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Storage/Memory

Tom's Hardware's Reader's Choice Awards 2013
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Crucial 256 GB m4 in the mSATA form factor (Tom's Hardware Elite)
From the article: Round-Up: 10 mSATA SSDs From Adata, Crucial, Mushkin, And OCZ, Written by Andrew Ku, January 6, 2013

Here's what we said: This drive demonstrates consistent performance at a price we're comfortable paying. It's unclear if we'll ever see a dramatically faster SSD for the mSATA interface. But, seeing as this one already comes close to saturating a 6 Gb/s connection in sequential reads, and is well-established as a reliable solution, there isn't another option we'd recommend as an alternative. The 256 GB m4 takes our highest honor, and is the drive to buy if you need mSATA-based storage.

Crucial Ballistix Tactical LP (Approved)
From the article: Six Low-Voltage Dual-Channel 8 GB Memory Kits, Overclocked, Written by Thomas Soderstrom, May 12, 2013

Here's what we said: We finish with two top picks, Crucial Ballistix Tactical LP offering the best performance and G.Skill Sniper SR2 providing the best value. G.Skill also has the advantage of its stunningly-low 1.25 V baseline voltage, while Crucial has a much larger advantage in overclocking.

G.Skill Sniper SR2 (Approved)
From the article: Six Low-Voltage Dual-Channel 8 GB Memory Kits, Overclocked, Written by Thomas Soderstrom, May 12, 2013

Here's what we said: We finish with two top picks, Crucial Ballistix Tactical LP offering the best performance and G.Skill Sniper SR2 providing the best value. G.Skill also has the advantage of its stunningly-low 1.25 V baseline voltage, while Crucial has a much larger advantage in over clocking.

G.Skill RipjawsX DDR3-1866 CAS 10 (Smart Buy)
From the article: Haswell and Richland Memory Scaling: Picking A 16 GB DDR3 Kit, Written by Thomas Soderstrom, September 15, 2013

Here's what we said: Though exceptions exist for low-power computing, most enthusiasts would rather spend $70 on a discrete graphics card than an enthusiast-oriented memory kit to supplement the lackluster performance of an integrated GPU. Nevertheless, G.Skill has a solution for the folks who aren't ready to spend that much on either option. It'll give you half of the performance improvement for a quarter of the price increase, and that sounds like a smart value. Our G.Skill samples were also highly tunable, reaching nearly identical performance to Mushkin’s high-end parts after we put a bunch of time into manually tweaking their settings. Anyone who achieves or surpasses our tuning efforts will especially find G.Skill’s DDR3-1866 CAS 10 a smart buy.

Mushkin Redline Ridgeback 997121R (Tom's Hardware Elite)
From the article: Haswell and Richland Memory Scaling: Picking A 16 GB DDR3 Kit, Written by Thomas Soderstrom, September 15, 2013

Here's what we said: We invited all of the major players in the retail memory business to participate in today’s evaluation of memory scaling across both desktop platforms with on-die graphics. The willing participants submitted samples ranging from a low-cost high-latency DDR3-1866 kit to high-cost low-latency DDR3-2400. We found that DDR3-2133 performed best on both AMD and Intel platforms, and Mushkin’s 997121R won the performance race by being latency-optimized at that data rate. It gets our most prestigious and rare Elite award for being the best product in its class.

Samsung 840 EVO SSD (Smart Buy)
From the article: Samsung 840 EVO SSD: Tested At 120, 250, 500, And 1000 GB, Written by Christopher Ryan, July 25, 2013

Here's what we said: Because we're enthusiasts and enjoy the fastest of pretty much everything, we already know that Samsung's 840 EVO isn't all things to all people. However, it's a product able to satisfy most people, armed with features that they'll both want and use. And Samsung plans to ask a price that millions of customers have already paid for vanilla 840s. With the addition of 750 GB and 1 TB models, the company's mainstream SSD family is pretty darned complete. Left with little else to ask for from an SSD, we're pleased to confer the Tom's Hardware Smart Buy award on Samsung's 840 EVO.

SanDisk Extreme (Tom's Hardware Elite)
From the article: 31 USB 3.0 Thumb Drives, Tested And Reviewed,Written by Manuel Masiero, Achim Roos, July 21, 2013

Here's what we said: We do come away with a recommendation, though: SanDisk's Extreme USB 3.0 thumb drive. It offers good to excellent read and write performance across all of our benchmarks. Consequently, in this field of 31 contenders, we confidently give it our Elite honor.

The 64 GB model sells for about $71, which gets you a quick USB 3.0-rated repository able to outperform mechanical storage. Seriously consider using it with an SSD-equipped system to utilize its full potential. Some of the other models in our round-up beat the Extreme in a handful of our tests, but this is the most consistently-fast performer in the workloads we threw at it.

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