Let's sum up the key facts discovered in this review.
- The Crucial RealSSD C300 offers the best performance and the best performance per dollar per gigabyte. Be advised that the 64 GB unit is significantly slower than the 256 GB flagship when it comes to writing data. Clearly, the 256 GB Crucial drive is the very best choice for enthusiasts that can fork out $700 for a 6Gb/s SATA product and don’t care about average power consumption results. Be advised that you should be using an operating system that supports the TRIM feature to maintain high performance.
- All SSDs based on the SandForce SF-1200 controller deliver great throughput, stellar I/O performance, and low power consumption. Right now, these seem to be the best mainstream options at 100 to 128 GB and $300 to $400.
- Intel’s X25-M has been a great option for many months—and still is. Despite some write performance limitations, you’ll get a low-power, high-peformance client SSD that still does well against modern competition.
- Toshiba’s HG2 requires the least power to operate. Unfortunately, it’s painfully slow at I/Os and 4K random writes. Don’t choose it unless you specifically want low power and quick read operation.
- Western Digital’s Silicon Edge Blue 256 GB is way too expensive, poor on 4K random writes, below average on PCMark Vantage, and inefficient. We expect more from WD.
- Budget-sensitive users should consider the 64 GB Crucial RealSSD C300 and the Intel X25-V. Both lack write performance and have sporadic weaknesses, but they're still better client drives than the Toshiba or WD options. Be sure that you can live with the low storage capacity. These are designed as boot drives, after all.
At this time, it makes sense to purchase an SSD if you’ve been waiting for balanced and affordable products to become available. Drives like the OCZ Vertex 2 or the G.Skill don’t outperform the other drives, but they do well in all benchmarks and even deliver good bang for the buck.
We therefore grant our Recommended Buy Award to these two 100 to 120 GB products.
Crucial’s RealSSD C300 remains the very best choice these days after a slow start and with firmware version 002. But the other options are definitely all worth considering.