Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Tom's Hardware's SSD Hierarchy Chart

Best SSDs For The Money: October 2011

We understand that SSD prices make it difficult to adopt the latest technology. Maybe that's why you aren't too keen on blowing a couple hundred dollars on solid-state storage, especially when you can spend the same amount and buy four 2 TB hard drives or a high-performance processor. 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.

As a point of comparison, a file operation completes 85% faster on a low-end SSD than it does on a high-end hard drive, but there is only an 88% speed difference between a high-end hard drive and a high-end SSD. That why you shouldn't let less aggressive benchmark results at the low-end deter you from making the switch. You don't have to have the best SSD to get great performance relative to a hard drive.

Not much has changed since last month. We're still following the same ranking scheme, but we've updated the listing to include Patriot's Pyro line. Remember that performance depends heavily on the following:

  • seek distance (random versus sequential)
  • transfer size
  • queue depth
  • amount of data

This hierarchy chart relies on information provided in 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.

SSD Performance Hierarchy Chart
Tier 1
Adata S511 240 GB
Corsair Force GT 240 GB
Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 240 GB
OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS 240 GB
Patriot WildFire 240 GB
Tier 2
Kingston HyperX SSD 240 GB
OCZ Vertex 3 240 GB
Tier 3
Intel SSD 510 250 GB
Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 120 GB
OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS 120 GB
Patriot WildFire 120 GB
Tier 4
Corsair Force 3 240 GB
Crucial m4 256 GB
OCZ Agility 3 240 GB
Patriot Pyro 240 GB
Tier 5
Intel SSD 510 120 GB
Tier 6
Adata S511 120 GB
Corsair Force GT 120 GB
Crucial m4 128 GB
Kingston HyperX SSD 120 GB
OCZ Vertex 3 120 GB
Tier 7
OCZ Agility 2 240 GB
OCZ Vertex 2 240 GB
Tier 8
Corsair Force 3 120 GB
Intel SSD 320 300 GB
OCZ Agility 3 120 GB
OCZ Solid 3 120 GB
Patriot Pyro 120 GB
Tier 9
Corsair Force 3 60 GB
Kingston SSDNow V+100 128 GB
Intel SSD 320 160 GB
OCZ Agility 3 60 GB
Patriot Pyro 60 GB
Tier 10
Crucial m4 64 GB
Intel SSD 320 80 GB
OCZ Agility 2 120 GB
OCZ Vertex 2 120 GB
OCZ Solid 3 60 GB
Other first-gen 120 GB SSDs
React To This Article