Corsair today announced its plans for the upcoming transition from 34nm to 25nm flash chips used on its solid-state drives and offered some clarification of what the move will mean for customers. As we explained recently, the transition will allow manufacturers to reduce costs and eventually boost capacity, with the downside that SSDs built using 25nm NAND flash may require additional over-provisioning to ensure reliability and thus have less total usable storage space.
Buyers of OCZ's first 25nm drives learned that the hard way – and now are receiving replacements – but Corsair is being more transparent about the change from the get-go regarding the capacity and performance implications. Specifically, they will add the 'A' suffix to all 25nm drives' models to set them apart from their 34nm siblings, while Corsair is also adjusting the marketed capacity to ensure people know what they are getting. For example, the 25nm counter-part of the 120GB Corsair Force F120 (with 34nm NAND) will be launched as a 115GB version named F115-A.
In terms of performance, the 25nm SSDs will see a drop of around 3-4% according to Corsair's internal testing data. While the F120 saw read and write speeds of 285 and 275 MB/s, respectively, the new drives post 280 and 270 MB/s.
Corsair is adjusting pricing to pass some of the savings to consumers and as a result the F115-A will carry an MSRP of $215, compared to $289 for the Force Series F120, while the F80-A will cost $169 instead of $199 on the 34nm F80 version. The new 115GB and 80GB 25nm drives will be available by the end of February.