In the lab: budget SSDs from SanDisk, OCZ, and Kingston

Diligent gerbils may have noticed a lack of storage reviews around here recently, but we're happy to announce that the drought will soon be over. No, Geoff is not back, sadly. But someone has been armed with his testing procedures, spreadsheets, and macros—and he's feeling pretty dangerous.

I'm that someone. Hi! My name is Tony Thomas, and I'll be working on storage reviews for TR from here on out. I've been an avid TR reader for several years now, and I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to join the team. It takes several years to build the kind of experience and expertise that Geoff brought to the table, but I've gotten a head start from the man himself—he's bequeathed much of his testing know-how to me.

And knowledge isn't all he's bequeathed. In my possession is one of the rigs from Geoff's infamous SSD Endurance Experiment, ready to live a life of quiet retirement doing more ordinary testing. To help it forget the horrors it's witnessed, we've arranged a couple of upgrades for it, courtesy of Antec. 

Up first is Antec's Edge EDG650, a fully modular, 80 Plus Gold-certified power-supply unit. It's sure to keep cool and quiet under any load we might throw at it. This is just a storage testing rig, after all, so the EDG650 will supply far more than enough juice to keep up.

Next is the Antec Kuhler H2O 650. The H2O 650 is Antec's path for getting into all-in-one liquid cooling without breaking the bank. An all-in-one liquid cooler like this is great for a space-constrained ITX rig like my test system.

Let's move on to the meaty stuff—my first set of drives for testing is a trifecta of value SSDs. Kingston's HyperX Fury 240GB, OCZ's Arc 100 240GB, and SanDisk's Ultra II 960GB SSDs all provide relatively low-cost entry points into the solid-state life.

We've seen time and time again that as far as SATA drives are concerned, the difference between mechanical and solid-state storage is a vastly bigger jump than the difference between low-end and high-end SSDs. On the other hand, even "enthusiast"-level SSDs have received sizeable price cuts in recent months, so the distinction between budget and enthusiast drives has been muddied a bit. We'll have a good picture of the state of the budget segment once we've put these drives through their paces. Stay tuned.

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