Our Summary and Conclusion
Performance Summary: When we first took a look at the Intel X25-M SSD a few months back, it finished significantly ahead of competing offerings available at the time. Today, the Kingston SSD Now M Series drive, which is based on Intel's technology, comes out on top in a number of key tests like IOMeter, but the OCZ, Corsair, and Super Talent products featured here now offer competitive or even better performance in some other areas. The OCZ Vertex Series SSD offered strong performance in the ATTO, HD Tach, and SANDRA tests, while the Corsair P256 surged ahead in the PCMark Vantage test. The Super Talent UltraDrive ME generally trailed the OCZ and Corsair drives, but its performance was still very good.
While Solid State Drives are becoming more and more mainstream with each passing day, they are still much more expensive than traditional hard drives and offer much smaller capacities. As such, price is an important consideration and a significant differentiating factor with the current crop of SSDs. While fast, high capacity hard drives like Western Digital's 1TB Caviar Black hard drive can be had for under $100, or about $.10 per gigabyte, solid state drives currently command a few dollars per gigabyte.
We have the current prices for the four solid state drives we've featured here outlined in the chart above. As you can see, while the Corsair P256 is the most expensive overall, its cost per gigabyte is the best, and it has the largest capacity. The Super Talent UltraDrive ME is the least expensive overall and comes in second in the price per gigabyte category. OCZ's Vertex Series SSD is the second most expensive drive both in overall price and cost per gigabyte, and at almost four bucks per gigabyte the Intel-based Kingston drive is clearly the most expensive according to that metric. Kingston SSD Now M Series SSD (Intel X25-M) Corsair P256 OCZ Vertex Series SSD Super Talent UltraDrive ME
So, according to current pricing, the Corsair and Super Talent drives are the most economical per gigabyte followed by the OCZ drive and then Kingston. If we factor performance into the equation, however, the trend is somewhat different. Although the performance trend varies from test to test, overall, the Intel-based Kingston drive offers the best performance, followed by the OCZ Vertex Series, the Corsair P256 and Super Talent UltraDrive ME. With the exception of the Super Talent drive, that means the highest performing drives are also the priciest, which is to be expected.
Ultimately, all of the SSDs featured here will be a significant step-up in performance over a traditional hard drive and potential consumers should weigh their capacity needs against their budget carefully. Choosing between these four products is very tough. In the end, overall performance weighs heavily in our opinion and hence we're giving the Kingston / Intel drive an Editor's Choice award. But we strongly recommend and approve of the others as well, and think that it's getting increasingly tougher to justify Intel's inceased cost per gigabyte considering the performance of the other drives.
Kingston SSD Now M Series SSD (Intel X25-M)
OCZ Vertex Series SSD
Super Talent UltraDrive ME