November 25th, 2014 by Brian Beeler
Buyer Beware: Black Friday SSD and Storage Deals
Most of the country is about to get wrapped up in shopping hysteria that ranges from new cars to SSDs and everything in between. Bricks and mortar and online retailers both will be pitching hard drives, SSDs and portable storage of all types this holiday season. But not all deals are good deals, lining up a .25/GB SSD on Black Friday is only a good deal if the SSD itself is a good drive. This time of the year is ripe for off brand manufacturers to cash in on unsuspecting consumers. Let StorageReview help take the guesswork out of the equation. If you're cross-shopping storage deals this season, here's a cheat sheet to help you win at buying storage tech this season.
Buy This - There are very few SSDs that offer top-end performance blended with reliability and great support from the vendor. Our favorites are the Samsung 850 Pro and the SanDisk Extreme Pro, which offers a 10-year warranty. The OCZ Vertex 460 offers a good performance/price profile as well and can represent great value when on sale.
Not That - We're pretty rigid when it comes to SSDs. We advise skipping everything from brands not on our trusted SSD vendor list.
Buy This - Quality of drive is important in this class and more important is the ability of the vendor to support the drive when issues occur. Our favorites are pretty specific, the Crucial MX100 and Samsung 840 EVO. We expect very good deals on both this season. The OCZ ARC 100 is another good option that often gets well below .50/GB.
Not That - See the "not that" comment above.
Buy This - Buying consumer HDDs in onesie, twosies is more or less a crap shoot. The main concern is spindle speed, for more in-demand duty grab 7K, for bulk storage buy what's cheap. The vendor is less of an issue than capacity.
Not That - There aren't many potholes to avoid here, just don't pay up for hybrid hard drives unless you meet a very specific use case where they make sense on a per dollar and per GB basis.
External Hard Drives
Buy This - Similar to the section above, there buying with spindle speed or lowest cost per GB in mind is key. Stick with the brand name solutions, such as those from WD, Seagate (LaCie), Toshiba or HGST (G-Tech) instead of 3rd parties for the best possible warranty support and drive selection.
Not That - Anything from any brand you've never heard of. While there aren't a ton of hard drive manufacturers out in the wild, there can be a huge variance in the quality of the external enclosures and included software. Branded solutions tend to be designed around the drive utilized and offer high-quality plastic or metal finishes.
Buy This - For ease of deployment and use, the WD MyBook Line is very good. If you can be a little more hands on, Synology NAS systems are better performing and have deep app stores and improving mobile apps. QNAP also offers good options if they have a good price advantage over similar spec Synology.
Not That - Anything from any brand you've never heard of. There are a ton of low-rent NAS vendors that offer crappy hardware and limited app integrations. Skip Thecus, ASUSTOR, etc. Not all big brands are safe either, Seagate, Buffalo and others are all lacking for a variety of reasons.
Every year people spend money poorly when it comes to tech thanks to recommendations by retailers and tech generalist sites that don't spend enough time in specific verticals to offer good recommendations. If you have questions or need a personalized answer on a specific buy, hit our storage forums and the team is happy to help.