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  • johan851 - Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - link

    I've been wanting a comparison like this for a couple of weeks now, and I'm really glad you provided one. Thanks! Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Thursday, June 09, 2011 - link

    Now if we could get a review with the 240 GB Vertex 2.

    That has been as low as $309 AR at MicroCenter. Yet, despite being able to be found for low prices ($350 AR lately), it's still nowhere to be found in reviews here.
  • shamans33 - Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - link

    I just bought one for $220 before a $20 MIR about 2 weeks ago.

    Furthermore, your OCZ Agility 3 price is more expensive than the OCZ Vertex 3 price.....

    Might want to look into getting pricing from a variety of vendors.
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - link

    Updated :) Reply
  • aegisofrime - Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - link

    You updated the price but not the price per GB. :p

    I haven't had time to read through the whole article as I have to sleep now, so forgive me if my following question was addressed in the article. I'm considering a 120GB Intel 320, and I'm wondering will performance be lower than the 160GB version?
  • cactusdog - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    Why no Corsair force 3 drives? Or mushkin Chronos Reply
  • Fallen Kell - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    They were all just recalled, that is why.
  • Shadowmaster625 - Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - link

    No wonder intel was in no hurry with sata6. Half a watt extra power consumption at idle? Will that be the same for notebooks and tablets? If so then that is a serious problem. Why would power consumption be different at idle anyway? Reply
  • imaheadcase - Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - link

    I read sometime back that intel drives performance might suffer simply because of power issues itself. Nothing bad mind you, just that its standby mode interferes with transferring data somewhat. Not sure if thats a firmware or just config error. Reply
  • Jaybus - Friday, June 10, 2011 - link

    Because, even though sata6 has improved power management, the higher clock rate simply requires more power. Even at idle, there has to be some communication between the SSD and the SATA host controller. Primarily, it is up to the OS to put the SATA link into sleep mode. In general, sata6 will always use more power than sata3, since you can't get around the physics. Clocking faster requires either more power or a complete paradigm shift to an optical PHY. Reply
  • JasonInofuentes - Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - link

    "It's funny how little the recommendations have changed over the years. Intel still offers a good balance of performance and reliability, however if you're willing to take a risk on the reliability front you can get better value elsewhere."
  • scook9 - Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - link

    Looks good. I recently got a 160GB Intel 320 drive for my M18x but since it has Sata 6Gbps I am going to be pretty tempted to trade up to a 510 down the road. Just could not get excited over that $$/GB for now Reply
  • Stargrazer - Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - link

    Awesome. Thanks.

    (first (non-french) comparison of current-gen ~128GB SSDs I've seen)
  • apexjr - Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - link


    Thank you for this! This is exactly what I have been waiting for.
  • dhanson8652 - Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - link

    The chart labels on page 5 are conflicting with both charts being labeled read/write write/read with the inverse white on orange text being correct and the black on orange text being incorrect. Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - link

    Fixed :) Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Thursday, June 09, 2011 - link

    240 GB Vertex 2 at some point... prettie please?

    You talk about the 240 GB drives offering best case performance. Don't you think people would like to know how good the performance of the 240 GB Vertex 2 is in comparison with 120 GB next-gen units like these?
  • apexjr - Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - link

    For me this article gives weight to the research I have done and the hours reading and analyzing other reviews.

    For the laptop I had chose the Intel 510 because it has the least power draw idle, 6 Gbps and a proven track record of reliability.

    For my gaming machine I had chose the Vertex 3 240gb. Even with the reliability issues that might happen I have nightly backups running (Easy to setup with Windows 7) and spare drives to swap in should something happen.
  • Confusador - Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - link

    One of the things that's held me back from getting an SSD is that I always have at least 2 OSes installed, and a common data partition. Can anyone point me at info on how these drives handle that? I can't find anywhere that Anand has covered it in his roundups. I'd like to know how it affects performance, but what I'm really concerned about is drive life, if the partitioning interferes with the controller's ability to optimize wear leveling. Reply
  • cgeorgescu - Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - link

    It's amazing how a Corsair Force F120 (or some Vertex2) still manages to not be beaten that hard by these new arrivals. In pure benchmarks, the new drives have some impressive results but, as long as we're speaking about real-life scenarios, F120 suddenly appears in the graph not far under the new drives. Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Thursday, June 09, 2011 - link

    And so the 240 GB Vertex 2 would be nice to see in a review -- for perspective. Reply
  • jjj - Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - link

    without the M4 and the MAX IOPS the comparisson is pointelss since those 2 models are the most interesting on the market atm at 120GB. Reply
  • dcuccia1 - Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - link

    This is fantastic, thanks for the roundup. I'd love to see the same analysis at the low-end. When I build my or mom a PC with a 64GB SSD drive, I have no firm grasp on which generation of drives have the best value for a mom-style workload (word processing, music, videos, etc). Reply
  • SmCaudata - Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - link

    Anything you can find.

    I have a first gen vertex 60gb that I got for $89 or something on sale before the Vertex2 drives came out. Even coming from a 1gb samsung F3 it was night and day. Outlook opens instantly and that is by far the most data intensive of the general use/productivity programs. I'm guessing music and videos will be on a separate drive anyway due to size and they play back at a fixed speed regardless so a spindle drive is just as fast for them.

    So again, in summary... anything from a reputable vendor is likely going to be night and day. If you can pick up an Intel for reliability that would be a good way to go. There are some firmware issues with the c300 drives that have the potential to make them really slow, but I'm not familiar with them so I cannot speak to the specifics.
  • dcuccia - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    Thanks, good points all around. Still, would be cool to see which drives gave a good bang for the buck for light workload systems. But you're right, at the right price it would be hard to go wrong with an old Vertex or Intel. Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - link

    I'm also interested in how 64GB drives would scale, but only because they are the largest drives Intel will let you use for SSD caching. That would be completely different benchmark runs though... Reply
  • tecsi - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    Yes, I have exactly the same question. What about boot/app desktop SSDs in the 40-100GB range (<$100)? Reply
  • Quizzical - Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - link

    Are you sure that the Crucial RealSSD C300 only has 111.8 GB of usable capacity? Last July, you said that exactly the same SSD had 119.2 GB. I have the "64 GB" version of the same drive, and Windows reads it as 59.5 GB of usable capacity, so I'd expect the "128 GB" version to be around 119 GB.

    I don't have one, but Legit Reviews also shows the Corsair Performance 3 as having 119 GB of usable capacity, not 111.8 GB. In the past, Corsair has been inclined to do the usual hard drive manufacturer shenanigans of claiming 1 billion bytes as 1 GB, but not going beyond that and listing the total NAND flash. See the F115, which gives you about 115 billion bytes of capacity, but isn't marketed as a 128 GB drive, in spite of 128 GB of NAND flash.
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - link

    You're very correct, fixed :) Reply
  • Tommyv2 - Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - link

    Should've waiting until you had the 120GB m4 and the 120GB Max IOPs units for review, especially with some other sites showing that the 120GB m4 actually beats out the 240GB unit in some benchmarks! Those are the two I'm most interested in, and yet there are too few reviews out there for them... Reply
  • icrf - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    Don't forget the Corsair Force Series 3. The manufacturer announced specs are very impressive. We just need it in Anand's hands to see how honest they are.

    I'm trying to decide between the Vertex 3, Force Series 3, and M4 @ 120 GB. I've seen some of those other reviews on the M4, and it really does seem like it degrades more gracefully than anyone else with the capacity drop, so it could be a real contender @ 120 GB.
  • DigitalFreak - Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - link

    "Combine that with Intel's track record for reliability"

    Hasn't Intel had multiple issues with their drives that caused data loss?
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - link

    All of the SSD vendors have had issues of one form or another, Intel seems to have the lowest return rates however (at least based on the only published data at this point - it is supported by the failures I've noticed first hand however). Reply
  • MrAv8er - Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - link

    Yes they have their issues. And the reliability question between the Vertex 3 and the Intel 510 is an interesting one. I just bought an I510 120GB over the Vertex 3 because of the reviews posted at Newegg. Complaints ran in the high teens for total failures, which I found too distastfull to accept, therefore I opted to go Intel which faired much better in the reviews. HOWEVER, that being said, I had an 80GB Intel G1 in my rig running Vista 64 coming up 2 years ago. It bricked itself at about the 7 week mark. Intel eventually replaced it, but the whole process took over 3 weeks. Reply
  • zhill - Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - link

    Good review, another set of excellent data points when considering SSDs. I am actually torn between the older Vertex 2 240GB ($390 on amazon, or $1.6/GB) and a new drive like the 320 300GB or 510 250GB, it will be slower, but for the price it's a sweet deal--as long as it actually works and doesn't become a brick.

    I would be interested in seeing a power consumption graph for the entire StorageBench (or maybe just the light workload) run on each drive. I just wonder to what extent "speed to idle" impacts SSDs as it does in CPUs. It may be that the changes from load to idle are too slow to seriously affect the overall power draw, but that could also very by manufacturer. I think that would give a better perspective on the power story than just the idle and load numbers.
  • casteve - Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - link

    ~120GB is the sweet spot for speed/price. Glad to see some maturation in performance - now we can pretty much pick based on firmware maturity/stability and product reliability. Reply
  • jwilliams4200 - Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - link


    Isn't the flash on the back of the Intel 320 board likely used for the XOR parity / RAID-4-like feature of the 320 series? I'm not sure why you did not mention that....
  • 24 db/octave - Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - link

    With all the various benchmarks available, which is the closest one that would best predict performance as a Photoshop scratch drive? (Not the Windows or application drive.) I think for Photoshop scratch, it is sequential uncompressed writes & reads, that matters most, but I'm not positive.

    Thanks, Alan
  • buzznut - Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - link

    I also wanted to add my thanks for continually providing the most comprehensive and pertinent coverage of SSDs. Certainly right now the 120GB range hits the sweet spot for performance/real estate/value. I have not seen much coverage of the corsair drives yet, so this is great. Bigger drives are prohibitively expensive for the average user. But current drives are more useful than as just boot drives, it makes sense to have enough room to put your favorite programs on.

    I still think the Vertex3 is the choice for enthusiasts, although its nice to see that intel is still making excellent drives where reliability is key. I am hoping to pick up a vertex3 in the fall after bulldozer hits the desktop. I am sure that firmware will mature by then.
  • GrizzledYoungMan - Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - link


    Would appreciate thoughts on this. I'm on a P55 motherboard, with a free x16 slot. If I wanted to use one of the 6Gbps drives with an add-in controller, what sort of performance hit would I be looking at, best case scenario? And which add-in card to use?

    Thanks! Also, this review was pretty darned useful. Bravo.
  • GrizzledYoungMan - Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - link

    Just found this:

    Basically answers my question right there, haha.
  • howelk - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    I'm pondering purchase of Crucial m4-256, Intel 510, Samsung 470, or Intel 320 300GB.. system is 790GX/Phenom II 965. I'm interested in mostly hosting a bunch of VM's for home lab. Reply
  • kuzzia - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    Thank you, thank you for also reviewing mainstream SSD's instead of the usual 240 GB. After all, not many people can afford those after all. But wonder why Intel chose to include the 160 GB instead of the 120 GB. Too afraid to show weaknesses of 120 GB? Reply
  • Dribble - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    The 128GB version of that is probably the most popular new drive out there right now being as it's fast but significantly cheaper then the vertex 3 and the Intel 510. Reply
  • KenPC - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link


    In previous articles you have very clearly shown that a sandforce sata II drive can write at no more than about 85MB/s. A sandforce sata III drive was about 135 to 150Mb;/s as I recollect.
    Any reported value above these numbers is due to compression and caching within the drive controller.

    This limitation becomes most clear when truly incompressible files, such as video clips, are used.

    First, I question any write speed above these values that claim to be with 'incompressible' data. Even you raised a flag about this in previous articles. Read speeds may also be affected in somewhat the same way.

    Sandforce controllers are clever, but you mileage may vary widely. Most benchmark tests are highly affected by the drive controller compression and caching.

    Second, if compression and caching are a good thing, why not use the OS to compress and cache? In this case, the SATA bus could no longer be a bottle neck, and speeds that far exceed the SATA II or III specs are available. In this way, everyone can have the effects of a sandforce controller, except perhaps better.

    For those interested in trying with a SSD drive, check 'compress this drive to save space' in W7. Then rerun the atto benchmark. I found overwhelming improvement in data transfer rates that far exceeded the sata II/III bus capability.
  • krazyderek - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    would have loved to see a nice summary of how all the drives perform after being "abused" and trimmed, i remember that some of these drives don't handle it so well..... the c300? really would have liked to see that part of the overall comparison, especially since i'm guessing degraded performance happens to the smaller drives easier. Reply
  • geok1ng - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    I believe that the Intel 320 series still packs a punch, given the cheaper price tag and hardware features absent from the 510 like data encription or absent from all the other consumer SSDs, like an array of caps to prevent data loss from poqer failures. Tha is an aspect of the 320 series that the round up has failed to point out.

    Between Intel 320 and 510 series the user trades performance for price and reliability. And Intel strategy today is to explaim to people that while there is a huge real world gap between HDD and the slowest SSD of this generation, te real worlds benefits of choosing the fastest SSD today and the slowest are dim to non-existant.
  • Bigu - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    It's interesting to see that between Intel 510 250GB and 120GB, the smaller drive performs much better in random writes. (from this chart

    In fact, generally, the gap between these two are smaller than that between 320 300GB and 160GB, as well as OCZ V3 240GB and 120GB.
  • Fallen Kell - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    This is exactly the kind of comparison I had been looking for, and timing couldn't have been more perfect (I only started looking for this comparison 4 hours AFTER you had posted it). It made my decision pretty easy. I went with the Intel SSD 510 120GB. With the issues that are occurring on all the Sandforce 2200-2500 controllers, I ruled them out (Corsair just recalled all of their drives.... I suspect that others will have to do the same). And the performance really isn't that much worse in general. While I considered the C300, the very small reserved area is what lead me to remove it from my list. So that only left the 2 Intel drives, and given the fact that the 510 performed better and was cheaper (with less disk space), it was the right choice for me. Reply
  • ArtShapiro - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    I too want to extend my appreciation for an informative and understandable article!

    Am I the only one who has been afraid to jump into the SSD camp due to concerns about reliability? I'm backed up by Windows Home Server daily on all my machines, but the thought of getting bricked is still unpleasant. Yeah, magnetic drives eventually fail, but not very often.

    I wonder if this new Z68 caching facility offers the optimal solution - pretty darned fast, a nice improvement over a straight magnetic system, and (I assume) no grievous hardship if the SSD starts pining for the fjords.

  • voidi - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    I've been waiting for an article like this for a long time. I think there are more people interested in the middle-class, 120GB SSDs, because everything above that capacity is still very expensive, and 120GBs should prove sufficient for most users to store the OS + a load of programs + all games you currently play from time to time. Twice the space is always nice, of course, but I don't feel it's necessary.

    Thank you so much for this review!
  • voidi - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    By the way, in Europe, the Agility 3 120GB is currently ~180 € with shipping, whereas the Vertex 3 120GB goes for ~215 €. Interesting to see that the pricing is so different in the US, even in favor of the Vertex sometimes. Reply
  • voidi - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    I just realized you corrected that already, nevermind :) Reply
  • wvh - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    Thanks for the article. It seems there really isn't a bad choice amongst those options, depending on one's priorities.

    Anand, could you do a short section on encryption in the next article? There are lots of manufacturers who claim their products support encryption, but there's a lot of conflicting information out there and it would be good to know which drives – if any – offer reliable encryption from a data security point of view, and how they provide this security (ATA boot? TPM?).
  • jensend - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    I was among those clamoring for this a while back, and would like to thank you for doing this review. Hopefully comparative reviews of lower-than-highest-capacity SSDs will become commonplace throughout the tech world moving forward. Reply
  • anotherengineer - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    Great review Anand. However on the first page with the SSD comparison table, how come you didn't include the firmware version that was used for the testing?

  • sean.crees - Thursday, June 09, 2011 - link

    First, i didn't see the F120 in the price graph in the beginning, but noticed it in the benchmarks.

    On a 3gb controller, its performance is very competative, and the power consumption is among the best available.

    Then i went to newegg to check the price. $215 for the 120g is a lot less than anything else in this round-up. Thats only $179 per GB. So it is simultaniously the best total price, and best price per GB. With the top 3 best performance on a 3gb controller, and the best power consumption.

    How is the F120 not highly recommended in this review?

    The one thing that i think Anand forgets is that 3gb controllers are still more common, especially if your using an SSD to upgrade an existing laptop/desktop computer.
  • JasonInofuentes - Thursday, June 09, 2011 - link

    Not sure if this is specifically why Anand didn't include it, but part of the trouble with reviewing tech hardware is that it's always unclear just how long a piece of technology will stay not just relevant but available. Is the Corsair a competitive drive in the SATA II space? You bet, I actually was thinking of putting one to use in my system. Is it pretty available on sites like NewEgg? Yeah, but for how long. It's an older drive at this point and the amount of time it stays on the market is unknown. Better to tell you, and the guy that checks this article out in August after he's earned some cash over the summer for a new build, what is the best drive that WILL be available in a few months, and likely for a while after that.

    What I think everyone is really itching for is the $/GB to fall steeply thanks to the move to 25 nm NAND. The era of $1/GB SSDs are probably still some ways off, but I would hope that we could enjoy a drift towards $1.5/GB before 19 nm NAND hits the streets.

  • superccs - Thursday, June 09, 2011 - link

    Every time I come here I see you look at performance on multiple platforms, which makes sense , but lately it seems that it is Intel board X and Intel board Y. How hard is it to find a 890 board and throw some new toy in it?

    There are quite a few peeps out there who use AMD hardware so throw us a bone damnit.

  • Mitch101 - Thursday, June 09, 2011 - link

    What we need now is a reliability report. I know of several people (3) with SSD drives and all have experienced a drive failure and these are desktops not servers, no defrag, with virtual swap files. Speed is great but if I have to replace the drive every 6-9 months because of failure Im staying away. Reply
  • hybrid2d4x4 - Friday, June 10, 2011 - link

    Slightly off topic question: in your review of the Agility 3, you guys mentioned that it's lower power characteristics are due to asynchronous NAND. Does the Agility 2 also use this?

    I want a SSD for a laptop I'm getting within the next 2 months and don't really care as much about performance, just power consumption and bang-for-buck.
  • tecsi - Monday, June 13, 2011 - link

    Appears that Agility3 120GB << 240GB with incompressible data (which apparently is typical).

    Would we see yet another big performance drop for 60GB? Need to add this review so we can see what we lose.

    Perhaps the value of SATA III drops precipitously with each halving of SSD capacity?
  • tecsi - Monday, June 13, 2011 - link

    This would be helpful to see see "real world performance" in ONE place. For example, Agility 3 60GB, 120GB, 240GB and Vertex 3 120GB, 240GB. Reply
  • tecsi - Monday, June 13, 2011 - link

    Incompressible Read Speed: Vertex3 (497) 2.5 times faster than Agility 3 (203)? Is this correct? What accounts for this huge difference? Reply
  • erikejw - Friday, July 15, 2011 - link

    Beware the Intel SSD 320 (and probably 510 too).

    Huge number of complete data losses for users.
    Intel finally admits the problem exist.

    To my knowledge noone has been able to retrieve any data.



    "Intel is aware of the customer sightings on Intel SSD 320 Series. If you experience any issue with your Intel SSD, please contact your Intel representative or Intel customer support (via web: or phone: . We will provide an update when we have more information.


    Intel's NVM Solutions Group"
  • datalaforge - Saturday, July 23, 2011 - link

    Thanks for all of the great lineups here. I'm wondering what you guys think about the Samsung 470 SSD. Also why is the Seagate Momentus XT the only Hybrid drive that I can find out there. It seems like such a good idea. Why haven't any competitors given Hybrids a shot? Reply
  • Carlu - Friday, September 16, 2011 - link

    A) Can some one explain to me the different in "8GB span" vs "100% span"?,56576,56585,565...
    B) And how do I compare them?
  • drumm_22 - Wednesday, June 06, 2012 - link

    I have been reading several of the SSD articles on AnAnd and reading reviews on Newegg. I have recently purchased a Sager notebook to use during my college years as an engineering student. I was wondering if an SSD would be worth the money right now or should i wait for SSD's to become more adavanced at cheaper? Reply

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