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We have tested seven SSDs based on the same SandForce SF-2281 controller and we can conclude that the controller is not the decisive factor that determines the performance of a modern SSD. Firmware optimizations and the choice of NAND flash memory are just as crucial as the controller.

Although they are all based on the SF-2281, no two of them are alike. Each product has peculiarities of its own. We’d say that the main distinguishing factor is the type of flash memory. SSDs with synchronous MLC NAND flash are generally faster but also more expensive whereas SSDs with asynchronous flash are cheaper and slower. However, there are winners and outsiders in each of these two categories, too.

OCZ, being a close partner of SandForce, offers a very wide range of SF-2281 based products. They use only optimized firmware and update that firmware on a regular basis. The OCZ products we have tested today offer impeccable performance, yet OCZ is not the only leader among SSD makers who use the SandForce architecture.

It is the OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS and Kingston HyperX that deliver the highest performance among our today’s testing participants. The former is faster in more tests but the latter is somewhat less expensive, has an eye-catching exterior and comes with more accessories. Therefore we’d like to give our Editor’s Choice to these two.

On the other hand, the price of the leading products is far from affordable, so you may want to consider less expensive alternatives. If so, we’d recommend you to look at the OCZ Agility 3 and Patriot Pyro. They can help you save some money without losing much in terms of performance. These two have definitely deserved our Recommended Buy title.

The OCZ Agility 3 is currently a little cheaper on the American market, but the prices are constantly changing, so the Patriot Pyro may prove to be a better option after a while.

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