back to article Eight budget-friendly 1TB SSD data packers for real people

It wasn’t that long ago that the idea of a 2.5in 1TB class SSD roundup would have been laughable mainly because the very idea of a 1TB drive aimed at the consumer market would have been considered a flight of fancy. Until recently large capacity SSDs were the domain of the corporate and enterprise sectors with the accompanying …

  1. Jim O'Reilly

    Good qulaity, low price

    It looks like we are still on course for price parity between SSD and HDD in 2017. At $300 list for the Transcend 1TB drive, will we see $200 by July as 3-D NAND and TLC or even QLC hit the market? We'll certainly be there by the end of 2016 and 2017 promises to see big drops too.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Good qulaity, low price

      It'll all depend on the foundries. Some wonder if they can actually crank the chips out quickly enough to keep up the pace. If they can't, the parity point will be pushed back. Still, if 3D Flash keeps up, this will represent a significant step forward in mass storage tech and may actually present a sunset for spinning rust, provided it can deal with any issues of longevity and cold storage.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Good qulaity, low price

      > It looks like we are still on course for price parity between SSD and HDD in 2017.

      I bet ye not. The cost/GB difference is currently something like 10-to-1 if you include 3.5" HDDs. Even if you consider only 2.5" form factor, it's more than 5-to-1.

      So you're saying that SSDs will come down in price by a factor of 10, and at the same time HDDs will not come down at all during that time?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Good qulaity, low price

        Possibly not in 2017 but it does seem like my next big NAS upgrade will be to SSD instead of spinners.

        It also helps that hard disk prices seem to have stagnated a little bit. Just checked, I bought a stack of 2TB in 2012 for £67 each. They're not much cheaper than that today.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Good qulaity, low price

          Thing is, as demand for SSDs goes up, demand for rust will start to tank, and Economics 101 dictates that falling demand will drive prices down to get the existing inventory moving again. I know it's still going because for the price of a 3TB external drive just a couple years back, you can get 5TB. And 10TB jobbers will likely be the next big external drive to appear since they're basically the only option for large (>1TB) consumer-grade backup solutions.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does anyone believe the TBW figures?

    I'm having a really hard time believing the TBW figures for the Kingston SSDNow V310 960GB... 2,728TB is 2.4 DWPD for 3 years, which is amazing enterprise class endurance. Yet as far as I can see from other reviews, there doesn't seem to be anything special about this drive. One of the other reviews I found says it only has 1TiB of Flash, which gives 113GB of spare flash (11% of the drive). That is consistent with the pricing, but I can't see how it can get the TBW value without more spare flash for wear levelling and to allow for bad blocks as the drive ages.

    Am I missing something here?

  3. Puffin


    Has the SanDisk Ultra II SSD 960 GB been deliberately overlooked here? Amazon currently sell it for £185. I picked one up from Amazon before Christmas for just £149. Now THAT's "Budget-friendly" for such capacity. And it outperforms the 240GB Crucial BX200 that I pulled to replace by a country mile in terms of real performance - Windows 10 boots to login prompt in around 3 seconds now.

    1. MondoMan

      Re: SanDisk?

      The BX200 has been reported to have performance issues, so it may not be a good benchmark for comparison.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: SanDisk?

        "The BX200 has been reported to have performance issues, so it may not be a good benchmark for comparison."

        AnandTech reckon it's a good budget drive - i.e. for mass storage or typical light use (and in their light use benchmark, it was quicker than the MX200). If you push it hard, it falls over (performance-wise) though ...

    2. Steven 11

      Re: SanDisk?

      Almost a year on... are you sure you paid those prices?? They're a good £100 a piece more than that today?

      "Amazon currently sell it for £185. I picked one up from Amazon before Christmas for just £149"

  4. Martin an gof Silver badge

    Wierd layout

    While I like the use of simple layout features, it's not an easy article to read...


    1. Phil Koenig

      Re: Wierd layout

      I actually love that article layout.

      My usual problem with the avalanche of data that exists to be absorbed in this field is when I see a long review of a bunch of products, I have this sense of dread that I have to slog through it, from beginning to end, looking for things of interest, and half the time I lose interest because of all the unrelated junk I'm forced to slog through to find a nugget or two. (Yeah, I do a lot of skipping to the "conclusion" page but oftentimes the info I'm looking for isn't there)

      Not only was this article short and to the point, it allowed me to browse through each product description while simultaneously taking-in the performance measurements for the whole slate of products, which I thought made a much better use of my "eye-time".

      1. Martin an gof Silver badge

        Re: Wierd layout

        Agreed, but in the case of this article it's the interleaving of information about each drive with a table covering one particular performance metric for all drives. Didn't really make much sense - it might have been better to separate the short descriptions of the drives from the small tables.

        Yes, the thing could be made 'prettier', perhaps with images of the drives in question or graphs where appropriate to illustrate the tables, but on the whole I quite like the minimalist look.


  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Problem is 2.5" is a legacy form factor. A small fake hard drive. I'm looking forward to cases, motherboards, buses, being re-designed around M.2

    Of course that's going to take freaking ages, just as my motherboards had 1x ISA slot for probably a decade, even though I never owned an ISA peripheral in my life.

    1. Hurn

      Re: 2.5"

      M.2 motherboards have been around since the beginning of last year, if not sooner.

      The real problems are:

      1. That dead end named mSATA - it should never have lived.

      2. SATA based M.2 drives (IMO they should all be PCIe)

      3. Transitioning to NVMe based M.2 drives (and getting BIOS/UEFI to boot from 'em)

      4. Not having to pay an arm and a leg for the result

      1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

        Re: 2.5"

        "(and getting BIOS/UEFI to boot from 'em)"

        I found yelling work you piece of crap and threatening to throw it out of the window finally made the motherboard use my m.2 card (Which is annoying because I still don't know why it suddenly just accepted it after several hours of the UEFI refusing to accept the device (No Bios updates or reset to defaults)).

    2. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

      Re: 2.5"

      Youngster! You know ISA was a retronym for the 16-bit PC/AT bus. I bet you don't remember what we called the 8-bit slots, hold on, I think I've got an 8-bit card here somewhere...

      1. Shane McCarrick

        Re: 2.5"

        I've a 12Mb one here- if you want it- I was saving it for mounting on the wall (along with some nice antique AMD and Intel wafers).

      2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        Re: 2.5"

        "I bet you don't remember what we called the 8-bit slots..."

        IIRC we called them 'extension slots'.

    3. Steve K Silver badge

      Re: 2.5"

      Already here...

      My current PC (built is September 2015) uses an ASUS Z170 with a Skylake 6600K. I have am OEM Samsung SM951 AHCI drive (as boot) in a PCI-E adapter, and an OEMSM951 nVME 512GB as a secondary in a M.2 PCIE/NVME slot on the motherboard itself.

      The SM951 OEM drives can be picked up pretty cheaply online (e.g. FlexxRAM in the UK), the only issue you will have is getting it the nVME one to UEFI boot.


  6. batfastad

    Hello darkness my old friend!

    An article about modern storage tech with a bonanza of default HTML table styling from 1996.

    Lovely juxtaposition of old and new. Great stuff El Reg.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good sign of how far SSDs have come

    See the desperation of Seagate and Western Digital in prolonging their relevance (hybrid drives). Also talks of mergers and further consolidation in the traditional HDD business.

    With luck, spinning platter HDDs will go the way of floppy diskettes and cassette tapes within our lifetime.

    1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: Good sign of how far SSDs have come

      At the moment the sweet spot for spinning rust (in $/TB terms) is 3TB. For the same price you can get a 250GB SSD. Or to put it slightly differently, you can get a 2TB SSD for the price of ten 2TB HDDs.

      The day that HDDs become obsolete is probably closer than we think, but not just yet.

      1. dajames Silver badge

        Re: Good sign of how far SSDs have come

        At the moment the sweet spot for spinning rust (in $/TB terms) is 3TB. For the same price you can get a 250GB SSD. Or to put it slightly differently, you can get a 2TB SSD for the price of ten 2TB HDDs.


        I recently bought a few 1TB 2.5" HDDs. In researching which model to go for I compared the specs of the various HDDs and SSDs available and discovered -- somewhat to my surprise -- that the power consumption at idle of a typical 1TB SSD is higher that that of some of the better HDDs. Not by much, but that (and the cost, of course) nudged me in the direction of HDDs rather than SSDs for battery-powered uses.

  8. TeacherMARK

    Well, get 'em whilst ye may.

    In a couple of years time all the 'space' you need will be delivered soldered on to motherboards and extra space will be sold as 'internal 'cards' NOT drives.

    Internal 'drives' are very much a thing of the past...well, they soon will be.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      First off, you're being alarmist. That's not going to happen, and people wouldn't buy it.

      Regards to the general trend of motherboards being more SoC-like. I am definitely OK with that. My GPU and North bridge already migrated onto the CPU die. The last several motherboard upgrades, I've just maxed the RAM slots, then I switch off swap because I've got vastly more RAM than I'll ever use.

      If say 64gig of RAM came in the APU package, there would be cost and space advantages to that, I wouldn't mourn the loss of upgradable RAM because I'm not using it that way anyway.

      Motherboards are becoming nothing but break-out boards for CPUs. And I like it.

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        "That's not going to happen, and people wouldn't buy it."

        Yeah, well... if I had a [insert preferred currency here] etc, etc.

      2. nijam

        > ... people wouldn't buy it

        Hmmm... maybe techies wouldn't, but people? People went for the soldered-on (i.e. non-expandable) option big-time in phones, why would you think otherwise for computers?

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      If SSDs actually do overtake spinning rust, perhaps a variant of this will take hold in future. Without so much need for bulk space to hold drive enclosures, the cases can shrink without compromising power. Perhaps in future internal drives will be, like you say, slotted in much like how expansion cards are now. Not discounting nor noting it as a bad thing.

    3. Seajay#

      If the market was just for consumer PCs then yes, this might happen. I can definitely see it happening to laptops and of course it's always been the case for tablets.

      Fortunately, businesses doing serious storage need drives that can be swapped out as they fail. So storage manufacturers will be making drives for a long time. Therefore, we'll get the trickle down from that.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        I don't know. You could say the same thing about tape drives, yet the consumer end hasn't seen any trickle down since the days of Travan cartridges. Suppose enterprise-class SSD retain some fundamental characteristic that, like LTO, makes it useful for business but still too expensive for the consumer end.

  9. Medixstiff

    Ever had an SSD fail?

    I have, on OCZ Vertex 2, currently sitting on my desk as a paperweight, luckily it's the OS drive and I use a HDD for my data storage, because I couldn't find anyone near me that could look at SSD's, at least all the HDD's I've seen fail slowly failed and I could get data off them before they finally died.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      I feel your pain. My associate was singing the virtues of SSD performance until, one day, the thing just died out of the blue. Took two days to get a replacement for his laptop.

      He doesn't sing the SSD song anymore . . .

      That being said, HDDs could be treacherous as well. I remember trying to get data off a failing one, only to find that every file I recovered was corrupt and unreadable.

      Thank God for backups.

      1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

        Failure? Oh yes.

        Intel 600GB 320 Series. Back when it was very, very expensive. It failed under warranty after a few months, I returned it but when I tried to order a replacement they were no longer available. I never did get to the bottom of that one, looked like a recall to me but couldn't find anything in the press.

        It took the shine off SSDs for me for quite a long time, but not forever. Our primary server boots off SSD, but I have six of them running RAID-Z2 and with a RAID-1 (mirrored) boot partition on each of the six. Try breaking now you ****er!

    2. MondoMan

      Re: Ever had an SSD fail?

      My only SSD to have failed so far was also a Vertex 2.

    3. Frank Rysanek

      Re: Ever had an SSD fail?

      Sure :-) We sell SSD's mostly as boot drives in "industrial process control" PC's. The endurance of an SSD depends greatly on how you configure your OS and apps. An SSD in read-only mode can last for ages. I have some firewalls booting Linux from read-only CF cards, running for almost a decade. Same thing for simple DOS-based systems that don't ever need to write to the drive (or scarcely). Same thing for Windows Embedded with EWF locked all the time.

      But I also know cases where a SCADA app (configured to log data or keep a persistent image on disk) can thrash a decent 2.5" SSD in three months. Spinning rust still has its merits. Yes it can fail too - but it's not *prone* to fail in some deployments where SSD's *are* prone to fail pretty soon. And, in terms of spinning rust, you'd better shop for the *lowest* capacity currently available on the market = the simplest and proven construction, the lowest data density. The terabyte race is not a nice prospect in that context.

      Ironically, most people still think that strictly nothing beats the endurance of an SSD in the role of a Windows boot drive... any SSD, in unmodified stock Windows, running Windows Update, an antivirus, a dozen self-updating apps etc.

      You know - you install Windows on your shiny new expensive SSD, ohh the joy of how *fast* it is, then you go entertain yourself with something else... and a couple months down the road, when the SSD slows down noticeably, or fails outright, you tend to blame the piece of the SSD, or the early SSD model, or the brand... "Gosh, the SSD's were *crap* a year ago... must've been a bad batch or something... let me have a new one, that will surely last longer!" ;-)

      It hardly comes across your mind that maybe the SSD thing is *principally* wrong for the position.

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        Re: Ever had an SSD fail?

        @Frank Rysanek

        Frank, as I can give you only one upvote, have a pint (and a nice weekend).

        1. Adam Jarvis

          Re: Ever had an SSD fail?

          Not had a Samsung one fail, have 'vintage' Samsung 830s 256GB, that gets used for temporary images, absolutely rock solid, get hammered most days - GB's daily. Have 840, 840 Evos, 850's - for some reason since the Consumer/Pro branding I don't trust these as much as the 830, but no reason not to - just yet.

          Also, if you work from more than one machine (as I do) really no reason to opt for the Pro variants, as your useage is often halved, across machines.

          Surprised how quick (and light in weight terms/cool working temp) the Sandisk Plus are too, they are no slouch 'in use', fairly new - made out to be budget, but not had a problem with those either so far. Would buy again. Good in laptops where dedicated graphics can cause higher working temps, keeps the overall temperature lower.

      2. Jim-234

        Re: Ever had an SSD fail?

        I'd argue that the windows boot drive is specifically the place that you want your SSD as due to all the tons of reads / writes, it will improve your performance the most in that role.

        But if you buy crap cheap junk, well you get what you pay for in SSDs.

        Pay the money and by an Intel S3700 or S3710 and you'll be very hard pressed to ever wear it out in a standard desktop / laptop role & you'll get steady high end performance.

        While M.2 might be nice for a laptop, or a small form factor desktop, in a mini tower type system or workstation, you might as well put in a PCIe based card that is cheaper, bigger capacity & not as prone to getting too hot.

        1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

          Re: Ever had an SSD fail?

          It hardly comes across your mind that maybe the SSD thing is *principally* wrong for the position.

          If the SSD is slowing down after a few months then there's something wrong with it (e.g. Samsung 840 EVO) or it's running an old OS that doesn't handle TRIM properly. If it fails that's got nothing to do with the application either. Endurance of even the cheapest SSDs will generally handle use as a boot drive for longer than the useful life of the system built around it.

          I'd argue that the windows boot drive is specifically the place that you want your SSD as due to all the tons of reads / writes, it will improve your performance the most in that role.

          Indeed, I find the general behaviour of Windows to be dramatically improved when running from SSDs rather than HDDs.

      3. WorBlux

        Re: Ever had an SSD fail?

        >>It hardly comes across your mind that maybe the SSD thing is *principally* wrong for the position.

        I've been running a 90 GB OCZ Agility 2 for about 4 years now as my main OS drive on my main computer. That was the smallest drive on a "notoriously" unreliable budget line. If has almost 17,000 hours on it. 2,480 power cycles, (55 unexpected). It has 4288 GB of writes, meaning about 47 write cycles and no retired blocks. I fully expect the drive to outlast my computer.

        Or course I'm running Linux and went through a lot of trouble to put the least where and tear on the drive. 1. File-system on drive without partitions to aligned with write blocks, ext4 stripped to align with erase blocks. 2. TRIM 3. Swap partition on a conventional HDD.. 4. /run as a tmpfs

        There are similar precautions you can take with windows, but sometimes it feels futile as more often than not you feel like you are fighting the old M$, rather than actually being able to make the OS behave like you know it should.

    4. Phil Koenig

      Re: Ever had an SSD fail?

      Living through the days when HDDs failed a lot more frequently perhaps places a different light on these things.

      The problem with SSD failures is that there is no "Plan B" where you can take it to a fabulously expensive outfit that will find a way to retrieve the magnetic bits, usually. If the chips fail, they fail. There is no resurrecting them at any price, usually.

      And then there is that pesky problem where SSDs in powered-off state (particularly after they've been used a while), tend to "forget" what was stored on them, randomly. Oops.

  10. Andy The Hat Silver badge


    FWIW the Sammy 850Pro has a TBW of 300TB.

  11. clean_state

    Samsung ?

    Why do the Samsung drives have the lowest endurance ? I thought the whole point os 3D-NAND was to have both incredibe density and endurance.

  12. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose...

    Newsflash: storage gear costs less than before, professional equipment becomes affordable for home users!

  13. Colin Ritchie

    Transcend get my vote.

    An enterprise level lifespan for less than £250, I'll buy one of them next time.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re. SSD fail

    I have discovered that some older drives can indeed be repaired if they suddenly become 8MB drives as this is normally a very specific bad block fault in one Flash chip.

    If this chip is simply cloned bit for bit to a new chip (eg winhex (tm), xD reader) then often they come back to life and the data can be recovered.

    Works most of the time with simple 2/4/8/16 GB chips but you will need a breakout board and ideally a socket so new chip isn't thermally stressed, use Chipquik to get the old part off intact then solder wick dragged in Y axis (ie not across the lands) and lots of flux to clean up the pins.

    My setup here is a simple xD reader and some switches, fine wire etc where the most expensive part is that socket (£40+)

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