Corsair MP600 Mini 1TB Review (Steam Deck)
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Steam Deck owners looking to upgrade to a high-capacity NVMe SSD have hardly been spoiled for choice in the past. The market for M.2 2230 SSDs was relatively limited before the arrival of the Deck. And although it has improved, it is still small compared to full-size M.2 2280 SSDs, which has the unfortunate effect of pushing prices higher.
OEM drives like the Western Digital SN740 or Kioxia BG5 2230 have commanded steep prices at times (if you could find them), and we have been hoping for more 2230 drives to improve competition in the space.
The Corsair MP600 Mini
As a result, the Corsair MP 600 Mini is a welcome arrival. Launched in May 2023, the MP 600 Mini is so far only available in a single 1TB capacity with the following specifications:
|Form Factor||M.2 2230||M.2 2230|
|PCIe 4.0 x4/|
|PCIe 4.0 x4/
|Sequential Read||4800 MB/s||3500 MB/s|
|Sequential Write||4800 MB/s||2900 MB/s|
|Random Read||850K IOPS||500K IOPS|
|Random Write||1.1M IOPS||450K IOPS|
|Active Power||4.3 W||4.3 W|
With a Phison E21 controller, 176-layer TLC NAND memory chips, and no onboard DRAM, the MP600 Mini places itself in the mid-range PCIe 4.0 category. It is a step up from the entry-level Kioxia BG5, and incidentally the same controller/NAND combo as the Sabrent Rocket 2230, one of the MP600 Mini’s main competitors.
In other words, it is faster than some budget SSDs but unable to compete with high-end M.2 drives like the Samsung 990 Pro or WD Black SN850X. That’s perfectly fine if it keeps the power draw in check (it does). And you would be hard-pressed to notice any real-world performance difference with a flagship SSD in devices like the Steam Deck or Asus ROG Ally.
The MP600 Mini also strikes a very appealing balance between storage capacity, performance, and price, especially since Corsair has priced the 1TB unit quite aggressively at just $105.
Steam Deck Benchmarks: KDiskMark
There is hardly an abundance of SSD benchmarking tools for the Steam Deck’s flavor of Linux, so KDiskMark – the one that happens to be easily accessible via the built-in Discover Store – has become the go-to option. KDiskMark is nevertheless a powerful tool, based on Flexible I/O Tester and visually similar to CrystalDiskMark for Windows.
Compared to Kioxia’s BG5, the Corsair MP600 Mini (and Sabrent Rocket 2230) offers higher peak sequential performance but the Kioxia is stronger in some other areas of KDiskMark’s test suite. It all evens out at a queue depth of one (Q1T1) though, where even the small 256 GB stock SSD (based on Phison E13) performs fairly well.
Reading and writing small amounts of data is more relevant than large sequential transfers for the average consumer SSD workload (and user experience). Here, the read speed of the 1TB capacities is within the margin of error but the Kioxia BG5’s write performance is about 20% behind the competition.
Game Loading Times
Game and level loading times are trickier to measure on the Steam Deck, but you can get a semi-accurate indication by measuring them manually (via external video). This test compares loading a specific save file for each game, measured from the start screen to interactive.
Somewhat surprisingly, the Corsair MP600 Mini uses a fraction of a second more than the Kioxia BG5 to load each game save. The difference is not enough to be noticeable in real-world use, but it is measurable and seemingly consistent.
You may also notice that the difference between either of the 1TB SSDs and the theoretically much slower 256 GB drive is largely irrelevant. A key takeaway is perhaps that you shouldn’t expect significant performance gains when swapping one NVMe SSD for another in the Steam Deck.
Loading from the microSD card, on the other hand, is often noticeably slower but it’s not as far behind as you might expect.
While the Steam Deck is an unusually competent handheld, it is not comparable to a high-end gaming desktop, and its internal SSD does not appear to be a bottleneck to worry too much about. That said, you will likely want to upgrade it eventually since you can’t get it with more than 512 GB of NVMe storage out of the box.
However, until recently M.2 2230 SSDs have been hard to find – and even more so at reasonable prices. Corsair’s MP600 Mini goes a long way to solve both problems. Even a few weeks after it was released, it is widely available at its affordable $105 MSRP. This also seems to have pushed down the comparable Sabrent Rocket 2230 and other competitors into similar territory.
Even if the Corsair MP600 Mini is not a flagship SSD (it isn’t trying to be), it is a solid product from a trusted manufacturer, sold at a reasonable price with a 5-year warranty. In short, it is a great product for the intended purpose.
A side note to all of the above is that the entry-level Steam Deck just became more interesting. Going from 64 GB eMMC to 512 GB of NVMe storage will set you back an extra $250, whereas this simple DIY upgrade lets you go from 64 GB to 1 TB for $105. In this case, you also miss out on the anti-glare display, but that seems like a reasonable trade-off.
A reasonably-priced Gen4 M.2 2230 SSD that can easily compete with pricier options.
- Solid performance
- Comparatively affordable
- 5-year warranty
- Still more expensive than comparable 2280 SSDs
- No 2TB model