What’s the Best SSD? 5 Drives Tested

If you haven’t yet replaced your notebook’s old-fashioned mechanical hard drive with a speedy solid state drive, you’re in luck. Even as performance continues to improve, the cost of a 240 to 256GB drive has dropped into the affordable sub-$350 range. In fact, some models now cost as little as $239. There has never been a better time to dramatically improve your notebook’s performance by upgrading to SSD.

To see which drive offers you the most performance for your money, we rounded up five 2.5-inch SSDs that support the high-speed SATA III (6 Gb/s) interface and tested them on a quad-core HP Pavilion dv7 notebook test-bed. The control was a 500GB 7,200-rpm Hitachi hard drive.

The Contenders

Intel SSD 520 (240GB)

Instead of a proprietary Intel chip, the SSD 520 uses the popular SandForce SF-2281 controller, but adds in Intel’s custom-optimized firmware for improved performance and reliability. Speedy 25nm synchronous NAND flash, which promises faster performance than toggle or asynchronous NAND, holds the data.

SanDisk Extreme (240GB)

Like most other SSDs in this class, the Extreme is powered by a SandForce SF-2281 controller, but combines that with 24nm SanDisk toggle NAND memory. Because the NAND memory is manufactured by SanDisk, the company can force prices down while still offering strong performance.

Patriot Pyro SE  (240GB)

The Pyro SE also uses the very-popular SandForce SF-2281 controller, but combines it with blazing-fast 25nm synchronous NAND Flash memory.

Kingston HyperX SH100S3 (240GB)

Unquestionably the best-looking drive in our roundup, the HyperX has more going for it than just a chrome and bright blue chassis. Inside the drive is the nearly-ubiquitous SandForce SF-2281 controller and speedy 25nm synchronous NAND flash from Intel.

Samsung 830 Series (256GB)

The winner of our previous SSD showdown, Samsung’s 830 series offers impressive multitasking performance because of a proprietary triple-core controller. It sports an attractive brushed-metal case and an optional upgrade kit that makes it easy to copy files from your old drive.

The Controls

To get an idea of what to expect we also compared the four SATA III drives to the Samsung 470 series, a SATA II SSD which won our previous SSD roundup, and to a 500GB 7,200 rpm hard drive.

What’s the Best SSD? 5 Drives Tested

AUTHOR BIO
Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of Laptopmag.com 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. SATA 3 SSD Says:

    It would be nicer if you included OCZ Vertex 4 SSD in your list. After the firmware 1.4 driver update, it became almost the best of all.

    But anyway, thanks for what you presented here, it is beneficial

  2. tonberry Says:

    The sequential average of the Kingston drive doesn’t add up. Should that be 400.3??
    Also you mentioned the Pyro as having the quickest read speed in that table at 402.7, I’m guessing that should be 502.7?
    I’m confused

  3. Russell Thaw Says:

    How about an article explaining what SSD is best for an XP laptop. Older XP’s can be resurrected with an SSD, but it’s tricky. First you need to determine if your old drive is PATA or SATA, and if SATA what’s best for your laptop configuration. Then there’s lining up the partition offset. We need a “how to” on that subject alone.

  4. The TechieGuy Says:

    Why wasn’t Crucial SSD included in this showdown? Personally I think they run the SSD market currently. Consistent read/write speeds at the top of the benchmarks, with consistent durability as well.

  5. JayTexas Says:

    @Tonberry, no it should be 388.3. Surprised that missed that. It’s very simple math, unless they were weighing one stat more than the other, which in that case the others shouldn’t add up but do. (X+Y)/2.

  6. JayTexas Says:

    My English on the other hand……….. ***they***

  7. Mr right Says:

    It appears that we made a miscalculation with the samsung 830 on the Single Application Open Tests
    . Average it´s not calculated properly.

    =)

  8. jj Says:

    240-250 gigs is not a lot of storage in today’s terms and with the price ? its a joke and a new fad that has a long way to god

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