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Best SSDs: $110 To $200

Best SSDs For The Money: May 2012

Best SSD for ~$110: 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 flash consistently perform well while commanding a middle of the road price. That's why we think Kingston's 90 GB HyperX 3K is a solid choice.

Best SSDs for ~$120: Performance 120 GB

Mushkin Enhanced Chronos Deluxe (Check Prices)

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

As the lowest priced 120 GB Toggle-mode SF-22xx-based SSD, we're recommending Mushkin's 120 GB Enhanced Chronos Deluxe for those who want performance and capacity. As we said, 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 ~$130: Performance 128 GB

Samsung 830 (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 data 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 compressible information.

In contrast, the behavior of Samsung's drive doesn't change based on the information it handles, and the 830-series drives are arguably the fastest MLC-based offerings available, generally outpacing Crucial's m4. If you look at retail prices, the 830 costs just as much as the m4, too, making Samsung's SSD the better deal.

Best SSDs for ~$170: Budget 180 GB

Mushkin Enhanced Chronos Deluxe (Check Prices)

Mushkin Enhanced Chronos Deluxe
180 GB
Sequential Read
550 MB/s
Sequential Write515 MB/s
Power Consumption (Active)
3 W
Power Consumption (Idle)1 W

There are a lot of good deals under $200 for enthusiasts looking to maximize capacity for their dollar. This month, Mushkin delivers a 180 GB Enhanced Chronos Deluxe. It's the first SSD in this month's column pushing prices below $1/GB.

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Top Comments
  • 12 Hide
    _zxzxzx_ , May 29, 2012 6:46 AM
    Great how Tom's hardware has an article on this every month :) 
Other Comments
  • 0 Hide
    DjEaZy , May 29, 2012 5:23 AM
    ... my vertex 3 still strong...
  • 2 Hide
    barracks510 , May 29, 2012 5:27 AM
    vertex=75 or 65 dollars. shows both
  • 4 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , May 29, 2012 6:00 AM
    what about Vertex4 drives?
  • 5 Hide
    acku , May 29, 2012 6:42 AM
    what about Vertex4 drives?

    I need to retest the 256 GB Vertex 4 because of weird results. Couldn't make it in time this month. Definately will be in next month's feature.

    Andrew Ku
  • 12 Hide
    _zxzxzx_ , May 29, 2012 6:46 AM
    Great how Tom's hardware has an article on this every month :) 
  • 2 Hide
    vestibule , May 29, 2012 7:13 AM
    Gotta love random deals on Newegg, I narrowly missed a 128 GB Crucial M4 for $110 a couple weeks ago, it was out of stock just seconds before I decided to get it. A week later they had a 256 GB one for $210 which is an even sweeter deal, it took days for that to be out of stock.

    Both were the newest version BTW, and I'm just holding on to the SDD for a bit for a build I'll do in a month or so.
  • -2 Hide
    iamtheking123 , May 29, 2012 8:50 AM
    "But if you look at performance over an entire month, you will find the 830 to be a faster performer"

    Still going to do 4x SSD's in raid 0 in my next build for the e-peen.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , May 29, 2012 9:07 AM
    darn, should have waited, I could have got double the space for $10 more, good to see SSD prices come down though
  • -2 Hide
    deepb , May 29, 2012 9:08 AM
    Is there a reason why the Mushkin 90GB version is recomendded over the OCZ Agility 3 90 GB version as the OCZ one is available at Amazon for 85$
  • 0 Hide
    wmfoster2001 , May 29, 2012 10:10 AM
    Would the 180Gb Intel 520 SSD belong in Tier 2 or 3?
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , May 29, 2012 11:23 AM
    There's a cheaper option for the 120GB drive:
    The only listed "Mushkin Enhanced Chronos Deluxe" is not available also.
  • -2 Hide
    juan83 , May 29, 2012 12:17 PM
    At 1$/GB i think is time to talk about raid 0, but i know little about reliability of this disks.

    2 x 90GB = 180GB and ~ 900 Mb/sec and spending 180$
  • 1 Hide
    notsleep , May 29, 2012 12:32 PM
    i managed to snag a brand new samsung 830 128 gb for $119 a couple weeks ago for my new build. it's my very first desktop ssd. one of the best thing performance wise that i noticed in my new build was the ssd. :) 
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , May 29, 2012 12:51 PM
    Remember that with Raid 0 you lose TRIM functionality and performance will degrade overtime.
  • 1 Hide
    eddieroolz , May 29, 2012 1:44 PM
    Bought a Crucial m4 128GB for $148CAD, then prices dropped to $128CAD this month. Ah well.
  • 6 Hide
    jaquith , May 29, 2012 2:00 PM
    There are so many sales that it's impossible to justify "Best" based upon MSRP. I truly wish the maximum R/W wasn't listed in this review as the headliners, especially since IOPS (R/W) and 4K (R/W) are what's important -- not to mention Reliability, $/GB, and Warranty.

    Choosing the "Best SSD" per price range needs to be a weighted scoring.
  • 3 Hide
    RaidenSix , May 29, 2012 2:06 PM
    Any particular reason the Corsair Performance Pro series was not included?
  • 3 Hide
    samuelspark , May 29, 2012 3:03 PM
    deepbIs there a reason why the Mushkin 90GB version is recomendded over the OCZ Agility 3 90 GB version as the OCZ one is available at Amazon for 85$ [...] 637&sr=1-6

    Mushkin Enhanced Chronos has sychronous flash and offers much better performance, comparable to the Vertex 3.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , May 29, 2012 3:29 PM
    The Mushkin Enhanced Chronos has asynchronous NAND.
  • 2 Hide
    TheBigTroll , May 29, 2012 3:41 PM
    mushkin chronos deluxe is awesome
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