As a technical writer at Catrachadas, I have the opportunity to regularly inspect the most impressive computer hardware in the industry. For this reason, I have a pretty good idea of what makes a lightning-fast PC. Still, it's not that difficult to put together a blistering fast gaming computer these days. Start with the Intel Core i7 platform, at least 6 GB of high-speed DDR3 memory, a GeForce GTX 295 graphics card and you're halfway there.
But something is still missing. Something that can make the fastest computers even faster, and that's SSD (Solid State Drive) technology. Since I got an example of the Intel X25-M drive last year, I firmly believe that the most impressive upgrade for any computer is a good SSD. This should come as no surprise as we know that hard drives are the slowest components in a modern computer and we have not invested our time and money in fast SATA drives like the Western Digital Raptor at 10,000 rpm for nothing.
There was a real boost to SSDs last year, and despite the substantial price premium, the technology started to prove itself. There is no question that SSD technology is the way of the future. It's just about when that future will become a reality for most consumers.
Solid-state drives will also mean a shift in the storage industry. Today there are only a handful of traditional hard drive manufacturers. Our favorites are Samsung, Seagate and Western Digital. However, this will change as memory manufacturers take the opportunity to enter this new, exciting and hopefully lucrative market. We already have names like A-Data, OCZ, G.Skill, PQI, Transcend, Super Talent, Ritek, Patriot and of course Intel that develop solid-state drives.
With a large selection of MLC flash drives (multi-level cell), at least early adopters with deep pockets can be happy for the time being.
Today we're going to look at four popular mainstream SSD offerings: the G.Skill Titan 128 GB, the Intel X25-M 80 GB, the OCZ Vertex 120 GB and the Super Talent UltraDrive ME 64 GB. Although all of these products are based on MLC flash and are aimed at the consumer market, they differ in price, integrated controllers, memory chips and size caches, which should lead to very interesting results.
Let's go ahead to find out what makes a great SSD and what is your best choice in the market today.