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As is often the case with SSD reviews, what we have here is a mixed bag of results, so now it's time to sift through them to try and better understand where each SSD stands in terms of performance.
Breaking down the file copy tests, if we combine the three results to give us an average throughput, the OCZ Vertex 4 128GB comes first at 495MB/s. The Crucial m4 128GB came second with 473MB/s making it just 4% slower. From there the Samsung SSD 830 64GB came third with 450MB/s.
However if we look at the price vs. performance ratio we find that the OCZ Vertex 4 128GB and Crucial m4 128GB are not the best absolute value, providing 4.3MB/s and 4.5MB/s per dollar. In comparison, the Samsung SSD 830 64GB was a better value at 6.4MB/s per dollar, while the OCZ Vertex 4 64GB managed 5.7MB/s per dollar.
Therefore the Samsung SSD 830 64GB offers the best value in our file copy tests. Though it's disappointing we couldn't get a Samsung 128GB ($90) version of this drive in time for the review.
Looking at the game installation and virus scan tests, results are quite different. Here the Samsung SSD 840 120GB came in first place, taking a combined 149 seconds to complete both tests, while the OCZ Vertex 4 128GB took 155 seconds and the Crucial m4 128GB 180 seconds.
The Samsung SSD 840 120GB is an interesting product as it demonstrated extremely fast read performance coupled with relatively poor write performance in the AS SSD benchmark and our file copy tests. Yet somehow it managed to take top spot in both of our application tests.
Given its inconsistent performance we are hesitant to recommend the Samsung SSD 840 120GB. Although we have been highly impressed with Samsung's SSDs in the past, we feel that the OCZ Vertex 4 128GB or Crucial m4 128GB are safer options given their more consistent performance and lower cost per gigabyte.
Those seeking an even cheaper SSD will need to turn to the 64GB models and again we recommend the OCZ Vertex 4 64GB along with the Samsung SSD 830 64GB. The 64GB version of the m4 was rather underwhelming, delivering subpar performance in most of our tests, while the Samsung SSD 830 64GB and OCZ Vertex 4 64GB were often not much slower than the larger 128GB models.
As we've found in the past, SSDs loaded with asynchronous memory should be avoided and the Kingston SSDNow V+200 120GB proved this once more for us. The performance trade off doesn't justify the slight and we do stress 'slight' reduction in price. Despite having the lowest price per gigabyte at just 75c, the SSDNow V+200 120GB was significantly slower than the Crucial m4 128GB which costs just 7c more per gigabyte.
The Kingston HyperX 3K 90GB was also disappointing as it proved slower than the OCZ Vertex 4 64GB and Samsung SSD 830 64GB. Still at $100 the Crucial m4 128GB for example is a much better option for budget users.
To recap, the Crucial m4 128GB or OCZ Vertex 4 128GB should be at the top of any shopping list with a $100 SSD budget. Leaving the OCZ Vertex 4 64GB or Samsung SSD 830 64GB as the only cheaper options we would bother with.
Best Budget SSDs: OCZ Vertex 4 128GB and Crucial m4 128GB
Worthy of consideration: OCZ Vertex 4 64GB and Samsung SSD 830 64GB