Time To Upgrade: 10 SSDs Between 240 And 256 GB, Rounded Up

Test Setup And Benchmarks

We continue revising and updating our SSD testing procedures. Most recently, we started benchmarking logical volumes to better represent the performance of solid-state storage the way you'd actually use it. Unfortunately, it's a lot more difficult to generate consistent numbers this way. So, we're averaging the results of multiple iterations in an effort to better zero-in on the best results possible.

Test Hardware
Processor
Intel Core i5-2400 (Sandy Bridge), 32 nm, 3.1 GHz, LGA 1155, 6 MB Shared L3, Turbo Boost Enabled
Motherboard
Gigabyte G1.Sniper M3
Memory
Kingston Hyper-X 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) DDR3-1333 @ DDR3-1333, 1.5 V
System Drive
OCZ Vertex 3 240 GB SATA 6Gb/s
Tested DrivesIntel SSD 320 300 GB SATA 3Gb/s, Firmware: 1.92

Intel SSD 320 80 GB SATA 3Gb/s, Firmware: 1.92

Intel SSD 330 240 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 300i

Intel SSD 330 180 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 300i

Intel SSD 330 120 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 300i

Intel SSD 520 240 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 400i

Intel SSD 520 60 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 400i

Samsung 830 256 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: CXMO

Samsung 830 64 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: CXMO

Crucial m4 256 GB SATA 6Gb/s Firmware: 0309

Crucial m4 64 GB SATA 6Gb/s Firmware: 0309

OCZ Vertex 3 240 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 2.15

OCZ Vertex 3 120 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 2.22

OCZ Vertex 3 60 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 2.15

OCZ Vertex 4 256 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 1.5

OCZ Agility 3 120 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 1.5

OCZ Agility 4 60 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 1.5

OCZ Vertex 4 64 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 1.5

OCZ Agility 4 256 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 1.5

OCZ Agility 4 128 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 1.5

Samsung 840 Pro 512 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: DMX02B0Q

Corsair Neutron GTX 240 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: M206

Corsair Neutron 240 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: M206

Intel SSD 335 240 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 335s

OCZ Agility 4 256 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 1.5

Monster Daytona 240 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 5.0.2

Adata XPG SX900 256 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 5.0.2

Adata XPG SP900 256 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 5.0.2

SanDisk Extreme 240 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: R201

PNY XLR8 Pro 240 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 5.0.2

PNY XLR8 240 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 5.0.2

Transcend SSD720 240 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 5.0.2

Transcend SSD320 240 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 5.0.2
Graphics
Palit GeForce GTX 460 1 GB
Power Supply
Seasonic 760 W, 80 PLUS Gold
System Software and Drivers
Operating SystemWindows 7 x64 Ultimate
DirectX
DirectX 11
DriverGraphics: Nvidia 270.61
RST: 10.6.0.1002
Virtu: 1.1.101
Benchmarks
Tom's Hardware Storage Bench v1.0
Trace-Based
Iometer 1.1.0
# Workers = 1, 4 KB Random: LBA=8 GB, varying QDs, 128 KB Sequential, Logical LBA Span
PCMark 7
Storage Suite
This thread is closed for comments
65 comments
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  • mayankleoboy1
    get the cheapest, biggest you possibly can. Benchmarks exaggerate the difference between SSD's.
  • A Bad Day
    I agree. Unless if you're buying a glorified USB stick (there is a 128 GB stick) or an SSD with an OC'ed processor, the main factor that consumers should be concerned about is price per gigabyte.
  • A Bad Day
    EDIT: And reliability.

    "In order to install a new firmware that significantly boost performance and stability, you must backup all of your data because it will be wiped."
  • Tanquen
    Yea, it’s getting a little out of hand. For 90% of the things 90% of people do on their PC, 200MBs+ read and write speeds just don’t mean much. There are too many other bottle necks going on. I messed around with a RAM drive using most of my 64GB of RAM and the read and write speeds are fun to test (4000MBs or so) but games and VMware sessions I launched from the RAM disc saw no noticeable improvement in launch times or anything else. Same goes for my 830 SSD drive. It’s fast but games and software I use for SCADA development just don’t see any real benefit. They are cool if you want to open 10 sessions of MS Word and 15 Internet Explorer and a bunch of other stuff at the same time but if you just open one instance of Excel and use it and the Photo Shop and use it and then a web browser and use it, you’ll never really see the difference. You have to benchmark it or have two PCs setting right next to each other to see that something started or saved a split second faster.

    At least with my 64GB of RAM and actually get 64GB of RAM unlike HDs and SSDs.
  • tomfreak
    unless the sandforce drive is priced a lot cheaper than the similar capacity non-sandforce SDD. I always choose the non-sandforce SSD. 16GB is a big deal in SSD.
  • stoogie
    until theres affordable 512gb ssd's then i wont get 1, my c drive is 360gb~ and i have 11tb
  • sna
    TanquenYea, it’s getting a little out of hand. For 90% of the things 90% of people do on their PC, 200MBs+ read and write speeds just don’t mean much. There are too many other bottle necks going on. I messed around with a RAM drive using most of my 64GB of RAM and the read and write speeds are fun to test (4000MBs or so) but games and VMware sessions I launched from the RAM disc saw no noticeable improvement in launch times or anything else. Same goes for my 830 SSD drive. It’s fast but games and software I use for SCADA development just don’t see any real benefit. They are cool if you want to open 10 sessions of MS Word and 15 Internet Explorer and a bunch of other stuff at the same time but if you just open one instance of Excel and use it and the Photo Shop and use it and then a web browser and use it, you’ll never really see the difference. You have to benchmark it or have two PCs setting right next to each other to see that something started or saved a split second faster.At least with my 64GB of RAM and actually get 64GB of RAM unlike HDs and SSDs.


    to see the difference you will need to put the system itself on RAM Disk. not only the installed programs.
  • Where are Samsung SSDs ? Especialy model Samsung 830- 256GB which is on sale in Europe for 160-180€. That is best offer, reliable, faster than basic 840. Get some MB with Z77 chipset and you can RAID them with TRIM support. 2x256 for 330€ is so awesome with 1035Mb/s read in RAID 0. I tested it on Gigabyte Z77-UP4 TH, its a shame that there are only 2x6Gbit ports so 1x840 Pro + 2x830 in RAID 0 is impossible on this MB without SATA2 speed loss on remaining SATA ports. This was my scenario for fast gaming /500GB Steam inventory/ : Raptor, later RAID 0 HDDs, later Velociraptor, next 128GB SSD + 1GB Samsung HDD cached by OCZ Synapse 64GB /totaly unreliable/. So I ended up with 1x boot SSD + 2x SSD in RAID 0. Maybe I am little bit offtopic but any ideas how to "live" with increased Steam inventory and keep it fast enough ? Steamover SW is not reliable for me. Thanks for nice article.
  • ojas
    Quote:
    When Thomas, Don, and Paul prioritize the parts for their quarterly System Builder Marathon configurations (the next of which is coming soon, by the way)

    Wait, SBMs are fine, but where oh where went BestConfigs?
  • Yuka
    I went for a Vertex4 and placed it in my notebook. What a boost. I'd say it also helped improve battery life.

    For a Desktop, I don't have a particular use TBH. I have a RAID0 with 2x512GB WD's and it works amazingly good (and fast as well). I'd say, for desktops, SSDs are still not viable because of price, unless you clench your teeth with loading times or such, hahaha.

    Cheers!
  • mayankleoboy1
    ^ not loading times. But booting times, specially with a heavy AV like Kaspersky installed.
  • jaquith
    I would agree with RAID 0 for your old SSD than simply tossing it for a newer larger SSD. My problem is 1TB HDD's just aren't cutting it especially if you game and use Window's backup; seeing the red space indicator caught me by surprise. I have a 180GB (167GB) and I'm 2/3 full.

    I have a 2 year old SSD and my 2x faster SSD for 95% of the time is negligibly shower for my everyday use. It's all about 4K random R/W for your OS and most apps.

    Ideally, the 'best' arrangement is SSD's for your boot drive and HDD's for storage; it's seamless once you change your default locations (Documents, Music, etc).
  • why aren't there any Plextor SSD in the test area?
  • ssd_pro
    Odd bottom of the barrel roundup here... Where are beasts like the Vertex 4 and 840 Pro?
  • azraa
    Too bad this price differences are IRRELEVANT for people outside the states. Europe, Canada, those guys get decent prices, but here in South America, retailers are like 'Hey check at this new thing, its fast, and 200% the price of an equal SSD bought in the States!'. They still sell 64gb SSDs and even then, they show them as a novelty.

    That is some bullshit >:c
    What, they pay shipping on golden vessels? Jeez
  • rohitbaran
    The biggest leap from an HDD is simply buying an SSD. The speed difference between SSD isn't that big as of now if one buys a current gen or even last gen SSD. I have a OCZ Vertex R2 240GB in my desktop and I can see how fast applications launch compared to the response time of the HDD in there for storing data.
  • horaciopz
    azraaToo bad this price differences are IRRELEVANT for people outside the states. Europe, Canada, those guys get decent prices, but here in South America, retailers are like 'Hey check at this new thing, its fast, and 200% the price of an equal SSD bought in the States!'. They still sell 64gb SSDs and even then, they show them as a novelty.That is some bullshit >:cWhat, they pay shipping on golden vessels? Jeez



    I feel you bro. For me the shipping is about 2 times the product price, sadly I have found good reasons for high prices in my country, a government not allowing the entrance of merchandise to the country and bottlenecking the market just to a few in existence products.

    My next upgrade will be a SSD, but just a 128GB one.... Just for all that hassle.

    Good Review BTW :)
  • nekromobo
    Crucial M4 still shining in there with a very mature firmware..
  • Marcus52
    snato see the difference you will need to put the system itself on RAM Disk. not only the installed programs.


    Exactly.

    I haven't done the RAM drive thing because one that will truly benefit you requires the OS to be loaded on to it every time you start your computer, and I prefer to shut mine down when it's not in use (like, when I'm sleeping :) ). This takes much longer than it does to start up a computer without a RAM drive.
  • dthx
    mayankleoboy1get the cheapest, biggest you possibly can. Benchmarks exaggerate the difference between SSD's.

    You're quite right with this ... however, there are limits to that: I've had a crucial v4 drive that slowed down my PC to speeds worse than what I had with my old mechanical 7200rpm drive (sequential read was speedy, but all the rest was crap and PC was continuously freezing for a couple of seconds).
    It was cheap for a SSD, but still 3x the price of a 5 times bigger mechanical drive that works faster. The replacement v4 SSD was not working any better: it was not a defective drive, it's just that its crappy low-cost controller didn't like my motherboard. The good thing: Crucial's support was very responsive, quickly aknowledged the problem and offered me a refund. Their M4 256Gb model that was only 20% more expensive works now like a charm in the same PC and Windows flies like never before.
  • Marcus52
    YukaI went for a Vertex4 and placed it in my notebook. What a boost. I'd say it also helped improve battery life.For a Desktop, I don't have a particular use TBH. I have a RAID0 with 2x512GB WD's and it works amazingly good (and fast as well). I'd say, for desktops, SSDs are still not viable because of price, unless you clench your teeth with loading times or such, hahaha.Cheers!


    Of course it's viable, it's being done all the time.

    You not being willing or able to spend around 75 cents per gigabyte doesn't make it unworkable for others.
  • Tanquen
    snato see the difference you will need to put the system itself on RAM Disk. not only the installed programs.


    I could not disagree more. Once the system is up and running (from a “Fast” SSD), most of what is needed or running is in RAM already. There may be some minor page file (was also in RAM) activity and a few DLLs on the system drive but that would not make that much difference. It would be an interesting test though. In windows system performance you could graph the all the drives activities and see how much the system drive is accessed when you launch a program and it saved files from another drive. But I don’t know an easy way to install the OS on a RAM disk and then launch from it to test so…
  • techcurious
    Why is it that Kingston SSDs get almost no coverage here at Toms? Kingston has been selling various SSDs ever since the early days of SSD technology, and yet it gets ignored while more "exotic" SSD brands like Monster (and to some extent PNY) gets coverage.. I have yet to see Tomshardware review a single Kingston HyperX SSD (and possibly any of the older ones either). In fact, so lacking is their relationship with Kingston HyperX, that they fail to even know much about them.. I had to point out an error in three consecutive Best SSDs For The Money installments that claimed the Kingston HyperX (non 3K) uses Toggle Nand, while the Kingston website clearly stated that both the regular and 3K HyperX drives use Synchronous Nand. (Toms has finally stopped making that mistake). Why Toms? What is it that is keeping you from reviewing Kingston HyperX SSD?
  • JeTJL
    Really haven't noticed a lot of change in performance from an old Kingston 64GB SSD Now that I bought 2 years ago at $120 vs a 256gb ADATA SP900 that I bought recently for $150. Only thing that is different is capacity. It never really was a SSD vs SSD speed race. A SSD is a SSD and will be faster than those old Hard Drives.