The Best Value High Performance Mainstream (SSD) – 2014

So many computer users, in fact most of them, cannot be labelled as enthusiasts who work with professional software apps, deal with non-compressible data, need high write performance or play heavy resource-demanding games, such users just need the utmost possible performance a computer can provide and they are a distinct minority (and are likely aware of their own needs already). On our website here we have made a special list for this type of users that gathers the best premium SSDs out there. Check it HERE if you are one or want to be.

The vast majority of users do not have the compelling need for the highest-end system to fulfill their requirements from a computer. The majority of PC users do a whole lot of internet, mail, and light office document usage with a sprinkling of games and multimedia thrown in. Is a high-end, $400 SSD really going to make a big difference in use and feel? Coming from someone who has an experience – nope. So unless your usage demands it or you just have to have the fastest possible components, any of the mainstream/entry-level SSD below will fit your needs nicely.

But what if your computer is a few years old? Will an SSD still help improving its performance? Well, an SSD upgrade is one of the best ways to breathe new life into an older system with a conventional hard drive. Even older, Intel Core 2 Duo or AMD-based systems that don’t support the SATA 6G standard will see a huge speed increase when combined with an SSD. At $100-$120, the value-oriended SSDs below are cheap enough to justify, even in an older box.

But wait, what is the use of having an SSD in the first place? Is it just speed and that’s all?

Actually it is more than just that. Although we addressed the benefits of adding an SSD to your computer, we’ll attempt to abridge the whole issue in few words. New interfaces and multitasking demands require more from your system than perhaps ever before. From connecting instantly with friends and accessing apps, websites, and playlists online, to simultaneously streaming videos and downloading files, your computer is faced with an entirely new set of performance expectations that a hard drive struggles to meet. That’s where the SSD comes in. With speeds dramatically faster than a hard drive, the SSD isn’t just a storage upgrade – it’s a complete system transformation. From its nearly instantaneous boot times, powerful data transfer speeds, increased multitasking capability, and rock-solid reliability, the mainstream SSDs in this list deliver dramatic performance gains – all at an affordable price. But if you still find the price unaffordable you can think about buying the best mechanical hard disk drive (HDD) instead.

Based on the SSD industry experts’ reviews the solid state drives below are the best performing value-oriented/cost-efficient of their kind. We bear in mind to only select the drives that SSD experts recommended for their performance and stability. So rest assured in this regard. You can also view the awards and testimonials of each drive by clicking the “view more details” button below the price table.

Note: The products prices are as of 23-March-2014 at 13:00 GMT -


Samsung 840 Evo Series SSD

Capacity Price Where To Buy
120 GB $139.99
$83.99
Buy On Amazon
250 GB $249.99
$139.99
Buy On Amazon
500 GB $479.99
$249.99
Buy On Amazon
750 GB $699.99
$379.90
Buy On Amazon
1 TB $849.99
$459.99
Buy On Amazon

View More Details
[Released in July 2013]: Upgrading your PC with a Samsung SSD is the most economical way to breathe new life into an aging PC. The 840 EVO reads, writes and multi-tasks at incredible speeds, enhancing boot-up speed, application loading and multi-tasking performance. It’s more than an upgrade, it’s a complete transformation of your PC.

Basic Features
  • Highest-quality components and engineering from the #1 memory manufacturer
  • Worry-free data security with AES 256-bit full-disk encryption
  • No moving parts means no hard drive spin ups, no noise and superior data protection
  • An innovative lightweight design that allows you to work smarter and play longer.
  • Sequential Read Speed 540 MB / Sequential Write Speed 520 MB / Random Read Speed 98K / Random Write Speed 90K
Awards & Testimonials

[icon name=icon-star] Anandtech (July 25, 2013):

To say that I really like the EVO is an understatement. If Samsung can keep quantities of the 840 EVO flowing, and keep prices at or below its MSRP, it’ll be a real winner and probably my pick for best mainstream SSD.

[icon name=icon-star] Tom’s Hardware (July 25, 2013):

Because we’re enthusiasts and enjoy the fastest of pretty much everything, we already know that Samsung’s 840 EVO isn’t all things to all people. However, it’s a product able to satisfy most people, armed with features that they’ll both want and use. .. Left with little else to ask for from an SSD, we’re pleased to confer the Tom’s Hardware Smart Buy award on Samsung’s 840 EVO.

[icon name=icon-star] Tweak Town (July 25, 2013):

The Samsung 840 EVO is a game changer. The reason why is because Samsung let go of marketing and benchmark performance and shifted their focus to real-world user experience in a consumer environment. Even though the maximum performance in benchmark numbers increased, the minimum and average performance went up significantly in the daily use programs.

Special Notes
[icon name=icon-info-sign] This drive is not recommended for heavy write processes:
[Quoted From Anandtech]: Endurance isn’t a concern with TLC for client workloads, although I wouldn’t recommend deploying the EVO in a write heavy database server or anything like that.

Crucial M500 Series SSD

Capacity Price Where To Buy
120 GB $120.99
$69.99
Buy On Amazon
240 GB $208.99
$109.99
Buy On Amazon
480 GB $406.99
$229.24
Buy On Amazon
960 GB $659.99
$437.99
Buy On Amazon

View More Details
[Released in July 2013]: (Quoted from the Crucial M500 spec datasheet) No matter what kind of files you’re working with on a Crucial SSD, you’ll experience high speeds with no drop in performance across different file types. Unlike other SSDs on the market, Crucial SSDs treat all files the same, regardless of whether they’re compressed or uncompressed. While many SSDs on the market achieve faster speeds by using file compression, many of the most common file types can’t be compressed, resulting in SSDs that often deliver slower speeds than advertised. This is important because the files most people use every day – videos, mp3s, advanced graphic files and zip files – are compressed files and thus unable to be compressed any further. With a Crucial SSD, the specs we advertise are the same specs you’ll see in the real world.

Basic Features
  • Transformative performance: dramatically faster than a hard drive
  • Nearly instantaneous boot times
  • Ample storage: available in capacities up to terabyte-class
  • Includes top-level hardware encryption technology
  • Advanced controller technology and Micron custom firmware
  • Compatible with PC and Mac systems
  • Extensive quality and reliability testing built into every drive
  • Three-year limited warranty
Awards & Testimonials

[icon name=icon-star] The SSD Review (April 09, 2013):

The Micron/Crucial Team must have one day sat down and decided they were going to produce an SSD with the best of everything. They have exceeded expectations, not only in value that everybody expected but also, in performance, enterprise features as well as being the first to mass market a 1TB SSD at consumer level pricing. Editors Choice!

[icon name=icon-star]Hardware Canucks (June 02, 2013):

Fortunately, while there are faster drives available, there are few which are as well balanced as the M500 480GB. Unless blistering speed is your only priority, the its unique blend of characteristics will make this an excellent choice for a broad range of consumers. If you are in the market for a mega-sized SSD which has neither a budget-busting price tag nor is lacking in performance, the Crucial M500 480GB deserves serious consideration.

[icon name=icon-star] [H]ardOCP (May 28, 2013):

This particular Crucial M500 [480 GB] SSD data drive delivers solid performance and excellent features (unmatched by their competition) at a low price point that merits the Silver [H]ardOCP Editor’s Choice Award.

Special Notes
[icon name=icon-info-sign] The 120 and 240 GB Versions Are NOT Recommended:

Because here we only recommend the best SSDs, we do not recommend the 120 and 240 GB versions of this drive, as according to the reviews of experts these two models fall behind the corresponding mainstream SSDs in benchmarks tests. So if you are considering this drive, go for higher capacity models.


Kingston SSDNow V300 SSD

Capacity Price Where To Buy
60 GB $126.00
$58.95
Buy On Amazon
120 GB $194.00
$63.99
Buy On Amazon
240 GB $370.00
$120.99
Buy On Amazon
480 GB $582.00
$259.89
Buy On Amazon

View More Details
[Released in November 2012]: (Quoted from the Kingstone SSDNow V300 spec datasheet) Get more life out of your computer and maximize your existing investment by replacing your old hard drive with a Kingston SSDNow V300 solid-state drive. It’s the most cost-efficient way to dramatically improve the responsiveness of your system – and it’s less disruptive than migrating your data to a new system. SSDNow V300 features an LSI SandForce controller customized for Kingston and optimized for next-generation Flash memory to deliver the utmost in quality and reliability from two leading SSD brands. Because it’s made with solid-state components and has no moving parts, it’s shock-proof and withstands drops and bumps. SSDNow V300 is easy to install backed by a three-year warranty, free technical support and legendary Kingston reliability.

Basic Features
  • Faster – improves speed of loading applications and system boot up
  • Reliable – with no moving parts, solid-state drives are less likely to fail than standard hard drives
  • Economical – design optimized to make migrating to an SSD more affordable
  • Multiple capacities – to fit your workload
  • Form Factor – 2.5-inch drive available in 7.0mm with adapter to fit in 9.5mm system
  • Silent – runs silent and cool
  • Three-year limited warranty
Awards & Testimonials

[icon name=icon-star]PC Magazine (February 15, 2013):

This is the SSD cautious buyers have been waiting for. It offers excellent performance at a modest price using proven controller technology, from a vendor with decades of experience in the consumer market. As such, it earns out Editors’ Choice for budget internal SSDs.

[icon name=icon-star]Hardware Canucks (April 15, 2013):

From nearly every perspective, the V300 240GB is an outstanding SSD which is uniquely positioned to move the storage market forward. It has class leading performance and capacity per dollar, a generous warranty and the inclusion of notebook and desktop upgrade kits will simplify the installation process for first timers. There really isn’t anything more we could ask for from a budget-range SSD.

[icon name=icon-star] [H]ardOCP (January 28, 2013):

With a lower cost, higher performance and higher endurance than competing TLC products of the same capacity Kingston has found a nice niche for the V300 series of SSDs. Kingston has a solid reputation among enthusiasts and a decent 3 year warranty on the drives which feature the proven LSI SandForce SF-2281 controller in conjunction with 19nm Toshiba Toggle NAND.
Taking into consideration the low prices for standard higher-endurance MLC (in relation to TLC products) at the 60 and 120GB capacity, and great overall performance, we give the Kingston SSDNow V300 the [H]ard|OCP Silver Award.

Special Notes
[icon name=icon-info-sign] This drive is not suitable for professional use

Customers who work with non-compressible data or need high write performance will want to consider other options, but such users are a distinct minority (and are likely aware of their own needs already). For the vast majority of users, the SandForce 2281’s weak points aren’t weak points at all.


Disclaimer

Products prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on amazon.com as applicable at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.