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Best SSDs For The Money: January 2012

Best SSDs: $200 To $300

Best SSDs for ~$200: Performance Alternative 128 GB

Samsung 830 (Check Prices)

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

Samsung's 830-series SSDs are arguably the fastest MLC-based consumer drives available right now, generally outpacing Crucial's m4. If you look at retail prices, the 830 only commands a $5-$10 premium over the m4, which is why we consider Samsung's SSD to be a better deal.

Best SSDs for ~$215: Premium Performance Option

Mushkin Chronos Deluxe (Check Prices)

Mushkin Chronos Deluxe120 GB
Sequential Read560 MB/s
Sequential Write515 MB/s
Power Consumption (Active)3 W
Power Consumption (Idle)1 W

Mushkin's Chronos Deluxe is on par with OCZ's Vertex 3 MAX IOPS and Patriot's Wildfire. These are some of the are the fastest 120 GB SSDs we've ever tested. All three demonstrate what SandForce's newest controller can do when it's matched up to Toggle DDR flash. If you're willing to pay a little more per gigabyte to get better performance, we highly recommend one of these drives.

Best SSDs for ~$270: Reliable Option

Intel SSD 320 (Check Prices)

Intel SSD 320160 GB
Sequential Read270 MB/s
Sequential Write165 MB/s
Power Consumption (Active)0.15 W (Typical)
Power Consumption (Idle)0.1 W (Typical)

We continue to believe that Intel's SSDs are the most reliable you can buy. Our opinions are shared by data center managers in the enterprise world, who we've polled about their own experiences with solid-state technology. Almost exclusively, they let us know that they lean on Intel drives.

As such, we recommend Intel's 160 GB SSD 320 for anyone willing to sacrifice the performance of a SATA 6Gb/s interface in favor of a more mature controller with several new firmware-enabled nods to data security. The ability to map up to one die's worth of failed blocks to redundant flash is an example. Additionally, on-board capacitors keep the drive running for long enough to write cached data to nonvolatile memory in the event of a power loss.

  • compton
    The 830 is a very impressive specimen, and the newer Marvel + Toggle NAND drives are excellent as well. But I want a big plate of Cherryville, and I was hoping the NDA would lift tonight...

    The best value in a new drive is probably whichever SF2281 with sync NAND is cheapest, but avoid the 60GB models. The price/performance mix at the 64GB level is the 830. At higher capacities it's a toss-up though.
    Reply
  • sincreator
    I think that reliability should be a big factor in all the categories. I've read from numerous sites that the M4 crucial drives and Intel drives are the most reliable, and I also know that the sandforce drives have a firmware update that fixes the issues that once existed. What I don't know and what alot of other people don't know is how reliability stands up between all the drives. Would be interesting to find out though, I guess after 3 or 4 years we'll start finding out.
    Reply
  • sincreator
    I almost forgot...Why is it that SSD drives typically only have 3 year warranties, and higher end conventional spinning drives get 5 years? Anyone?
    Reply
  • Dacatak
    SuperTalent has been selling a 64GB SSD rated at 540/490 MB/s read/write for under $110 for a while now, yet this is never mentioned for some reason. Shouldn't this take the Samsung 830's position at the $110 mark?
    Reply
  • lunyone
    Where does this SSD below fit into the equation?
    $130-140 shipped ~$1.16/GB
    SanDisk Ultra SDSSDH-120G-G25 2.5" 120GB SATA II Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
    Reply
  • lashabane
    lunyoneWhere does this SSD below fit into the equation?$130-140 shipped ~$1.16/GBSanDisk Ultra SDSSDH-120G-G25 2.5" 120GB SATA II Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)You should check out their oh so informative video on their website:

    sandisk-solid-state-drive
    I wasn't able to find any info anywhere in regards to what kind of flash memory it uses so no clue where it would stand in the charts.
    Based on size and pricing, I would imagine it being tier 9 or 10
    Reply
  • jammur
    Are you sure the crucial m4 256GB is really better than the 240GB OCZ Agility 3. The reads and writes MB/s in your table are both SIGNIFICANTLY lower. So I'm paying ~$60 more for an extra 16GB that are A LOT slower. Is that right?
    Reply
  • RealBeast
    sincreatorI think that reliability should be a big factor in all the categories. I've read from numerous sites that the M4 crucial drives and Intel drives are the most reliable, and I also know that the sandforce drives have a firmware update that fixes the issues that once existed. What I don't know and what alot of other people don't know is how reliability stands up between all the drives. Would be interesting to find out though, I guess after 3 or 4 years we'll start finding out. The best information that I've found on ssd reliability is a study of a large etailer and its returns (all drives had over 500 sales) and they update the table a couple times a year HERE. Intel and Crucial really stand out in their reliability measure.
    Reply
  • Nintendo Maniac 64
    No love for the OCZ Onyx 32GB? Its read performance is about only half as fast as the Kingston 16GB, but the write speed is about the same and has twice as much space.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227510

    It also seems to be one of, if not OCZ's most reliable SSD. (all of their other models are under par reliability-wise)
    Reply
  • sincreator
    RealbeastThe best information that I've found on ssd reliability is a study of a large etailer and its returns (all drives had over 500 sales) and they update the table a couple times a year HERE. Intel and Crucial really stand out in their reliability measure.
    Thanks for that. :) Pretty interesting write up for sure. I was really surprised to see Asus motherboards have 4 out of the top 6 returned motherboards, and not just their low end boards either.lol. I also thought that Corsair would of beat out Antec/Thermaltake in the PSU department...I guess not. Either way I guess we have to take those figures with a grain of salt though since it's just information from one e-tail outlet, and not the numbers from the companies themselves. It's not like they would share the real numbers anyway though. haha.
    Reply