11-Way SSD Roundup 2010
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Initially this roundup was never ment to have SandForce controller solid state drives in it since it was ment to be online before they hit the market. Unfortunately due to certain delays we could not release it on time and so with SandForce drives already available in the market it made no sense not to include them as well. This could prove to be both good and bad. Good because we could now put JMicron, Intel, Samsung and Indilinx controllers against the new SandForce ones and really see which one comes on top but on the other hand if SandForce was so much better than the competition then it would not be quite fair. Luckily the performance differences are not huge and so we think that this roundup proved to be quite interesting and useful not only to us but for all who will read it. Of course Corsair also has SandForce drives so besides the ones in this roundup you have that option as well but they could not make one available as well for this roundup and really we can't blame them. Using 8 different benchmarking applications may confuse some people but we think that this was the best way to clear things up. Without doubt the new SandForce drives with the Phoenix Pro and the OWC Mercury Extreme Pro followed by the Agility 2 are the best MLC based drives to date but based on our results drives with Indilinx, 2nd Generation JMicron and Samsung controllers are not so far behind and so users that already own one of them really have no reason to change them while people who are thinking of buying one mainly because of a lower price can't really go wrong with them, still if you can afford it i would definitely suggest buying a SandForce based drive.
So how much do these drives worth as we speak? Starting with the Walton Chaintech FlashSSD 128GB you can find it for around USD160/120Euros which is quite an affordable price for a 128GB SSD drive. Now the Corsair Performance Series 128GB can be acquired for USD269/210Euros which is also a very good price. Things however are not the same when it comes to the Intel X25-M 160GB model so you need to spend USD399/340Euros if you want one and considering the SandForce price tags as we speak that would not be so wise. Intel is planning for a price drop inside the next months but for now that kind of price tag is just a bit off. Of course someone could take a look at the 80GB variant of the X25-M which retails for around USD220/200Euros but the performance numbers are quite smaller, just like the capacity. Moving to the OCZ Vertex 120GB well you can get that for USD210/180Euros, a price that although is very good inside the EU inside the USA things are not the same considering that the Vertex 2 only costs around USD20 more. Next is the GSkill Falcon 128GB which at present time has a retail price of USD190/180Euros making it even more affordable than the Vertex, however availability is not the best in both continents. Moving to the Kingston SSDNow V-Series 128GB SNV425 model its current price tag is set at USD230/210Euros which is not bad at all but not great either. The Agility 2 100GB by OCZ has a retail price of USD260/320Euros which is quite good considering that it comes with a SandForce controller, still it should get better mainly because of the competition. The Other World Computing Mercury Extreme Pro 120GB can be ordered directly from OWC at a price tag of USD299/216Euros plus shipping making it the most affordable SandForce drive available currently. Although availability is very slim the Apacer A7 Turbo A7202 Premium 128GB can be found at USD260/280Euros. However Apacer also sells just the A7202 128GB drive without the extra bundle at USD240/250Euros which is not that bad, if you can find it, still with SandForce prices even lower i really think Apacer should cut the price more. Although the GSkill Phoenix Pro 120GB was worth USD249 just a week ago right now its price is set at USD269/270Euros.
For the best possible performance award it was easy to pick the OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 120GB, GSkill Phoenix Pro 120GB and Agility 2 100GB based on their similar overwhelming read/write speeds however for the best price/performance ratio award we had a hard time choosing between a total of 3 drives, still because of its superior write numbers when compared to the competition we chose the Corsair Performance Series 128GB. All four drives are awarded, for the reasons mentioned, our Editors Real Deal Choice Award. Because Indilinx, Samsung, Intel and JMicron are working on their next controllers stay tuned for our next comparison/roundup.