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KitGuru Annual Awards 2012

Solid State Drives
Without doubt, this has been our (internal) favourite upgrade for some time now.

Sure, putting a brand new £200 graphics card into a 2 year old machine is going to help make your games fly, but it’s not an overall sense of wonder – just a specific boost in a specific set of applications.

The reason SSD technology is so fascinating and exciting, is that it takes all of the hardware you already owned – then ‘gives it back to you’ with a completely different user experience.
The CPU you thought might be too slow, is suddenly fast enough and your frustration levels drop significantly.
In short, upgrading to a good SSD will actually make you smile.

Before we get to the actual winning units, we want to make a special mention of the OCZ R4 Z-Drives demonstrated to us at CeBIT last March. Seeing a system spend all day long moving a DVD’s worth of data back and forth, between a pair of Solid State Drives, in under 2 seconds was very impressive and, probably, a glimpse into the future.

Moving a DVD's worth of data in under 2 seconds is where we are today folks - and it will only get quicker.

For this category, we’ve chosen our overall performance favourite and a value option that will make your life better without breaking the bank. The same company is responsible for both and while OCZ has had plenty of drama behind the scenes in 2012, you can’t ignore the company’s ability to deliver market-leading product.

SSD Peak Performance
Choosing this winner is pure science. You can beat the scores using RAID arrays, but in a straight head-2-head fight, the winner is the 256GB OCZ Vector. While OCZ’s own Octane drives can take up to 20 seconds to load STALKER, the Vector manages it in just 15 seconds. All that power is available for less than £200 at the end of 2012.

SSD Value Option
With most traditional hard drives now under £100 online, our SSD Value choice needs to be under that figure. At the same time, space is important and we believe that you need at least 120GB to make this exercise worthwhile. On that basis, the strongest contender has to be the 240GB OCZ Vertex 2 drive that hit the shelves at just £88 for Christmas. Every other product in this report was released in 2012, but the price drop on the Vertex 2 (from over £500 at launch to under £90 today) is so strong, that it’s as if a new product has been launched.

While the Vertex 2 isn't new to 2012, dropping the price for a 240GB drive below £90 can't be ignored. Similarly, the 256GB Vector provides killer performance to take the high-end title.

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  • callum orr

    Great read. although it wouyld have been good to have a couple more categorys on the mainboard section, as there wasnt really a z77 winner at £200 price point? which is exactly what im looking into at the moment.
    just thought i would also let you know of typo on the best of the rest page as you have written ‘Winning in 2103’.
    great article though.

  • Joanne

    That was really useful to help me shortlist parts for a new system build. Thank you!

  • Kirk

    Some great products in this list, I have decided to get the corsair H80i and the seasonic 520W power supply next pay day.

  • Nico

    Interesting to see some of these, I missed quite a few of the reviews this year, with so many updates on Kitguru it can be hard to keep track.

    Good work, very interesting reading.

  • Neil

    I am surprised to see Corsair getting so many awards, their H coolers aren’t all that good. Noctua NH D14 is better than them all.

  • Xtreme

    I would argue against OCZ, their fail rate is bad, I wouldn’t award them anything.

  • HWExpert

    @Xtreme – thats not right. only sandforce 2281 issues, and they plagued everyone from Corsair to Patriot who used the same controller. OCZ just sold more so they are highlighted more.

    Vector is a different controller. well earned IMO.

  • Kim Kan

    Was looking at the 302 and this has made my mind up. Wish they also did cheaper graphics cards cos I don’t want to spend more than £100.