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Best SSD for Performance, Price and Reliability

April 16th, 2012 - A Solid State Drive (SSD) is one of the most beneficial upgrades that can be made to a computer. SSDs are many times faster than the traditional, platter based hard drives that computer users have become accustomed to over the years. A SSD also runs silent, includes no moving parts and draws less power. These advantages make solid state drives ideal for mobile computing where longer battery life is essential. SSD prices are still relatively expensive compared to HDDs, but prices are dropping and have recently dipped below $1 per gig for some models. For many users SSD prices are now low enough to justify installing their operating system on an SSD for increased performance, lower noise levels and greatly reduced load times. Are you having trouble finding a fast SSD that also has good stability and compatibility? Then check out these four SSD models which provide major performance gains and high reliability for the price.

The Winner
Intel 520 Series

Intel 520 Series

The Intel SSDs in the 520 series feature 25nm MLC NAND and have been upgraded to the SandForce SF-2281 controller (previously Intel used a Marvell controller). Intel SSDs are known for reliability with some of the lowest failure rates in the industry and the 520 series is no different. Intel SSDs undergo extensive testing to ensure stability and compatibility. Intel's reliability combined with the raw performance of the SandForce controller come together in the 520 series to produce one of the fastest, most reliable SSDs to date. The Intel 520 line of SSDs are available in 60GB, 120GB, 180GB, 240GB and 480GB sizes.

Intel 520 Series Specs

60GB 120GB 180GB 240GB 480GB
Sequential Read Up to 550 MB/s Up to 550 MB/s Up to 550 MB/s Up to 550 MB/s Up to 550 MB/s
Sequential Write Up to 475 MB/s Up to 400 MB/s Up to 520 MB/s Up to 520 MB/s Up to 520 MB/s
4kb Random Read Up to 15,000 IOPS Up to 25,000 IOPS Up to 50,000 IOPS Up to 50,000 IOPS Up to 50,000 IOPS
4kb Random Write Up to 80,000 IOPS Up to 80,000 IOPS Up to 80,000 IOPS Up to 80,000 IOPS Up to 50,000 IOPS

Runners Up

While we chose the Intel 520 series as the best overall SSD, these three runners up are all very highly rated SSDs and top performers in their class, with the Crucial m4 being the best value SSD for price vs performance.

Crucial m4 SSD (Micron C400)

Crucial m4 SSDs are available in 64GB, 128GB, 256GB and 512GB sizes.

Crucial m4 Specs

64GB 128GB 256GB 512GB
Sustained Sequential Read Up to 500 MB/s Up to 500 MB/s Up to 500 MB/s Up to 500 MB/s
Sustained Sequential Write Up to 95 MB/s Up to 175MB/s Up to 260 MB/s Up to 260 MB/s
4KB Random Read 45,000 IOPS 45,000 IOPS 45,000 IOPS 45,000 IOPS
4KB Random Write 25,000 IOPS 35,000 IOPS 50,000 IOPS 50,000 IOPS

SanDisk Extreme Series

SanDisk Extreme Series

The SanDisk Extreme series of SSDs are available in 120GB, 240GB and 480GB sizes.

SanDisk Extreme Series Specs

120GB 240GB 480GB
Sequential Read Up to 550 MB/s Up to 550 MB/s Up to 540 MB/s
Sequential Write Up to 510 MB/s Up to 520 MB/s Up to 460 MB/s
Random Read Up to 23,000 IOPS Up to 39,000 IOPS Up to 44,000 IOPS
Random Write Up to 83,000 IOPS Up to 83,000 IOPS Up to 46,000 IOPS

Samsung 830 Series

Samsung 830 Series

The Samsung 830 series of SSDs are available in 128GB, 256GB and 512GB sizes.

Samsung 830 Series Specs

128GB 256GB 512GB
Sequential Read Up to 520 MB/s Up to 520 MB/s Up to 520 MB/s
Sequential Write Up to 320 MB/s Up to 400 MB/s Up to 400 MB/s
Random Read Up to 75,000 IOPS Up to 80,000 IOPS Up to 80,000 IOPS
Random Write Up to 30,000 IOPS Up to 30,000 IOPS Up to 36,000 IOPS