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Best SSDs: $110 To $200

Best SSDs For The Money: May 2012
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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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