Skip to main content

Help Me, LAPTOP: I Need an SSD Under $200

We've long-maintained that there is no better way to speed up your notebook than replacing that old mechanical hard drive with a Solid State Drive. In fact, we've seen application open times improve 200 to 400 hundred percent in our tests! It seems that reader Simon agrees. He writes:

Hi there, I'm not a big geek in the hardware industry, so I needed some help. I'm planning on buying a macbook pro 13 in the next week, and I want a faster drive than the 5400 included. I was looking at Momentus XT, but seeing the performance were not that much of a difference from regular HDD, I decided to go for an SSD. The thing is, theses things are pricy and I was looking for the best one I could get for below 200$, at least 64 GB but preferably 120 GB.

When you're shopping for an SSD, the most important spec is the controller. In our recent SSD round-up, we found that the OCZ Vertex 2, an SSD which is based on the popular Sandforce SF-1200 controller, offers the best combination of value and performance. However, the Intel SSD 320 is also a great choice, as is our overall performance leader, the Samsung 470 series. So which of these offers the best value right now?

A current search of major vendors reveals that you can get a 120GB version of the OCZ Vertex 2 for just $209.95 at You can also find the 100GB version for a little less than $200, but we'd spend the extra $10 to $15 to get the 120GB version.  The Intel SSD 320 actually costs around runs around $230 on Amazon in its 120GB variety and $179.95 in its 80GB capacity. The Samsung SSD 470 series can be had for $219.99 in 128GB capacity.

No matter which drive you choose, see our article on how to install an SSD before you crack open that notebook.