Before I continue with this review, I had 2 of these drive. The first one was with Firmware 1.2 firmware (later flashed to 1.3) and another being with Firmware 1.3- both factory flashed.
The left was the older Force 3 Drive with Firmware 1.2 (Serial number starting from 1126) and the second one with firmware 1.3 (Serial number starting for 1134).
Another way of putting it up is that the newer one is Rev AB and the older one is Rev AA- as its clearly shown behind the packaging alongwith the part number. To make sure we’re all on the same page,
Both the drive’s PCB (Above: Rev. AA; Below: Rev. AB) are the same design with the same controller and Flash NAND. The only difference I can think of: firmwares. The first drive that I tested with the firmware 1.2 factory flash firmware was Writing and Reading just fine according to “some” benchmarks (excluding ATTO, HD Tune Pro’s File Benchmark and Anvil storage utilities). Both in ATTO and HD Tune Pro the write was miserably low to be even considered as a storage drive. Anvil Benchmark detected write error from the very start of the endurance test. Do note that before I do any benchmarks or start using the drive for sometime, there are 2 things I do on a regular basis: Secure Erase and now: run atleast 50 loops with Anvil’s Endurance test. To the curious, the test setup was under AHCI, the drive gets a good ol’ fashion clean installation and I use The installation of Windows 7 64Bit Ultimate Edition went smooth however random drive lockups and “hangs” used to happen as soon as I was done with naming the OS profile. It used to last about 10-20 seconds and unfreeze for sometime and then it works- for about 10-12 seconds. I went ahead and followed the troubleshooting step that Corsair forum’s Yellowbeard suggested, I flashed it with the 1.3 firmware, only to find that the issue still existed, even after secure erase and re-installation. Using other editions of Windows 7- both 32 and 64bit didn’t produce any smooth operation. Did something happen during the flash? Anvil Endurance test DID detect write error the second I started the test. The newer Rev AB with 1.3 factory flash worked the way it should. No random lockups, no hangs, no BSODs- even after putting the system in hibernation and sleep mode with shorter or longer intervals. There were some even with older drive, they didn’t face any issue, some did. The issue was only with for the Force 3 120gig drive. I experienced the same issue what people did but firmware 1.3 factory flash worked the way it did. So if you happen to buy these, make sure its with the Rev AB version. Comparing the newer with the older packaging, the newer package is identically the same except with a small cut-out on the back to see the serial number.
I hope the newer drives that are retailing is with the newer Rev AB versions. If you do end up with an issue, simply RMA it. In my honest opinion, RMA of Corsair power supplies (replacement- not repair) is a role model for a lot of companies out there- and I am not the only one who will say this. But, better off picking up the right cake from the start. Moving on! (Note: The pictures that are taken are with Rev AA, but the benchmarks are from Rev AB)