Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Best SSDs: $110 And Under

Best SSDs For The Money: January 2012
By

Best SSD for ~$50: Boot Drive

Kingston SSDNow S100 (Check Prices)

Kingston SSDNow S100
16 GB
Sequential Read
230 MB/s
Sequential Write75 MB/s
Power Consumption (Active)
2.26 W
Power Consumption (Idle)1.08 W

Kingston's SSDNow S100 series is really intended for industrial use, and we're told that you'll find these drives in toll booths, Redbox machines, and ATMs. While this is not a performance-oriented SSD, it is a decent choice that can breathe new life into an aging machine. Most of us tend to write less data than we read. If you want a quick way to speed up your home rig, a budget SSD is all you need because drives like this one offer read speeds that outpace conventional disks.

However, you are forced to adopt a dual-drive configuration. With only 16 GB of capacity, the S100 only works as a Windows 7 32-bit boot drive (64-bit requires 20 GB). All of your programs and personal files need to be installed on a secondary hard drive. We've also had readers write in conveying bad experiences using drives that were too small for Windows to conduct its update operations. Be cautious if you use an SSD this small; capacity is sure to become a point of contention pretty quickly.

Best SSD for ~$75: Boot Drive 

OCZ Vertex Plus (Check Prices)

OCZ Vertex Plus
60 GB
Sequential Read
185 MB/s
Sequential Write90 MB/s
Power Consumption (Active)
1.5 W
Power Consumption (Idle)0.5 W

OCZ's Vertex Plus series is based on the Indilinx Barefoot controller with a slightly tweaked firmware. Despite its improved software, you should have realistic expectations of what Indilinx's older hardware can do. The Vertex Plus achieves better performance than a hard drive, but it falls into the lower half of the SSD performance hierarchy. Note that sequential read performance is somewhat slower than the similarly-priced 30 GB Vertex. But, armed with two times the capacity and featuring a slightly better sequential write speed, it's a fair trade-off.

For those willing to accept the caveats of SandForce's compression technology, Patriot's 32 GB Torqx 2 is also offered at a similar price. Though, we should point out that the company is overstating sequential write performance at 230 MB/s by providing a single specification for all capacities. Actual sequential writes speed of this smaller drive hovers around 100 MB/s.

Best SSD for ~$100: Boot Drive

Crucial m4 (Check Prices)

Crucial m4
64 GB
Sequential Read
415 MB/s
Sequential Write95 MB/s
Power Consumption (Active)
0.15 W
Power Consumption (Idle)0.065 W

At ~$100, your choices are limited to a few remaining 60 GB first-gen SandForce drives, OCZ's 60 GB Agility 3, and Crucial's 64 GB m4. In our opinion, the m4 is the better buy.

As we discovered in our recent 60/64 GB SSD round-up, it boasts superior random and sequential read speeds compared to second-gen SandForce-based SSDs like the Agility 3 with asynchronous memory. Admittedly, the 64 GB m4's write performance falls behind the 60 GB Agility 3. However, given our experiences with benchmarking using real-world traces, read specifications remain the most important component of any consumer-oriented SSD.

Display all 38 comments.
This thread is closed for comments
  • 2 Hide
    compton , January 24, 2012 3:11 AM
    The 830 is a very impressive specimen, and the newer Marvel + Toggle NAND drives are excellent as well. But I want a big plate of Cherryville, and I was hoping the NDA would lift tonight...

    The best value in a new drive is probably whichever SF2281 with sync NAND is cheapest, but avoid the 60GB models. The price/performance mix at the 64GB level is the 830. At higher capacities it's a toss-up though.
  • 6 Hide
    sincreator , January 24, 2012 3:31 AM
    I think that reliability should be a big factor in all the categories. I've read from numerous sites that the M4 crucial drives and Intel drives are the most reliable, and I also know that the sandforce drives have a firmware update that fixes the issues that once existed. What I don't know and what alot of other people don't know is how reliability stands up between all the drives. Would be interesting to find out though, I guess after 3 or 4 years we'll start finding out.
  • 0 Hide
    sincreator , January 24, 2012 3:33 AM
    I almost forgot...Why is it that SSD drives typically only have 3 year warranties, and higher end conventional spinning drives get 5 years? Anyone?
  • 0 Hide
    Dacatak , January 24, 2012 4:01 AM
    SuperTalent has been selling a 64GB SSD rated at 540/490 MB/s read/write for under $110 for a while now, yet this is never mentioned for some reason. Shouldn't this take the Samsung 830's position at the $110 mark?
  • 1 Hide
    lunyone , January 24, 2012 8:25 AM
    Where does this SSD below fit into the equation?
    $130-140 shipped ~$1.16/GB
    SanDisk Ultra SDSSDH-120G-G25 2.5" 120GB SATA II Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
  • 0 Hide
    lashabane , January 24, 2012 8:39 AM
    lunyoneWhere does this SSD below fit into the equation?$130-140 shipped ~$1.16/GBSanDisk Ultra SDSSDH-120G-G25 2.5" 120GB SATA II Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

    You should check out their oh so informative video on their website:

    sandisk-solid-state-drive

    I wasn't able to find any info anywhere in regards to what kind of flash memory it uses so no clue where it would stand in the charts.
    Based on size and pricing, I would imagine it being tier 9 or 10
  • 2 Hide
    jammur , January 24, 2012 11:46 AM
    Are you sure the crucial m4 256GB is really better than the 240GB OCZ Agility 3. The reads and writes MB/s in your table are both SIGNIFICANTLY lower. So I'm paying ~$60 more for an extra 16GB that are A LOT slower. Is that right?
  • 6 Hide
    RealBeast , January 24, 2012 12:40 PM
    sincreatorI think that reliability should be a big factor in all the categories. I've read from numerous sites that the M4 crucial drives and Intel drives are the most reliable, and I also know that the sandforce drives have a firmware update that fixes the issues that once existed. What I don't know and what alot of other people don't know is how reliability stands up between all the drives. Would be interesting to find out though, I guess after 3 or 4 years we'll start finding out.

    The best information that I've found on ssd reliability is a study of a large etailer and its returns (all drives had over 500 sales) and they update the table a couple times a year HERE. Intel and Crucial really stand out in their reliability measure.
  • 0 Hide
    Nintendo Maniac 64 , January 24, 2012 1:11 PM
    No love for the OCZ Onyx 32GB? Its read performance is about only half as fast as the Kingston 16GB, but the write speed is about the same and has twice as much space.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227510

    It also seems to be one of, if not OCZ's most reliable SSD. (all of their other models are under par reliability-wise)
  • 0 Hide
    sincreator , January 24, 2012 1:15 PM
    RealbeastThe best information that I've found on ssd reliability is a study of a large etailer and its returns (all drives had over 500 sales) and they update the table a couple times a year HERE. Intel and Crucial really stand out in their reliability measure.


    Thanks for that. :)  Pretty interesting write up for sure. I was really surprised to see Asus motherboards have 4 out of the top 6 returned motherboards, and not just their low end boards either.lol. I also thought that Corsair would of beat out Antec/Thermaltake in the PSU department...I guess not. Either way I guess we have to take those figures with a grain of salt though since it's just information from one e-tail outlet, and not the numbers from the companies themselves. It's not like they would share the real numbers anyway though. haha.
  • 0 Hide
    ctbaars , January 24, 2012 1:45 PM
    Get a Tier 1 SSD for the same price as a Teir 3's recommended here. While the sale lasts. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820226226
  • 1 Hide
    rmpumper , January 24, 2012 2:11 PM
    I don't get it, maybe someone can help:
    - why do they label the SSD's differently, i.e. "Performance Boot Drive" or "System Drive (OS + Programs)" - what's the difference in real world? Does that mean that you can't use Samsung 830 for software/games or something?
  • 0 Hide
    LukeCWM , January 24, 2012 2:35 PM
    Any word on the SATA 3 replacement?
  • 1 Hide
    jaquith , January 24, 2012 2:48 PM
    LukeCWMAny word on the SATA 3 replacement?

    SATA Express will increase the speeds to 8Gb/s and 16Gb/s. My best guess is 2013 at the earliest.

    The 180GB Corsair Force Series GT CSSD-F180GBGT-BK has an excellent Cost/GB : Performance, I just ordered a couple the other day.
  • 0 Hide
    Onus , January 24, 2012 3:24 PM
    Interesting, Realbeast. As an admitted Antec fanboy, the PSU results don't really surprise me, but WD return rates going up fully explains why they are decreasing their warranty coverage. It looks like they've decided they are no longer interested in my business. Once I start buying drives again, I'll keep it to Samsung and/or Seagate.
    Hopefully some Newegg managers are seeing this; I'd love to see something similar done with Newegg return rates (although I suppose that might cost them all or most of their Diablotek and Logisys PSU sales).
  • 0 Hide
    josejones , January 24, 2012 3:45 PM
    When will the PCIe SSD Interface support PCIe 3.0?
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 24, 2012 4:36 PM
    What about OCZ's Octane (with the new firmware)? Not enterprise...

    And whether or not the SSDs have native encryption or not is very important - since they can't be erased. This should certainly be included in the chart.
  • 1 Hide
    JohnnyLucky , January 24, 2012 5:58 PM
    "When will the PCIe SSD Interface support PCIe 3.0?"

    PCI-e 3.0 slots require the use of an Intel Ivy Bridge CPU. Currently there are no Intel Ivy Bridge CPU's. It's going to be a while before the new standard is fully implemented.
  • 3 Hide
    Pawessum16 , January 24, 2012 6:53 PM
    I'm sorry but with no weight on reliability for these drives, this review makes absolutely no sense. It also doesn't make sense when you give an honorable mention to a drive for mobile use just because it has 2x the write performance when the "performance" drive above it gets 10x better power consumption. I think most of us here know that if you want to buy an SSD, go to Newegg, list the drives in order of rating, and go from there. PS from user reviews I've seen Intel is no longer the holy grail of reliable drives. They're highly overpriced and putting a recommendation on them is questionable (at most honorable mention worthy). I've seen pretty good consistent reviews from other drive makers, and OCZ seems to be consistently the worst in reliability. Then again this all comes from a person with no first hand experience, but from others' experiences, it appears to me.....
  • 2 Hide
    deanjo , January 24, 2012 7:43 PM
    Without comparitive benchmarks of the drives with data that can and can't be compressed this article is useless as not everyone's uses for these drives are the same. Someone using it for a boot drive and someone using it for video editting for example have very different requirements.
Display more comments