What is the best SSD drive today?

Intel X25-M

Intel X25-M

SSD drives are those disk drives that are not using rotating platters with data stored magnetically, but that are based upon a set Flash memory components (so, without any mobile part, and with a performance that has nothing to do with even the fastest magnetic hard disk drives). SSD drives are expensive but, with costs are plummeting, the most expert and demanding users are starting to look at them dreamingly.

But everything shows that the SSD drives are not all equal (there is still an intense competition at this apex of performance). We see many a product recommended, often without all the technical arguments.

The “A look at SSD performance in Windows Vista – The more things change…” article from Geoff Gasior (The Tech Report) is definitely full of little gems because of that: It comes after a large number of tests (and many articles on the same subject) and compares finely the most representative products of the market.

Intel is presenting new X25-M SSD products that are supposed to bring prices down and performance up (in a nice gray metal case). See more details in Ars Technica early presentation.

Without telling it all (read the article. It’s worth it and you will learn many things), there are a few important conclusions drawn:

  • Initial performance is usually much reduced after some time and some even light use,
  • X25-M from Intel is probably the best drive around, the most well-balanced (recommended for a purchase in the short-term),
  • The OCZ Summit is the faster in write operations (Intel is an ace of reading),
  • the differences between suppliers come more from the controller used (Intel, Samsung Indilinx) than from the the brand.
  • The arrival of Windows 7 (with its TRIM feature support) will probably change the situation (all the more because TRIM support is not yet certain from Intel) and, if you can wait, you will be better being patient and hope for Windows 7 and the new products and new firmwares made just for it.