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Best SSDs: $200 To $300

Best SSDs For The Money: February 2012
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Best SSDs for ~$200: Performance Alternative 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

Samsung's 830-series SSDs are arguably the fastest MLC-based consumer drives available right now, generally outpacing Crucial's m4. If you look at retail prices, the 830 only commands a $5-$10 premium over the m4, which is why we consider Samsung's SSD to be a better deal.

Best SSDs for ~$200: Premium Performance Option

Mushkin Chronos Deluxe (Check Prices)

Mushkin Chronos Deluxe
120 GB
Sequential Read
560 MB/s
Sequential Write515 MB/s
Power Consumption (Active)
3 W
Power Consumption (Idle)1 W

Mushkin's Chronos Deluxe is on par with OCZ's Vertex 3 MAX IOPS and Patriot's Wildfire. These are some of the fastest 120 GB desktop SSDs we've ever tested. All three demonstrate what SandForce's newest controller can do matched up to Toggle DDR flash. If you're willing to pay a little more per gigabyte to get better performance, we highly recommend one of these drives.

Best SSDs for ~$270: Reliable Option

Intel SSD 320 (Check Prices)

Intel SSD 320
160 GB
Sequential Read
270 MB/s
Sequential Write165 MB/s
Power Consumption (Active)
0.15 W (Typical)
Power Consumption (Idle)0.1 W (Typical)

We continue to believe that Intel's SSDs are some of the most reliable you can buy. Our opinions are shared by data center managers in the enterprise world, who we've polled about their own experiences with solid-state technology. Almost exclusively, they let us know that they lean on Intel drives.

As such, we recommend Intel's 160 GB SSD 320 for anyone willing to sacrifice the performance of a SATA 6Gb/s interface in favor of a more mature controller with several new firmware-enabled nods to data security. The ability to map up to one die's worth of failed blocks to redundant flash is an example. Additionally, on-board capacitors keep the drive running for long enough to write cached data to nonvolatile memory in the event of a power loss.

Best SSDs for ~$280: Performance Option

Mushkin Chronos Deluxe (Check Prices)

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

Wow. Mushkin is on a roll this month. From a performance standpoint, the 240 GB Chronos Deluxe is one of the hottest buys that we've seen in some time. OCZ's Vertex 3 MAX IOPS and Patriot's Wildfire use the same Toggle DDR NAND, but cost substantially more. The difference is almost too good to be true. On Newegg, the 240 GB Vertex 3 MAX IOPS sells for $480, while the 240 GB Wildfire commands a $410 price tag. In comparison, the 240 GB Chronos Deluxe only costs $280. That's $1.16 per gigabyte, a fantastic bargain.

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