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Budget Sub-$150 Solid State Drive Round-up

By Julio Franco ยท 61 replies
Sep 8, 2010
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  1. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,357   +1,516

    I'm waiting for the and which leads to your point... :)

    In past reviews where SLC was an option we discussed the merits of it, we have even reviewed a few SLC based SSDs.


    As you said there was a pricing cap on this article and anyone on a budget that wants to get a taste for what SSD technology is about is not going to worry about anything using SLC memory as the cost is astronomical.
  2. Well after reading this article, just bought 2 x Kingston SNV425-S2 64GB. I don't play as much Starcraft 2 as I play World of Warcraft, but I can imagine it's the same deal. Thanks for the good article!
  3. I didn't see any reference to TRIM support for any of these SSD drives. Without that (and an OS that implements it like Windows 7), none of these drives will stay very fast very long.

    Please indicate which, if any, of these supports the TRIM function.
  4. You guys have never used computer with windows 7, right? If you HAVE used you would know that SSD nowadays are waste of cash. Windows 7 just by itself will take 16GB. Nowadays to have proper Boot Drive it has to be around 100GB to cover the ESSENTIAL crap that all those useless companies offer like:
    -Adobe Pgotoshop CS5+ other = 10GB (why somebody would wish more than Photoshop 6.0?)
    -Itunes + apps like navigon = 5GB
    -MS Office = 2GB
    -Adobe REader = 150MB (WTF???? just for reading) - use foxit reader instead - 5 MB and does more than adobe reader will ever do.
    -Shall I stop or continue???
    - ...
    In real live you end up with atleast 60 - 70 GB of crap you must have on the boot partition/drive. You need to have at least 20% free in order not to defragment every week...
    Don't waste time reading useless comparisons or waste money in SSD. if you want to be pimping and money is not problem for you, buy yourself two computers and do the job simultaneously or I can give you my Paypal account to donate.
  5. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +116


    I run 64 bit W7 Professional, Office 2007 Ultimate, Project 2007, Adobe CS5 master suite, Virtualbox, Crysis, Mass Effect 2, and thats without mentioning the 60+ other items of software, and I'm only using 30GB of my SSD. (Its 256GB, 238GB usable, 198GB remaining)

    Your speaking absolute rubbish!
  6. Per Hansson

    Per Hansson TS Server Guru Posts: 1,946   +200

    Please don't feed the trolls Leeky ;)

    grvalderrama; I have the 500GB Momemtus XT in my Dell M1710 laptop, the boot speed is very much better than a normal HDD
    The drive works by looking at the most used LBA addresses, it puts these in the 4GB SSD Flash memory (so the speed increase works with any filesystem, FAT, NTFS, EXT or even a RAID filesystem)
    Due to this reason the speed increase will not show untill you have used a particular application enough times so it gets put into the SSD cache.... (Could be why in some reviews the benefits are bigger than in others)
    I.e. if you install just Win7+Crysis and start only that I would imagine you will see a bigger performance increase vs if you have a bigger set of applications that you use the same number of times each (since they wont all fit in the small 4GB cache)

    Steven; Just look at for example run 1 & 2 & 3 of the Crysis benchmark, in my case run 2 & 3 are very similar, but run 1 is much slower with a mechanical HDD
    With a SSD all three runs are very similar in both average and minimum FPS for me...
  7. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Topic Starter Posts: 7,413   +809

    @Guest, it was promptly mentioned in the article that TRIM is supported by all drives. Here's also a larger explanation of how we tested to simulate used state on the SSDs:

    @Guest2, funny how you mention defragmentation (on an SSD???)... that's all I'm going to say.
  8. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,357   +1,516

    No you are right we have never used Windows 7, we just test with it. I still use Windows ME because it fits on my boot drive better and loads faster ;)

    How is your copy of Windows 7 16GB by itself? That is impressive for a program that comes on a single DVD and even then only takes up 3.4GB of that DVD, phenomenal compression going on there, the program should take 3 days to install.

    Sorry Per troll feed.
  9. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,223   +163

    First Per says don't feed'em...the Steve feeds'em...I'm so confused:haha:
  10. Per Hansson

    Per Hansson TS Server Guru Posts: 1,946   +200

    Yea, but he did say he was sorry :haha:
  11. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +116

    Whoops. :haha:
  12. Just as a quick aside. I use the Kingston SNV425S264GB and it works well, but I've always wondered about how well it uses TRIM. Is there any way in the present iteration of Win7 for users to see how TRIM is working, and how long it takes for TRIM to do its job? i.e. is there a utility or a way to see how much nand needs to be returned to state 1 and how long it will take for TRIM to return everything to 'like new'? When you are using Perfect Disk, or Diskkeeper for instance, you are able to see something like 54% done, 23 minutes remaining etc.

    Thanks in advance,

  13. Per Hansson

    Per Hansson TS Server Guru Posts: 1,946   +200

    No, Trim is done when you delete a file, format a disk etc
    I.e. it is constantly being done, it is not like "Defrag" which you run when the disk has degraded

    Think of it more like a constant defrag, however a defrag it is not at all, so now forget that thought :D
    An SSD should NEVER be defragemented, it hurts the drive...

    And no, there is no way to even know if TRIM is working properly (bar benchmarking the drive when it has been secure erased/is new, fill the drive with files, delete those files and test performance again)
  14. Defragmentation puts all the little chunks of file in sequence to reduce the latency when opening/reading files. If you have a chunk of file on platter1 and a chunk on platter 4 then the next chunk on platter 3, with a seek time of 1.8ms, that will take a while (hence the delay when opening files). De-fragmentation solves this.

    SSD's do not have platters or anything mechanical. The seek time is 0.1ms on my Vertex2 meaning every sector can be accessed with the same 0.1ms delay, no matter where they're located. In this case, De-fragmentation is useless and as I put on my blog, should NOT be done.

    And to the guy who said 30GB is not enough for a windows install with apps...

    I have a 60GB Vertex2 and I have a 28GB windows partition and the rest are linux partitions. Everything else is mapped to my gigabit NAS and in linux, I actually made a 'ramdisk' where I mount /tmp into the RAM, completely saving the SSD from temp file writes (firefox cache, etc).

    As for windows, I have Office2010, Photoshop, Crysis Ware-head, SQL server, Oracle, IIS7, VirtualBox, Opera,Firefox,Chrome(Browsers), Ultravnc, Foxit(pdf), infraburn(4MB freeware burning suite, snappier than Nero) and some other things.

    You can do it in 32GB EASILY. Just be sure to disable things like System Restore, Hybernation, defrag, indexing, firefox cache, etc. Also map your docs, etc to network storage or a mech drive.

  15. grvalderrama

    grvalderrama TS Enthusiast Posts: 194

    No, he's not speaking rubbish, W7 Ultimate 64-bits installed takes 16GB from your hard-drive. And yes, it's a great compression, the greatest I've ever seen myself, but, there's a illegal "repack" of Alien vs. Predator that the .iso it's 2.37 GB and once the game's installed it sucks 25GB!!! How much does it takes to install? "90-240 minutes, no joke" But I've not seen it yet.
  16. gwailo247

    gwailo247 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,010   +18

    I ran some unscientific benchmarks comparing the Momentus XT and the 300 GB Raptors in Raid 0.

    Both are running ASUS motherboards, 890GX and X58.

    I started counting from the time I hit exit on the Express Gate and then counted until the BIOS stopped and the windows loading screen started, and then counted until the logon field came on.

    The XT: 16.4 seconds to get through BIOS, and at 41 seconds the logon field popped up.
    The Raptors: 28 seconds to get through BIOS, and at 1:01 minutes the logon field popped on.

    I logged in simultaneously, and I did notice that some of the startup items were almost instantaneous, while a few like ESET and Steam took a bit of time to load up. But just looking at them side by side the XT does seem to function relatively well as a boot drive, at least as compared to the Raptor RAID.

    But then I usually put both of my computers to sleep, so boot up time is almost instantaneous anyway.
  17. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,357   +1,516

    I just installed Windows 7 Ultimate (64-bit) on a 40GB SSD from the official DVD and then downloaded all the updates. The size on disk is 10.3GB so maybe the other versions are installing more language packs or something like that, I have not looked into it. I knew my install could not be that big because on the 32GB drive I installed Win7, StarCraft II, Office 2007 and Photoshop CS4 and still have a few gigabyte's to spare.
  18. princeton

    princeton TS Addict Posts: 1,676

  19. grvalderrama

    grvalderrama TS Enthusiast Posts: 194

    I don't remember W7 having any other language but english, I had to download spanish MUI. Now I'm running W7 Professional 32-bits (I guess it's official, since it's original) and takes 9.21GB from my drive (plus updates), in fact, I had to change my W7 ultimate 64-bits to 32-Bits because it was just to heavy for my liking. The problem is not that I don't have space in the drive, the partition I made (for windows Xp by that time) it's just 50GB... too small for that O.S. Now I can't complain, this O.S it's great very reliable. So, I'm thinking of buying a Momentus XT and +2GB of RAM, so that I have W7 64-bits and enough room for games and everything else. Does any of the Momentus XT users have more that 1 partition? Could someone tell me if it affects the drive performance having 2 partitions.... Sorry for the bother, this is all brand new to me. Thanks!
  20. Comparison review was great though i have a few notes...

    I purchased a Vertex 2 50 GB a week ago with a fresh install of win7 64bit, all my scores were around 25 % higher than your Vertex though my hardware is over 2 years old.

    Keeping in mind that my scores where very close to yours before upgrading my firmware from 1.0 to 1.11 in addition to changinf the drive from ide to ahci mode.

    Did you do any firmware updates to those drives before running the tests ?

    Are they all running in AHCI mode ?

    Thanks and great work !
  21. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,357   +1,516

    All drives were in AHCI mode and using the latest Firmware.
  22. My understanding of the XT (momentus XT) drive is that it "learns" which sectors are loaded most often. This really only begins to show itself after about three or more boots. Therefore a review like this (I presume) will not show ANY of the benefits of the hybrid. Also all the benefits are in reading only and due to the SSD may actually slow it somewhat when writing. I have seen other reviews which show the Intel SSD as being the best all rounder. And no-one ever says what the XP holdouts should do to keep their drives in trim, without trim. or what linuxers or OS warped should do. I am waiting for December when the new process node (28nm?) drives should be on sale. Twice the space, Twice the speed, and Half the price. Oh joy
  23. Leaving out the Crucial C300 64GB was a huge mistake. It would dominate in CrystalDiskMark and AS-SSD, and all read tests. It it is $145 from newegg.
  24. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,357   +1,516

    Funny you should mention that. We now have the 256GB version of the Crucial C300 and while is indeed faster when it comes to read performance it was unable to beat many of the cheaper drives featured in this roundup when it came to the real world testing such as Windows 7 loading, multi-tasking and game level loading. I agree it would have been nice to include but we were unable to get a sample and had already purchased quite a few drives for the article. Mistake or not I think there is plenty of good info there that should really help anyone looking at buying an affordable SSD.
  25. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +116

    Out of curiousity, what happens to all the tech that is purchased for reviews (those that aren't donated) after the reviews?

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