Solid State Drives (SSDs) are getting ever more popular among DIY enthusiast who have cash to splurge. Clearly, people are realizing that a system is only as fast as the slowest component in it. In today's context, it's almost always your choice of storage, which is typically a hard disk drive. With the maturity of SSD drives in the later half of 2010, more SSD units are being released with advanced firmware to better improve performance, reliability and embracing TRIM command support among others.
For our comparison, we selected the best drives released last year that have a storage capacity of about 60GB. This is adequate to install the OS and a few key programs for the purpose of a performance boot drive.
The popular Intel X25-M Gen.2 drive was put out of competition as it doesn't qualify as a product launched between December 2009 and November 2010. Apart from the Intel drive, the buzz was on SandForce controller based drives that have a unique feature - data compression. For compressible data, SandForce equipped drives can actually cram much more data in memory cells, thus the illusion of the drive having much higher throughput. The net result is that it does perform better, but not when it's dealing with incompressible data. Both OCZ and Patriot drives featured these controllers and as we predicted, performance was great in some tests but only above average in others. Overall, they were good drives, but were bested by Crucial's RealSSD C300 drive.
Crucial's drive had very temperamental beginnings, but the company constantly improved this Marvell 88SS9174 controller equipped drive with excellent firmware updates. The result of which we saw in our in-depth testing with more consistent results. It wasn't necessarily the drive with the best write performance in all benchmarks, but it did fare pretty well in general. Besides good performance, it boasts of 128MB buffer, TRIM and Garbage Collection features, and the only drive that can take advantage of SATA 6Gbps. All of these contributed to the C300 drive getting top spot in our books. If you've a SATA 6Gbps based system, which is quite likely for anyone building a new system since last year, this drive can give you the added read performance for an even better performance boot drive.
|Criteria/Model||Crucial RealSSD C300 64GB||Kingston SSDNow V+ 100 Series 64GB||OCZ Vertex 2 60GB||Patriot Inferno 60GB||WD SiliconEdge Blue 64GB|
For more details on how we selected our winners, check out the full reviews and articles listed at the References section at the end of this article.