What’s the Best SSD? 5 Drives Tested

Synthetic Tests

To get an idea of each drive’s maximum capability, we ran two synthetic tests. The PCMark Vantage HDD suite performs a series of common storage workloads, including video editing and adding music to Windows Media Player, then assigns a score where higher is better. CrystalDiskMark 3.0.1 measures read and write speeds using a 1000MB file that’s stored in three different block sizes.

CrystalDiskMark sequential performance

Drive Seq. Read (MBps) Seq. Write (MBps) Sequential Average
Samsung 830 Series (256GB)   473.8   408.1    441.0 
 Kingston HyperX SH100S3 (240GB)  477.2  299.4  300.3
 Intel SSD 520 (240GB)   481.4   289.4  385.4 
 SanDisk Extreme (240GB)  479.3  275.3  377.3
 Patriot Pyro SE (240GB)  402.7  190.6  336.7
 Hitach 7,200 rpm HDD  100.6  104.5  102.6

This test measures pure read and write throughput under optimal conditions, where the file is one large block. Patriot’s Pyro SE had the fastest read time by a narrow margin, but its low write rate brought down its average. The Intel and SanDisk drives both provided solid performance, but only the Samsung 830 Series managed to achieve a write speed above 400 MBps, which gives it the best combination of sequential read and write times.

Winner: Samsung 830 Series

CrystalDiskMark 512KB blocks

Drive 512KB Read (MBps) 512KB Write (MBps) 512KB Average
 Kingston HyperX SH100S3 (240GB)   397.4   298   347.7
 SanDisk Extreme (240GB)  410.1  269.6  343.9
 Intel SSD 520 (240GB)  380.4   271.4   325.9 
 Samsung 830 Series (256GB)  308.7  269.8  289.3
Patriot Pyro SE (240GB)  420.7  130.1  279.4
 Hitach 7,200 rpm HDD  38.2  49.5  43.9

Most of the time, we’re not writing one huge contiguous file, but lots of pieces of data. The 512KB block test more closely simulates this common situation. When writing smaller 512KB chunks, the Patriot Pyro SE again had the fastest read speed, though its sub-200 MBps write speed slowed it down. Because of its blazing-fast writes, the Kingston HyperX SH100S3 proved superior at this block size.

Winner: Kingston HyperX SH100S3

CrystalDiskMark 4K tests

Drive 4K Read (MBps) 4K Write (MBps) 4K OD32 Read (MBps) 4K OD32 Write (MBps) Average
Intel SSD 520 (240GB) 19.46 46.81 234.9 262.5 140.9
 SanDisk Extreme (240GB) 20.5    45.4  215  234.5   130.9  
 Kingston HyperX SH100S3 (240GB)  27.95 47.51  106.6  251.0  120.5
Samsung 830 Series (256GB) 19.4 48.9 252.9 95.5 104.2
Patriot Pyro SE (240GB)
25.42 16.23 129.9 63.95 50.9
Hitachi 7,200 rpm 0.5 0.7 0.7 0.8 0.7

Today’s desktop operating systems read and write in small 4K blocks more often than 512K or larger chunks. CrystalDiskMark tests both the drive’s ability to read and write 4K blocks in a single thread and in a 32-operation command queue. A strong transfer rate at high-queue depth should translate into better

multitasking performance. Though the Kingston HyperX SH100S3 performed the best in the single-threaded scenario, the Intel SSD 520 outperformed it when using the command queue.

Winner: Intel SSD 520

PCMark Vantage HDD suite

Drive PCMark Vantage Score
Intel SSD 520 (240GB) 45,271
Kingston HyperX SH100S3 (240GB) 44,701
Patriot Pyro SE (240GB) 37,510
Samsung 830 Series (256GB) 41,203
SanDisk Extreme (240GB) 43,844
Hitachi 7,200 rpm 4,282

Futuremark’s benchmark suite measures storage drive performance by performing a number of tasks, including editing photos and transcoding video, then assigning a score. A higher number is better. The Intel SSD 520’s score of 45,271 narrowly edged out the Kingston HyperX SH100S3 by 520 points. The SanDisk Extreme and Samsung 830 Series also offered strong scores above 40,000 points, but the Patriot Pyro SE clearly trailed the field with its mark of 37,518.

Winner: Intel SSD 520

What’s the Best SSD? 5 Drives Tested

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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Submit Comments

  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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