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Tom's Hardware's SSD Hierarchy Chart

Best SSDs For The Money: July 2012
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We understand that SSD prices make it difficult to adopt the latest technology, which is why many enthusiasts are hesitant to blow several hundred dollars on solid-state storage (especially when they can get a quartet of 2 TB hard drives or a high-performance processor for the same price). That's why it's important to put things into perspective.

Over the past five years, CPU performance has hit new and unforeseen heights, and processors are increasingly spending time waiting on data from hard drives. This is what makes storage today's most glaring bottleneck. Overcoming it requires an SSD.

At the end of the day, the real-world differences between SSDs in a desktop environment aren't altogether very large. The most important jump happens when you go from a hard drive to (almost) any SSD. With that said, there are measurable attributes that separate one SSD from another. However, they have to be digested as a sum of many parts. Within individual apps, you'll hardly notice the difference between a Vertex 2 and Samsung's 830. But if you look at performance over an entire month, you will find the 830 to be a better performer.

The hierarchy chart below relies on information provided by our Storage Bench v1.0, as it ranks performance in a way that reflects average daily use for a consumer workload. This applies to gamers and home office users. The chart has been structured so that each tier represents a 10% difference in performance. Some rankings are educated guesses based on information from testing a model at a different capacity or a drive of similar architecture. As such, it is possible that an SSD may shift one tier once we actually get a chance to test it. Furthermore, SSDs within a tier are listed alphabetically.

There are several drives that we're going to intentionally leave out of our hierarchy list. Enterprise-oriented SLC- and 512 GB MLC-based SSDs are ignored due to the extreme price they command (and the difficult we have getting samples in from vendors). Furthermore, SSDs with a capacity lower than 60 GB are left off because of the budget nature of that price range.

In order to simplify the landscape, we're going to omit brand names for those vendors leveraging SandForce. There are simply too many to list. At a given capacity, performance breaks down based on memory type, and this is their order of performance, from highest to lowest.

We're making a special exception to list Intel's SSD 330 separately because it's special case of a SandForce-based SSD that runs with reduced performance specs. The 60 GB SSD 520 is also being called out separately because it offers performance somewhat higher than the norm.

  1. SandForce controller with Toggle DDR NAND (Mushkin Chronos Deluxe, Patriot Wildfire, OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS, OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G, Corsair Force GS)
  2. SandForce controller with Synchronous ONFi NAND (OCZ Vertex 3, Corsair Force GT, Kingston HyperX/HyperX 3K, Intel SSD 520)
  3. SandForce controller with Asynchronous ONFi NAND (OCZ Agility 3, Corsair Force 3, Mushkin Chronos, Patriot Pyro, OWC Mercury Electra 6G)
SSD Performance Hierarchy Chart
Tier 1
240 GB second-gen SandForce SSDs with Toggle NAND
Samsung 830 SSD 256 GB
Plextor M3 Pro 128 GB/256 GB
Tier 2
240 GB second-gen SandForce SSDs with Sync ONFi NAND
Plextor M3 128 GB/256 GB
Tier 3
Crucial m4 256 GB
OCZ Vertex 4 512/256 GB
Samsung 830 SSD 128 GB
120 GB second-gen SandForce SSDs with Toggle NAND
240 GB second-gen SandForce SSDs with Async ONFi NAND
Corsair Performance Pro 128 GB
Tier 4
-
Tier 5
Crucial m4 128 GB
Intel SSD 330 180 GB
Samsung 830 SSD 64 GB
120 GB second-gen SandForce SSDs with Sync ONFi NAND
Tier 6
Intel SSD 330 120 GB
Samsung 470 SSD 256 GB
Tier 7
240 GB first-gen SandForce SSDs
Intel SSD 320 300 GB
Samsung 470 SSD 128 GB
120 GB & 180 GB second-gen SandForce SSDs with Async ONFi NAND
Tier 8
-
Tier 9
Crucial m4 64 GB
Intel SSD 320 160 GB
Intel SSD 520 60 GB
Tier 10
Intel SSD 320 80 GB
Intel SSD 330 60 GB
60 GB second-gen SandForce SSDs (with Sync or Async ONFi NAND)
120 GB first-gen SandForce SSDs
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  • -1 Hide
    ipopeidr , July 30, 2012 4:21 AM

    Grazie per la condivisione!
  • 5 Hide
    blazorthon , July 30, 2012 4:27 AM
    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 Hide
    bdizzle11 , July 30, 2012 5:04 AM
    "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.
  • 3 Hide
    EzioAs , July 30, 2012 5:04 AM
    The title on page 2 and 3 is wrong. The recommendation was supposed to start with below $100. Please fix it guys :) 
  • 2 Hide
    envy14tpe , July 30, 2012 6:11 AM
    No Intel? 128GB for $95.
  • 4 Hide
    Anonymous , July 30, 2012 6:44 AM
    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 Hide
    sayantan , July 30, 2012 9:25 AM
    Price ranges are incorrect!!
  • 0 Hide
    cmcghee358 , July 30, 2012 12:22 PM
    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?
  • 1 Hide
    odiervr , July 30, 2012 12:39 PM
    FYI: Intel 330, 180 GB SSD. Great product. Newegg $160. Got one w/ rebate for $140.
  • -4 Hide
    envy14tpe , July 30, 2012 12:51 PM
    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.
  • 0 Hide
    spookyman , July 30, 2012 2:54 PM
    Sold on the Samsung. Get a free game.
  • 0 Hide
    JohnnyLucky , July 30, 2012 3:14 PM
    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 $0.50 per GB. Heck of a price but the ssd was not one I would buy.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , July 30, 2012 3:29 PM
    I don't understand why there is no Corsair Force GT in these recommandations.
    http://www.hookbag.ca/product/H3C06MOP8/ 120GB
    Maximum Read Transfer Rate 555 MBps
    Maximum Write Transfer Rate 515 MBps
    For 123$ ?
    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 Hide
    jerreddredd , July 30, 2012 3:29 PM
    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
  • 1 Hide
    blazorthon , July 30, 2012 3:35 PM
    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.
  • 0 Hide
    blazorthon , July 30, 2012 3:38 PM
    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 Hide
    g-unit1111 , July 30, 2012 3:59 PM
    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 Hide
    blazorthon , July 30, 2012 4:00 PM
    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.
  • 1 Hide
    inmytaxi , July 30, 2012 4:03 PM
    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.
  • 0 Hide
    jacobdrj , July 30, 2012 4:14 PM
    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...
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