForce based Force 120 drive showed itself to be the equal of the Crucial 300 in spite of the Crucial bearing the newer specification. Additionally, the Force Series drives will offer superior performance for users not yet owning motherboards with SATA3/6Gb controllers or a PCI-e SATA3/6Gb controller.  

  • I recently spent some time assembling and testing a new gaming rig using our Graphite Series™ 600T mid-tower case. I used quite a few other Corsair components, combined with a solid CPU, GPU, and motherboard to make a great little gaming rig.  I documented the component selection, the build, and the testing in 3 different sections. The end result was an extremely capable rig perfect for gaming and a variety of other tasks. The most fun part was getting a 1.2GHz OC with very little effort!  <br>CPU-Z: Stock Settings (left) v.s. CPU-Z: OCed Settings (right) Due to the excellent feature set and functionality of the 600T, the build was quick and seamless. Read along and see how well the build went and you can see how the included Corsair components might integrate into your existing build or even a new system. Read the complete build log at Corsair Graphite Series 600T Build Log: Yellowbeard’s Revenge.

  • Legit Reviews, Air Series™ A50 CPU Cooler review — " With the Corsair A50 doing as well as it does and costing what it does, I feel it would make for a nice budget cooler because it will get the job done and not break the bank in the process. The documentation is very easy to follow, it was easy to install, and will fit all the popular sockets out today -- even the new Intel LGA1155 socket for 'Sandy Bridge' processors as that socket same hole pattern as the LGA1156 socket. The Corsair A50 even comes backed by a 2-year warranty, which is nice for the price you pay. Not too many things can go wrong on a HSF, but you never know one of the three 8mm heatpipes might blow up or something! :)" TweakTown, Gaming Audio Series™ SP2500 Speakers review — "What we really liked almost of all was that Corsair have covered everything that's important. And let it be said we have never seen a system in this class do that. There's always something that's been missed; the quality of the cables, the size of the sub or not having a tweeter; maybe even poor amplification. But that's just the thing, they've got everything right! - We almost had to rub our eyes to make sure it was true."     That's all from me this week... have a good weekend!

  • Above is a comparison of the Force Series™ F60 in RAID 0 vs. a single SSD. Today enthusiasts are looking for ways to boost the performance of their machines; one way is by upgrading to an SSD. Solid-state drives offer several benefits, including cutting down load times for operating systems, applications, and games. To take this idea a step further, a RAID 0 array can be created using two identical SSDs, which can almost double performance speeds. What is RAID 0? RAID 0 increases performance and storage space by splitting data evenly between the raided drives sharing I/O operations into equal-blocks. It increase storage amount by adding the drives lowest amount across each drive. Setting up a RAID 0 is very easy task to accomplish, but if this is your first time doing so see the link below: Configuring RAID-0 Arrays With solid-state drives — Intel ICH and PCH Controllers Example: Part # CSSD-F60GB2-BRKT (60GB) X2 in RAID 0 60GB + 60GB = 120GB storage space The two 60GB Force drives add together creating 120GB storage space. Test Setup : Test system consists of using brand new SSDs as a secondary drive. Each test was performed in the same order with no changes made to the system. Results might vary depending on the system used. CPU: Intel® Core™ i7-920 Memory: Corsair Dominator® DDR3 memory— CMP6GX3M3A1600C8 Motherboard: Asus P6X58D Premium Video Card: ATI Radeon™ HD 4870 OS: Windows 7 64-Bit ATTO Disk Benchmark: 1MB <br>Force Series F120 image on left and Force Series F60 X2 RAID 0 on right. In the above image you can see in Read performance at a 1MB transfer rate you have more 102% performance gain. PCMark Vantage <br>Force Series F120 image on left and Force Series F60 X2 RAID 0 on right. Overall Score shows about a 63 % performance increase from using two SSDs vs. one Performance Test 7.0 <br>Force Series F120 image on left and Force Series F60 X2 RAID 0 on right. Overall Score shows about a 83% performance increase from using two SSDs vs. one. IO Meter Alignment 4k 100% Write 100% 4K Random <br>Force Series F120 image on left and Force Series F60 X2 RAID 0 on right. IOPS is a common benchmark for hard disks, solid-state drives , and any other type of storage device. Total IOPS based off total number of I/O operations per second (when performing a mix of read and write tests). Total IOPs shows about a 90% performance increase from using two SSDs vs. one. Price in Dollar Amount <br> Priced based off Amazon. The price in cost if you purchased two CSSD-F60GB2-BRKT would be $272.98 making a $37.99 cost difference if purchasing one (prices may vary depending on where you shop). Conclusion Whether you are a gamer, enthusiast or just an average user, you will see a performance gain when upgrading to a Solid-State Drive. Prices are now better than ever on SSDs and there has never been a better time to upgrade. For even greater performance, you can get two or more SSDs and run them in a RAID 0 configuration. By purchasing two smaller SSDs for about the same price as one large, you can get the performance benefits from RAID 0 with little to no added costs.

  • In a bit of a slow week we have a couple reviews and a video for you to enjoy this week. Hexus, Gaming Audio Series™ SP2500 Speakers review — " In all, though. the SP2500s are the best PC-centric speakers we've heard. The asking price may well be a stumbling block for most readers, and many will look toward a budget set of KEF or Mission speakers and amplifier for the same outlay, but after spending hours with a set, there's little doubting that Corsair has hit the right note with its first foray into premium speaker territory. Got a high-end PC build planned? Do yourself a favour and put these on the list." Legit Reviews, Gaming Audio Series™ SP2500 Speakers review — "When the Corsair SP2500 2.1 PC speaker system showed up in the test lab we hooked it up and were shocked to hear our music. We were able to hear details in the audio that we weren't able to make out on our old speaker system. The satellite speakers on the SP2500 are amazing and the midrange audio is crystal clear. Most audiophiles talk about sound separation and having bass that overpowers vocals and we finally get what they were talking about. The Logitech Z-5300 system that we were running appears to have had greatly exaggerated bass and as a result we were actually missing out on the clarity of our audio tracks. This is something we never would have known if we didn't try out the SP2500 on the same PC. Just picture us playing the same song over and over and switching speaker systems! ;)  The Corsair SP2500 speakers were able to sound great no matter the volume, either, and that is something our old Logitech Z-5300 speakers were unable to do.  The Logitech Z-5300's would distort and you'd smell them heating up, which is a smell that is very unsettling and I'm sure we've all smelled it before.  At the end of the day we found the Corsair SP2500 2.1 speaker system to be great for games, music and even movies. " That's all from me this week... have a good weekend!

  • Straight on to the reviews this week, with a minimum of fuss... ProClockers, Graphite Series™ 600T mid-tower case review — "This is our first go-round with a Corsair case and I am here to say the quality of the Graphite 600T is top notch. There are just a couple of manufacturers we can say this about and now Corsair joins that list. The 600T is sturdy at every point, corner and joint."       Hareware Secrets, Hydro Series™ H70 CPU cooler review— " The Corsair H70 watercooler did what we expected from it: it overperformed all the air coolers we tested to date."   Tweak Town, Dominator® GT DDR3 2133Mhz memory review— "No longer is the "Dominator" series something that the most "hardcore" overclocker needs to be looking at. Sure, it's great for them, but you don't need to be a BIOS genius to get the most out of this RAM. Corsair give us a kit that offers great performance and runs like a gem at its default spec and Intel have given us a great chipset that opens up the easy use of this high speed memory for the masses."         /corsairmedia/sys_master/productcontent/blog_corsair-weekly-review-round-up-short-and-sweet-edition-Content-4.png Overclockers Club, Vengeance™ 12GB DDR3 1600 review — "Now, everyone knows Corsair made a name for themselves with the overclocking prowess of their modules. This set lives up to that legacy and more with a bump of almost 25% from 1600Mhz to 1974MHz. That's 374Mhz with a bump in the TRCD and TRAS and the voltage bumped to 1.65v. Not shabby at all! But wait, you don't overclock? Blasphemy! In that case you can reduce the latencies again to improve performance without increasing clock speeds. This set would drop down to 7-8-7-24 again with just a small bump in voltage to 1.60v." That's all from me this week... have a good weekend!

  • If you haven't heard, we were at CES last week where we launched a ton of new products. We announced three new audio products — the top of the line Gaming Audio Series™ SP2500 and SP2200 speakers, and the Gaming Audio Series HS1A analog gaming headset which is the cousin to the HS1 USB. We also announced the Special Edition White Graphite Series™ 600T mid-tower, and Obsidian Series™ 650D mid-tower cases, and also our new SATA 6Gb/s Performance 3 Series™ line of solid-state hard drives. We also played some video games... As we did a very good job of seeding the SP2500s before the press event at CES, we've got more than enough reviews this week to dedicate this weekly round-up to them. So we're going to do a little different format this week. No intros, straight to the quote!   GameSpot UK — "The SP2500 is a fantastic 2.1 system. The accuracy of satellites is something of a revelation for a consumer-focused product, letting you hear detail that you may have been missing from your audio. Though it can come across as a little clinical, the on-board DSP does a great job of offering a range of usable sounds that allow you to tune the system to your tastes. Music is detailed, accurate, and a pleasure to listen to, movies blow your socks off, and the accurate stereo imaging makes playing games a little easier too."   /corsairmedia/sys_master/productcontent/blog_corsair-weekly-review-round-up-sp2500-edition-Content-3.png Hareware Heaven, 10 out of 10 stars — "With the SP2500 Corsair has created a 2.1 system which exceeds the audio quality anything else in the same price range. In fact it produces a quality of audio which is better than many other more expensive products."   /corsairmedia/sys_master/productcontent/blog_corsair-weekly-review-round-up-sp2500-edition-Content-4.gifHard OCP — "The Corsair Gaming Audio Series SP2500 High-power 2.1PC Speaker System is exceptional and we have absolutely no reservations about recommending these. Assembly was extremely easy, the speakers look great, and performed well in all of our tests. Corsair makes excellent, innovative products and its SP2500 speakers are another reason why the company deserves your hard earned dollar."     Tech Radar, 5 out of 5 stars — "The SP2500 will set you back £200, but we can say without reservation that, as soon as you get them up and running, you'll feel completely justified. If you want high-end PC audio, here it is."   Maximum PC , we get a 9 and Antec gets a... 6 — "There is absolutely nothing subtle about Corsair’s SP2500 Gaming Audio Speakers: This monstrous 2.1-channel system could start a riot. After just a few minutes listening to Les Claypool shred his stand-up acoustic bass on the Primus classic “Mr. Krinkle,” with the amp cranked way beyond sensible, we felt an overwhelming urge to start breaking furniture. So we turned the volume down and started hacking zombies in Left4Dead 2, instead."   That's all from me this week... have a good weekend!

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