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10 New SSDs: What Does It Take To Turn Heads?

Time To Upgrade: 10 SSDs Between 240 And 256 GB, Rounded Up
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Despite the fact that the previous page shows us performance, in many cases, is very close between SSDs in a desktop-oriented workload, there is still a lot of exciting stuff happening in the SSD space.

To begin, we're in the midst of another generational evolution in NAND. We recently published Intel SSD 335 240 GB Review: Driving Down Prices With 20 nm NAND, and, well, the big news was right there in the title. Incidentally, the company circled back with us regarding the disappointing endurance numbers we reported to let us know that its MWI is bugged out and will be fixed in an upcoming firmware revision. More on that soon. 

Then there's the new Samsung 840 Pro (Samsung 840 Pro SSD: More Speed, Less Power, And Toggle-Mode 2.0), which also utilizes 20 nm-class NAND and really impresses us with chart-topping performance and low power consumption.

But what about all of these new drives in today's story? Well, aside from Corsair's Neutron family, which features a new controller, pricing is the biggest variable to consider. Last month, 240/256 GB SSDs started to drop under the $1/per GB threshold. Although most folks agonize over the performance of SSDs, pricing and endurance are both issues taking precedence when we make recommendations.

SSD
Market Price
Price Per GB
Adata Premier Pro SP900 256 GB
$185
$0.72
Adata XPG SX900 256 GB
$190
$0.74
Corsair Neutron 240 GB
$220
$0.91
Corsair Neutron GTX 240 GB
$250
$1.04
Monster Daytona 240 GB
$200
$0.83
PNY XLR8 240 GB
$195
$0.81
PNY XLR8 Pro 240 GB
(unavailable)
-
SanDisk Extreme 240 GB
$190
$0.79
Transcend SSD320 256 GB
$175
$0.68
Transcend SSD720 256 GB
$225
$0.88


Had these drives been available a year ago, they probably would have sold for somewhere in the $2/GB range. No doubt, paying $200 or more for 240 GB of capacity is still a painful thought, given the 3+ TB hard drives available for even less. But the fact that a gigabyte of solid-state storage costs a fraction today than what it did previously is great news. We no longer feel compelled to suggest dinky 60 or 80 GB drives. Even a mainstream machine can make room for a 128 GB SSD, and the handful of sub-$200 drives in the chart above are particularly exciting.

Of course, we're looking forward to this time in 2013 when we will hopefully see advances in manufacturing technology cut into what a 240 or 256 GB SSDs costs.

For now, though, we're particularly impressed with the composition of Transcend's 256 GB SSD320 and its $175 price tag. That's not bad at all for a quick drive with a second-gen SandForce controller. Unfortunately, it's tough to find by that name on Newegg's site, so here's the link right to its product page.

We're not altogether bothered by the asynchronous NAND that Transcend uses to push the price of its drive down, but the benchmarks do demonstrate that it's slower. If you'd prefer to pay a little more for faster memory, Adata's XPG SX900 leverages synchronous ONFi-compatible NAND and sells for just $15 more.

Given attractive price tags, performance levels where we want them to be, and satisfactory three-year warranty periods, both the Transcend and Adata drives receive Tom's Hardware Approved recognition. We'd also like to recognize Corsair for guaranteeing its Neutron-series SSDs for five years. They're pricier, but the extra coverage may be worth the price premium.

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Top Comments
  • 22 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , November 23, 2012 3:48 AM
    get the cheapest, biggest you possibly can. Benchmarks exaggerate the difference between SSD's.
Other Comments
  • 22 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , November 23, 2012 3:48 AM
    get the cheapest, biggest you possibly can. Benchmarks exaggerate the difference between SSD's.
  • 7 Hide
    A Bad Day , November 23, 2012 4:27 AM
    I agree. Unless if you're buying a glorified USB stick (there is a 128 GB stick) or an SSD with an OC'ed processor, the main factor that consumers should be concerned about is price per gigabyte.
  • 7 Hide
    A Bad Day , November 23, 2012 4:28 AM
    EDIT: And reliability.

    "In order to install a new firmware that significantly boost performance and stability, you must backup all of your data because it will be wiped."
  • 1 Hide
    Tanquen , November 23, 2012 4:41 AM
    Yea, it’s getting a little out of hand. For 90% of the things 90% of people do on their PC, 200MBs+ read and write speeds just don’t mean much. There are too many other bottle necks going on. I messed around with a RAM drive using most of my 64GB of RAM and the read and write speeds are fun to test (4000MBs or so) but games and VMware sessions I launched from the RAM disc saw no noticeable improvement in launch times or anything else. Same goes for my 830 SSD drive. It’s fast but games and software I use for SCADA development just don’t see any real benefit. They are cool if you want to open 10 sessions of MS Word and 15 Internet Explorer and a bunch of other stuff at the same time but if you just open one instance of Excel and use it and the Photo Shop and use it and then a web browser and use it, you’ll never really see the difference. You have to benchmark it or have two PCs setting right next to each other to see that something started or saved a split second faster.

    At least with my 64GB of RAM and actually get 64GB of RAM unlike HDs and SSDs.
  • 0 Hide
    tomfreak , November 23, 2012 6:13 AM
    unless the sandforce drive is priced a lot cheaper than the similar capacity non-sandforce SDD. I always choose the non-sandforce SSD. 16GB is a big deal in SSD.
  • -9 Hide
    stoogie , November 23, 2012 8:16 AM
    until theres affordable 512gb ssd's then i wont get 1, my c drive is 360gb~ and i have 11tb
  • 2 Hide
    sna , November 23, 2012 8:31 AM
    TanquenYea, it’s getting a little out of hand. For 90% of the things 90% of people do on their PC, 200MBs+ read and write speeds just don’t mean much. There are too many other bottle necks going on. I messed around with a RAM drive using most of my 64GB of RAM and the read and write speeds are fun to test (4000MBs or so) but games and VMware sessions I launched from the RAM disc saw no noticeable improvement in launch times or anything else. Same goes for my 830 SSD drive. It’s fast but games and software I use for SCADA development just don’t see any real benefit. They are cool if you want to open 10 sessions of MS Word and 15 Internet Explorer and a bunch of other stuff at the same time but if you just open one instance of Excel and use it and the Photo Shop and use it and then a web browser and use it, you’ll never really see the difference. You have to benchmark it or have two PCs setting right next to each other to see that something started or saved a split second faster.At least with my 64GB of RAM and actually get 64GB of RAM unlike HDs and SSDs.


    to see the difference you will need to put the system itself on RAM Disk. not only the installed programs.


  • 9 Hide
    Anonymous , November 23, 2012 8:36 AM
    Where are Samsung SSDs ? Especialy model Samsung 830- 256GB which is on sale in Europe for 160-180€. That is best offer, reliable, faster than basic 840. Get some MB with Z77 chipset and you can RAID them with TRIM support. 2x256 for 330€ is so awesome with 1035Mb/s read in RAID 0. I tested it on Gigabyte Z77-UP4 TH, its a shame that there are only 2x6Gbit ports so 1x840 Pro + 2x830 in RAID 0 is impossible on this MB without SATA2 speed loss on remaining SATA ports. This was my scenario for fast gaming /500GB Steam inventory/ : Raptor, later RAID 0 HDDs, later Velociraptor, next 128GB SSD + 1GB Samsung HDD cached by OCZ Synapse 64GB /totaly unreliable/. So I ended up with 1x boot SSD + 2x SSD in RAID 0. Maybe I am little bit offtopic but any ideas how to "live" with increased Steam inventory and keep it fast enough ? Steamover SW is not reliable for me. Thanks for nice article.
  • 0 Hide
    ojas , November 23, 2012 9:35 AM
    Quote:
    When Thomas, Don, and Paul prioritize the parts for their quarterly System Builder Marathon configurations (the next of which is coming soon, by the way)

    Wait, SBMs are fine, but where oh where went BestConfigs?
  • 0 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , November 23, 2012 11:30 AM
    ^ not loading times. But booting times, specially with a heavy AV like Kaspersky installed.
  • 0 Hide
    jaquith , November 23, 2012 12:25 PM
    I would agree with RAID 0 for your old SSD than simply tossing it for a newer larger SSD. My problem is 1TB HDD's just aren't cutting it especially if you game and use Window's backup; seeing the red space indicator caught me by surprise. I have a 180GB (167GB) and I'm 2/3 full.

    I have a 2 year old SSD and my 2x faster SSD for 95% of the time is negligibly shower for my everyday use. It's all about 4K random R/W for your OS and most apps.

    Ideally, the 'best' arrangement is SSD's for your boot drive and HDD's for storage; it's seamless once you change your default locations (Documents, Music, etc).
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , November 23, 2012 12:35 PM
    why aren't there any Plextor SSD in the test area?
  • 8 Hide
    ssd_pro , November 23, 2012 1:17 PM
    Odd bottom of the barrel roundup here... Where are beasts like the Vertex 4 and 840 Pro?
  • 5 Hide
    azraa , November 23, 2012 2:15 PM
    Too bad this price differences are IRRELEVANT for people outside the states. Europe, Canada, those guys get decent prices, but here in South America, retailers are like 'Hey check at this new thing, its fast, and 200% the price of an equal SSD bought in the States!'. They still sell 64gb SSDs and even then, they show them as a novelty.

    That is some bullshit >:c
    What, they pay shipping on golden vessels? Jeez
  • 1 Hide
    rohitbaran , November 23, 2012 3:28 PM
    The biggest leap from an HDD is simply buying an SSD. The speed difference between SSD isn't that big as of now if one buys a current gen or even last gen SSD. I have a OCZ Vertex R2 240GB in my desktop and I can see how fast applications launch compared to the response time of the HDD in there for storing data.
  • 2 Hide
    horaciopz , November 23, 2012 3:31 PM
    azraaToo bad this price differences are IRRELEVANT for people outside the states. Europe, Canada, those guys get decent prices, but here in South America, retailers are like 'Hey check at this new thing, its fast, and 200% the price of an equal SSD bought in the States!'. They still sell 64gb SSDs and even then, they show them as a novelty.That is some bullshit >:cWhat, they pay shipping on golden vessels? Jeez



    I feel you bro. For me the shipping is about 2 times the product price, sadly I have found good reasons for high prices in my country, a government not allowing the entrance of merchandise to the country and bottlenecking the market just to a few in existence products.

    My next upgrade will be a SSD, but just a 128GB one.... Just for all that hassle.

    Good Review BTW :) 
  • 2 Hide
    nekromobo , November 23, 2012 4:53 PM
    Crucial M4 still shining in there with a very mature firmware..
  • 0 Hide
    Marcus52 , November 23, 2012 5:22 PM
    snato see the difference you will need to put the system itself on RAM Disk. not only the installed programs.


    Exactly.

    I haven't done the RAM drive thing because one that will truly benefit you requires the OS to be loaded on to it every time you start your computer, and I prefer to shut mine down when it's not in use (like, when I'm sleeping :)  ). This takes much longer than it does to start up a computer without a RAM drive.
  • 2 Hide
    dthx , November 23, 2012 5:36 PM
    mayankleoboy1get the cheapest, biggest you possibly can. Benchmarks exaggerate the difference between SSD's.

    You're quite right with this ... however, there are limits to that: I've had a crucial v4 drive that slowed down my PC to speeds worse than what I had with my old mechanical 7200rpm drive (sequential read was speedy, but all the rest was crap and PC was continuously freezing for a couple of seconds).
    It was cheap for a SSD, but still 3x the price of a 5 times bigger mechanical drive that works faster. The replacement v4 SSD was not working any better: it was not a defective drive, it's just that its crappy low-cost controller didn't like my motherboard. The good thing: Crucial's support was very responsive, quickly aknowledged the problem and offered me a refund. Their M4 256Gb model that was only 20% more expensive works now like a charm in the same PC and Windows flies like never before.
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