The Best Sub-$100 SSDs Tested, Reviewed

By on November 13, 2012, 9:52 PM

Computers relying solely on age old hard disk drive technology should be deemed a thing of the past. Mechanical devices suffer from slow response times, so if and when performance matters, spending a small amount of money on upgrading a PC's boot drive could pay off enough to render other potential upgrades useless.

But of course, the major issue with SSD adoption over the past few years has been price, the astronomically high price when you are counting in hundreds of gigabytes. In today's comparison review we are going to look at 8 popular SSDs that cost $100 or less and feature capacities of up to 128GB.

The contenders include the OCZ Vertex 4 128GB, Samsung 840 120GB and Crucial m4 128GB. The most affordable high-capacity SSD featured in our roundup is the Kingston SSDNow V+200 120GB, while the OCZ Vertex 4 64GB, Crucial m4 64GB and Samsung 830 64GB should all offer stellar performance for under $80.

Read the complete review.




User Comments: 28

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3DCGMODELER 3DCGMODELER said:

I have a system... And was thinking of going SSD 256 gig will I benifit if I switch to a SSD???

Gigabyte 1136 socket MB, i7-970 6-core, 32 gig ram. I am using a Antec case with a SSD mount on the very top of case..

Staff
Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

You don't mention what storage you're using right now, but regardless if it's a standard hard drive you are bound to see a big performance increase if you use a SSD... but wait, did you read the article?

For comparison sake we included a speedy 10k RPM HDD in all benchmarks, and it still gets kicked in the nuts.

Staff
Jesse Jesse said:

FYI, The table with the SSD data gets cut off on my iPhone 4.

1 person liked this |
Staff
Steve Steve said:

FYI, The table with the SSD data gets cut off on my iPhone 4.

Works on my Galaxy 3 upgrade :P

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Really like the graphs.

And this roundup's timing for me is excellent. Was looking to finally get an SSD this weekend, coming from a 1TB Barracuda. I've heard good things about the 830, mainly about its long-term reliability. I read you would do some benchmarks to simulate this very thing, but I didn't see the HD Tach benchmark. Did I miss something?

Staff
Steve Steve said:

Really like the graphs.

And this roundup's timing for me is excellent. Was looking to finally get an SSD this weekend, coming from a 1TB Barracuda. I've heard good things about the 830, mainly about its long-term reliability. I read you would do some benchmarks to simulate this very thing, but I didn't see the HD Tach benchmark. Did I miss something?

You cannot simulate long-term reliability. You can only determine long-term reliability by using at least one (preferably numerous) versions of a particular SSD for a year or more. That said yes the 830 is reliable based on our testing, I have had a pair of 830 SSDs in use for over a year now.

The HD Tach is used to test TRIM performance by filling the drives completely numerous times before benchmarking.

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Really like the graphs.

And this roundup's timing for me is excellent. Was looking to finally get an SSD this weekend, coming from a 1TB Barracuda. I've heard good things about the 830, mainly about its long-term reliability. I read you would do some benchmarks to simulate this very thing, but I didn't see the HD Tach benchmark. Did I miss something?

You cannot simulate long-term reliability. You can only determine long-term reliability by using at least one (preferably numerous) versions of a particular SSD for a year or more. That said yes the 830 is reliable based on our testing, I have had a pair of 830 SSDs in use for over a year now.

The HD Tach is used to test TRIM performance by filling the drives completely numerous times before benchmarking.

Ah, I see. I misinterpreted the wording. I thought all benchmarks were pre-HD Tach, and then we'd see post-HD Tach benchmarks.

I know most of the benchmarks are about raw performance, but I'm particularly interested in reliability and overall longevity of the drive. In your opinion, since you've owned the Samsung 830 would you recommned it on that basis over the OCZ Vertex 4?

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

I have a system... And was thinking of going SSD 256 gig will I benifit if I switch to a SSD???

Gigabyte 1136 socket MB, i7-970 6-core, 32 gig ram. I am using a Antec case with a SSD mount on the very top of case..

Your 1366 mobo is probably only going to have SATAII - so you'll be limited there, but it will still be much faster than any spindle based drive you put in there.

LinkedKube LinkedKube, TechSpot Project Baby, said:

I have a system... And was thinking of going SSD 256 gig will I benifit if I switch to a SSD???

Gigabyte 1136 socket MB, i7-970 6-core, 32 gig ram. I am using a Antec case with a SSD mount on the very top of case..

Your 1366 mobo is probably only going to have SATAII - so you'll be limited there, but it will still be much faster than any spindle based drive you put in there.

Agree, I'm still on my rampage II extreme and I'm extremely limited with newer drives and speed test.

Guest said:

Why isnt sandisk in the test

Staff
Steve Steve said:

Why isnt sandisk in the test

If you want to know how a sub-$100 Sandisk SSD performs look at the Kingston HyperX 90GB which uses the SandForce SF-2281 controller just like the Sandisk Extreme. There is no point including every SandForce based SSD, it would just make the results confusing for the reader.

Staff
Per Hansson Per Hansson, TS Server Guru, said:

Steven I have to ask, don't you think it's strange that the Samsung 840 Pro vs non-pro are so far apart in some file copy tests?

I have not seen others review the smaller capacity 840 drives but to me it seems strange that it would be THAT much slower...

If that's the case then the TLC NAND drives are to be avoided just as much as the ASYNC NAND drives as you mentioned in the review...

AS SSD 4K-64

Samsung 840 120GB: 101.5MB/s

Samsung 840 Pro 512GB: 228.7MB

Game File Copy Test:

Samsung 840 120GB: 107.6MB/s

Samsung 840 Pro 512GB: 249.9MB

Arris Arris said:

I can attest to the below par performance of the Kingston V200, got one of those with a deal with a new laptop and I've replaced it with an older Seagate Momentus XT 500GB hybrid disk and don't see much of a difference. Have to be careful with all these new 'affordable' SSDs on the market. Good article Techspot!

Staff
Steve Steve said:

Steven I have to ask, don't you think it's strange that the Samsung 840 Pro vs non-pro are so far apart in some file copy tests?

I have not seen others review the smaller capacity 840 drives but to me it seems strange that it would be THAT much slower...

If that's the case then the TLC NAND drives are to be avoided just as much as the ASYNC NAND drives as you mentioned in the review...

AS SSD 4K-64

Samsung 840 120GB: 101.5MB/s

Samsung 840 Pro 512GB: 228.7MB

Game File Copy Test:

Samsung 840 120GB: 107.6MB/s

Samsung 840 Pro 512GB: 249.9MB

You realize you are comparing the write performance of a 120GB SSD to a 512GB SSD right?

Samsung's own spec says that the 840 120GB has a write speed of "up to" 130MB/s while the 840 Pro 512GB has a write speed of up to 520MB/s. So I don't think its strange.

Staff
Per Hansson Per Hansson, TS Server Guru, said:

I can attest to the below par performance of the Kingston V200

Take care Arris, the V200 is a really shitty drive, based on a JMicron controller!

The V+200 is based on a Sandforce SF-2281 controller, leaps and bounds better!

[link]

[link]

Arris Arris said:

"128GB KINGSTON V200 SSD, SATA 6 Gb (300MB/R, 190MB/W) (Special Offer)"

Thanks Per, guessing that the one I have is the original JMIcron version I have. It's stuck in my desktop as a scratch drive now for LightRoom. The mSata 256GB Crucial M4 I put into the laptop is worlds ahead of it.

Staff
Per Hansson Per Hansson, TS Server Guru, said:

You realize you are comparing the write performance of a 120GB SSD to a 512GB SSD right?

Samsung's own spec says that the 840 120GB has a write speed of "up to" 130MB/s while the 840 Pro 512GB has a write speed of up to 520MB/s. So I don't think its strange.

Okay thanks, I guess it was just on my head then that there would not be such a huge performance difference between then

I even read Anands review of the non-pro 840 but guess the numbers must have not catched, they match nicely with what you found [link]

cmbjive said:

I didn't want to complete my build until I at least got an SSD for my bootup. I did plenty of research and the one I leaned towards was the OCZ Vertex 4 128GB, but it never went to a sales price point that I could afford. Instead, I decided to go with the Kingston HyperX 120GB SSD. At the time I bought it Newegg had it on sale for $69.99 after $30 off and free shipping. Including the two year warranty my out the door cost was $79.98.

Buying the SSD was best decision I made for my build: Bootup times is under ten seconds and accessing Excel, Outlook and Word takes less than three seconds. The size of the drive is perfect for just these applications and it is never going to be used for games or saves.

I think over the next few months pricing on SSD in the 64GB-128GB range is going to drop considerably (at least I hope so). Anyone who hasn't gotten one yet should definitely look into making the investment along with a two-three year extended warranty.

Guest said:

SSD adoption has been slow not only because of price but because of storage capabilities. If consumers see a number bigger than another they instantly think that one is better the write speed is of absolutely no importance to them. Nice comparison btw!

Guest said:

Using myself Samsung SSD 830 128GB as OS disk for my desktop, and 256GB version for my laptop, I can guarantee that SSD change the PC experience a lot.

Performance has increased at 200% and with all benefits of SSD, PC makers should consider the idea to build new computers with SSD as primary drive and HDD as data storage drive. The Samsung SSD are very reliable for my part. The prices of SSD are also decreasing.

Guest said:

I use 2x Vertex 4's in raid 0. These are not sandforce which has caused some headaches but I get some wicked speeds. Took a gamble since they were a new controller. Very pleased the live boot CD upgrade the firmware with out breaking raid. =)

My AS-SSD scores are about 1500 and I used 2x 128GB, they were $100 a piece and the speed is well worth the money. I just run Windows and Steam off it all storage hits my raid 5.

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

Would have been nice to see the Agility 4 on here, other then that nice roundup. Think I saw a 256GB Agility 4 for $130 the other day, no rebate nonsense either.

1 person liked this |
Staff
Steve Steve said:

Would have been nice to see the Agility 4 on here, other then that nice roundup. Think I saw a 256GB Agility 4 for $130 the other day, no rebate nonsense either.

We didn't include the Crucial v4 or OCZ Agility 4 for a reason. We recently reviewed both models and concluded that they should be avoided. They are just a fraction cheaper than the m4 and Vertex 4 and the performance trade off simply isn't worth it. OCZ also didn't want the Agility 4 to be included so they obviously don't have much faith in that product either.

We also cannot base the pricing on what was seen the other day. The 256GB Agility 4 is a $185 product.

[link]

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

Yes I remember reading that review, which was also well done. And I was wrong, the deal was a Agility 4 256GB for $145 but that bargain is long gone now. Thank you Steve!

I am still waiting for a Tri SLi/Quad SLi vs Tri-fire/Quadfire review with the 670, 680, 7950 and 7970. It would bring in many, many, many hits/visitors! (just wait until the new official Nvidia drivers release please, the beta's show promising results in BF3)

hellokitty[hk] hellokitty[hk], I'm a TechSpot Evangelist, said:

I don't think this is quite fair on the price/GB chart; I'm not entirely familiar with how the manufacturers configure the drive and how much space you actually have to use but...

Firstly is minor rounding errors, for example OCZ Vertex 4 115/128=89.8, which IMO should be 90c. I don't know if you counted cents or what though.

Secondly the chart treats 120GB ssds as though they are 120GB, and AFAIK they are 128GB but are called 120GB as a manner of subtracting out a bit to make a round number and to compensate for space lost with TRIM. IMO it is unfair to calculate the values like this, it should be 128GB for all 128GB drive, 96 for the Kingston HyperX 3K and 64 (as it is) for all 64GB drives.

So the Samsung 840 should actually be 86c.

Also the Kingston HyperX 3K is clearly wrong, I think the author made the mistake of doing GB/Price on this one. It should really be 100/96=1.04c, or 100/90=1.11.

Staff
Steve Steve said:

, post: 1252166, member: 169488"]I don't think this is quite fair on the price/GB chart; I'm not entirely familiar with how the manufacturers configure the drive and how much space you actually have to use but... .

You are right I don't think you are entirely familiar with how it works. It's no mistake that some drives are called 120GB and others 128GB, there is believe it or not an 8GB difference in capacity once formatted.

However you are right about the Vertex 4 pricing, it should be 90c rather than 89c, can't believe I am having my balls busted over 1c I will fix that now.

, post: 1252166, member: 169488"]Secondly the chart treats 120GB ssds as though they are 120GB, and AFAIK they are 128GB but are called 120GB as a manner of subtracting out a bit to make a round number and to compensate for space lost with TRIM. IMO it is unfair to calculate the values like this, it should be 128GB for all 128GB drive, 96 for the Kingston HyperX 3K and 64 (as it is) for all 64GB drives.

So the Samsung 840 should actually be 86c.

That's not at all how it works :S

Anyway call it unfair if you want but I think it's irrelevant whether the stated capacity or formatted capacity is used for the cost per gigabyte calculation.

hellokitty[hk] hellokitty[hk], I'm a TechSpot Evangelist, said:

I'm not sure either ? I thought that it was that they should show a capacity difference when formatted because some manufactures allocate space for RAISE or TRIM or something and it's unusable and doesn't show up as available space... but that they're all in fact 128GB drives. I think it'd be very weird logistically to only have a 120GB drive?

Anyway I suppose it doesn't really matter and formatted capacity may be better if you're not able to adjust the trim/raise space (if it exists).

I have good confidence that the $90 Samsung 830 128GB is the best choice and would have won though

Anthpny Anthpny said:

My laptop drive is 135GB formatted. One 128GB won't do it as I need to move around files to get the image down to 70-80GB, which I am not in the mood for. The Sammy 128GB 830 has been under $90 for the last month or so. I have thought of using two 90GB's or 128GB's in RAID 0 on the laptop but I really didn't want to spend more than $100.

I want a 256GB but I fear getting even an Agility 4 for about $100 isn't going to happen so we'll see come next week.

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