Things get a bit more interesting if you remove the 4 screws that hold the back plate in place. This will void the warranty, so we don't recommend it! Inside we find 8 small Samsung MLC NAND flash chips on a circuit board along with the Indilinx Barefoot controller. The design looks as expected, so let's put the plate back on and continue to the fun part - benchmarks!
Test system: Solid State Drives is a relatively new technology, and therefore it should be used with new hardware as well. The setup used to test the Corsair Extreme X128 drive is based on Intels X58 chipset and consists of the following hardware:
Intel Core i7 920
G.Skill 6GB DDR3-1600
For performance comparison, a regular high end hard drive is used (Western Digital Velociraptor series), as well as another SSD from Corsair. The latest drivers and newest Windows 7 updates has been installed.
The first samples of Corsair Extreme drives didn't support TRIM in Windows 7, but this has been added as a firmware upgrade (2.0). If you own a drive with older firmware, it can be updated through a Corsair tutorial. We did this with no problems.
But what exactly is this TRIM feature?
Without being too technical about how a Solid State Drive works, we'll briefly explain what the TRIM feature is: The overall problem is that an SSD can't always tell when a file has been deleted. This is because an SSD consists of millions of NAND flash cells, and data can only be written to them in small groups, but the data must be reset in larger groups - resulting in uncertainty of weather a file has been deleted. Until the group of cells has been re-used the SSD must keep track of all data that has been written to the drive, and this reduces the performance as the drive is filled.
In an operating system that supports TRIM - like Microsoft Windows 7 - the TRIM feature tells the SSD that the excess space in the groups no longer contains valid data, and that the drive doesn't need to keep track of it anymore.