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We saw a number of price drops over the last month. Case in point: Crucial's 512 GB m4 now sits under $400. We have plenty of other recommendations, including a special bundle for gamers. If you've held off on an SSD upgrade, this month's deals look good.
Detailed solid-state drive specifications and reviews are great—that is, if you have the time to do the research. However, at the end of the day, what an enthusiast needs is the best SSD within a certain budget.
So, if you don’t have the time to read the benchmarks, or if you don’t feel confident enough in your ability to pick the right drive, then fear not. We at Tom’s Hardware have come to your aid with a simple list of the best SSD offered for the money.
With the introduction of its Agility 4, OCZ now has a full product portfolio not based on SandForce's controllers to entice enthusiast and mainstream customers. Some folks have postured that the Vertex 4 and Agility 4 are nothing to get excited about, though. Although it's true that OCZ really only switched from one third-party's controller hardware to another company's (Marvell), you can't ignore the fact that OCZ is perhaps most aggressively pushing down SSD prices.
It's also putting constant effort into updating existing products to improve their performance and reliability. The company recently pushed out its 1.4RC firmware for the Vertex 4, which bolstered sequential write performance significantly. We were able to confirm the performance increase. However, we also explored certain situations where the drive gives up those promised gains. That's not to say we think any less of the Vertex 4, but we do feel that customers should have as complete of a story as possible. For more on our findings, check out OCZ Vertex 4 128 GB: Testing Write Performance With Firmware 1.4.
Although we haven't yet had an opportunity to review the Agility 4, the information we have suggests that it's a slight upgrade to the Agility 3 thanks to improved random I/O performance.
With that in mind, we recognize that low prices on their own, especially when it comes to storage, cannot be the sole determinant of whether a product is right for you. In the interest of ensuring the long-term safety of important data, most folks are willing to pay extra for trouble-free operation and the guarantee that a company's customer service department will go the extra mile to keep them happy.
Admittedly, that's really hard to quantify, and consequently almost impossible to incorporate into our ranking system. However, SSD vendors are finding other ways to add concrete value to their products. Last Christmas, for example, Intel bundled Battlefield 3 with its SSD 320. More recently, Samsung updated its retail 830 kits with a key for Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. If you were planning to buy that game anyway and need an accomplished SSD, that's a $50 freebie worth considering.
Some Notes About Our Recommendations
A few simple guidelines to keep in mind when reading this list: