Are you thinking of building a new PC soon or maybe just upgrading the one you have? If you are, then there’s a good chance most of your focus will be directed towards the CPU and GPU. Of course these are important components that deserve your attention, but don’t overlook storage.
I’m often surprised by viewers who share their build plans with me. Not because the build itself is bad, but rather because it neglects what I believe is the most essential component of any modern PC, a Solid State Drive.
Yes, yes I know. SSDs don’t equal more frames per second and if all you do is game they aren’t vital. Still for what is now a relatively small price, they significantly improve the PC experience with those glorious zero millisecond access times. Having now used an SSD for a number of years now myself, going back to a mechanical drive isn’t an option.
Thankfully no one needs bother themselves with the grinding sound track of a spinning disk anymore, at least not for their primary drive anyway. SSD pricing has improved tremendously over the past few years and this is mostly due to fierce competition in the market place.
Oddly though has created yet another problem for would be buyers. With so many seemingly affordable SSDs on offer, which one should you buy?
Well I have spent the last few days researching that very question. Luckily I have access to almost all modern SSDs, so I am able to give you my first hand opinion so with that let’s make some picks.
For this video I am just selecting a few 2.5” SATA SSDs that I feel deliver the best bang for your buck. For higher-end 2.5” and M.2 SSDs I will create a follow up video soon.
My selections will take things such as cost per gigabyte, performance, power consumption, features and warranty into account.
Kingston SSDNow UV400
At the top of my budget SSD buying list is the new Kingston SSDNow UV400. Performance wise the series delivers speeds of up to 550MB/s read and 500MB/s write along with great endurance figures. Of course this is a TLC drive but that is to be expected at this price.
The price being just $60 US for the 240GB model or $110 US for the 480GB model. Down under pricing is just as impressive, us Aussies are paying just $85 for the 240GB model or $50 for the 120GB model. In an effort to sweeten the deal, Kingston are also backing these drives with a 3 year warranty, so that’s good for that peace of mind.
If you can afford it, I recommend the 240GB model as it is considerably better value than the smaller 120GB model. Priced at just 25 cents US per gigabyte it is hard to beat what the UV400 offers right now.
OCZ Trion 150
That said coming close is a drive that I initially recommended viewers avoid, at least until reliability was proven. Now over 8 months later the OCZ Trion 150 has proven to be a huge improvement over the previous version.
The 240GB model which is again the best value option, costs just $65 US or $90 Aussie. Performance wise it is also much the same and again uses TLC NAND flash memory coupled with a decent endurance rating. OCZ who are now owned by Toshiba seem to have cleaned up their act and offer this affordable model with a 3-year warranty.
The king of the TLC hill is the Sandisk X400 offering greater performance than both the Kingston and OCZ drives. It is also backed by a 5 years warranty. Unfortunately the smaller 128GB and 256GB models aren’t cost effective, the 256GB model is priced at $80 US or $125 Aussie for example. That said if you are after a 512GB of 1TB model then the X400 does emerge as one of the better options and at these capacities I do recommend it over the other TLC based drives.
Finally for those of you who don’t like TLC drives, the best value MLC option right now is Mushkin’s Reactor series. The 256GB model is priced at $80 US though be aware these don’t seem to be available in Australia. For my fellow Aussies The Sandisk Plus is exceptional value at $90 for the 240GB model or $160 for the 480GB model. The same 3 year warranty applies though, so be aware of that.
There are certainly some great cost effective SSD options available now and I see no reason why any PC enthusiast wouldn’t be running one in their system.
On a final note I will say that while an SSD is great for dramatically improving OS boot times, application load times and increasing the general snappiness of a PC, you don’t need to spend big. The low cost options listed in this video will be indistinguishable for the average user, when compared to an extreme M.2 NVMe drive for example so keep that in mind.