Corsair Neutron NX500 SSD burns with speed, but doesn’t scorch your PC

Looking to beef up your desktop with super-fast storage? Corsair has a new solid state disk that takes advantage of your PC’s speedy PCI Express lanes by plugging directly into an add-in card slot. It’s called the Neutron NX500 NVMe PCIe SSD AIC, and it’s available in two capacities now, to be followed by a third capacity at the end of the month.

Traditionally, mechanical hard drives and cartridge-like solid state disks connect to the Serial ATA (SATA) bus (freeway) on a motherboard via ports and cables. The third revision of the specification powering this bus caps read and write speeds at 600MB per second, which is fine for general applications like browsing the internet, checking email, writing documents, and performing other mainstream tasks.

Meanwhile, the PCI Express bus is extremely fast. It’s built for handling add-in cards shoved into slots that are essentially an extension of the motherboard. Short for Peripheral Component Interconnect, this bus relies on “lanes” for sending and receiving data from multiple card-focused slots. Because SATA was created with slow hard drives and optical drives in mind, it bottlenecks the full capabilities of the newer, super-fast NAND Flash technology that drives today’s solid state drives.

Thus, moving SSD storage to PCI Express makes sense. As of late, stick-shaped SSDs have become a popular form factor, connecting to special “M.2” card-style slots on a motherboard. These slots can be based on the PCI Express or SATA 3 bus, depending on the manufacturer. These slots also rely on the NVM Express or the SATA Express storage access interface, the latter of which uses a PCI Express bus to provide transfer speeds of up to 1,969MB per second.

But what if you don’t have an M.2 slot on your motherboard supporting PCI Express? That’s where Corsair’s Neutron NX500 add-in card comes into play. Just shove it into an open slot, and you immediately have a crazy-fast SSD without disrupting the other storage devices installed in the PC. It’s based on the NVM Express interface, which was originally designed for the high-speed needs of the enterprise market. Corsair’s SSD requires a slot that supports the PCI Express 3.0 specification, and at least four lanes.

Here are some of the details:

Sequential Read Speed: Up to 3,000MB per second
Sequential Write Speed: Up to 2,400MB per second
4K Random Read: Up to 300K IOPS
4K Random Write: Up to 270K IOPS
Interface: NVM Express via PCI Express 3.0 x4 slot
Operating Temperature: Zero degrees to -70 degrees Celsius
Storage Temperature: -40 degrees to -85 degrees Celsius
Lifespan: 2,000,000 hours
Dimensions: 4/76 (W) x 6.49 (L) x 0.82 (H) inches
Storage Capacities: 400GB ($320)
800GB
1,600GB (1.6TB)
Storage technology: MLC NAND

Outside the speed factor, the Neutron NX500 add-in SSD comes packed with a high-surface-area heatsink to keep the card cool and fanless, enhanced error correction, dedicated DDR3 cache, and a five-year warranty. It’s compatible with Corsair’s free SSD Toolbox software, too.

The 400GB ($320) and 800GB ($660) models are available now. The 1.6TB version won’t be made available until the end of August.

Smart Home

Amazon shows off compact cashier-free store that could show up at airports

Amazon is testing its smallest Amazon Go store to date as it considers taking the grab-and-go technology to new venues such as airports and train stations. The compact store is a quarter the size of its current locations.
Deals

Here are the best laptop deals for December 2018

Whether you need a new laptop for school or work or you're just doing some holiday shopping for a special someone, we've got you covered: These are the best laptop deals going right now, from discounted MacBooks to on-the-go gaming PCs.
Computing

Intel's discrete graphics will be called 'Xe,' IGP gets Adapative Sync next year

Intel has officially dubbed its discrete graphics product Intel Xe, and the company also provided details about its Gen11 IGP. The latter will include adaptive sync support and will arrive in 2019.
Mobile

Honor to out-megapixel the competition with 48MP camera on upcoming View 20

After its phenomenal success with the View 10 in 2018, it looks like Honor is getting ready up the ante with its forthcoming Honor View 20. Here's everything we know about it so far.
Computing

Will Windows 95 be reimagined? Microsoft’s tweet hints at a throwback

The classic Windows operating system may just be getting a reboot of its own. Microsoft tweeted a cryptic message involving the Windows 95 logo and saying that it had a special announcement for its customers today.
Computing

Microsoft Surface Pro 6: Everything you need to know

The Surface Pro 6 is officially here, though it's not as big of a redesign as you might have hoped. With a new coat of black paint and an 8th-gen processor, this is a small update. If you've been eyeing a Surface Pro, you may want to wait…
Mobile

Leave the laptop at home, the iPad Pro is the travel buddy to take on vacay

The iPad Pro is a powerful tablet that's perfect for creatives and professionals. How does it fare when traveling with it as a laptop replacement? We took it on a two week trek in Japan to find out.
Computing

Style up your MacBook Air with one of these great cases or sleeves

Whether you’re looking for added protection or a stylish flourish, you’re in the right place for the best MacBook Air cases. We have form-hugging cases, luxurious covers and padded sleeves priced from $7 to $130. Happy shopping!
Computing

Want to make one hard drive act like two? Here's how to partition in Windows

If you don't want all of your files stored in one place but only have one drive to work with, partitioning is your best way forward. Here's how to partition a hard drive in Windows 10, step by step.
Computing

Does Qualcomm's latest laptop processor hold up against Intel's Core i5?

Qualcomm has been nipping at Intel's mobile CPU heels for years and now it might finally have overtaken it. To find out whether it's new SoC can hold its own in mid-range computing, we pitted the Snapdragon 8cx vs. Core i5.
Photography

Not just for Lightroom anymore, Loupedeck+ now works with Photoshop

Loupedeck+ can now help photographers edit in Photoshop too, thanks to physical controls for swapping tools, running actions, and more. The photo-editing console expanded to include Photoshop in the list of compatible editing programs.
Computing

Turn your Raspberry Pi into a Steam streaming hub with Valve’s Steam Link app

Valve's Steam Link app is now fully supported by Raspberry PI hardware, meaning that just about anyone with a few dollars to spare can build their own Steam streaming box in a matter of minutes.
Computing

Amazon takes $300 off Intel Core i7 Surface Pro 6 in latest sale

If you're looking for savings on the Surface Pro 6, Amazon is the place to shop. It currently is discounting the Intel Core i7 variant of Microsoft's latest 2-in-1 by $300, though no Type Cover is included.
Music

Here's our head-to-head comparison of Pandora and Spotify

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.