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Mushkin Ventura Ultra USB 3.0 60GB

The Mushkin Ventura Ultra USB 3.0 has a Sandforce controller coupled with MLC NAND. This combination produces mediocre results for an SSD but for a USB flash drive its small file 4K performance is staggering. Comparing the Ventura Ultra and Sandisk Extreme shows that for small file IO the Ventura is around 200% faster than the Extreme. The Extreme has faster peak write speeds but overall the Ultra leads by a whopping 72%. The Ultra is a great choice for hosting Operating Systems or for use as boot media (check mobo. compat.) where its small file performance and low access times will reduce load times by orders of magnitude. Thanks to its exceptionally reasonable pricing, the Ultra topples the Extreme as my top USB pick for both value for money AND overall performance. [May '14 USBFlashPro]

SanDisk Extreme USB 3.0 16GB

The benchmark scores for the SanDisk Extreme were stunning. Until now every flash drive we have tested has shown a serious weakness in the area of 4K random writes. The SanDisk Extreme achieved a 4K random write speed of 2.1 MB/s which was over three times faster than the best of the rest, unfortunately we were unable to get consistent measurements but 2.1 MB/s was towards at the lower end of the range (10.8 MB/s - 1.71 MB/s) we observed. We suspect the inconsistency relates to the way the controller batches page cleanup. The other benchmark observations were all consistent and to date this drive has the highest sequential read we have seen on a 16GB flash drive. The SanDisk Extreme has not been released in the UK. Our test unit had to be shipped from Hong Kong where we were able to purchase it at at an extremely reasonable price. We will update the price if/when the drive becomes officially available in the UK ... [Jul '12 USBFlashPro]

Samsung 850 Pro 256GB

The 256GB Samsung 850 Pro is the fastest consumer SSD we have seen to date. Thanks to Samsung's new 3D V-NAND the 850 Pro has lower power consumption and better performance, albeit marginally, than both the 840 Evo and 840 Pro. Looking at the performance figures for the 840 and 850 Pros shows that the effective performance improvement is 10% whereas the 850 Pro beats the 840 Evo by 16%. All of these drives effectively saturate SATA 3.0 making it near impossible to distinguish between them in day-to-day use. At current prices the 256GB 850 Pro is prohibitively expensive, prices need to drop by 15% before it approaches the 840 Pro from a value perspective. Samsung may release a value orientated 850 Evo soon, but for now "most" users are better off with the 840 Pro. [Oct '14 SSDrivePro]

Samsung 850 Evo 250GB

The 250GB Samsung 850 Evo has a similar architecture to its older, and hugely successful 840 sibling. Both drives utilize TLC NAND and both sport a high speed Turbowrite cache (TWC) which buffers up to 3GB of writes. The TWC enables high burst write speeds but when the cache exhausts speeds drop to 300 MB/s. Comparing the 850 and 840 Evos shows that effective speed, has improved by 11% and the warranty has been extended from three to five years but prices are also up by 11%. The 250GB 850 Evo does put in superb benchmarks (second only to the 850 Pro) but these are only valid within the TWC. Users looking for more consistent performance should look elsewhere. At current price levels the 850 Evo struggles to compete with the value leaders[Dec '14 SSDrivePro]

Intel Core i7-4790K

The Intel Core i7-4790K, codenamed Devil's Canyon, is an upgraded 4770K, Intel's current flagship i7. The 4790K features an improved thermal interface which enables it to dissipate heat more efficiently than the 4770K. Comparing the 4770K and 4790K shows that stock performance has improved by 13% which is consistent with the base clock jump from 3.5 GHz to 4.0 GHz. OC performance remains unchanged. Comparing the 4790K and 4790 shows that at stock clocks the 4790K is around 16% faster which considering the small price difference makes the 4790K a far better choice. Previously Intel targeted the unlocked K versions at overclockers but with Devil's Canyon they have included VT-d on the K chip and this time it's squarely aimed at both power users and overclockers alike. Until the release of Broadwell in six months, the 4790K is the high end CPU of choice. [Jul '14 CPUPro]

Intel Pentium G3258

The Intel G3258 is the first budget Pentium processor to feature an unlocked multiplier. This enables a comfortable overclock to 4.3 GHz using just the stock heat sink and fan. At 4.3 GHz, in terms of single and dual core performance, the G3258 challenges a fully overclocked i7-4790K, the fastest CPU I have seen to date! These results are stunning considering that the G3258 is retailing for around one fifth as much as an i7-4790K. The G3258's Achilles heel is its poor multi-core performance which is over 50% weaker than the group leaders. For the vast majority of users, assuming an overclock of 4.3 GHz, the G3258 is the best value processor on the market by miles. On the other hand, users that encode multi-media or run SLI/Crossfire setups should look elsewhere. [Jul '14 CPUPro]

WD Black 1TB (2013)

This is the most recent version (2013 FZEX) of Western Digital's best performing consumer storage drive, its predecessor was the WD1002FAEX which is now four years old. With average sequential read/write speeds of 150 MB/s this version outperforms its predecessor by a whopping 50%. Small file random 4K speeds have remained broadly unchanged with average read/write rates of 0.9/2.19 MB/s. Overall the 2013 WD Black has a very good performance profile and it also represents reasonable value for money, at least in the 1TB category. There are some good alternatives to the 2013 Black including the 2012 Blue. Looking at the 2013 Black vs 2012 Blue shows that both drives have similar performance. Power consumption (6.8/6.1 Watts active/idle) and noise levels (29.5 dBA) are also identical making it a tough call between the two. There is however, as always, better value amongst the larger capacities. [Feb '14 HDrivePro]

Seagate Barracuda 7200.14 1TB

The 1TB Barracuda 7200.14 boasts impressive peak sequential read/write Lab speeds of 195/193 MB/s. These best case burst speeds indicate what the Barracuda is capable of under Lab perfect test conditions. Our real world benchmarks have been sourced from hundreds of users and give a better sense of how well this drive actually performs on a day to day basis. The 1TB 7200.14 has an average UBM sequential read/write speed of 147 MB/s, which is a superb result, especially for a budget drive. With 4K random read/write speeds of 0.77/1.53 MB/s small file performance is also respectable making the 1TB Barracuda a very good all round performer. In terms of value for money the relatively small 1TB drive is not as good value as its larger 3TB sibling but in the 1 TB category this is one of the best value for money drives available. [Jan '14 HDrivePro]

Nvidia GTX 980

The Nvidia GTX 980 is the new top end Maxwell based Nvidia GPU. The Maxwell architecture offers significantly higher clock for clock performance when compared to Kepler based cards from the previous generation. Comparing the GTX 980 and GTX 970 shows that the 970 only lags by around 17% in terms of performance but it's priced nearly 40% lower making the GTX 970 far better value for money card. Even though the GTX 970 beats the 980 in terms of value, the 980 still destroys previous generation cards. Comparing the GTX 980 and 780 Ti shows that the Newer 980 offers around 14% better performance at a 25% price discount. Nvidia have changed the price/performance landscape with their new Maxwell architecture and now pose a serious threat to AMDs high end GPU market share. The new GTX 980/970 cards replace the now discontinued GTX 780 Ti, 780 and 770. [Sep '14 GPUPro]

Nvidia GTX 970

The Nvidia GTX 970 is a game changer in terms of performnace per watt and value for money. The GTX 970 is based on Nvidia's ground-breaking Maxwell architecture which delivers considerable clock for clock performance gains over Kepler, its predecessor. Comparing the GTX 970 and 780 Ti shows that the two cards offer comparable performance yet the new GTX 970 costs nearly half as much! Unsurprisingly Nvidia are discontinuing the 780 Ti as it's now largely redundant. These price to performance gains typically occur once or twice a decade and although the new Maxwell architecture will improve down the line with the release of the Ti/Titan versions, at the moment the 970 offers the best value for money on the market by miles. Since this summary was originally written AMD have slashed prices and older Nvidia models (780/780 Ti/770) have also been hugely discounted. See the latest value for money rankings here[Sep '14 GPUPro]

User Benchmarks

›  Intel HD Graphics (G2 Pentium/Celeron 1.1/1.15 GHz)COL-User, 48 secs ago.
›  Seagate STM980215AS 80GBCOL-User, 48 secs ago.
›  Intel Pentium B950COL-User, 48 secs ago.
›  Nvidia GeForce GTX 470POL-User, 1 min ago.
›  Nvidia GTX 780 TiUSA-User, 2 mins ago.
›  Seagate Barracuda 7200.14 1TBUSA-User, 2 mins ago.
›  Intel Core i7-4790KUSA-User, 2 mins ago.
›  AMD Radeon HD 6670GBR-User, 2 mins ago.
›  Seagate Barracuda 7200.14 1TBGBR-User, 2 mins ago.
›  AMD FX-4170 Quad-CoreGBR-User, 2 mins ago.
›  AMD R9 270XDEU-User, 6 mins ago.
›  Adata SP600 64GBDEU-User, 6 mins ago.
›  Seagate Barracuda 7200.14 1TBDEU-User, 6 mins ago.
›  AMD FX-6300DEU-User, 6 mins ago.
›  Intel HD 4000 (Desktop 1.15 GHz)AUS-User, 7 mins ago.
›  OCZ Vertex 4 256GBAUS-User, 7 mins ago.
›  Kingston SSDNow V300 120GBAUS-User, 7 mins ago.
›  Samsung 850 Evo 250GBAUS-User, 7 mins ago.
›  Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 1TBAUS-User, 7 mins ago.
›  Toshiba DT01ACA100 1TBAUS-User, 7 mins ago.
›  Intel Core i7-3770KAUS-User, 7 mins ago.
›  Nvidia GeForce GTX 470POL-User, 7 mins ago.


  AMD R9 280XMEX-User, 5 mins ago.
  Nvidia GTX 960MEX-User, 5 mins ago.
  Intel Pentium G3258IDN-User, 13 mins ago.
  Intel Core i3-4150IDN-User, 13 mins ago.
  SanDisk Extreme Pro 240GBUSA-User, 14 mins ago.
  Intel Core i5-4670KGRC-User, 14 mins ago.
  Seagate Barracuda 7200.14 1TBAUS-User, 16 mins ago.
  Intel Core i7-3770KGBR-User, 19 mins ago.
  Intel Pentium G3460HUN-User, 35 mins ago.
  Nvidia GTX 960POL-User, 41 mins ago.
  Nvidia GTX 970POL-User, 41 mins ago.
  Samsung 850 Evo 250GBLVA-User, 52 mins ago.
  Nvidia Quadro K620HKG-User, 1 hr ago.
  Samsung 850 Evo 250GBARG-User, 1 hr ago.
  AMD A10-7850K APUESP-User, 1 hr ago.
  Samsung 840 Evo 250GBARG-User, 1 hr ago.
  Intel Core i5-4460ESP-User, 1 hr ago.
  AMD R9 280XDEU-User, 1 hr ago.

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The Best.
SanDisk Extreme USB 3.0 16GBSamsung 850 Pro 256GBIntel Core i7-4790KWD Blue 1TB (2012)Nvidia GTX 970
SanDisk Extreme USB 3.0 64GBSamsung 850 Evo 250GBIntel Core i5-4690KWD Black 1TB (2013)AMD R9 280X
SanDisk Extreme USB 3.0 32GBIntel 530 Series 120GBIntel Pentium G3258Seagate Barracuda 7200.14 1TBNvidia GTX 980
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