How We Test

Along with an array of flash drives, we've included the Western Digital 4TB 3.5" 7200RPM and Western Digital Velociraptor 1TB 10,000RPM hard drives for comparison's sake. Other SSDs tested have controllers such as the SandForce SF-2281, JMicron JMF616, Intel PC29AS218A, Marvell 88SS9174, Toshiba TC58NCF618GBT and Samsung S3C29MAX01. Our testing suite consists of four synthetic benchmark programs and our own file copying and load time tests.

As you likely know, while manufacturers claim impressive peak I/O performance out of the box, this performance can diminish over time. Unlike a conventional hard drive, any write operation made to an SSD is a two-step process: a data block must be erased and then written to. Obviously if the drive is new and unused there will be nothing to erase and therefore the first step can be bypassed, but this only happens once unless the drive is trimmed.

Considering this, we'll test how much performance you can expect to lose from each SSD over time. We'll examine all drives in their clean unused state, and then run the HD Tach full benchmark several times to fill the entire drive. This simulates heavy usage and clearly indicates how performance will be affected after normal long-term use.

All drives in this roundup support the Windows 7 TRIM function, which is meant to counteract these negative effects.

Test System Specs

  • Intel Core i7-4770K (LGA1155)
  • x2 4GB DDR3-1600 G.Skill (CAS 8-8-8-20)
  • Asrock Z77 Extreme9 (Intel Z87)
  • OCZ ZX Series (1250w)
  • Western Digital Black 4TB
  • Western Digital Velociraptor 1TB
  • Samsung SSD 840 Evo 1TB
  • Samsung SSD 840 Evo 250GB
  • SanDisk Extreme II 240GB
  • OCZ Vector 150 240GB
  • OCZ Vector 512GB
  • OCZ Vertex 450 256GB
  • OCZ Vertex 4 256GB
  • OCZ Agility 4 256GB
  • OCZ Octane 512GB
  • Crucial m4 256GB
  • Intel SSD 520 Series 240GB
  • Intel SSD 510 Series 120GB
  • Samsung SSD 840 Pro 512GB
  • Samsung SSD 830 512GB
  • Gainward GeForce GTX 780 (3072MB)
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 (64-bit)
  • Nvidia Forceware 331.65