Tag Archives: Corsair

A-Data SSD

The best SSDs you can buy right now

Editor’s note: this is a guest post by Dave at TechRadar.com, one of our favourite sources for tech news and reviews. Here’s his thoughts on the best solid state drives around today.


The world of storage had been lagging behind the performance increases we’ve become used to from processor development to the latest graphics card releases.  Now with solid state drives though storage performance is increasing all the time.

But where do we spend our money and who can we rely on to bring us the best SSDs for our machines? What SSD is right for you?

We’ve recently looked at the latest advances in SSD technology in our Best SSD Buying Guide and have reviewed the contenders for the best SSD around right now.

So here’s eight of the top next-generation solid state drives available to buy.


8. Plextor M2S 128GB – 3½ stars

Unusually for a modern, performance SSD the Plextor drive is not using a SandForce controller. Instead it’s using the same Marvell SATA 6Gbps controller you’ll find in the Intel 510 Series drives.

Intel has played with its firmware though and makes for a faster drive than Plextor has managed with this SSD.

Read the full Plextor M2S review.

7. Intel 510 Series 120GB – 3½ stars

The tweaked firmware of the Intel drive means that its sequential performance numbers are impressive, and if you’re just moving large files around it’s a decent choice.

Unfortunately for Intel though the latest SandForce-based drives just offer better performance numbers overall.

Read the full Intel 5 Series review.


6. Corsair Force 3 120GB – 4 stars

Corsair’s Force 3 drives are good, SATA 6Gbps devices. What the Force 3 isn’t is perfect. For starters, Corsair has gone for cheaper asynchronous NAND, limiting absolute bandwidth (not taking into account data compression) to 50MB/s channel or 400MB/s total.

Just like the OCZ Agility 3, which also uses asynchronous NAND, the Force 3’s claimed sequential performance is likely to drop significantly when handling incompressible data like video and music files.

Read the full Corsair Force 3 review.

5. Crucial M4 256GB – 4 stars

Again the Crucial M4 is one of them Marvell-powered SSDs. When it comes to shunting incompressible data around, like music and video, the Crucial M4 takes much less of a performance hit. It’s 50MB/s faster with incompressible writes than the mighty OCZ Vertex 3.

It’s also a little larger at 256GB rather than 240GB. All of which makes for a pretty interesting alternative to the default OCZ Vertex 3 option with its SandForce controller.

Read the full Crucial M4 review.


4. OCZ Agility 3 240GB – 4 stars

Just what separates this OCZ Agility 3 drive from its seemingly identical Vertex 3 sibling? Not a lot, as it happens. But there is one difference; the Agility 3 makes do with the cheaper asynchronous rather than synchronous NAND memory.

Of course, it’s attractively priced for a 240GB drive with the latest SandForce controller technology. But then the OCZ Vertex 3 only costs an extra 10 per cent and tops the performance tables across the board. In the end, that discount just isn’t enough.

Read the full OCZ Agility 3 review.


3. OCZ Vertex 3 240GB – 4½ stars

To say that the 240GB Vertex 3 is an impressive drive is to do it a disservice; it is a pretty amazing drive with performance you could only dream about even as recently as last year. In the space of just one generation OCZ has brought out a drive with sequential performance that threatens to overwhelm the SATA 6Gbps interface.

SandForce’s SF-2000 range of controllers provide stunning sequential read /write performance and shows where the future of SSD’s is to be heading.

Read the full OCZ Vertex 3 review.

2. Patriot Wildfire 120GB – 4½ stars

The Patriot Wildfire is a speedy, solid little SSD, and we’ve been impressed by the package it’s put together. The drive keeps pace with the big boys of the SSD market and in some places actually manages to outshine them.

While it can’t quite keep up with the two quickest drives on the market in compressible, uncompressible and 4K random reads, the plucky Patriot Wildfire consistently impresses with write performances across all these areas and offers pretty good value for money.

Read the full Patriot Wildfire review.


1. A-Data S511 240GB – 4½ stars

The big one for the A-Data S511 is the relatively high 4K read and write speeds. It’s this impressive performance that makes for speedy operations within the Windows environment more than any other. As well as some impressive performance chops the S511 is also one of the cheaper SandForce 240GB drives out there.

The A-Data S511 is cheaper than the equivalent OCZ Vertex 3, and for that you get a healthy, reliable and – in many ways – faster SSD.

Read the A-Data S511 full review.

For a full list of drives we’ve looked at on TechRadar.com check out our constantly updated SSD reviews.


Dave James is the Components Editor for TechRadar.com and as such is a massive PC geek of the highest order. What he hasn’t destroyed through benchmarking, overclocking or general tweakery isn’t worth looking at.


Buyers' Guide: The top SSDs on test from £130

Storage News

There is a wide range of SSDs to choose from and selecting the most appropriate drive can be a tricky choice.  Having a good look around can be very worthwhile, once you know what it is you need to look out for and doing so will ensure that you make a purchase that you’re going to be happy with until you’re ready for your next upgrade.  To help you be better equipped to pick the SSD you need, we’ve put together a short guide and taken a look at five SSDs from £130.

What you should look for

There are a few terms that will crop up fairly often and these are as follows: Future solids, controlling force, write amplification, memory size, performance, Read/write speed

Corsair Force 3 120GB SSD


1. Corsair Force 3 120GB – £130

Corsair’s new Force 3 continues to look like a great deal, even when the scrutiny begins. You get the  SF-2281 controller found in several much more expensive drives, meaning this drive will provide key performance for your needs as well as considerable longevity.  Also, the Corsair is very reasonably priced for a 120GB SSD powered by the latest SandForce SF-2200 controller and 25nm NAND flash memory.  The data compression from the DuraWrite is another fantastic point feature that is set to contribute greatly to reducing write amplification.  To put this in perspective, a typical installation of Windows 7 and Office 2007 involves 25GB of writes to a standard hard disk or SSD, but with DuraWrite, this is reduced to just 11GB.


2. Crucial M4 256GB – £290

Well noted for its reliability, memory size, and support, the Crucial M4 is better value for money than you might consider it to be at first glance.  It’s a rather impressive piece of tech due to its 6Gbps SATA support and 415MB/s read and 260MB/s write ratings, it’s eight-channel controller ( just like the SandForce SF-2200 ), and the input-output operations per second.  All of these features make it strong contender for real-world performance when you need it.


3. OCZ Vertex 3 240GB – £380

The new Vertex 3 240GB boasts sequential reads and writes of 550MB/s and 520MB/s respectively, which are pretty spectacular.  With those sort of figures, you’re left gawping at the awesome performance of the OCZ Vertex 3 drive.  The synchronous NAND memory modules that make up the drive are widely held as one of the best.  Solid state drive in terms of both compressible and incompressible file transfers is an additional boon.  Only the Vertex 3 has huge bandwidth reserves, which is a feature of considerable note.  It tops the performance tables across the board and along with its 240GB of memory; it makes a bold statement and is highly desirable.  This is at the top of the price range of devices covered so it’s no wonder that it’s a strong contender.


4. OCZ Agility 3 240GB – £315

This little piece of magic has an arsenal of top features.  These include a new SF-2200 controller, SATA 6Gbps support, read and write performance of roughly 500MB and a 240GB of solid state memory.  The Agility 3 makes do with asynchronous rather than synchronous NAND memory.


5. Intel 510 120GB – £204

Intel’s latest SSDs have faced stiff competition of late and whilst their heritage alone means that they are still a force to be reckoned with, many will say that they have a battle on their hands when it comes to the SSD throne.  This is forcing Intel into becoming more creative in the production of the SSD drives.  In this case, they have started going into buying in a third party SSD controller, giving them more time to get their house in order.  Now, onto the SSD drive, this 120GB version has a reduced capacity and a reduced read/write speeds of 450MB/s and 210MB/s.   Still, this is a pretty good drive for its price, performance and name.


I’ve whizzed through a range of SSDs here to give an overview of the sort of features and specifications to look for in choosing an SSD for yourself.  This will have been a pretty intensive course, so if you have any questions regarding anything covered here be sure to post a question in the comments.

Let me know what is your SSD manufacturer of choice or what SSD you’re currently using in your rig.


Better Late Than Never!

“Dunc, when ARE you doing another blog?!”

I know, I know, it’s been a while – and I can only apologise to those of you that have followed Dunc’s Deals since July last year – I really have been busy and not lazy (as some have suggested – yes you Debs!) but hopefully from here on out normal service will resume with weekly ramblings and a few hand-picked specials!

The wise amongst you have already signed up to the forum and been taking advantage of the latest and greatest deals we’ve been dropping on there. Sam, Matt and I have tried to keep the questions answered and the community members are always on hand to help – if you’re not yet a member get involved!

First off, I hope you all had a good Christmas and New Year! Although it does seem a distant memory now, it really was only four weeks ago! Thank god its almost pay-day as its been a long month – with that said we have some belting deals for you below. Bully is back for the 2011 – and he wants you to invest your wages wisely!


January has been an unbelievably busy month for products on dabs. We announced that thanks to the success of our Self-Build Bundles we have brought Patriot Memory on as a brand in its own right, and have some killer deals on their ranges in stock today.

Also this month, Intel released their long awaited and hugely anticipated 2nd Generation Core Processors – the new Core i5 and Core i7 CPUs came into stock and many sold out instantly! We have got a huge range of Gigabyte and Asus motherboards ready for the new LGA 1155 socket CPUs and as ever we have some brand new Self-Build Bundles ready – review the full Intel page here.

Corsair Vengeance Memory, which was released to huge acclaim last year was also made available at Dabs this month – we have the full range set-up and plenty of stock at great pricing. Make sure you check the deals below for some great Dunc’s Deals on Memory!

Our lead designer, Mike, has been hard at work putting together the new PC Upgrade for 2011 landing page which looks the dogs wotsits – on there you will find the latest and greatest PC Components ready for any PC Upgrade, bookmark it and check back regularly!

Wrapping up “news” this week is the NVIDIA launch of the brand new GTX 560Ti graphics cards. The new addition to the GeForce line up “equips you with up to 3x the performance of previous generations and enjoy the GeForce GTX gaming experience with the latest technologies such as DirectX 11, NVIDIA® Surround, 3D Vision™, PhysX®, and SLI®” With a starting price of £199.99 these are well worth a look – we recommend the 1GHz Gigabyte Super Overclocked BADBWOY!

While on the subject of NVIDIA, make sure you check out the ‘Show Us Your Claw’ competition where you could win an NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX560 Ti 3D Vision PC or 5 runners up prizes of the new GeForce® GTX560 Ti graphics cards! Be innovative with your entries!



New Year, New Deals… same Challenge Dunc! Just as you did in the yesteryear 2010, you can keep firing in the ‘Price Match Challenges’ and specific deal requests to the email inbox, I am still getting lots but welcome more – get in touch you will always get a reply!

Now the real reason for the delay in Dunc’s Deals returning is I’ve been waiting for Bully to fully recover from his MAMMOTH new year hangover (he was a real mess) but he’s back on form now and has lined up FIVE killer deals for the weekend!

Iiiiiin 1! OCZ Technology 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 already over £25 off, yours with an extra £5 off, usually £39.99!

Iiiiiin 2! Corsair Memory Vengeance 6GB (3x2GB) DDR3, currently £84.99, yours for under £80!

Iiiiiin 3! NetGear Stora 2-Bay NAS, currently £64.99, get £5 off with Bully!

Iiiiiin 4! Asus Intel 2nd Generation P67 Bundle (Mobo and CPU), £5 off – under £295!

Iiiiiin 5! Western Digital 1TB Elements Desktop Hard Drive, currently £49.99 – now £46.99!

Finally make sure you check out the Crucial RealSSD Price downs – these are limited time offers to save up to £50 on SATA 6Gb/s solid state drives!

Keep spreading the word of the blog, offers and dabs in general, and remember if you send me examples of you getting the word out and I’ll send you a download code for Lost Planet 2!



Andy Gray and Richard Keys have been the talk of the country this week following some choice words about female officials in football – no matter what you think about it, the best review of the whole situation was the reporting hypocrisy discussed by Charlie Brooker on last nights 10 O’Clock Live on Channel 4! If you missed it, 4OD!

I want to sign off today in the spirit of Russell Howard with a “Good News” story that I hope some of you have seen. The man with the Golden Voice – Ted Williams – an ex-radio voiceover from Ohio has been re-discovered on the streets following years of drink and drug abuse and a chance YouTube clip has helped him get back on his feet and to work once again! Super-fans of  homeless Ted will be pleased to know that his former tent AND infamous cardboard sign are now for sale on ebay! Good luck to you Ted!