dhanson865, I am looking forward to your insightful recommendations
Do you need more information from me?
Or can you at least recommend me several drives, and then explain their pros and cons?
For some reason I have the sorting hat scene in my head from the first Harry Potter movie.
Hmm, lets see not Slytherin you say. Well then a SSD it is for you!
OK, maybe that comes across as lame but it's where I went for a second.
In the 2011 Pricing thread I recently said the value drives in each capacity were
Samsung 470 64GB ~$117 ~$1.83/GB MZ-5PA064/US
Intel X25-M 120GB ~$208 ~$1.73/GB SSDSA2MH120G2K5
Crucial C300 256GB ~$440 ~$1.72/GB CTFDDAC256MAG-1G1 EOL Pending
The Samsung 470 64GB is a better value to me than the 40GB X25-V which is very close to the same price and I'm not fond of rebates anyway.
The C300 and X25-M drives are a safer choice as they have a long history.
You could assume the M4/C400, Intel 510 Series, and the Corsair Performance 3 are likely to be reliable since they have the same controller as the C300 or you could be wary just because they have a different name and 25nm flash. I'm willing to say they are likely to be OK choices but I'm going by gut feeling on that so take it for what its worth.
Lets assume for a second that you/I have enough money to buy any of the 128GB or less drives but want to get a good value. The older drives have been tested vs their specs and we get these numbers
X25-M G2 120GB 100MB/s ~100
X25-M G2 80GB 70MB/s 81.6
X25-V G2 40GB 35MB/s 37.7
C300 256GB 215MB/s 203.0
C300 128GB 140MB/s 131.1
C300 64GB 70MB/s 71.0
The newer drives have these specs
250MB/s read, 220MB/s write for 256GB model
250MB/s read, 220MB/s write for 128GB model
250MB/s read, 170MB/s write for 64GB model
Corsair Performance 3
480MB/s read, 320MB/s write for 256GB model
410MB/s read, 210MB/s write for 128GB model
365MB/s read, 110MB/s write for 64GB model
M4/C400 Performance to compare vs above
415MB/s read, 260MB/s write for 512GB model
415MB/s read, 260MB/s write for 256GB model
415MB/s read, 175MB/s write for 128GB model
415MB/s read, 95MB/s write for 64GB model
Intel 510 Series
500MB/s read, 315MB/s write for 250GB model
400MB/s read, 210MB/s write for 120GB model
If you want performance that truly takes advantage of 6Gb/s SATA the Intel X25M and 320 Series are out (more on that later). http://www.crucial.com/pdf/Tech_specs-l ... online.pdf
shows us that 265MB/s or thereabouts is the cutoff for SATA 3Gb/s. And even the highest capacity C300 doesn't hit 265MB/s on writes. So lets ignore 6GB/s writes and look at reads for a second.
All the C300 have 355MB/sec read capability. The M4/C400 have 415MB/s read capability. Corsair's version has slower reads than the M4/C400 but faster writes. Intel 510 has faster reads and writes but tests at Anandtech.com show the random write performance isn't good (as in it's about the same as the X25-M which has much lower sustained write speeds).
So why is the Intel 510 so much weaker? Maybe they pulled the same trick OCZ pulled back in the day and tuned for sequential reads/writes at the expense of random reads/writes. Until someone says otherwise that's what I'll assume.
I haven't seen enough benchmarks of the Corsair/Plextor versions of the new Marvell/25nm combo so I'll ignore them for now.
So when it comes to performance you have to decide how important 6GB/s is to overall usage, and how important optimizing for general usage is versus really high sequential speeds.
User A. Want's to use a SSD for backups or audio editing or video editing or some other task where raw read write speeds of multi GB files matter. For him 6Gb/s is a big deal and sequential matters more than random. He buys large capacity disks and he uses lots of really big files and big programs that take a long time to load even on a fast system.
User B. Wants the fastest money can buy. Maybe he games, maybe he is rich, maybe he is a techie but whatever he does sequential reads/writes aren't his primary usage pattern. 6 GB/s is a factor but not as much as overall performance.
User C. Want's the cheapest he can get without regretting it. He doesn't want to be reminded that he bought cheap every time his system slows down. 6Gb/s isn't even a factor here at least not in early 2011.
User A would have a tough choice right now as it'll be a few weeks or so before we'll have a solid idea of what is happening with the new Sandforce controller drives and the new Marvell controller drives both in performance and pricing. Even then nothing under 250GB is likely to catch his eye. He's looking for >200MB/s writes and low capacity drives don't cut it.
User B. would buy higher capacity drives nothing less than 120GB would even be considered. Even though it's not 6Gb/s material the Intel X25-M would be in the mix even if User B might instead grab a C300 or one of the other 6Gb/s drives.
User C. might want to avoid the 40GB 34nm drive and the 40 to 80GB 25nm drives just so he could avoid the peer pressure but even the slowest high quality SSD will probably meet his needs just fine. Price to performance might still push him away from the lowest capacity drives.
If a person found themselves using like User A but still in a budget crunch they might look at the Samsung 470 because it nearly saturates 3Gb/s SATA on sequential transfers reading and writing. Of course it'd have to be cheaper than the C300 and friends to still get the purchase.
If the person were risk adverse above all else the X25-M would get the nod for User B or C type usage.
I'm more User C and you said Windows 7 so I'd probably start my short list withX25-M G2 120GB
Samsung 470 64GB
Samsung 470 128GB
and get pricing info from your local/online retailers and then make a decision between the 64 and 128GB categories and buy on price cheapest in your category out of the short list wins.
You could throw the 80GB X-25M in there but it'll never have a chance on the pricing comparison so it'd be a waste of time to research it.
You could toss
into the list or you could decide you don't want to wait for M4/C400 stock to show up and buy one of the others. I don't think you'd feel too bad about that if you got a C300 it's very close in speed to the C400. No real benchmarks of the M4/C400 yet either so it's a bit of a gamble. The X25-M is faster in some ways to the Intel 320 that will replace it. Any of the SSDs on the short list will put a hard drive to shame in general usage and in most benchmarks.
and for me right now the list is
C300 64GB $120
Samsung 470 64GB $122
X25-M G2 120GB $208
Samsung 470 128GB $220
C300 128GB $225
So as a Windows 7 user it'd be a choice between those and each has it's pluses and minuses.
Pros: Reliable, Durable, good price per/GB, better support for windows XP. Good balance of overall performance. Friendlier support software.
Cons: Slower in sequential reads and writes than newer drives.
Pros: Faster sequential speeds than Intel X25M (enough that it's clear it could take advantage of 6Gb/s if they'd implemented it)
Cons: Less sold, less friendly software for XP use, firmware updates, secure erase. Speeds still don't take advantage of 6GB/s SATA.
Pros: 2nd most reliable SSD right behind the Intel X25-M, 6Gb/s support, read speeds that take advantage of it
Cons: writes don't need 6Gb/s, newer drives outdo it on sequential speeds, No software to make using this drive with XP a supported option.
All 3 have seen multiple firmware revisions and have gotten better over time. All 3 have been out long enough that you won't hit the worst possible problems but there are no guarantees that you won't find an incompatibility with one of them and the motherboard you choose. Do research on the combo you'd consider getting before you buy if you aren't the adventurous type.
If I limited it to XP I'd just grab the X25-M G2 120GB as it's the best for XP users. For Windows 7 you could pick a pro or con to nudge you or you could just pick on price.