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Best SSDs For The Money: June 2012

Best SSDs: $110 To $200

Best SSD for ~$110: Performance System Drive

Kingston HyperX 3K (Check Prices)

Kingston HyperX 3K90 GB
Sequential Read555 MB/s
Sequential Write510 MB/s
Power Consumption (Active)2.11 W
Power Consumption (Idle)0.46 W

SandForce-based SSDs come armed with one of three memory interfaces: Toggle-mode DDR, synchronous, and asynchronous. Although controllers are often said to play the biggest part in defining an SSD's performance, the type of flash memory used has an effect, too. In fact, when you compare SandForce-based SSDs, the drives with synchronous memory consisteny perform well and command reasonable price tags. That's why we think that Kingston's 90 GB HyperX 3K is a solid choice.

Best SSDs for ~$115: Performance 120 GB

Mushkin Enhanced Chronos Deluxe (Check Prices)

Mushkin Enhanced Chronos Deluxe120 GB
Sequential Read560 MB/s
Sequential Write520 MB/s
Power Consumption (Active)3 W
Power Consumption (Idle)1 W

As the lowest priced 120 GB Toggle-mode SF-22xx-based SSD, we're recommending Mushkin's 120 GB Enhanced Chronos Deluxe for those who want performance and capacity. As we said, 90 GB is a floor of sorts for getting an operating system and important apps onto an SSD. But 120 GB provides enough space to add personal files and big game installs to the mix.

Best SSDs for ~$145: Performance 128 GB

Samsung 830 - Non Bundle (Check Prices)

Samsung 830128 GB
Sequential Read520 MB/s
Sequential Write320 MB/s
Power Consumption (Active).15 W
Power Consumption (Idle).08 W

We know that SSDs based on SandForce's DuraClass technology demonstrate different behavior depending on the information with which they're presented. That is to say incompressible data like media-oriented files and actively-encrypted partitions aren't handled as elegantly as more easily compressible files.

In contrast, the behavior of Samsung's controller doesn't change based on the information you feed it, and the 830-series drives are arguably the fastest MLC-based offerings available, generally outpacing Crucial's m4. Interestingly, the 830 and m4 are priced comparably, too, making Samsung's SSD the better deal.

Best SSDs for ~$165: Performance 128 GB

Plextor M3 Pro (Check Prices)

Plextor M3 Pro128 GB
Sequential Read535 MB/s
Sequential Write350 MB/s
Power Consumption (Active)5 W
Power Consumption (Idle)0.1 W

If you're willing to spend a little extra on a 128 GB repository, Plextor's M3 Pro is a great option for enthusiasts moving lots of data around. Thanks to the company's TrueSpeed firmware enhancements, garbage collection helps maintain top-notch sequential performance, which explains why this drive tops our in-house benchmark.

  • mjmjpfaff
    On the "Best SSDs: $200 To $300" page there is a typo in the "Best SSDs for ~$270: Gaming Option 256 GB" option. In the chart it says it is a 240gb SSD but it is a 256gb SSD. I'm sure its just a typo...
  • bim27142
    Is this accurate?
    Samsung 830 240 GB
    Sequential Read 560 MB/s
    Sequential Write 525 MB/s
    Power Consumption (Active) 3 W
    Power Consumption (Idle) 1 W
  • hmp_goose
    I never noticed before, but does the Samsung 830 really change power consumption as capacity grows?
  • DjEaZy
    ... and... still... my Vertex 3 is strong... by the prices now, i maybe buy a nother one for RAID 0...
  • mayankleoboy1
    bet you cant tell the difference between RAID0 SS's and a single SSD without benchmarking.
  • acku
    mjmjpfaffOn the "Best SSDs: $200 To $300" page there is a typo in the "Best SSDs for ~$270: Gaming Option 256 GB" option. In the chart it says it is a 240gb SSD but it is a 256gb SSD. I'm sure its just a typo...
    Fixed! Thanks for being so cool about everything. :)

    Andrew Ku
    Tom's Hardware
  • Pawessum16
    I think this is definitely your best article in the "Best SSD's For the Money" series. I can finally agree with the majority of your recommendations, and even though you don't explicitly state it, I feel like you finally took user feedback on reliability into consideration for the different recommendations. i.e. fewer OCZ recommendations, and no ridiculous pedestal recommendations for Intel's ridiculously overpriced ssd's that provide nothing over the likes of Crucial and Samsung.
    Two thumbs up!
  • acku
    We'll I always try. Not saying I'm always right. There simply are too many SSD vendors out there. It's hard to cover them all. But I'm glad you like the changes. :)

    I think for some people the confidence that Intel is going to back your play should something go wrong means a lot. Not saying it's worth the premium, but for some people, it is. That said, I do like the idea of game bundles. I think it's a great way to get more value from an SSD.

    Andrew Ku
    Tom's Hardware
  • palladin9479
    I love my Samsung 830 256GB's. I got one for my main gaming box awhile back, liked its performance and eventually bought a 2nd one for my DV6z notebook.
  • erunion
    The product name and link for your $115 drive is in error. The drive is actually the Chronos Deluxe MX.

    Your link shows virtually every Mushkin drive except that one.