Best SSDs: $200 To $315
Best SSDs for ~$230: Reliable Option
|Intel SSD 320||120 GB|
|Sequential Read||270 MB/s|
|Sequential Write||130 MB/s|
|Power Consumption (Active)||.15 W|
|Power Consumption (Idle)||.10 W|
Intel's 120 GB SSD 320 remains our choice for purchases around $230. Why? When you buy an SSD, you have a certain expectation of the drive's performance. Intel made it a priority to adopt 25 nm NAND flash without dramatically impacting the speed of its mainstream lineup, unlike some of the other SSDs we've seen based on the newer lithography node.
Additionally, we like that specific data protection features were recently added to help protect against power loss and diminished write endurance.
Best SSDs for ~$260: Performance 128 GB
|Crucial RealSSD C300||128 GB|
|Sequential Read||355 MB/s|
|Sequential Write||140 MB/s|
|Power Consumption (Active)||3.1 W (write)|
|Power Consumption (Idle)||.09 W|
As Intel's SSD 510 is rather expensive and OCZ's Vertex 3 continues to demand a fairly hefty premium, we recommend the 128 GB RealSSD C300 for those with a budget around $250.
We should point out that OCZ's 80 GB RevoDrive commands a similar price online. But at three-quarters of the capacity, the RevoDrive is only worth it if you have an older system without 6 Gb/s compatibility, as the C300 can stand up to the PCI Express-based offering running at its native transfer rate. If you don't have a motherboard capable of SATA 6Gb/s, the RevoDrive might be an alternative. Just remember that you're giving up substantial capacity. In addition, the RevoDrive tends to be picky when it comes to motherboard compatibility.
Best SSDs for ~$315: More than 128 GB
|OCZ Vertex 2||180 GB|
|Sequential Read||250 MB/s|
|Sequential Write||275 MB/s|
|Power Consumption (Active)||2.0 W|
|Power Consumption (Idle)||0.5 W|
We prefer to use at least 160 GB in our SoCal lab because it's the minimum capacity that will hold all our benchmarks. Steam has a bad habit of not letting you choose where to put your games once it's installed, so dropping the app on your system drive is going to require you free up plenty of room for any Steam-based games you buy. If you want those, plus your standard productivity programs, the 180 GB Vertex 2 is our pick. At ~$1.55/GB, this drive has the lowest cost per gigabyte we've seen from any SSD.