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Best SSDs: $200 To $300

Best SSDs For The Money: June 2012
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Best SSDs for ~$200: Premium Performance Option

Mushkin Chronos Deluxe (Check Prices)

Mushkin Chronos Deluxe
240 GB
Sequential Read
560 MB/s
Sequential Write520 MB/s
Power Consumption (Active)
3 W
Power Consumption (Idle)1 W

Last month, the 240 GB version was selling for $230. This month, its price is down another $30, pulling this big drive's cost under $1/GB.

When you consider that the Chronos Deluxe's performance equals, OCZ's Vertex 3 MAX IOPS and Patriot's Wildfire, are priced in excess of $400, spending $230 on it sounds like a real bargain for anyone unwilling to compromise on capacity or performance.

Best SSDs for ~$210: Performance Option

Crucial m4 (Check Prices)

Crucial m4
256 GB
Sequential Read
500 MB/s
Sequential Write260 MB/s
Power Consumption (Active)
0.15 W
Power Consumption (Idle)0.10 W

If you're looking for a higher-capacity SSD that doesn't come with a caveat about data compression, Crucial's 256 GB m4 is a solid choice. SF-22xx-based SSDs continue to sell for the lowest prices. However, Crucial's m4 gives you good performance on a more consistent basis.

Weighing each model's performance strengths, the comparison gets a little trickier. In a desktop environment, much of the data written sequentially tends to be compressible, favoring SandForce's architecture. However, that trend changes as our library of compressed audio and video content grows.

Separately, when it comes to read operations, the two drives perform similarly. But once you take into account that the m4 also offers more user-accessible space and a lower price, we think Crucial's drive is the victor.

Best SSDs for ~$270: Gaming Option 256 GB

Samsung 830 SSD - Bundle (Check Prices)

Samsung 830
256 GB
Sequential Read
560 MB/s
Sequential Write525 MB/s
Power Consumption (Active)
0.12 W
Power Consumption (Idle)0.08 W

If you're a gamer already prepared to buy Ghost Recon: Future Solder, you might want to consider picking up Samsung's 256 GB 830 SSD. All retail bundles (desktop and notebook) come with a free copy of the game, which normally sells for $50. This should make Samsung's 830 mighty tempting; it costs $30 more to buy the game and drive seperately.

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