While traditional spinning hard drives still hold the capacity per dollar advantage, there’s also no denying that when it comes to speed, solid-state drives totally mop the floor with HDDs. Better yet, prices are coming down, too. Samsung, which won our Readers’ Choice award for Best SSD Brand last year, managed to fend off SanDisk and retain its trophy with 35% of the votes this time round. Regular readers will know about the great performances of the 3D V-NAND-based SSD 850 Pro and SSD 850 Evo, which are now available in even larger 2TB capacities. But for high-end Skylake system builders, the new SSD 950 Pro, which is Samsung’s first M.2 SSD to use the PCIe interface and supports the new NVMe protocol, is arguably the king of consumer SSDs at the moment. Prefer an SSD that you can carry around with you instead? Then check out this Samsung Portable SSD T1.
When it comes to HDDs, there’s no bigger brand than Seagate and Western Digital. In recent years, they’ve grown even bigger, with Seagate acquiring Samsung’s HDD business in 2011, and Western Digital acquiring Hitachi Global Storage Technologies in 2012. And more recently, WD has offered to buy SanDisk in a US$19 billion deal. With 33% of the votes, WD is once again the winner of this Best External HDD Brand category, with Seagate remaining in second place with 26%. For those who haven’t been keeping track, in mid-2015, WD redesigned its My Passport Ultra and My Passport for Mac series of portable HDDs, adding to them a 3TB option, and handful of color options for the former. And in October, the company rebranded its Green series HDDs to Blue, and added new capacities and models.
Flash memory storage specialist SanDisk has once again strolled home with our Best Removable Flash Storage Brand award - this time with 58% of the votes. Recently, the company announced a 200GB version of its Connect Wireless Stick, expanded its portable SSD lineup with an all-terrain model, and unveiled the world’s thinnest 1TB M2. SSD. Oh, and in case you missed it, WD’s proposed acquisition of SanDisk has already been cleared by the Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS).
Our NAS (network-attached storage) category has always been hotly contested, and this edition saw more than 14 brands competing. With 19% of the votes, Synology barely pip Seagate and D-Link (both with 18% each) to retain the award it won last year. In late 2015, we were introduced to some of the new NAS products that Synology will be selling through 2016, including the 2-bay DS216play that supports 4K video transcoding, and the powerful DS716+ that comes equipped with a quad-core processor and an AES-NI hardware encryption engine. Hardware aside, Synology’s NAS OS has also been revamped from the ground up; the new DiskStation Manager 6.0 now supports a 64-bit architecture and apps can be installed independently instead of being baked into the OS.