(Updated: March 2013)
For those not familiar with an SSD (solid-state drive), it is basically a flash drive, which is a type of hard drive. An SSD uses a memory chip with erasable, writeable cells that can store data even when powered off. You could liken the SSD as a bigger, more powerful version of a USB memory stick. The SSD has no moving parts like a hard disk, so is less prone to mechanical failure.
Indeed, a lot of people are favoring the use of an SSD instead of the traditionally installed hard-drives in their laptops and computers and they simply take out the existing hard-drive from their machines and plug in the SSD. Many have said that their machines run much faster and quieter at a lower temperature and that battery life of their laptop is significantly improved.
Many believe that the SSD is the way forward and will eventually replace traditional hard drive technology altogether. It is important to note that SSD drives do not require any defragmentation like a traditional hard-drive as this will decrease the life of your SSD unit.
A popular specification option when choosing an SSD comes in the form of a 500GB SSD and we will take a brief look at five of the most popular models, in no particular order.
(Click images for exact prices and customer reviews)
1. Crucial 512 GB – You can’t go wrong with this one, NOW 50% OFF (ridiculously low price – save $350), 1500+ happy customers have expressed their opinions
At under $1000, it sells for almost half of that of competitor new generation SATA 3 SSDs and its performance easily ranks it amongst the best in Gen 2 top tier 6Gbps solid state drives available today. The company has recently released a firmware update that is believed to increase performance by a massive 20% as well as lowering the system boot-up time and a lower latency. Compatibility with certain chipsets has also been improved and it is backward compatible to SATA 3GB’s. The Crucial unit can cope with quite severe shocks and vibrations and is made by Micron, who are a trusted name in DRAM and SSD products. The product also comes with a three year limited warranty.
Another great pick – this is Samsung’s solid state drive. Half a terabyte of information and you’ll be able to install it and start using it very fast, by using the included kit. The information on the drive will be secured by AES 256-bit full-disk encryption. It’s a great product and there’s no single reason to pick this over the Crucial and vice versa. The Crucial is just more popular and offers 12GB more. The Samsung is cheaper, though – 35% lower List Price.
Here’s what you get:
- Samsung 500gb ssd
- 3 year limited warranty
- SATA data and power cables
- Adapter bracket
- SATA-to-USB cable
- Mounting spacer
3. Intel 320 Series 600 GB – 5% Discount (Save $69)
This Intel SSD unit is actually slightly larger in size offering 600GB of storage and brings high performance and reliability and yet is the second cheapest of the featured models. The free software included with this SSD supports Microsoft Windows 7, Vista and XP. It features low-write amplification and a unique wear-leveling design which ensures greater reliability and performance. It has a very fast boot-up and shut-down time with incredibly fast program launch with even the most demanding software applications, such as Photoshop, 3D Studio MAX and Archicad.
4. OCZ Technology 500 GB Colossus – The successor: Octane 512GB – 1% Off, Save $15
This 500GB SSD is quite a powerful unit and delivers excellent performance for more higher end desktops. This is the result of OCZ’s recent breakthroughs in flash based storage. Speed and response of the unit is very fast and it offers plenty of storage for the complete field of gaming, multimedia and demanding productivity applications.
5. OCZ Technology 500 GB Colossus Lite – 15% Off, Save $138 + $20 Post-purchase Rebate
The ‘Lite’ version of the Colossus range is designed to meet the performance of desktop enthusiasts looking to take advantage of the benefits of having SSD technology and to maximize their storage arrays. With the recent upgrades and breakthroughs in flash based storage, the Colossus Lite delivers exceptional performance for all your multimedia and general requirements as well as ultra-fast data access and robust durability from this SSD unit.
6. OCZ Technology 500 GB Z Drive 2 Series p84 – The more affordable and up to date Z-Drive M
This high-end SSD unit is designed primarily for the storage and computing applications of enterprise servers storage arrays, data warehousing and super computing. With its low power consumption and super fast speeds, it delivers reliable and robust data transfer performance and extremely good upkeep time for enterprise customers and their applications. With its powerhouse performance and reliability, the unit does not come cheap and is one of the more expensive SSD’s on the market.