[nextpage title=”Introduction”]
We tested one more entry SSD, the Corsair Force LE 120 GiB. Let’s see how it performs.
Before proceeding, we highly suggest that you read our “Anatomy of SSD Units” tutorial, which provides all the background information you need to know about SSDs.
Like the Kingston SSDNow UV400 we tested recently, the Corsair Force LE uses TLC (triple level cell) memories. This kind of memory stores not two, as on most MLC memory chips, but three bits instead. It allows a higher data density and, thus, a smaller manufacturing cost for a same capacity chip.
The issues with TLC memory chips, compared to the two-bit MLC chips (and even more compared to the SLC memory chip, that store only one bit per cell) are the smaller speed (due to the error correcting mechanism) and a shorter lifespan, because there is more cell wearing on the erasing process (executed before writing new data).
This can be noticed at a specific characteristic of this model: the TBW (total bytes written, which means the amount of data written on the drive before it begin to experience tearing problems) for the 120 GiB Force LE is 30 TiB (the 120 GiB Kingston UV400, for comparison, has a TBW of 50 TiB). Obviously, this is a very high number and must not worry most users, but it makes this model inadvisable for applications that need a big amount of data writing, like servers, for example.
In the table below, we compared the tested units. All of them use SATA-600 interface and the 2.5” form factor, with 7 mm height. All the tested drives have 128 GiB total memory, but they are sold as 120 GiB because 8 GiB are reserved for “overprovisioning”.

Manufacturer

Model

Model #

Nominal capacity

Price

Corsair

Force LE

CSSD-F120GBLEB

120 GiB

USD 50

Kingston

SSDNow UV400

SUV400S37/120G

120 GiB

USD 41

SanDisk

SSD PLUS

SDSSDA-120G

120 GiB

USD 45

Kingston

SSDNow V300

SV300S37A/120G

120 GiB

USD 48

In the table below, we compared technical specs of the tested drives.

Model Controller Buffer Memory
Corsair Force LE Phison PS3110-S10C-12 256 MiB Nanya NT5CC128M16IP-DI 4x 32 GiB Toshiba TT58G51ARA
Kingston SSDNow UV400 Marvell 88SS1074 256 MiB Nanya NT5CC128M16FP-DI 8x 16 GiB Kingston FT16B08UCT1-0F
SanDisk SSD PLUS Silicon Motion SM2246XT 2x 64 GiB SanDisk 05446 064G
Kingston SSDNow V300 CL13826Z (SandForce) 8x 16 GiB Kingston FT16B08UCT1-DD

[nextpage title=”The Kingston SSDNow UV400 120 GiB”]
Figure 1 shows the box of the Corsair Force LE 120 GiB.

Corsair Force LE 120 GiBFigure 1: The Corsair Force LE 120 GiB package

On Figure 2, we see the Corsair Force LE 120 GiB, which has an aluminum case.

Corsair Force LE 120 GiBFigure 2: the Corsair Force LE 120 GiB

On the bottom of the drive, there is a sticker with unit info, as seen in Figure 3.

Corsair Force LE 120 GiBFigure 3: bottom side

Opening the Corsair Force LE (which is an easy task, since the cover is only fitted), we see the PCB. At the solder side, there are no chips.

Corsair Force LE 120 GiBFigure 4: solder side of the PCB

At the component side, we see four flash memory chips, a DDR3 memory chip that works as a buffer, and the controller chip.

Corsair Force LE 120 GiBFigure 5: component side of the PCB

The controller used by the Force LE 120 GiB is the Phison PS3110-S10C-12, presented in Figure 6.

Corsair Force LE 120 GiBFigure 6: controller chip

There is a DDR3-1600 memory chip, with 256 MiB capacity, model Nanya NT5CC128M16IP-DI, that works as a data buffer.

Corsair Force LE 120 GiBFigure 7: buffer memory

The flash memory chips are from Toshiba, and unfortunately we couldn’t find the official chip specs.

Corsair Force LE 120 GiBFigure 8: flash memory chip

[nextpage title=”How We Tested”] During our testing procedures, we used the configuration listed below. The only variable component between each benchmarking session was the SSD being tested.

Hardware configuration

Software Configuration

  • Operating System: Windows 7 Home Basic 64-bit using NTFS File System

Benchmarking Software

Error Margin We adopted a 3% error margin in our tests, meaning performance differences of less than 3% cannot be considered meaningful. Therefore, when the performance difference between two products is less than 3%, we consider them to have similar performance.
[nextpage title=”Compressible Data Test”] As you will have gathered from the previous page, we measured the performance of each drive using CrystalDiskMark.
It is important to note that we connected the SSDs to a SATA-600 port on our motherboard rather than a SATA-300 port, which could cause performance limitations.
First, we set CrystalDiskMark to “All 0x00 Fill mode” to evaluate the performance of the SSD when dealing with compressible data.
Corsair Force LE 120 GiB
On the sequential read benchmark, the Corsair Force LE performed similarly to the Kingston SSDNow UV400 120 GiB and to the SanDisk SSD PLUS, and was 11% faster than the V300.
Corsair Force LE 120 GiB
On the sequential write benchmark, the Corsair Force LE was 29% faster than the Kingston SSDNow UV400, performed similarly to the V300, and was 127% faster than the SanDisk SSD PLUS.
Corsair Force LE 120 GiB

On the random read test with 512 kiB blocks, the Corsair Force LE was 38% faster than the Kingston SSDNow UV400, 17% faster than the SSDNow V300, and was 57% faster than the SanDisk SSD PLUS.

Corsair Force LE 120 GiB

On the random write test with 512 kiB blocks, the Corsair Force LE was 27% faster than the Kingston SSDNow UV400, 46% slower than the SSDNow V300, and was 22% faster than the SanDisk SSD PLUS.
Corsair Force LE 120 GiB

On the random read benchmark with 4 kiB blocks, the Corsair Force LE was 177% faster than the Kingston SSDNow UV400, 144% faster than the SSDNow V300, and was 259% faster than the SanDisk SSD PLUS.

Corsair Force LE 120 GiB

On the random write benchmark with 4 kiB blocks, all the drives performed the same way.

Corsair Force LE 120 GiB

On the random read benchmark with 4 kiB blocks and queue depth of 32, the Corsair Force LE was similar to the Kingston SSDNow UV400, 211% faster than the SSDNow V300, and was 70% faster than the SanDisk SSD PLUS.

Corsair Force LE 120 GiB

On the random write benchmark with 4 kiB blocks and queue depth of 32, the Corsair Force LE was 12% faster than the Kingston SSDNow UV400, 44% slower than the SSDNow V300, and was 6% slower than the SanDisk SSD PLUS.
[nextpage title=”Incompressible Data Test”] For this test, we set CrystalDiskMark to the default mode, which uses incompressible data.
Corsair Force LE 120 GiB

On the sequential read benchmark, the Corsair Force LE performed similarly to the Kingston SSDNow UV400 120 GiB and to the SanDisk SSD PLUS, and was 14% faster than the V300.

Corsair Force LE 120 GiB

On the sequential write benchmark, the Corsair Force LE was 29% faster than the Kingston SSDNow UV400, 314% faster than the SSDNow V300, and was 128% faster than the SanDisk SSD PLUS.

Corsair Force LE 120 GiB

On the random read test with 512 kiB blocks, the Corsair Force LE was 13% faster than the Kingston SSDNow UV400, 10% faster than the SSDNow V300, and was 37% faster than the SanDisk SSD PLUS.

Corsair Force LE 120 GiB

On the random write benchmark with 512 kiB blocks, the Corsair Force LE was 26% faster than the Kingston SSDNow UV400, 170% faster than the SSDNow V300, and was 20% faster than the SanDisk SSD PLUS.
Corsair Force LE 120 GiB

On the random read benchmark with 4 kiB blocks, the Corsair Force LE performed similarly to the Kingston SSDNow UV400 120 GiB and to the V300, and was 64% faster than the SanDisk SSD PLUS.

Corsair Force LE 120 GiB

And on the random write benchmark with 4 kiB blocks, all the models performed similarly.
Corsair Force LE 120 GiB

On the random read benchmark with 4 kiB blocks and queue depth of 32, the Corsair Force LE was similar to the Kingston SSDNow UV400, 240% faster than the SSDNow V300, and was 97% faster than the SanDisk SSD PLUS.

Corsair Force LE 120 GiB

On the random write benchmark with 4 kiB blocks and queue depth of 32, the Corsair Force LE was 19% faster than the Kingston SSDNow UV400, 214% faster than the SSDNow V300, and performed similarly to the SanDisk SSD PLUS.
[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]
Analyzing the data obtained on our tests, the first conclusion is that the Corsair Force LE 120 GiB maintains the same performance with compressible and uncompressible data on writing operations, but has a loss of performance on the random read operations with uncompressible data.
Even with this behavior, it was on average the fastest of the four SSDs tested. So, we believe the Corsair Force LE 120 GiB is a good choice for the home user that is looking for an inexpensive SSD to use as a boot drive for a desktop or laptop, or as a second drive for installing most played games, for example.
However, because of its technical characteristics, it is not recommended on applications where there is a lot of writing operations everyday, where you need to choose a most expensive drive. Besides that, even performing decently for the home user, do not expect the same performance of a high-end SSD.