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Conclusion

Spring 2010 Solid State Drive Roundup, Part 2
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New SSDs from Crucial, Kingston, and Western Digital haven’t made buying decisions any easier. In fact, buying the right drive just got more complex. One thing is clear, though: never, ever buy an SSD product without looking at detailed test results. I encourage everyone to read multiple reviews, given that performance degradation and TRIM, in combination with various possible controllers, operating systems, and testing methodologies has made these waters extremely hard to navigate.

For example, Crucial’s RealSSD C300 and the Intel X25-M G2 provide the highest I/O performance—a key point if you run several virtualized system partitions. On a different front, Toshiba’s HG2 drive is extremely low on power, which might matter more for your laptop than the drive's poor I/O performance. The Indilinx drives are well-balanced, and the two newcomers from Kingston and Western Digital aim at the mainstream and upgrade markets where performance differences might be less important.

In the end, there are a few conclusions worth noting:

  • SATA 6Gb/s drives like the RealSSD C300 have the potential to bring SSDs to a whole new level. The throughput is there, but Crucial's performance is too inconsistent at this point. We're waiting for an update from the company on a fix still.
  • Drives based on the Indilinx Barefoot controller don’t dominate anywhere in our benchmark suite, but their performance is very reliable.
  • Intel remains an excellent choice with the X25-M, both in terms of power consumption and overall performance, with write throughput being the only exception.
  • Toshiba and Intel are the best choices if power consumption is your most important consideration.
  • Offerings like the Kingston SSDNow V-series and new WD SiliconEdge Blue aren’t low on power and they aren’t the strongest on performance. However, they still outperform hard drives by a significant margin, and they may indeed become interesting options for mainstream users once prices come down.
  • Most drives remain too expensive.
  • New products aren’t necessarily better than existing drives; Intel's X25-M remains a fierce competitor.
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Top Comments
  • 15 Hide
    sstym , April 13, 2010 12:40 PM
    I am not convinced that performance per watt is a good indicator for SSD's. The worst power hog in your review consumes a whopping 3 Watts at full load. Even a power-sipping desktop system consumes more than 100 Watts at load. Undervolting your CPU (or GPU) without reducing its frequency will yield more convincing power saving returns than switching from a 3W SSD to a 1W SSD.
    How about adding a Performance per dollar indicator instead?
Other Comments
  • 6 Hide
    duk3 , April 13, 2010 6:32 AM
    Hmm...
    12 core processor, new computer or an SSD...
  • 4 Hide
    husker , April 13, 2010 7:18 AM
    duk3Hmm...12 core processor, new computer or an SSD...


    Tough choice so I got all 3, minus 8 cores. I purchased the Kingston in 64GB size. I personally think it is a great value, once you've accepted that there is big price premium for this technology. Power consumption comparison? Really? Is the 2 or 3 watts difference really worth splitting hairs over when it comes to systems that typically need to be feed hundreds and hundreds of watts? Also, another reason for getting one of these is that they are totally silent. Sometimes you have to look past pure benchmarking numbers and look at the overall experience that these drives give you.
  • -2 Hide
    Anonymous , April 13, 2010 7:29 AM
    Great article, but no RAID tests?
  • 3 Hide
    martel80 , April 13, 2010 8:26 AM
    Quote:
    New SSDs from Crucial, Kingston, and Western Digital
    haven’t made buying decisions any easier. In fact, buying the right drive just got more complex.
    I think the conclusion is still the same... Buy Intel. :) 
  • 1 Hide
    ossie , April 13, 2010 10:33 AM
    "The new JMicron drives vary, despite TRIM support, which might be due to the Highpoint/Marvell SATA 6Gb/s controller we’re using."
    Ouch...
    Also, access time graphs seem very inconsistent (WD/JM). Ever tried to discard anomalous data?

    Intel's still best all-rounder.
  • -3 Hide
    Anonymous , April 13, 2010 12:03 PM
    You should also look at value in terms of $ per GB as well. A 256GB drive lets you do a lot more.
  • 15 Hide
    sstym , April 13, 2010 12:40 PM
    I am not convinced that performance per watt is a good indicator for SSD's. The worst power hog in your review consumes a whopping 3 Watts at full load. Even a power-sipping desktop system consumes more than 100 Watts at load. Undervolting your CPU (or GPU) without reducing its frequency will yield more convincing power saving returns than switching from a 3W SSD to a 1W SSD.
    How about adding a Performance per dollar indicator instead?
  • 5 Hide
    Snipergod87 , April 13, 2010 1:47 PM
    I agree with sstym. Those low power levels dont really matter, undervolting your CPU like I did on my older laptop, 1.35Vcore to 1.30. like a 7-10Watt savings lol.
    Performance per dollar would be a great graph to add.
  • 0 Hide
    zoemayne , April 13, 2010 2:04 PM
    the ocz vertex looks good
  • 3 Hide
    pjsinc , April 13, 2010 2:37 PM
    Kingston also has V+ series (e.g. SNVP325-S2/128GB), I wonder how it compares to the tested model since at least on paper the specifications seem to be higher that with the tested model...
  • 0 Hide
    JohnnyLucky , April 13, 2010 2:54 PM
    Seems it would be worth waiting for more development and fine tuning.
  • 2 Hide
    tecmo34 , April 13, 2010 3:48 PM
    Confirms as other have said... Intel is still one of the best overall options.

    Also.... no OCZ Vertex LE (Limited Edition) tested or listed on the charts? These seem to beat out all the other current SSD's based on reviews at other "not named" websites. :) 
  • 0 Hide
    rhino13 , April 13, 2010 3:51 PM
    Thanks for the informative article Toms.

    It seems Intel really knows how to make a fab.
  • 1 Hide
    HalfHuman , April 13, 2010 4:18 PM
    congrats on trying to make a comprehnsive review on various ssds as waters are quite murky.
    i also do not see the point on making comparisons between different drives as they are so tiny. a perfromance per dollar seems a better measurement than performance per dollar.
    seems that indilix is the best when you factor in all and that is the reason that i'll get that into my workstation.
    i guess right now it really does not make much sense to go for more than 60-80gb as prices skyrocket beyond that. performance is much more important than size on these drives. anyway in 2 years you will look at these 60gig drives as you look now at 128mb penflash drives. so my conclusion is that it's best to get a good performer in 40-80gig space that is not more expensive than 300$.
  • 0 Hide
    HalfHuman , April 13, 2010 4:20 PM
    * power usage comparison
  • -2 Hide
    salimbest83 , April 13, 2010 4:37 PM
    the only reason i choose intel
  • 0 Hide
    husker , April 13, 2010 5:53 PM
    pjsincKingston also has V+ series (e.g. SNVP325-S2/128GB), I wonder how it compares to the tested model since at least on paper the specifications seem to be higher that with the tested model...


    Check out the review of a Kingston 128GB V+ drive here: http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/
  • 0 Hide
    Gian124 , April 13, 2010 5:56 PM
    As another poster pointed out on SSD Roundup, Part 1... it is odd that the Intel G2 Used drive out performs Fresh on several benches. Any explanation TH?
  • 3 Hide
    dupaman , April 13, 2010 6:40 PM
    sstymI am not convinced that performance per watt is a good indicator for SSD's. The worst power hog in your review consumes a whopping 3 Watts at full load. Even a power-sipping desktop system consumes more than 100 Watts at load. Undervolting your CPU (or GPU) without reducing its frequency will yield more convincing power saving returns than switching from a 3W SSD to a 1W SSD. How about adding a Performance per dollar indicator instead?


    When talking about desktops, I agree with you, but laptops are a different story altogether, where 3W is probably worse than mechanical drives. Still, I like the performance/$ idea.
    Thanks to Patrick and Achim for including the power info for SSDs, this has been an excellent roundup article series! Keep up the good work.
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