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Best SSDs For The Money: July 2012

Best SSDs: $300 To $400

Best SSDs for ~$320: Performance And High-Capacity Option

Corsair Force GS (Check Prices)

Corsair Force GS360 GB
Sequential Read555 MB/s
Sequential Write530 MB/s
Power Consumption (Active)4.6 W
Power Consumption (Idle)0.6 W

There's a roughly $150-$200 price gap between 240/256 GB SSDs and larger 480/512 GB models. If you're willing to split the difference, Corsair's 360 GB Force GS might be worth considering. Priced at roughly $0.88/GB, you're still getting a lot of performance for a relatively attractive price.

For those not familiar with this drive, it's Corsair's recently-announced competitor to OCZ's Max IOPS, Patriot's Wildfire, and Mushkin's Chronos Deluxe. All four drives leverage SandForce's second-generation controller along with Toggle-mode NAND to achieve some of the fastest speeds that we've seen in the lab. But Corsair's 360 GB Force GS should be an attractive solution if you're looking for slightly more capacity, but aren't interested in slapping down $400 or more to jump up to 480/512 GB.

Best SSDs for ~$350: Honorable Mention, High-Capacity mSATA

Mushkin Atlas (Check Prices)

Mushkin Atlas240 GB
Sequential Read560 MB/s
Sequential Write530 MB/s
Power Consumption (Active)2 W
Power Consumption (Idle)0.7 W

Intel's SSD 310 was phased out earlier this year. Fortunately, other SSD vendors have have stepped in to address mSATA-based SSDs since our original look at the interface. Although we haven't yet had the chance to test Mushkin's Atlas, and therefore cannot officially recommend it, we're willing to give competing mSATA-based solutions a shot.

Mushkin's Atlas is particularly interesting because it's really the first mSATA SSD that we've seen employing SandForce's second-generation controller, making it a SATA 6Gb/s stunner. In comparison, OCZ's Noci and Intel's SSD 313 (successor to SSD 310) still employ SATA 3Gb/s controllers.

In the past, every mSATA SSD we saw used only half of its available NAND channels, which is why we didn't substitute mSATA drives for 2.5" SSDs on the desktop. But Mushkin seems to have addressed throughput by using speedy 24 nm Toggle NAND from Toshiba, resulting in performance specs identical to its 2.5" Chronos Deluxe series. That's impressive in our book. mSATA lets you keep your notebook's high-capacity SATA-based conventional disk, facilitating access to the best of both worlds.

Best SSDs for ~$400: Performance And Max Capacity Option

Crucial m4 (Check Prices)

Crucial m4512 GB
Sequential Read500 MB/s
Sequential Write260 MB/s
Power Consumption (Active)0.28 W
Power Consumption (Idle)0.10 W

High-capacity SSDs are starting to become more accessible as their prices slide into affordable price points. At $400, Crucial's 512 GB m4 is a very tempting bargain.

A 512 GB drive is plenty, even in mobile environments, where you're typically limited to just one SATA-based device. The math works out to just over $0.78/GB, which is really expensive compared to a hard disk, but really good for an SSD. More important, you really don't have to worry about running out of space on it unless you have a library of full-length movies in HD to cram in.

  • ipopeidr
    Grazie per la condivisione!
  • blazorthon

    $180 for the Mushkin Chronos Delux 240 GB rather than the $200 in the article. Not only that, but free shipping and this purchase is offered directly from Amazon, meaning that you get their excellent (in my experience) customer service should a problem arise. That's only $0.75 per GB for one of the fastest SandForce SSDs available!
  • bdizzle11
    "At under $1/GB, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better deal below $100."

    With daily sales and other promotions the prices of 120gb drives are especially good. I just got a 120gb kingston hyperx for $80, no MIR required. Best PC purchase in awhile in my opinion.
  • EzioAs
    The title on page 2 and 3 is wrong. The recommendation was supposed to start with below $100. Please fix it guys :)
  • envy14tpe
    No Intel? 128GB for $95.
  • I was lucky enough to snag a Samsung 830 256GB for $230 on Newegg this evening. Lowest price of the year so far!

    I have three of them that I've been able to work with so far, both of the 256GB versions perform up to and above their rated speeds in real world testing. Nice having an SSD that works well with compressible and non-compressible data equally well.

  • sayantan
    Price ranges are incorrect!!
  • cmcghee358
    Aww. I got a Samsung 830 128GB SSD on 6/17/2012. But my SKU is MZ-7PC128B/WW. I got it from I'm curious why this /WW isn't included in the list of SSDs that can get the code?
  • odiervr
    FYI: Intel 330, 180 GB SSD. Great product. Newegg $160. Got one w/ rebate for $140.
  • envy14tpe
    tomshardware is starting to drop the ball on why they are making choices. Now I see why people are telling me not to trust their price ratings.