back to article Top 10 SSDs: Price, performance and capacity

Since we last ran a roundup of SSDs, the market consumer for the drives has moved on at lightning speed, not just in terms of performance, but also in NAND technology and capacity. The performance advances are such that even some entry level SSDs are fast approaching the SATA 6Gb/s limit – well, for sequential performance anyway …

  1. Lionel Baden

    Just in time

    Perfect Timing for my Christmas list :)


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just in time

      Well, -ish. I've come to the conclusion that any attempt to cut my space requirement down to under 300GB is not going to work without a severe impact in how I work, so I'll be looking at the 500GB sizes. Thankfully, they too have fallen dramatically in price :)

      1. Captain Scarlet

        Re: Just in time

        Myself I went for a M550 250GB when it came out and will look to either replace it with a larger capacity drive when I come to it or just plonk another one in (Because I feel a tad lazy) and use it as a second drive. For me the right time to do it as I still have 100GB left on my SSD drive and hopefully when I need a larger one they would have fallen in price again.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If the advances in capacity were so great, the sweet spot should be at 512 GB by now...

      256 GB . . . how limiting

      I have 512 GB in my laptop, a good upgrade would be 1TB

  2. monkeyfish

    What about cheaper ones?

    I always thought I would but one some day, they were way too expensive when I built my win7 machine 5 years ago. Probably not looking to spend as much as £100 though. I assume the ~£30 ones are still going to be miles faster than a HDD for booting etc. Files can be on the HDD, so only need space for the OS and well used programs. Any recommendations (for or against) any particular make?

    1. frank ly

      Re: What about cheaper ones?

      Have a look at the San Disk Ultra Plus and the Kingston SSD-Now V300 range on

      I've used both with no problems.

      (My desktop PC has vertical card cages and the two SSDs just hang in space, their weight supported by the SATA data and power cables. I don't see any need for mounting adaptors in a domestic PC.)

  3. Metrognome

    I don't get it

    You open the article with how modern ssd's are close to saturating the SATA-III/6 pipe, how top end drives go over PCI-E and then proceed to absolutely ignore the option.

    It certainly can't be due the product being immature. I've had one of the first Z-drives from the old OCZ since 2010.

    Why the anti-PCIe bias?

    1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: I don't get it

      How do you know not mentioning PCIe drives means there's an "anti-PCIe bias"? And why would The Register have an "anti-PCIe bias" in the first place?

      If I had to guess the reason, it's because high-end PCIe drives aren't significantly faster than high-end SATA drives in real-world applications, and generally cost a lot more.

    2. Steven Jones

      Re: I don't get it

      For most users the PCIe performance gain will simply not show. Also, SATA reviews are applicable to more people. They fit laptops as well as desktops. It also doesn't involve complex issues over drivers, boot arrangements and so on.

      For the most part, it's not throughput that makes the user experience so much better with SSDs, it's the vastly reduced latency and (the other side of that coin), increased IOPs. I'd venture for most people, 500MBps is going to be plenty. I think PCI-e is almost a separate market and really won't figure in considerations unless you are the ultimate speed freak or have some specialist server application.

      If it's things like boot time, system responsiveness and application start-up times that matter, then the real-world difference you'll see on most PCs will be very small. That's not surprising, as most applications will have other resource bottlenecks (like cpu, network activity, or interactions with devices other than storage). These latter start to dominate response times.

      For example, see this.

      If you really must have hyper-fast copying of large files or are running an incredibly I/O intensive enterprise app, then go ahead. But my guess is that this is irrelevant to most people wanting a "consumer level" SSD. All of them will transform the user experience, and it's probably ease of migration, reliability and price that's is most important for this sort of comparison.

      1. Adam 1

        Re: I don't get it

        >I'd venture for most people, 500MBps is going to be plenty.

        640MBps ought to be enough for anybody.

        1. HwBoffin

          Re: I don't get it


          1. Adam 1

            Re: I don't get it

            I, for one, welcome our meme correcting overlords.

  4. Truffle

    If you're still 'considering' a SSD I am amazed. These have been available from numerous suppliers in a whole range of sizes and flavours for many years now. They have a dramatic impact on performance, more so than any RAM or CPU upgrade i've ever done.

    Come on you luddites!

    1. Lionel Baden


      I have never been able to address the cost factor effectively. The pricing and size of these drives + the warranty pushes them into an area I will be able to afford.

      Dont forget the early drives were prone to fail quite often and without warning.

      So for an end user the cost of extra redundancy and new drives in case of failure pushed it out of our price bracket.

      1. Steven Jones

        Re: alas

        Valuing storage solely by £/GB is like comparing food on the basis of how many calories you can buy. Yes, it's a factor, but far from the only one.

        I did work for a company once where the accountants actually did work on that principle. They seemed to have great trouble understanding why anything else might matter...

        1. JEDIDIAH

          Re: alas

          Most of us aren't made of money.

        2. auburnman

          Re: alas

          I never said that was the only consideration, if l only looked at price per gig I'd be a staunch advocate of magnetic tape. But within the realm of SSD's, price to capacity has reached a sweet spot where you can upgrade from spinning drives without a massive hit to the wallet.

        3. Lionel Baden

          Re: alas

          @steven jones

          Valuing storage solely by £/GB is like comparing food on the basis of how many calories you can buy. Yes, it's a factor, but far from the only one.

          After going through some very difficult times myself, I can assure you sometimes you buy what you can afford and dream of having more, even when it comes to food.

    2. auburnman

      But the £:Gb ratio has only recently become favourable enough for most people.

      Having said that if you can snap one up now go for it. I've just upgraded PC and the new one has Win7 on SSD - I barely see the boot screen now when I power on. I might actually have difficulty next time I need to get into BIOS, the bootstrap flashes by so quick.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "I might actually have difficulty next time I need to get into BIOS, the bootstrap flashes by so quick."

        I don't see why that might be a problem. The HDD check is a very minor part of the POST and it's "delay" in starting the selected boot device.

        1. auburnman

          That was an example of what in some circles is known as hyperbole, and in others as a "joke."

    3. druck Silver badge

      Go for It

      I have an 11.6" i3 Vivobook, the wife has the 15.4" i5 Vivobook. I put in a 240GB Samsung 840 SSD in mine, and it's far faster than the i5 for everything. Of course now she wants an SSD too, but it will have to be a 500GB to hold all her unsorted junk, so it's lucky the price has come down in the year since I bought mine.

    4. JeffyPoooh

      MX100 256GB "Price £85"

      £85 ...which is apparently exactly equal to $116 Canadian dollars, ...shipped. :-)

      I installed an MX100 256GB SSD into a lovely 2nd-hand Lenovo T510 that I bought off eBay. A really nice result; satisfyingly snappy.

    5. Lee D Silver badge

      Speed is not the only factor.

      They are a storage device. Given that EVERY hard drive I've ever owned has ended up full to the brim (and, no, not with trash, but with work, programs, and data I've made), it's not a consideration of speed if they don't start in the Terabyte range at least.

      And now my primary machine is a laptop (which can run all the 800+ games on my Steam account quite happily, as well as browse website while I'm abroad), I don't have many choices and I don't have any possibility of putting in one TINY drive and running that for everything. Fortunately, my laptop does indeed have two SATA ports for 2.5" drives and there's a cheap gadget you can get to turn the Blu-Ray slot into a hard drive bay (which would actually make more sense for me). But, still, I'd expect 2Tb of total storage in the machine at minimum, which is what I have with HDD at the moment.

      That said, the Samsung EVO 840 1Tb is actually on my wishlist. Just needs to come down in price, just a smidge. Then I can replace the first Windows / data drive with an SSD and keep the other 1Tb for long-term data that only gets read occasionally (in comparison).

      But not everything is about speed. I'd much rather have a first-gen SSD speed on a 2Tb drive than have to pay through the nose to get 1Tb at this-gen speeds, or even just £50 for tiny storage at this-gen speeds. Hard disks are primarily STORAGE devices. Sure, it's nice if they go faster, but it's not speed that is the primary concern of most people who want them.

  5. Richard Lloyd

    SATA 3 SSDs - performance limit reached years ago

    I'm sorry, but it's difficult to get excited about SATA 3 SSDs any more when they reached their performance limit about 2-3 years ago. Sure, the price has dropped a *lot* since then, but the performance has barely moved because of the SATA 3 bottleneck.

    It's why I went for a (refurb'ed) PCIe SSD as my most recent SSD purchase. 1600 Mbytes/sec read, 1000 Mbytes/sec write and 200,000 IOPS. Yes, it's still expensive, but it's massively faster than any other SATA 3 SSD out there.

    1. NoneSuch Silver badge

      Re: SATA 3 SSDs - performance limit reached years ago

      Agreed Richard Lloyd.

      I see the same performance levels with my PCIe. Practically the PCIe is a solid 20% faster than any SSD I had in there.

  6. Gene Cash Silver badge

    SSDs are amazing

    I have a new Debian PC I built, and I have Win7 Virtualbox VMs on the SSD and on spinning rust, due to space issues. The huge speed difference between the two is an eye-opener. As soon as I can afford it, I'm going to all-SSD and the old HDs will be relegated to backup duties.

  7. Les Matthew

    Price, performance and capacity

    But nothing on reliability? OCZ's history springs to mind.

  8. Andy A

    I'm a convert

    Like many, I had been waiting for the inevitable improvement in cost per byte. My 7-year-old laptop was slowly becoming less usable as the number of patches increased, and the 320GB drive filled up. Vicious pruning improved matters a little, but I decided enough was enough.

    So £65 got me a 4-year-old quality laptop from eBay, and £160 a half-terabyte M500 from Crucial. I first noticed the impressive speed while installing the OS. VMs run at a speed better than I'd expect for a real machine with spinning rust, and I can run more than one at a time too.

    All for less than the "bargain" headline figures for flimsy laptops you see advertised on telly by the national retailers.

    The battery lasts about 50% longer AND I can just pick up my laptop without worrying about head crashes.

  9. batfastad


    I bought a 240GB Samsung 840 Pro about 18 months ago and the thing made such a difference to my old laptop. Saw a deal on an OCZ 100GB drive for £40 and went for it, sold the Samsung for close to the £160 I paid for it. Laptop was pretty old and just couldn't hit the throughput that the Samsung needed. I hardly ever keep any data on my laptop and still manage to dual-boot Win7 and Xubuntu in the 100GB.

    An SSD has been the best computing upgrade purchase I have ever made by a big distance.

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. Fuzz


    It's worth shopping around for example the 840 evo is less that £100 at many online retailers

  12. JeffyPoooh

    Interesting experiment on SSD life

    Interesting tidbit: "The Intel 335 Series is designed to check out voluntarily after a predetermined number of writes. That drive dutifully bricked itself after 750TB, even though its flash was mostly intact at the time."

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Samsung 845DC EVO a better choice

    Just got 2 of these for testing -

    Capacitors folks, capacitors.


    Your headline has a critical characteristic missing.

    You're forgetting reliability.

  15. TheRealRoland

    Problem with the 840 EVO

    Apparently some problems with TLC in combination with the firmware of this drive (Samsung seems to be ready to release a new firmware around 15th of October)

    Older files seem to be stored or accessed differently, whereby the read speed sometimes is as low as 40mb/s (compared to 400 - 500 mb/s). By defragging your drive (thus moving files around) the read speed is restored to the faster speeds, then slowly declining again over time (1 month or so).

    See here for more info (halfway through the thread)

    1. RNixon

      Re: Problem with the 840 EVO

      A defrag doesn't necessarily work - that doesn't read and write everything on the disk, so if your files weren't fragmented they won't be sped up by defragmenting.

      I have this issue on my 840 Evo 750G, and it's quite irritating, Defragging didn't help. What did help, was using software that went through the entire drive, read each file off, and wrote it back.

      Yes, it's wear on the drive, though it's only one write per cell so it should be negligible impact on lifespan. But it sped things right back up.

      I used DiskFresh, a freebie from Puran Sofrware. Did the job well enough, but took a long time to run.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Misses the point

    The slowest SSD is faster than the fastest rotating hard disk. It used to be that the number one upgrade was more RAM, but now I would recommend an SSD to replace at least the system drive in any computer.

    Old, slow laptops can be revitalised with an SSD. I have a refurbished Dell D630 (approx five years old) with an SSD that outperforms an Alienware laptop with a rotating hard disk (at least for desktop applications, the Alienware still wins on graphics performance).

    Yes there is a price issue but for most people 240/256 Gb will be enough to run the OS and store several Gbytes of data. Actually if you prune your data 120 Gbytes may be enough, there's always removable media to fill the gap. If you own a laptop, the SSD is a much more rugged solution and likely will last a lot longer than rotating media. For those on a budget with a desktop, use two drives, SSD for the OS and critical applications and a hard disk fior data.

    Honestly, once you use an SSD you won't want to go back.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    but where are the 2TB Drives

    We have hadd 1TB ones for a couple of years but nothing bigger.... Can someone explain why that is?

    I have 3 1TB drives on my HP 8770W Laptop. It is also maxed out at 32Gb Ram yet I find myself moving 500Gb of VM's around on a regular basis. This is 6-8 different VM's. Currently I have 8 running and next to no free memory. I'm down to approx 140Gb free space as well.

    While I consider my use to be the exeption rather than the norm, it wouldn't help to ask the likes of Samsung, ScanDisk and Crucial where the 1.5Tb and 2TB 2.5 in size drives are. Just saying, that there are some of us who would like bigger drives.

    On a personal note, a recent trip used 300Gb+ of space with 6000+ Photographs (Raw + JPEG Fine) shot on a Nikon D800 so more space there would be nice.

    1. Robert Sneddon

      Re: but where are the 2TB Drives

      You can buy spinning-rust 2TB HDDs in a 2.5" form factor but they tend to be thicker than conventional drives and might not physically fit in your laptop. A 2TB SSD would require twice the number of flash chips as the existing 1TB SSD offerings and getting all those chips into a normal thickness chassis (7mm or 9.5mm) seems to be a problem the manufacturers haven't solved yet. There's also heat dissipation to worry about.

      Once the chips get denser then you can expect 2TB and larger 2.5" format SSD drives to hit the market. I'm still surprised no-one's released a 3.5" SSD with, say, 16 TB capacity to beat the spinning-rust record holders if nothing else.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. PC Paul

        Re: but where are the 2TB Drives

        If you want huge but are happy with SATA speeds, go for four 1TB mSATA disks on one of these

        mSATA is a small format but comes in pretty much the full range of SSD sizes and makes. Infact I bought a 60GB mSATA card from Fleabay for £37 with a £12 mSATA to IDE adaptor so I could fit it into an old laptop, makes a huge difference.

        I just bought an mSATA to combined USB and SATA adaptor card from Dealextreme for the price of a bag of fish and chips too, which gives me 140MB/s on USB and way more on SATA (haven't measured it yet), things are getting ridiculous if you don't mind mixing and matching a bit.

        On my budget I'm aiming to go SSD for boot, programs and temp space with spinning rust for big storage. 95% of the benefits for a fraction of the cost. For now.

        Edit: The penalty for running a bit behind the curve: mSATA is already going obsolete, M.2 has taken over. BUT that usually means lots of good clearance deals so if you're a penny pinching non-Luddite like me you could be in luck.

  18. MR J

    What bugs me is that these are not standard options in Laptops...

    As for "Reliable"... Well, those crap OCZ drives, they are outlasting the new Seagate Momentus drives I have. I have a faulty one here with about 250 hours of usage. It is just over a year old. My first OCZ SSD, Still not-ticking away just fine. In total I had 4 of them and none (to this date) have given me any issues.. So 2011 SSDs good, 2013 HDDs bad.

    I do wish the cost per gig would ramp down faster, but it is not bad.

  19. petur

    PNY Optima

    I got this one offered by a (trusted) supplier, saw some good reviews and ordered one to test coming week. Cheaper than any of the mentioned ones, I had hoped it would have been mentioned.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Please do a follow up article on M.2 drives

    There are M.2 drives out now, and motherboards around with it.

    So, please do a follow up article on M.2 drives, for those of us interested in something faster than SATA but not wanting to use up a PCIe slot.

  21. cs94njw

    I want to buy an SSD, but I'm terrified of the life span thing. What's the strategy?

    Re-install Windows and all programs when the SSD decides it's going to die?

    It's straight forward to relocate Documents/Music/Pictures to another disk?

    1. Philip Lewis

      Life sapn

      "I want to buy an SSD, but I'm terrified of the life span thing."

      It is unlikely a personal usage pattern will exceed the life of the SSD before th electronics in the computer itself fail - in either case, you can monitor these things, it is not like it will suddenly die. You will know what will effectively be years in advance of total failure.

    2. Steven Jones

      Unless you are doing something truly exception, hitting the write endurance limit is simply not an issue. Save that consideration for those running update intensive server applications. Most likely something else will fail on your machine first. HDDs don't have an indefinite like either (and don't make the mistake of thinking MTBF gives you expected lifetime - it doesn't; it's a statistical value that applies to devices within their rated lifetime and, generally, HDD manufacturers never give you rate lifetimes).

      As for relocating MyDocs, MyMusic and so on, that's very easy. Assuming you are using Windows 7 or 8, then what I do is assign a system partition on the SSD large enough to take all the system files, program files and so on with plenty of room for expansion. Next I create a data partition on the SSD, which is where I place my MyDocs folder. Then, on an HDD I create partitions for my major data areas (like video, pictures). I then mount these as sub-folders in MyVideo, MyPictures. That way all these "mass storage" areas appear in subfolders in the relevant storage areas (you can also use symbolic links, but I prefer to "hard partition" the mass storage areas).

      Of course you don't have to place MyDocs on the SSD. You can place it on an HDD, but personally I find that it's useful to be able to place some data files on the SSD for speed purposes. For example, I place my email client files on the SSD, and some applications (like Lightroom) greatly benefit from keeping the meta-data files on the SSD. As a general point, be careful to make sure that programs (like email clients) place their data and, as far as possible, config files in the data area. That way it's much easier to move to a new machine.

      I backup the system partition using an imaging product (which allows me to restore the system without wiping out data). I backup the data areas using a synchronising backup to an external disk (USB3 in my case, but NAS eSATA etc. will work too). I prefer sync type backup as it allows me to mount those onto another machine and get to my data.

      The general principle is you should always have a backup regime which is designed for the worst case. Any disk can fail catastrophically, so design the regime such that you don't lose everything. If all the things to worry about, write-persistence is one of the last to consider.

  22. RichardF

    Any of these ok for a proliant

    I've got a couple of proliant G6s with 2.5" drives in the standard caddies. Don't need very high resilience and I do use raid 0 mirroring. Would need more than the 146Gb that's currently installed. Can anyone who knows more about this than I do tell me if one of these ten would suit me? (Obviously if have to buy two for the mirroring.)

  23. RJFlorida

    OCZ problems

    I am happy for the people that weren't hosed by the OCZ debacle but I wasn't one of them. I got burned after only a week, lost all my data and more importantly my time. My Samsung on the other hand has been humming for what 3 years now?

  24. djnapkin

    4K Writes much faster than Read?

    In the last chart the small file throughput figures, shows the 4K writes as being faster than reads. Around three to four times faster than reads.

    Is that right ? Am I missing something here ? Pretty sure there's no head movement latency in these critters. Sequential reads are all slower than writes, as I'd expect.

    1. djnapkin

      Re: 4K Writes much faster than Read?

      Sequential reads are faster than writes, sorry.

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