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Best SSDs For The Money: August 2011

Best SSDs: $110 To $200

Best SSD for ~$125: Performance Boot Drive

Crucial m464 GB
Sequential Read415 MB/s
Sequential Write95 MB/s
Power Consumption (Active).150 W
Power Consumption (Idle).065 W

Even if you aren't planning to upgrade to a SATA 6Gb/s-capable motherboard quite yet, the 64 GB m4 offers good SATA 3Gb/s performance. Of course, it's really designed to operate on third-gen SATA controller though, enabling read speeds in excess of 400 MB/s.

We've heard readers complain that SSDs based on SandForce's technology are affected by performance degradation when they're forced to operate on incompressible data. That's mostly an issue for folks moving lots of media-oriented information or employing a form of active encryption, such as TrueCrypt. The behavior of Crucial's drive doesn't change based on the data it handles, though.

Best SSDs for ~$150: Single-Drive Configuration

Kingston SSDNow V+10096 GB
Sequential Read230 MB/s
Sequential Write180 MB/s
Power Consumption (Active)3.6 W
Power Consumption (Idle)0.05 W

If you want to use your SSD for more than simply installing an operating system and a few apps, the 90 GB capacity point is your next stop. Kingston specifically sells the 96 GB SSDNow V+100 to address this market.

Although this drive uses a Toshiba controller, it performs roughly on par with SandForce's first-gen logic, which you can also find at this price range. The V+100 isn't the fastest drive around, but it does give you more capacity. Thus, it's no surprise that our choice at this price point has more to do with price per gigabyte than performance.

Mobile Users: Honorable Mention for $190: System Drive (OS + Programs)

Intel SSD 310 (mSATA)80 GB
Sequential Read200 MB/s
Sequential Write70 MB/s
Power Consumption (Active)0.15 W
Power Consumption (Idle)0.075 W

The 40 GB SSD 310 only uses half of its available NAND channels, and it costs too much to be a value contender in the desktop space. The performance of the 80 GB model feels much closer to the X25-V in a much smaller form factor. If our recommendation was based on price alone, this wouldn't make our list. But mSATA lets you keep your notebook's high-capacity SATA-based hard drive too, which means you get the best of both worlds.

  • jjb8675309
    got a crucial m4 a few months ago and love it what an improvement
    Reply
  • Where is OCZ Vertex 3, is more faster than Adata and Crucial crap and it's only 200$
    Reply
  • flong
    The Crucial SSDs are interesting but they are slow compared to comparable Sandforce drives. The do well in 4k writes but are slower in all other benchmarks. I am not sure why they are recommended here. The Intel 310 is similarly slow and again and Intel has had recent reliability problems (the 8GB bug) and so they can no longer claim the to be the most reliable.

    So the Crucial and the Intel SSDs are again on this months list and I cannot follow the reasoning as to why. Here is a review of the M4 in today's Hardware Canucks. The 120GB Wildfire absolutely spanks the 256GB M4 in nearly every benchmark and it is half the size. The reviewer does say it is a good alternative to the 2281 Sandforce drives with Trim support - however the third generation Sandforce drives absolutely spank the M4 in almost every situation but non-Trim environments.

    The Kingston Hyper Extreme is now the fastest 120 GB SSD available. To be fair to Tom's, they haven't tested it yet.

    While I respect these choices, the only one I agree with is the recommendation of the Patriot Wildfire or the Mushkin Extreme for an enthusiast. The fact that they use more expensive high quality RAM sells me to them. However the Kingston Hyper 120 GB is testing as significantly faster in pro reviews and it is cheaper.
    Reply
  • flong
    Sorry, I did not post the link for the review, it is here:

    http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-reviews/45718-crucial-m4-256gb-ssd-review.html
    Reply
  • Right Now the OCZ Agility 3 is $164.99 after MIR at Newegg http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227726 and TigerDirect for $159.99 http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=557372&CatId=5300. However not for the faint of heart, you will need to do some firmware update most likely, but if you like tinkering....
    Reply
  • Max_DTH
    Guys, what do you think about idea of SSD's in RAID 0?
    2x Crucial m4 64GB in RAID 0 vs Crucial m4 128GB - the same capacity, the same price.
    2x Crucial m4 128GB in RAID 0 vs Crucial m4 256GB - the same capacity, RAID is $75 more expensive.
    RAID would have higher failure rate, but I suppose that in both cases peformance would be higher (with two 128GB a lot I guess, because 256GB is not much faster than 128GB).
    I'm talking here about Intel's build in RAID e.g with P67 (RAID card would made thing pointless price-wise). Can it handle such SSD RAIDs getting most out of it?

    I know, that recommending RAID is not the same as recommending SLI/Crossfire, but is it worth considering when space and ports are not a problem (in my case actually they are, but I would cope with that for noticable price/performance ratio improvement :))?
    Reply
  • greenrider02
    @Max_DTH, I'm doing two 96GB Kingston SSDNow V100+ drives in RAID0 and I've had success. At $215 for a total 192 GB I could not resist. It's not that you will have problems, it's just a risk. You have to make sure you have updated firmware and RAID controllers, and be ready to do a fresh install of your operating system. Since I keep all my data on storage drives and just put OS+programs+games(with Steam backups on the storage drives) on the RAID drives, I have no qualms with wiping the drives and starting over. It only takes a few hours. And I did get an error in my RAID forcing me to do this. From what I understand, most errors in your array will not be a dead drive and can be solved by wiping the array and rebuilding it.

    So I recommend giving it a try. Good luck!

    To the article: I don't know about recommending the OCZ Agility2 240GB, as, looking at newegg reviews, it seems that most capacities of the Agility2 and Vertex2 are prone to failure compared to their competitors
    Reply
  • cknobman
    Wow grammatical and spelling errors are terrible in this piece, was it even reviewed?
    Reply
  • Lutfij
    ^ forget about it being reviewed, you now have a chart to look at to compare your buy against other SSD's...talk about being greatful!
    Reply
  • Scotty99
    Sooo i just got an e-mail from newegg and these SSD's are on sale for less than 1 dollar per GB, problem is they have no reviews and i would like your guys opinion on these:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227738&nm_mc=EMC-IGNEFL082611&cm_mmc=EMC-IGNEFL082611-_-EMC-082611-Index-_-SSD-_-20227738-L0A
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227739&nm_mc=EMC-IGNEFL082611&cm_mmc=EMC-IGNEFL082611-_-EMC-082611-Index-_-SSD-_-20227739-L01C
    Also, would it be a better idea to get two of the 60gb's for raid, or just get the 120?

    Reply