What’s the Best SSD? 5 Drives Tested

Boot Times, File Copy, and Zip Tests

The user experience matters as much or more than what a traditional benchmark can tell you. That’s why we also devised some real-world tests to help replicate how these drives might impact your laptop computing experience. For instance, how long you sit waiting for a PC to boot is valuable, as is the time spent copying files from one file to another, and time spent opening and closing applications.

Boot Times

Drive Boot Time (seconds)
Patriot Pyro SE (240GB) 14.0
Samsung 830 Series (256GB) 15.0
SanDisk Extreme (240GB)  15.0
Kingston HyperX SH100S3 (240GB) 16.0
Intel SSD 520 (240GB) 17.7
Hitachi 7,200 rpm 56.3

To see how quickly each drive could boot into Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit), we used BootRacer, a program that measures startup time, and took the average of three runs. Though the difference between the fastest and slowest booting SSD was only 3.7 seconds, the Patriot Pyro SE clearly led the field, taking just 14 seconds to boot compared with 15 seconds each for the Samsung 830 Series and SanDisk Extreme, 16 seconds for the Kingston HyperX SH100S3 and 17.7 seconds for the Intel SSD 520. The 7,200 rpm hard drive took more than three times as long.

Winner: Patriot Pyro SE

File Copy Tests

Drive Multi-File Copy Time (sec) Single File Copy Time (sec)
Samsung 830 Series (256GB)  25.3  13.0
SanDisk Extreme (240GB)  31.0  9.7
Kingston HyperX SH100S3 (240GB) 31.0 17.3
Intel SSD 520 (240GB)  31.3 17.7
Patriot Pyro SE (240GB) 33.3 10.0
Hitachi 7,200 rpm  137.0 71.7

To simulate an important real-world workload, we timed both single and multifile copies. For the multifile test, we copied 4.97GB of mixed media files (photos, videos, audio files, documents) from one folder to another while, for the single file test, we duplicated a single 3.1GB file. The Samsung 830 Series maintains its status as the fastest multifile copying SSD we’ve tested. However, the SanDisk Extreme bested it by a wide margin on single file copy time. The Kingston HyperX SH100S3 and Intel SSD 520 returned similar multifile and single file times while the Patriot Pyro SE finished a couple of seconds behind them.

Winner: Samsung 830 Series

Zip and Unzip Tests (minutes)

Drive Zip Time (mm:ss) Unzip Time (mm:ss) Average (mm:ss)
Intel SSD 520 (240GB)  3:10  2:17  2:27
SanDisk Extreme (240GB)  2:42  2:29  2:31
Patriot Pyro SE (240GB)  2:46 2:31   2:34
Kingston HyperX SH100S3 (240GB)  3:15 2:24 2:34
Samsung 830 Series (256GB)   3:24 2:23  2:35 
Hitach 7,200 rpm HDD  3:25 3:32  3:31

Whether you’re creating a new zip file or extracting the contents of an existing archive, the process of dealing with zip files taxes the storage drive even more than a standard file copy because it involves even more simultaneous reading and writing. To test the drives’ ability to handle archive files, we compressed 4.97GB of files into a single zip file and then extracted files from that file into a new folder. The Intel SSD 520 unzipped faster than any of the other drives, though its zip time was noticeably slower than the SanDisk Extreme and Patriot Pyro SE. However, when both times are averaged together, Intel’s drive leads this category by a narrow margin.

Winner: Intel SSD 520

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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