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High-Speed SSD Round-up

Which solid state drive offers the best performance for your money?


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by Avram Piltch, Online Editorial Director on July 28, 2009

ssd-roundup_shDate: 07/24/09

There’s no doubt that solid state drives dramatically boost your laptop’s performance. For a two-year-old notebook, swapping out the hard drive for an SSD will make it perform like new. Even if you find your new system sluggish, adding an SSD can take your computing experience up a notch. But with tons of models to choose from, how do you know you’re getting the best value and performance?

We tested seven 2.5-inch 128GB SSDs with SATA interfaces and street prices ranging from $200 to $450. We used a suite of comprehensive real-world scenarios to measure the performance differences. Read on to find out which SSD is the champ.

SSDs Tested

We also included our favorite 7,200-rpm hard drive, 320GB Fujitsu MHZ2320BJ SATA drive, as a control.

* - OCZ markets both of its drives as 120GB, even though they are the same 128GB capacity as all other drives in this round-up.

Testing Methods

The drives were placed into our standard testbed: a Gateway P-7808u FX with a Mobile Quad Core processor, 4GB of RAM, and Vista Home Premium 64-bit. We use this high-performance system with all of our drives so we can see their full potential. Each unit was put through our standard suite of tests, which include:

File Transfer Tests - Time to copy files from one folder to another.
Zip/Unzip Tests - Time to create and extract large zip files.
Application Open Tests - Time to open launch popular applications, both alone and while multi-tasking.
Boot Time - Time from power on to last tray icon loaded

[Wondering what a luxury SSD looks like, or, more importantly, how it performs? Check back here for a review of OCZ's $1,400 SSD, the Vertex Ex.]

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