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Best SSDs For The Money: June 2012

Best SSDs: $200 To $300

Best SSDs for ~$200: Premium Performance Option

Mushkin Chronos Deluxe (Check Prices)

Mushkin Chronos Deluxe240 GB
Sequential Read560 MB/s
Sequential Write520 MB/s
Power Consumption (Active)3 W
Power Consumption (Idle)1 W

Last month, the 240 GB version was selling for $230. This month, its price is down another $30, pulling this big drive's cost under $1/GB.

When you consider that the Chronos Deluxe's performance equals, OCZ's Vertex 3 MAX IOPS and Patriot's Wildfire, are priced in excess of $400, spending $230 on it sounds like a real bargain for anyone unwilling to compromise on capacity or performance.

Best SSDs for ~$210: Performance Option

Crucial m4 (Check Prices)

Crucial m4256 GB
Sequential Read500 MB/s
Sequential Write260 MB/s
Power Consumption (Active)0.15 W
Power Consumption (Idle)0.10 W

If you're looking for a higher-capacity SSD that doesn't come with a caveat about data compression, Crucial's 256 GB m4 is a solid choice. SF-22xx-based SSDs continue to sell for the lowest prices. However, Crucial's m4 gives you good performance on a more consistent basis.

Weighing each model's performance strengths, the comparison gets a little trickier. In a desktop environment, much of the data written sequentially tends to be compressible, favoring SandForce's architecture. However, that trend changes as our library of compressed audio and video content grows.

Separately, when it comes to read operations, the two drives perform similarly. But once you take into account that the m4 also offers more user-accessible space and a lower price, we think Crucial's drive is the victor.

Best SSDs for ~$270: Gaming Option 256 GB

Samsung 830 SSD - Bundle (Check Prices)

Samsung 830256 GB
Sequential Read560 MB/s
Sequential Write525 MB/s
Power Consumption (Active)0.12 W
Power Consumption (Idle)0.08 W

If you're a gamer already prepared to buy Ghost Recon: Future Solder, you might want to consider picking up Samsung's 256 GB 830 SSD. All retail bundles (desktop and notebook) come with a free copy of the game, which normally sells for $50. This should make Samsung's 830 mighty tempting; it costs $30 more to buy the game and drive seperately.

  • 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.