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The value perspective
Welcome to our famous value analysis, which adds capacity and pricing to the performance data we've explored over the preceding pages. We used Newegg prices for most of the SSDs, and we didn't take mail-in rebates into account when performing our calculations. Since the Samsung 840 EVO isn't available for sale as we write this, we've used the 500GB model's $370 MSRP.

First, we'll look at the all-important cost per gigabyte, which we've obtained using the amount of storage capacity accessible to users in Windows.

The EVO delivers on TLC NAND's promise of more storage at lower prices. Only Samsung's own 840 Series has a lower cost per gigabyte, and that's another TLC-based drive. The 840 Series is on sale right now, too, like it is pretty much every other week. I suspect the EVO will enjoy similar discounts when it fully replaces the standard model.

Our remaining value calculation uses a single performance score that we've derived by comparing how each drive stacks up against a common baseline provided by the Momentus 5400.4, a 2.5" notebook drive with a painfully slow 5,400-RPM spindle speed. This index uses a subset of our performance data described on this page of our last SSD round-up.

Despite being priced like a budget model, the 840 EVO sits near the top of our overall performance standings. It's only a little slower overall than the 840 Pro, which is good enough for fourth place ahead of the SanDisk Extreme II. The old 840 Series is considerably slower overall, and so is the new Crucial M500.

Now for the real magic. We can plot this overall score on one axis and each drive's cost per gigabyte on the other to create a scatter plot of performance per dollar per gigabyte. The best place on the plot is the upper-left corner, which combines high performance with a low price.

Excuse the cropped axes; you'll see why they were necessary in a moment. For now, focus on the 840 EVO and its prime position toward the upper left corner of the plot. This region signifies high performance and low pricing, which is a pretty sweet combo. Only a handful of SSDs boast higher overall performance than the EVO, and they all have higher per-gigabyte prices. The EVO is clearly a big step up from the 840 Series.

We can shed more light on the EVO's value proposition by expanding the plot to include our lone mechanical drive.

See why I trimmed the axes? The SSDs are virtually impossible to tell apart here, in part because of the hoops I had to jump through to avoid label overlap.

The differences between the SSDs are much smaller than the gap between the solid-state field and our lone mechanical drive. From this vantage point, most of the SSDs look fairly evenly matched on performance. There's more variance in their pricing, which easily favors the EVO.