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Best SSDs: $110 To 200

Best SSDs For The Money: July 2012
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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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