Help Me, LAPTOP: I Need an SSD Under $200

We’ve long-maintained that there is no better way to speed up your notebook than replacing that old mechanical hard drive with a Solid State Drive. In fact, we’ve seen application open times improve 200 to 400 hundred percent in our tests! It seems that reader Simon agrees. He writes:

Hi there, I’m not a big geek in the hardware industry, so I needed some help. I’m planning on buying a macbook pro 13 in the next week, and I want a faster drive than the 5400 included. I was looking at Momentus XT, but seeing the performance were not that much of a difference from regular HDD, I decided to go for an SSD. The thing is, theses things are pricy and I was looking for the best one I could get for below 200$, at least 64 GB but preferably 120 GB.

When you’re shopping for an SSD, the most important spec is the controller. In our recent SSD round-up, we found that the OCZ Vertex 2, an SSD which is based on the popular Sandforce SF-1200 controller, offers the best combination of value and performance. However, the Intel SSD 320 is also a great choice, as is our overall performance leader, the Samsung 470 series. So which of these offers the best value right now?

A current search of major vendors reveals that you can get a 120GB version of the OCZ Vertex 2 for just $209.95 at You can also find the 100GB version for a little less than $200, but we’d spend the extra $10 to $15 to get the 120GB version.  The Intel SSD 320 actually costs around runs around $230 on Amazon in its 120GB variety and $179.95 in its 80GB capacity. The Samsung SSD 470 series can be had for $219.99 in 128GB capacity.

No matter which drive you choose, see our article on how to install an SSD before you crack open that notebook.

Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.
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  1. Aibal Says:

    DO NOT follow this advice!!

    OS X doesn’t support TRIM for most SSD brands. The author is apparently unaware of this issue, but it has been much discussed within the Apple community. Head to the forums (Apple, MacRumors, etc.).

  2. Michael Zeevi Says:

    I have a MacBook Pro with a factory installed SSD, and it has been getting slower and slower lately. I know that OSX 10.7 Lion is going to have better TRIM support, so when I upgrade do I need to format the drive and restore my data from a backup or will it just begin to clean up the drive?

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