Best SSDs For The Money: July 2012

Best SSDs: $110 To 200

Best SSD for ~$115: Performance System Drive

Kingston HyperX 3K (Check Prices)

Kingston HyperX 3K
90 GB
Sequential Read
555 MB/s
Sequential Write510 MB/s
Power Consumption (Active)
2.11 W
Power Consumption (Idle)0.46 W

SandForce-based SSDs come armed with one of three memory interfaces: Toggle-mode DDR, synchronous, and asynchronous. Although controllers are often said to play the biggest part in defining an SSD's performance, the type of flash memory used has an effect, too. In fact, when you compare SandForce-based SSDs, the drives with synchronous memory consistently come up as performance winners while commanding reasonable prices. If you're willing to pay for a little bit of extra performance, we think that Kingston's 90 GB HyperX 3K is a solid choice.

Best SSDs for ~$135: Performance 120 GB

Kingston HyperX 3K (Check Prices)

Kingston HyperX 3K120 GB
Sequential Read
555 MB/s
Sequential Write510 MB/s
Power Consumption (Active)
2.11 W
Power Consumption (Idle)0.46 W

Last month, Mushkin's 120 GB Enhanced Chronos Deluxe was the cheapest 120 GB Toggle-mode-equipped SSD with a second-gen SandForce controller. Prices are up this month, though, and you're now faced with paying $20 more for the 120 GB HyperX 3K.

While Kingston employs synchronous NAND, the HyperX 3K is a great choice if you're trying to balance performance and capacity. In our experience, 90 GB is a floor of sorts for getting an operating system and important apps onto an SSD. But 120 GB provides enough space to add personal files and big game installs to the mix.

Best SSDs for ~$145: Performance 128 GB

Samsung 830, Non Bundle (Check Prices)

Samsung 830
128 GB
Sequential Read
520 MB/s
Sequential Write320 MB/s
Power Consumption (Active)
.15 W
Power Consumption (Idle).08 W

We know that SSDs based on SandForce's DuraClass technology demonstrate different behavior depending on the information with which they're presented. That is to say incompressible data like media-oriented files and actively-encrypted partitions aren't handled as elegantly as more easily compressible files.

In contrast, the behavior of Samsung's controller doesn't change based on the information you feed it, and the 830-series drives are arguably the fastest MLC-based offerings available, generally outpacing Crucial's m4. Interestingly, the 830 and m4 are priced comparably, too, making Samsung's SSD the better deal.

Best SSDs for ~$180: Performance 128 GB

Plextor M3 Pro (Check Prices)

Plextor M3 Pro
128 GB
Sequential Read
535 MB/s
Sequential Write350 MB/s
Power Consumption (Active)
5 W
Power Consumption (Idle)0.1 W

If you're willing to spend a little extra on a 128 GB repository, Plextor's M3 Pro is a great option for enthusiasts moving lots of data around. Thanks to the company's TrueSpeed firmware enhancements, garbage collection helps maintain top-notch sequential performance, which explains why this drive tops our in-house benchmark.

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41 comments
    Your comment
  • ipopeidr
    Grazie per la condivisione!
    -1
  • blazorthon
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B0057VOVE8/ref=dp_olp_new?ie=UTF8&condition=new

    $180 for the Mushkin Chronos Delux 240 GB rather than the $200 in the article. Not only that, but free shipping and this purchase is offered directly from Amazon, meaning that you get their excellent (in my experience) customer service should a problem arise. That's only $0.75 per GB for one of the fastest SandForce SSDs available!
    5
  • bdizzle11
    "At under $1/GB, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better deal below $100."

    With daily sales and other promotions the prices of 120gb drives are especially good. I just got a 120gb kingston hyperx for $80, no MIR required. Best PC purchase in awhile in my opinion.
    5
  • EzioAs
    The title on page 2 and 3 is wrong. The recommendation was supposed to start with below $100. Please fix it guys :)
    3
  • envy14tpe
    No Intel? 128GB for $95.
    2
  • Anonymous
    I was lucky enough to snag a Samsung 830 256GB for $230 on Newegg this evening. Lowest price of the year so far!

    I have three of them that I've been able to work with so far, both of the 256GB versions perform up to and above their rated speeds in real world testing. Nice having an SSD that works well with compressible and non-compressible data equally well.
    4
  • sayantan
    Price ranges are incorrect!!
    4
  • cmcghee358
    Aww. I got a Samsung 830 128GB SSD on 6/17/2012. But my SKU is MZ-7PC128B/WW. I got it from newegg.com. I'm curious why this /WW isn't included in the list of SSDs that can get the code?
    0
  • odiervr
    FYI: Intel 330, 180 GB SSD. Great product. Newegg $160. Got one w/ rebate for $140.
    1
  • envy14tpe
    tomshardware is starting to drop the ball on why they are making choices. Now I see why people are telling me not to trust their price ratings.
    -4
  • spookyman
    Sold on the Samsung. Get a free game.
    0
  • JohnnyLucky
    The problem with quoting prices is they fluctuate all the time. Prices can change daily.

    Tom's Hardware has a link to daily deals located in the news section on the left hand side of the home page. Eventually readers who follow the link find themselves at LogicBuy which is a service that lists the lowest prices at any given time. The sale prices and special promotions fluctuate daily. LogicBuy also has a web page just for drives. If you are thinking about purchasing an ssd, then it pays to check the prices at LogicBuy. The prices are well below $1.00 per GB. Recently an ssd was down to $0.50 per GB. Heck of a price but the ssd was not one I would buy.
    0
  • Anonymous
    I don't understand why there is no Corsair Force GT in these recommandations.
    http://www.hookbag.ca/product/H3C06MOP8/ 120GB
    Maximum Read Transfer Rate 555 MBps
    Maximum Write Transfer Rate 515 MBps
    For 123$ ?
    BTW i got 2 OCZ Agility 2 and both dead withing 1 month of installling ,then went to Corsair which is more then you need ... 7.9 windows score
    0
  • jerreddredd
    interesting how the Crucial M4 is absent.... 128Gb version can be found for $90-115 on sale all throughout July, with a regular price of $130-150. very solid SSD
    0
  • blazorthon
    jerreddreddinteresting how the Crucial M4 is absent.... 128Gb version can be found for $90-115 on sale all throughout July, with a regular price of $130-150. very solid SSD


    The Samsung 830 is around for about the same price, but is significantly faster despite being similarly reliable and using slightly even lower power. The M4 is kinda like the 830's little brother when it comes to performance and unless it is priced accordingly, it is not as good of a deal as the 830 has been lately.
    1
  • blazorthon
    Yoshi ToshiI don't understand why there is no Corsair Force GT in these recommandations.http://www.hookbag.ca/product/H3C06MOP8/ 120GBMaximum Read Transfer Rate 555 MBpsMaximum Write Transfer Rate 515 MBpsFor 123$ ?BTW i got 2 OCZ Agility 2 and both dead withing 1 month of installling ,then went to Corsair which is more then you need ... 7.9 windows score


    Maybe the Kingston Hyper 3K that they recommended instead of the Corsair Force GT was cheaper than the Force GT when they looked up the prices for this article.
    0
  • g-unit1111
    I'm planning on switching out my Intel 320 for either a Crucial M4 or an OCZ Vertex 4 - I'm waiting on the next firmware update before I decide.
    0
  • blazorthon
    g-unit1111I'm planning on switching out my Intel 320 for either a Crucial M4 or an OCZ Vertex 4 - I'm waiting on the next firmware update before I decide.


    I think that a Samsung 830 versus a Vertex 4 is a better decision to make. The M4 is a great drive, but it's not as fast as the 830, especially in the 256GB capacity. The M4 has no other perks that I know of that the 830 lacks.
    0
  • inmytaxi
    The Agility 3 is $90 not including $10 rebate for the 120 GB model at a place that doesn't advertise here.

    The Agility 4 is $100 with no rebate for the 128 GB model at ditto.
    1
  • jacobdrj
    g-unit1111I'm planning on switching out my Intel 320 for either a Crucial M4 or an OCZ Vertex 4 - I'm waiting on the next firmware update before I decide.

    I don't see why you would do that unless you were also significantly increasing your storage size simultaneously. The speed differences in most scenarios between the drive you have and the ones you are considering are negligible at best...
    0