Low power is the most talked about issue for handheld devices and notebook computers. Netbook and notebook manufacturers lie about battery life. You might get the claimed 8 hours use if you do not use the computer for anything productive. Disks chew up power, SSDs should use less power, and there is a big variation between SSDs.
As an example from 2011, the OCZ Vertex 2 60 GB was faster than the Kingston SSDNow V G2 64GB and equivalents from other brands plus used far less power. The Kingston SSDNow V G2 64GB consumes power at a rate up there with the less power hungry magnetic disks. The OCZ Vertex 2 uses less than half the power of the most efficient magnetic disk, both when idling and when transferring data. Most other brands are somewhere in the middle. When you battery life is limited, you would buy the OCZ Vertex 2.
Today the disk power usage figures are less clear. Some companies are publishing average figures with no standard test to let you compare devices. Independent test sites show some information but are not consistent. Maximum power should be used during an erase-write cycle but TRIM separates the erase from the write. If you buy an SSD that is twice as fast, the erases and writes should be twice as fast, reducing the time the disk is at peak power use. For most of the time, the idle power usage is the biggest influence on battery life.
In some computers with some operating systems, the SSD may be switched off when not in use and, again, there is no standard test plus one of your programs may keep the SSD awake all the time. If you are reading a long email, the SSD might switch off. The SSD might not switch off when you are reading a long Web page because the Web browser is busy in the background reading information from disk based cache and performing a hundred other background tasks.
If you can work faster, your battery does not have to last as long. back in 2010 the fastest SSD per dollar was the Kingston SSDNow V G2 64GB then the OCZ Vertex 2 60 GB arrived now only a few dollars more and had that important low power plus a speed advantage. SSDs use maximum power when writing. If the new SSD writes twice as fast, it is using maximum power for half the time.
Kingston sold a slow old G1 version that was an Intel design with limited performance. Then they switched to their own design as the G2 and used a much better controller, giving you consistent good speed. The device was always at least as fast as the fastest disk and was often twice or three times as fast when reading data. Some brands bring out a slow SSD then improve the speed through firmware changes. others make revisions to the silicon. Make sure you get current models when you buy SSDs.
Size also affects speed. When you are looking at 128 GB, the speed is often limited because the disk is writing to two memory chips in parallel. When you step up to 256 GB, the disk may be faster because it is writing to four memory chips in parallel. The 512 GB version of the same SSD may have eight memory chips but may only write to four at a time because of a limitation in the controller chip. Choose the size you want then compare speed in the size.
Netbooks can use an SSD but most netbooks are too slow to use the maximum speed of the fastest SSDs. Low power is the critical issue for netbooks, not speed. Ultrabooks offer a wider range of processors and the fastest processors can use the full speed of the fastest SSDs.
Your current computer uses SATA 2.0 with a speed limit of 300 Gigabits per second, which works out at 300 MegaBytes per second. New computers use SATA 3.0 in desktops and the better notebooks. SATA 3.0 is twice as fast as SATA 2.0 and there are not many SSDs fast enough to use the extea speed.
A couple of years ago, the largest Crucial RealSSD could read data faster than 300 MBps. A new SATA 3.0 controller chip increases the speed limit to 600 MBps. The fastest new SSDs run close to 600 MBps. If you are buying a brand new computer and it has SATA 3.0, consider upgrading to the fastest SSD.
I purchased one ultrabook with a fast processor and the cheapest smallest SDD in that range. In 3013 I will wait for the post Christmas sales and buy a replacement big fast SSD. The ultrabook does not have SATA 3.0 which makes the fastest read speeds irrelevant. I will look for the fast random writes, an area where many SSDs are slower than SATA 2.0.
Most SSDs use a processing chip to simply read and write fast. Sandforce supply chips with a stupid compression routine built in that screws up their performance. The Sandforce chips often show read times slower than write times, a disaster when you look typical computer use with reads performed ten or a hundred times more often than writes. Compression should be done at the operating system level, not in the disk controller chip.
The extra processing in the Sandforce chips, the compression process, fails because the chip does not know which data is already compressed. Many common files are compressed at the application level. Operating systems can compress files before passing the files to the disk. Sandforce updates the firmware in their chips to try and guess which files will compress but the result is still random. Your files are not the same as the ones used in the artificial workloads designed to produce maximum disk speed.
While Sandforce chips produce some of the highest peak measurements, they have the least consistent chips with the chips slowing down at weird times and any time the load is more than a simple benchmark test. The Samsung 840 chip has lower maximum speeds compared to the Sandforce SF-2281 but the Samsung 840s deliver better overall performance when pushed with big loads. The Samsung 840 Pro is faster than the Sandforce based SSDs in many benchmarks based on the type of work we perform most of the time.
Kingston was the price leader for a short while, then A-Ram, G.Skill, OCZ, Patriot, and a bunch of others released similar models at similar prices. When you are down to choosing between two or three brands, look for the ones on sale. Most brands are on sale occasionally with some models dropping 35% for a few days. If the speed difference between the top models is only 5% and the price difference is 35%, save the money and spend the savings somewhere else.
In the case of A-ram, they have many different models with different speeds and you really need to look close at which model is on sale. I purchased an A-Ram that was fast and was low in price but, when shopping online, most of the price comparison sites mixed up the models, making the price comparisons misleading.
At the time, the G.Skill Phoenix Pro 60GB SSD used the same controller and listed the same performance specifications as the A-Ram Ultra II 60 GB. G.Skill offered a 3 year guarantee instead of the A-Ram 2 years. I decided the extra year of the G.Skill guarantee was not important because I expected to upgrade within two years.
The Patriot Inferno 60GB looked identical to the G.Skill Phoenix Pro 60GB SSD, had a 3 year guarantee, but was significantly more expensive. I could not see a reason to pay the extra dollars when both SSDs contained the same chips running at the same speed.
In the past, OCZ was the best choice with G.Skill and Crucial fighting for second place. For 2013, Samsung looks like the winner. The Samsung 840 devices are proving to be more consistent under load compared to SSDs using the unpredictable SandForce controllers. I will spend the extra few dollars for the Samsung 840 Pro on my next hardware project.
The following list is based on prices in Sydney, Australia from reliable suppliers who have real products in stock. The numbers are a mixture of manufacturers numbers with some manufacturers quoting the tests they perform while others just publish unknown figures. You can select any heading to sort on that column. Please let me know if your find real world unbiased measurements of any listed SSD or can suggest new models.
|Random read sustained|
|Random write sustained|
|Random read max|
|Random write max|
|560 MB/s||535 MB/s||92000 IO/s||128 GB||$134.00||Corsair||Force GS||CSSD-F128GBGS-BK||2||2.5"||7.0mm||4.600W||0.600W||SandForce SF-2281|
|555 MB/s||530 MB/s||50000 IO/s||360 GB||$417.00||Corsair||Force GS||CSSD-F360GBGS-BK||2||2.5"||4.600W||0.600W||SandForce SF-2281|
|555 MB/s||525 MB/s||85000 IO/s||180 GB||$275.00||Corsair||Force GT||CSSD-F180GBGT-BK||2.500W||0.600W|
|555 MB/s||525 MB/s||90000 IO/s||240 GB||$233.00||Corsair||Force GS||CSSD-F240GBGS-BK||2||2.5"||4.600W||0.600W||SandForce SF-2281|
|555 MB/s||525 MB/s||85000 IO/s||240 GB||$222.00||Corsair||Force GT||CSSD-F240GBGT-BK||4.600W||0.600W|
|555 MB/s||525 MB/s||90000 IO/s||180 GB||$235.00||Corsair||Force GS||CSSD-F180GBGS-BK||2||2.5"||4.600W||0.600W||SandForce SF-2281|
|555 MB/s||515 MB/s||120 GB||$126.00||Corsair||Force GT||CSSD-F120GBGT-BK||2.500W||0.600W|
|555 MB/s||511 MB/s||240 GB||$265.00||Corsair||Neutron GTX||CSSD-N240GBGTX-BK||2.5"||7.0mm|
|555 MB/s||511 MB/s||480 GB||$557.00||Corsair||Neutron GTX||CSSD-N480GBGTX-BK||2.5"||7.0mm|
|555 MB/s||510 MB/s||20000 IO/s||60000 IO/s||85000 IO/s||73000 IO/s||120 GB||$99.00||Kingston||HyperX||SH103S3/120G||3||2.5"||9.5mm||2.110W||0.455W|
|555 MB/s||510 MB/s||40000 IO/s||57000 IO/s||86000 IO/s||60000 IO/s||240 GB||$226.00||Kingston||HyperX||SH103S3/240G||3||2.5"||9.5mm||2.110W||0.455W|
|555 MB/s||510 MB/s||20000 IO/s||50000 IO/s||85000 IO/s||74000 IO/s||90 GB||$146.00||Kingston||HyperX||SH103S3/90G||3||2.5"||9.5mm||2.110W||0.455W|
|555 MB/s||505 MB/s||90 GB||Corsair||Force GT||CSSD-F90GBGT-BK||2.500W||0.600W|
|555 MB/s||495 MB/s||80000 IO/s||60 GB||$79.00||Corsair||Force GT||CSSD-F60GBGT-BK||2.500W||0.600W|
|555 MB/s||450 MB/s||60000 IO/s||45000 IO/s||75000 IO/s||48000 IO/s||480 GB||$608.00||Kingston||HyperX||SH103S3/480G||3||2.5"||9.5mm||2.110W||0.455W|
|550 MB/s||520 MB/s||50000 IO/s||60000 IO/s||180 GB||$153.00||Intel||180||SSDSC2CW180A3K5||5||2.5"|
|550 MB/s||520 MB/s||50000 IO/s||42000 IO/s||480 GB||$510.00||Intel||480||SSDSC2CW480A3K5||5||2.5"||9.5mm|
|550 MB/s||520 MB/s||40000 IO/s||60000 IO/s||85000 IO/s||240 GB||OCZ||Vertex 3||VTX3-25SAT3-240G||3||2.5"||9.3mm||3.000W||1.650W|
|550 MB/s||520 MB/s||50000 IO/s||60000 IO/s||240 GB||$236.00||Intel||240||SSDSC2CW240A3K5||5||2.5"|
|550 MB/s||520 MB/s||40000 IO/s||60000 IO/s||85000 IO/s||240 GB||OCZ||Vertex 3||VTX3LP-25SAT3-240G||3||2.5"||7.0mm||3.000W||1.650W||SandForce SF2281|
|550 MB/s||500 MB/s||20000 IO/s||60000 IO/s||85000 IO/s||90 GB||OCZ||Vertex 3||VTX3-25SAT3-90G||3||2.5"||9.3mm||3.000W||1.650W|
|550 MB/s||500 MB/s||20000 IO/s||60000 IO/s||85000 IO/s||120 GB||$117.00||OCZ||Vertex 3||VTX3-25SAT3-120G||3||2.5"||9.3mm||3.000W||1.650W|
|550 MB/s||500 MB/s||25000 IO/s||40000 IO/s||120 GB||$118.00||Intel||120||SSDSC2CW120A3K5||5||2.5"|
|540 MB/s||97000 IO/s||520 MB/s||90000 IO/s||512 GB||$529.00||Samsung||840 Pro||MZ-7PD512BW||5||256 MB||2.5"||7.0mm||3.210W||0.349W||Samsung MDX|
|540 MB/s||97000 IO/s||520 MB/s||90000 IO/s||256 GB||$269.00||Samsung||840 Pro||MZ-7PD256BW||5||512 MB||2.5"||7.0mm||3.210W||0.349W||Samsung MDX|
|540 MB/s||455 MB/s||480 GB||$517.00||Corsair||Force GT||CSSD-F480GBGT-BK||2.500W||0.600W|
|540 MB/s||455 MB/s||50000 IO/s||480 GB||Corsair||Force GS||CSSD-F480GBGS-BK||2||2.5"||4.600W||0.600W||SandForce SF-2281|
|540 MB/s||97000 IO/s||390 MB/s||90000 IO/s||128 GB||$148.00||Samsung||840 Pro||MZ-7PD128BW||5||256 MB||2.5"||7.0mm||3.210W||0.349W||Samsung MDX|
|535 MB/s||535 MB/s||512 GB||$445.00||OCZ||Vertex 4||2.5"|
|535 MB/s||480 MB/s||13000 IO/s||60000 IO/s||80000 IO/s||60 GB||$77.00||OCZ||Vertex 3||VTX3-25SAT3-60G||3||2.5"||9.3mm||3.000W||1.650W|
|535 MB/s||380 MB/s||256 GB||$235.00||OCZ||Vertex 4||VTX4-25SAT3-256G||2.5"|
|535 MB/s||200 MB/s||128 GB||$119.00||OCZ||Vertex 4||VTX4-25SAT3-128G||2.5"|
|535 MB/s||200 MB/s||64 GB||$79.00||OCZ||Vertex 4||VTX4-25SAT3-64G||1000 MB||2.5"|
|530 MB/s||450 MB/s||42000 IO/s||29000 IO/s||35000 IO/s||512 GB||OCZ||Vertex 3||VTX3-25SAT3-512G||3||2.5"||9.3mm||3.000W||1.650W|
|530 MB/s||450 MB/s||50000 IO/s||40000 IO/s||40000 IO/s||480 GB||$646.00||OCZ||Vertex 3||VTX3-25SAT3-480G||3||2.5"||9.3mm||3.000W||1.650W|
|520 MB/s||80000 IO/s||400 MB/s||36000 IO/s||512 GB||$427.00||Samsung||830||MZ-7PC512B/WW||2.5"||7.0mm||Samsung 3-core ARMv9 MCX|
|520 MB/s||80000 IO/s||400 MB/s||36000 IO/s||256 GB||$199.00||Samsung||830||MZ-7PC256B/WW||2.5"||7.0mm||Samsung 3-core ARMv9 MCX|
|520 MB/s||80000 IO/s||320 MB/s||30000 IO/s||128 GB||$92.00||Samsung||830||MZ-7PC128B/WW||2.5"||7.0mm||Samsung 3-core MCX|
|520 MB/s||160 MB/s||75000 IO/s||16000 IO/s||64 GB||$74.00||Samsung||830||MZ-7PC064B/WW||256 MB||2.5"||7.0mm||0.127W||0.078W||Samsung 3-core MCX|
|500 MB/s||45000 IO/s||260 MB/s||50000 IO/s||256 GB||$225.00||Crucial||M4||CT256M4SSD2||1||2.5"||9.5mm||0.160W||0.085W|
|500 MB/s||45000 IO/s||260 MB/s||50000 IO/s||512 GB||$446.00||Crucial||M4||CT512M4SSD2||1||2.5"||9.5mm||0.280W||0.100W|
|500 MB/s||175 MB/s||45000 IO/s||35000 IO/s||128 GB||$79.00||Crucial||M4||CT128M4SSD2||3||2.5"||9.5mm||0.150W||0.085W|
|500 MB/s||95 MB/s||45000 IO/s||20000 IO/s||64 GB||$79.00||Crucial||M4||CT064M4SSD2||3||2.5"||9.5mm||0.150W||0.065W|
|512 GB||$477.00||Lite-On Plextor||M5 Pro||PX-512M5P||1||256 MB|
|256 GB||$277.00||Lite-On Plextor||M5 Pro||PX-256M5P||1||256 MB|
|128 GB||$148.00||Lite-On Plextor||M5 Pro||PX-128M5P||1||256 MB|
- Mushkin Chronos Deluxe (Uses the SandForce SF-2281 processor.)
- Patriot Wildfire (Uses the SandForce SF-2200 processor.)
- OCZ Vertex 3 is available as a standard version, a low profile version, and a version with a different controller chip.
- Samsung MDX controller chip is based on the latest ARM Cortex-R4.
- Samsung 840 Pro and some other SSDs have DIPM, Device Initiated Power Management, but it is only usable in the latest versions of SATA, from SATA 2.5 onwards. The quoted power figures for idle are without DIPM.