14-Way SSD Hard Drive Roundup

Conclusion: Recommending Samsung

Having looked at 14 flash SSD products, we found that the market can currently be segmented into three different sections, which can or cannot be recommended, depending on your budget and requirements:

1. High Performance

The flash SSDs based on single-level cell (SLC) flash by MemoRight and Mtron belong to this category. The two manufacturers build drives that are designed to deliver the best performance, regardless of other characteristics. MemoRight dominates the I/O benchmark section, which is important for servers, while Mtron’s Pro 7500 series is an excellent flash SSD for workstations. None of them are particularly efficient, and all are very expensive at $1,000 and up for only 32 GB.

2. Consumer / Mainstream

Most of the flash SSDs in our roundup have to go in this category, including Crucial, Hama, Silicon Power and Super Talent. Most of these drives are based on multi-level cell (MLC) flash and most are also, I’m sorry to say, not really that special. Crucial and Super Talent offer amazing read throughput. Silicon Power actually ships capacities of up to 128 GB, but its performance disappointed. The advantages of a consumer SSD over a conventional hard drives are there, but they aren’t as impressive as we’d like to see. We’d only go for such a product if the price were exceptional; everyone else should stick with their magnetic hard drives a little longer.

3. Premium Consumer

This category currently holds only a single drive: the Samsung 64 GB SSD SATA-2, which is also available from OCZ as the 64 GB SATAII SSD. For those who want it all — high performance and high efficiency — this product is it. No other SATA-based flash SSD shows such low power requirements in idle and when active, and no other flash SSD provides balanced performance across all benchmarks. We hope that more flash SSD products will follow in this category, because only these drives are worth the cost. Samsung’s 64 GB SSD SATA-2 and the OCZ 64 GB SATAII SSD receive the Best of Tom’s award in the hard drive category.