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Ultimate guide to SSDs (plus reviews of 7 new drives!)

At a Glance

Corsair's Neutron offers a very nice price-to-performance ratio. It's fast enough to give your system a kick in the pants without unduly straining your wallet.

Price when rated: $190

Pros

  • A very good performer overall
  • Affordably priced

Cons

  • Not as fast as its cousin, the Neutron GTX
 Compare

At a Glance

If you're looking for top-flight performance on a budget, the Corsair Neutron GTX is currently the pick of the litter.

Price when rated: $230

Pros

  • A fast performer overall
  • Budget priced considering its performance
  • Carries a five-year warranty

Cons

  • One of the slower drives when writing our large batch of files and folders
  • Link a Media is a lesser-known controller brand, at least in the consumer market
 Compare
Where to buy

At a Glance

If you're not insisting on absolute bleeding-edge performance, the HyperX 3K is easily one of the best deals going for an SSD.

Price when rated: $184
Lowest price: $120.00 via Newegg.com

Pros

  • A good overall performer
  • Includes cables and an external enclosure

Cons

  • Slow write performance
  • Only a three-year warranty
 Compare
Where to buy

At a Glance

If you're an enthusiast looking for top performance, this is a drive you should be thinking about.

Price when rated: $270
Lowest price: $445.00 via Memory4Less.com

Pros

  • Very fast
  • 7mm height suitable for thin-and-lights
  • 16GB more capacity than much of the competition

Cons

  • High price per gigabyte
  • Drive not discounted at time of review
 Compare
Where to buy

At a Glance

The OCZ Vertex 4 currently sits at the sweet spot for SSDs: It's very fast and relatively affordable, and it has 16GB more capacity than many of its competitors.

Price when rated: $195
Lowest price: $348.00 via Memory4Less.com

Pros

  • Fast
  • Strong price/performance ratio
  • 16GB more capacity than much of the competition

Cons

  • Slow when reading our collection of small files and folders
  • Only a three-year warranty
 Compare
Where to buy

At a Glance

The Samsung 840 Pro is currently the fastest consumer SSD on the market. You pay a bit more for it, but you always pay more for the best.

Price when rated: $260
Lowest price: $164.00 via Amazon.com

Pros

  • Fastest SSD in our December 2012 roundup
  • 7mm thickness makes it compatible with thin-and-light laptops
  • Five-year warranty

Cons

  • The most expensive SSD in our December 2012 roundup
  • Not dramatically faster than the second-place SSD in our December 2012 roundup
 Compare

At a Glance

Although it's only an average performer, the inexpensive SanDisk Extreme delivers tremendous bang for your SSD buck.

Price when rated: $165
Lowest price:

Pros

  • Very low price per gigabyte
  • Much faster than previous-generation SSDs

Cons

  • Mediocre write performance
  • Nothing extra in the box, not even mounting screws
 Compare

At a Glance

Intel's move to 20nm NAND flash renders higher-capacity SSDs more affordable.

Price when rated: $184

Pros

  • Lower cost per gigabyte than Intel's previous-generation SSDs
  • Free Intel SSD Toolbox and data migration software

Cons

  • 9.5mm profile renders it too thick for ultraportables
  • SSDs remain considerably more expensive than mechanical hard drives
 Compare
Where to buy

At a Glance

If your PC doesn't have a SATA 6-gbps interface, this device adds it, caddies one drive, and let's you attach another via a cable.

Price when rated: $95
Lowest price: $90.00 via Amazon.com

Pros

  • Adds SATA 6-gbps capability to older desktop motherboards
  • Caddies a single SSD
  • Includes a second 6-gbps interface to host another drive

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Requires at least a x2 PCIe slot
 Compare

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