We recently covered two sites, CPUBoss and GPUBoss, launched to provide a fast, easy way to determine what you next hardware upgrade should be. Shortly after our last review, the people behind the sites reached out to tell us another site was one its way, too, and it would cover solid state drives.
Hard drives may not seem like an obvious extension of the Boss mission, but I think it makes sense. Solid state drives, unlike their mechanical predecessors, are not mature and stagnant. The performance gap between two different models can be massive. To make matters more complicated, drives don’t always perform well in the same way; one might be better at writing data, another better at reading, and yet another better at both, but only with small files. Let’s see if SSDBoss can successfully simplify all this data.
SSDBoss is built to provide useful information as quickly as possible. The front page has no introductions, news or other distractions; it starts straight away with a comparison carousel followed by a ranking of the best solid state drives and then a listing of recent reviews. At the bottom is a slider than lets you sort SSDs based on price.
This minimalist approach is meant to place you straight in the decision-making mindset. You can approach the site from any of these four options, or you can use the search function at the top to find a specific solid state drive. Personally, I recommend starting with the price slider unless you already have a drive in mind. Why bother looking at hardware you can’t afford?
The Review Format
Beneath the front page SSDBoss is fundamentally based on reviews. Every review starts with the conclusion, which is unusual but reinforces the site’s no-nonsense approach. Each conclusion provides a selection relevant data including read performance, write performance, real world benchmarks and synthetic benchmarks. All of these contribute to the final score. As with other ‘Boss sites, the weight each section gives to the final score isn’t clear, so I encourage readers to look at the entire conclusion.
Below the conclusion is the analysis section, which provides more detailed information about a specific drive’s pros and cons. The information here can be extremely useful because it provides more perspective about a drive’s overall package. You may find that a solid state drive drive scores extremely well, yet also performs poorly in a specific area that is important to you.
A new section, called Editions, has been added for SSDBoss. This small section lists other variants of the drive being reviewed, which is useful, because most drives come in several different capacities with similar features and performance. You may find that smaller drive suites your needs, or that a larger drive offers better capacity-per-dollar.
I have a hard time finding any notable flaw in these summary reviews. Solid state drives have a specific mission (transfer data quickly) which is lends itself to simplification, and issues like power draw and size – often a concern with graphics cards – aren’t as relevant here.
Head-to-head comparisons are an important part of SSDBoss. They are formatted like reviews and include most of the same information, but the conclusion is tweaked to pit the two solid state drives you selected head-to-head and the Analysis section is replaced by a Differences section.
The highlighted differences include random write and read scores, a few important benchmarks and power consumption. More can be investigated by entering the full specifications comparison, but the basic view is more than sufficient for most buyers.
My only complaint about comparisons is the lack of an Editions section. SSDBoss could include that section and use it to compare different capacities of the two drives selected; instead, no other variants are shown. Perhaps they’ll add this feature in the future.
Detailed Performance & Features
At the bottom of each individual drive review there is a “keep reading” link that provides more information about performance and features. Clicking this link will provide you with a more detailed look at the benchmarks the drive’s score is based on. A selection of user review comments are shown, as well, to provide some context for the drive’s strengths.
Detailed features are listed, as well, though they’re a bit less useful. For example, capacity is listed as a feature, but this isn’t of much use; after all, there are many variants of each individual solid state drive. Other features include weight and “mean time between failures” as quoted by the manufacturer – none of which is particularly interesting. I can understand the problem, because SSDs don’t have much in the way of “features,” but perhaps this section should have been cut entirely.
Can SSDBoss Really Stand Up To Professional Reviews?
The other ‘Boss websites are a great place to start looking for your next processor or graphics card, but not the only source you need. Both of those components have physical properties and additional features that a summary can’t easily cover.
Solid state drives also offer performance that can be complex to dissect, but they have far fewer features and all have similar physical properties. Sure, one might be a few grams lighter than the next, or consumer an extra watt of power – but none of this is worth losing sleep over. What’s important is performance, and performance lends itself to being quantified and summarized.
This makes SSDBoss a great site. Though I always hesitate to recommend using just one site when making a purchase (personally, I read four or five reviews, at least) this could indeed be your one site. It covers everything you need to know and nothing you don’t.