Why listen to me?
I'm going to focus on SATA SSDs as that is the majority of the consumer SSD market. I have done countless hours of my own research over this topic and have nearly a full understanding of what is ideal. I am not the say all and end all, I am just stating what I think. These suggestions will be off of current SSDs and will not consider older ones which are replaced by newer models.
The difference in real world between all current gen SSDs is so minute that it doesn't matter if a benchmark says one is faster than another. Even the difference between SSDs on SATA 2 vs having it on SATA 3 and even having 2 in a RAID 0 array is going to be a insignificant change for the average user, please keep that in mind...even when I use performance tests to validate one over the other in benchmarks.
You don't need the newest, most expensive, and highest-rated SSD. If you have the money for a platform upgrade, there are certainly are some gains from upgrading to a Native SATA 6Gb/s-capable motherboard and the best solid-state drive. However, on a tighter budget buying the SSD that everyone says is the fastest isn't as important as buying an SSD you can afford, ESPECIALLY when replacing a hard disk as your system drive. SATA 6 Gb/s only allows a wider bandwidth, aka, higher max seq speeds, access times and 4k reads/writes will be pretty much the same on SATA 6Gb/s as on 3Gb/s ports. So you will hardly notice a difference b/w either in daily use 99% of the time. (Read this!
Also, almost all newer (better) SSDs are SATA 3, so it doesn't even matter in deciding on one vs another anymore.
Now when you want to decide on a SSD look at size first. Then look at the overall choices and narrow down by features, user reliability, company support and warranty, speed, and price.
I usually suggest you wait for a sale on the drive you want or get what ever is a good price.*
If you ask me which one would be the best for gaming? I will laugh.
Honestly, there is almost no difference b/w these SSDs in real world use. 100%, no lie. You are fine with any one of my recommended. If you want go look at reviews and see what caters better to you. Some are cheaper than others b/c they have slower asynchronous NAND, while others are just cheap b/c they are just on sale or the store needs to move stock, so just have an eye out for that.Capacity:
Okay, this is how you should start off your decision on what drive you are going to purchase. The bigger the drive the the better. One thing to notice is that with most 60/64GB SSDs is that their 120/128GB and larger counterparts usually have twice the lifespan. You get more space for wear leveling, you get longer life spans due to usually more NAND chips used, and performance usually scales with size as well. If you are wondering whether to get 1 large SSD or 2 or more smaller ones and RAID 0 them or just leave them as separate drives I suggest you simply get the single larger drive.
- Smallish boot drive: (~64GB) - With a 64GB drive you get ~59.6GB of formatted space. With a 60GB drive you get ~55.9GB of space. If you want to install the OS, all the programs that you want, and a game or two, then a 60/64 GB SSD will do.
- Medium sized boot drive: (~128GB) - With a 128GB drive you get ~119.24GB of formatted space. With a 120GB drive you get ~111.79GB of space. If you want to install the OS, all the programs that you want, a few games and such I would recommend a 120/128GB SSD at least.
- Large boot drive: (~256GB+) - If you want to have Steam or most/all of your games or other large items on your SSD then I would recommend at least a 240/256 GB SSD.
SandForce drives weren't known to be the most reliable drives on the market due to many issues with their firmware and support. But, with the latest firmware issues have gone down drastically and since LSI has purchased SandForce there improvements in support.
I will help you understand which are better than the others. Here we are focusing on the NAND the drive uses and the type of data it will be handling. There are two types of data that your drive processes, they are compressible and incompressible. Depending on what you use your SSD for will help determine which SSD you want.Compressible data
- Data that can be compressed into a smaller size such as say a word document.Incompressible
- Data that can not be compressed into a smaller size such as say videos, music, and pictures.
Now for your operating system and programs and such you will have a mix of both types of data. Almost all data is compressible as well as incompressible to some degree. On average programs and the OS files are ~50% of each. So, it is beneficial to have a drive that handles compressible as well as incompressible data faster. You want a drive with Synchronous or Toggle NAND for the best performance, not Asynchronous. For a few dollars more, a SSD with Synchronous or Toggle NAND will likely deliver a much better experience. We are on Overclock.net, who doesn't want the fastest and best, especially for the same or better price?
Also, just to note, if you are benchmarking a SandForce SSD, make sure you know that the manufacturers use ATTO benchmark to get their advertised numbers. Other benches like AS SSD will show lower write speeds due to the different type of incompressible data used for benching.My Suggested SSDs:
No specific order...
- Mixed controllers with Toggle or Synchronous NAND:
- Corsair Neutron (5yr warranty) / (Synchronous MLC NAND)
- Corsair Neutron Series GTX (5yr warranty) / (Toggle MLC NAND)
- Crucial M4 (3yr warranty) / (Synchronous MLC NAND)
- Crucial M500 (3yr warranty) / (Synchronous MLC NAND)
- Plextor M5 Pro/Extreme (5yr warranty) / (Toggle MLC NAND)
- Plextor M5S (3yr warranty) / (Synchronous MLC NAND)
- Samsung 840 Pro (5yr warranty) / (Toggle MLC NAND)
- Samsung 840 Evo (3yr warranty) / (Toggle TLC NAND)
- Samsung 830 (3yr warranty) / (Toggle MLC NAND)
- Samsung 840 (3yr warranty) / (Toggle TLC NAND)
- SanDisk Extreme II (5yr warranty) / (Toggle MLC NAND)
- SanDisk Ultra Plus (3yr warranty) / (Toggle MLC NAND)
- Seagate 600 (3yr warranty) / (Toggle MLC NAND)
- High end SandForce preferably with Toggle NAND.
- High end SandForce - Anything with Synchronous or Toggle mode NAND. These are a lot faster with incompressible data. Please look into one of these drives before you consider a asynchronous SandForce drive, it would be a waste of $ to buy a asynchronous drive when you can get something with Toggle or Synchronous NAND for a similar or lower price imo.
Toggle NAND SandForce:
- Corsair Force Series GS (3yr warranty)
- Mushkin Chronos Deluxe (3yr warranty)
- Sandisk Extreme (3yr warranty)
- Transcend SSD720 (3yr warranty)
Synchronous NAND SandForce:
- ADATA XPG SX900 (3yr warranty)
- ADATA S511 (3yr warranty)
- Corsair Force Series GT (3yr warranty)
- Intel 530 (5yr warranty)
- Intel 520 (5yr warranty)
- Intel 335 (3yr warranty)
- Intel 330 (3yr warranty)
- Kingston HyperX (5yr warranty)
- Kingston HyperX 3K (3yr warranty)
- Kingston SSDNow V300 (3yr warranty)
- Mushkin Chronos MX (3yr warranty)
- PNY XLR8 Pro (3yr warranty + 2 with registration)
- PNY XLR8
- PNY Prevail Elite (5yr warranty) / (eMLC NAND)
- PNY Prevail
- Low end SandForce - Anything with Asynchronous NAND. These are a lot slower with incompressible data than their higher-end brothers. Usually I'd recommend these to people who are an a very tight budget or those who want a cheap SSD for storage.
- ADATA S510
- Corsair Force Series 3
- EDGE Boost Pro 120GB
- G.SKILL Phoenix III
- Kingston SSDNow V+ 200
- Mach Xtreme DS Turbo
- Mushkin Chronos
- OWC Mercury Electra 6G
- Patriot Pyro
- Super Talent TeraDrive CT3
SSD database and reviews:
SSD Data Base
SSD Reviews Thread