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Finding the best SSD (Solid State Drive) for your needs is important if you want a fast and responsive productivity computer or gaming machine. Switching from an HDD to an SSD is the best upgrade for your PC, bar none! A slow storage drive creates a bottleneck, forcing the processor to sit back and wait while the data arrives. To speed up read and write times, you need an SSD. It will render booting up, launching apps, and all other operations way faster. That’s why we highlighted the best SSDs available today.
SSD and HDD
Switching to a solid-state drive (SSD) is the best possible upgrade for a PC. These wonderful devices eliminate long boot times, improve the loading speed of apps and games, and make the computer feel more snappy and responsive.
In the past, having a small SSD as a boot drive was a luxury. Now, with the recent price drop, you can even consider buying an SSD as a secondary or backup drive.
You don’t need to own one of the best PCs to take advantage of the speed of these drives. And it does not matter if you intend to use it with a new computer or to update your old hard drive.
Moreover, thanks to their small size, you can easily insert them into any computer, from big gaming PCs to small laptops.
But the advantages do not stop here. SSDs are completely silent and are more resistant to damage due to their lack of moving parts. Thus, it’s easy to understand why solid-state drives have become the default choice for gamers and computer users in general.
That said, although almost all SSDs are much faster than traditional HDDs – upgrading to an SSD, even a cheap model, reduces loading times by up to 60% on average compared to a modern high-performance HDD – not all solid-state drives are the same. The best SSDs offer good performance at affordable prices, or, if the cost is not an issue, incredibly high read and write speeds.
Unfortunately, choosing the perfect SSD is not as simple as before: modern SSDs come in many form factors, are based on different technologies and, as if that were not enough, they also use a number of interfaces. Many SSDs, for example, come in a 2.5” form factor and communicate with your PC via the same SATA port used by traditional hard drives. Instead, the cutting-edge ones, are extremely compact and can be installed directly onto the motherboard, thereby eliminating the need for cables. These SSDs use the M.2 slot, which we can find on almost all modern motherboards, or the traditional PCIe slot – like a graphics or sound card.
This is why we wrote this guide. It will help you understand the different terminologies associated with SSDs, as well as find out the things you need to know about pricing, speed, durability, and more. With so many options out there, it’s easy to be overwhelmed if you don’t know what you are looking for.
Internal and external SSDs
First, let’s talk about the difference between internal and external SSDs.
External SSDs are drives equipped with stand-alone cases, which connect to your laptop or desktop via a USB or Thunderbolt 3 cable. Most of them are built for portability, with some models so small that they can fit into a keychain. On average, the highest sequential speed you can expect from an external SSD connected via Thunderbolt 3 or USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 is in the range of 2,000-2,500 MBps.
Internal SSDs are much more complicated.
There are three main physical forms:
- 2.5-inch drive: this is the most common type of internal solid-state drive. It was one of the first implementations of SSD technology aimed at consumers and remains very popular, especially for upgrading old computers.
It is a small metal box, the size of 70×100 mm that connects to the motherboard via a SATA cable and also requires a separate power cable.
SATA is an older and slower data transfer protocol than NVMe; however, SATA SSDs are considerably faster than SATA hard drives and represent a significant upgrade for most computers.
They are made to fit into older or less expensive laptops that use a classic 2.5” rotating disc or older desktop PCs that do not have an M.2 slot.
- M.2 drive: it has a very flat form factor boasting a much smaller volume than a standard 2.5” SSD, allowing you to mount it directly to the motherboard or inside an ultra-thin laptop.
Confusing enough, M.2 drives can use either the SATA or NVMe data transfer protocol, so be careful which type of drive you are about to buy. While most M.2 slots on the motherboard will support both options, M.2 SATA SSDs are slower.
M.2 slots are nowadays common in desktop motherboards and almost universal inside the latest generation laptops.
M.2 units are available in different lengths. Physically, the most common M.2 SSD is known as Type-2280, (22mm wide and 80mm long. All M.2 SSDs are 22mm wide with lengths varying from 30mm to 110mm.) Most of them consist of circuits with flash memory and controller chips, but some are also equipped with heatsinks.
- Expansion cards: there are solid-state drives, such as the Intel Optane 905P for example, that connect directly to the motherboard’s PCIe slot.
SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) is used to connect most 2.5″ and 3.5” hard drives, and 2.5” SSDs to your PC. SATA is both the connection type and the data transfer protocol. This interface was initially designed for relatively low bandwidth drives, such as CD-ROM/DVD/Blu-ray players as well as mechanical hard drives. As SSDs improved, they began to be limited by the SATA III interface which has a maximum data transfer speed of 600MB/s, thus creating a new interface called NVMe.
PCIe (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express) is used by expansion cards, such as graphics and audio cards. The original implementation of the PCIe interface for SSDs took the form of expansion cards that housed one or more M.2 SSDs. Nowadays, however, PCIe SSDs can be installed directly into an M.2 slot.
NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) is a newer, modern interface designed specifically for high-speed solid-state drives, and it’s based on the PCIe standard. The increased available bandwidth removes the bottleneck of the SATA interface, thus allowing high-end SSDs to achieve faster speeds and lower access times — an NVMe SSD can be up to seven times faster than a SATA drive.
PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSDs have been the standard for several years, but with the launch of 3rd and 4th Gen AMD Ryzen processors the new PCIe 4.0 interface is setting new speed records (it can be twice as fast) – in order to take advantage of it you have to have an AMD Ryzen 3000 series CPU or Threadripper paired with a motherboard equipped with an X570, B550 or TRX40 chipset.
SATA or NVMe?
For everyday tasks, SATA SSDs greatly improve boot and loading times.
On the other hand, for more intensive operations like 4K video editing, or if you regularly transfer large quantities of data (hundreds of GB), you’ll note a difference between SATA and NVMe SSDs.
However, the real answer is that since the recent drop in NVMe SSD prices, there is no more a cost difference between these and their SATA counterparts, so why invest in the old SATA technology when it is possible to be future-proof right away.
Now that you understand form factors and buses, the next thing to consider is capacity. The typical PC user doesn’t need an SSD larger than 250GB or 500GB. At the time of writing, 500 GB SSDs offer the best performance/price ratio. However, gamers and content creators need to invest in at least a 1TB SSD in order to store all their games and 4K videos. And slowly but steadily even 2TB SSDs are starting to drop to reasonable prices.
In addition, larger capacity units are also slightly faster. This is because a portion of an SSDs speed comes from parallelization: a drive with multiple flash chips that can read and write at the same time, thereby increasing the overall speed. Although 500GB SSDs are not bad in this regard, you get the best performance from 1TB or 2TB drives. Last but not least, choosing a bigger SSD also means that it will last longer.
Unfortunately, large-capacity SSDs are not cheap, so knowing the value of an SSD and its cost per Gigabyte is an important factor before buying.
On average, prices start at 9 cents per Gigabyte. A general rule is that smaller drives (below 240 GB) will cost more per Gigabyte, becoming cheaper in capacities of 500 GB and 1 TB. 2 TB or more drives are also a bit more expensive.
The number of “layers” in an SSD was the driving force in reducing costs. SSDs have seen a lot of innovation over the past decade, and one of these technologies is known as 3D NAND. Instead of being placed exclusively on a horizontal plane, memory cells can be stacked on each other in several layers. The five main 3D NAND types consist of 32, 64, 96, 128, and 176 layers. Multiple layers means s bigger capacity in a smaller size and therefore a lower cost for materials.
Finally, the price of an SSD is also influenced by the “method” used to store data. Almost all SSDs consist of NAND flash memory, but they do not use the same type. The type depends on how their cells store bits of 1 and 0 that make up the data. The five types are:
- SLC, single-level cell: this is the original type of NAND memory and probably the best. SLC is designed to accept only one bit per memory cell. Therefore it is the fastest and most reliable of the five types, but it is also the most expensive and rarely seen outside of enterprise-level implementations.
- MLC, multi-level cell: accepts two bits per memory cell. It’s a little slower than SLC and less reliable. Most high-end SSDs use this type of NAND memory.
- TLC, triple-level cell: accepts three bits per memory cell with the consequent advantages and disadvantages. Most mid-range SSDs use this type of memory.
- QLC, quad-level cell: almost all cheap SSDs use this type of NAND flash. They are the least durable models but also the cheapest ones.
- PLC: penta level cell: when the first models do come out, it will be interesting to see how low SSD prices can get.
Duration and warranty
The duration of an SSD is calculated in Terabytes written (TBW) and is between 100 TBW and 3,500 TBW. In fact, after writing a certain amount of data to an SSD, its cells will begin to fail, which means that the actual capacity of the SSD will shrink as the electronics compensate by eliminating the damaged cells.
That said, this metric doesn’t concern everyday users but only professionals who transfer large files (hundreds of gigabytes) every single day.
This metric, however, is reflected in the warranty period which is almost always three to five years.
With manufacturers trying to secure a bigger piece of the SSD market by producing ever faster and cheaper models now is the perfect time to buy one.
Before choosing an SSD, consider the following:
- Choose a compatible interface (SATA, M.2 SATA, M.2 NVMe, PCIe): read the motherboard’s manual to determine which types of SSDs are supported.
- 256 GB minimum: Do not buy an SSD smaller than 256 GB, with 512 GB being the current sweet spot.
- SATA is slower: the SATA interface is slower than NVMe, but almost all modern desktop PCs and laptops can use a 2.5” SATA drive, and most users won’t notice a difference between a good SATA SSD and a faster NVMe model.
These are the best internal SSDs you can buy today
Samsung 980 Pro: best NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSD
The champion is finally here. Samsung has been leading the SSD industry for years now, mainly because it designs its own NAND flash and DRAM cache. Now the 980 Pro is here to lead Samsung’s foray into the PCIe 4.0 era. This new NVMe PCIe SSD can deliver read speeds up to 7,000MB/s and write speeds up to 5,000MB/s.
The best part? The Samsung 980 Pro costs “just” (Check on Amazon). It’s not the cheapest NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSD out there, but it’s definitely the fastest. This drive will be ideal for future PC games that can leverage Microsoft’s DirectStorage API or as a hard drive for your PlayStation 5.
Currently, only AMD Ryzen 3000 processors combined with a B550 or X570 motherboard support PCIe 4.0. For most common systems equipped with PCIe 3.0, the Samsung 980 PRO will make no difference. But if you own a PCIe 4.0 system, the Samsung 980 Pro offers twice the speed!
Crucial P5 Plus: a valid alternative
The Crucial P5 Plus (Check on Amazon) is the evolution of the P5 (PCIe 3.0) (Check on Amazon) and focuses on improving performance. Engineered for creative professionals and gamers who want more efficient workflows and faster load times, the P5 Plus is a great NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSD that sells for a reasonable price considering its feature set.
Using parent company Micron’s NAND flash memory (its TLC memory is still damn fast and incredibly affordable) and its own internal controller, Crucial was able to keep costs down and boost performance.
The 1 TB version hits 6,600 MB/s read and 5,000 MB/s write speeds, impressively high numbers, especially when compared to PCIe 3.0 SSDs like the Samsung 980 (Check on Amazon) and the WD Black SN750 (Check on Amazon). Even if you’re not using a motherboard with a PCIe 4.0 interface, it will still work in a PCIe 3.0 configuration and at the speed limits of that connection. Additionally, the P5 Plus meets the minimum spec requirements to work with the PlayStation 5, so it’s the most affordable way (right now) to increase console storage.
Last but not least, it boasts AES 256-bit encryption with hardware acceleration and therefore is compliant with OPAL 2.0 for data security.
Although it focuses more on value than extreme performance, this SSD was able to keep up with the Samsung 980 Pro (Check on Amazon) and WD Black SN850 (Check on Amazon) in most applications. If you can’t afford the best of the best, the P5 Plus (Check on Amazon) is a valid alternative worth your consideration.
Sabrent Rocket NVMe 4.0: a valid alternative
Delivering incredible performance with Phison’s E16 controller and Toshiba’s 96-layer TLC NAND, the Sabrent Rocket that uses the PCIe 4.0 interface – which in theory can double the amount of bandwidth – it’s definitely one of the fastest SSDs you can buy.
It is capable of delivering read speeds of up to 5.0Gbps and write speeds of up to 4.4Gbps — units with small capacities are slightly slower – and has a peak of nearly 600,000 and 550,000 IOPS respectively. It’s so fast that it even outperforms Samsung’s 970 EVO Plus (Check on Amazon) and 970 PRO (Check on Amazon) SSDs in real-world testing while remaining fairly efficient.
You will of course need an X570 motherboard and a third-generation AMD Ryzen processor to achieve such speeds.
In addition to next-gen technology, Sabrent SSDs also excel in all other fields such as reliability, error correction, software support, and so on. And with class-leading endurance, this unit will last until you’re ready to upgrade the rest of your hardware. Be careful though, you need to register your SSD with Sabrent to receive the 5-year extended warranty.
The only drawback is the price (Check on Amazon). It’s a new technology, so it comes at a premium. You can also get this unit with or without the heat sink on top. If, instead, you want to save some money, take a look at previous PCIe 3.0 versions.
WD Black SN850: best gaming NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSD
The Samsung 980 Pro (Check on Amazon) earned our title of best NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSD, but only at the photo finish. Since the differences between the two are almost non-existent, we have given the WD Black SN850 the title of best NVMe PCIe 4.0 gaming SSD! You can’t go wrong with either, and our advice is to buy the least expensive of the two.
The WD Black SN850 uses the new WD Black G2 PCIe 4.0 x4 NVMe 1.4 16nm SSD controller, which marks a substantial improvement in the company’s SSD architecture. The unit can support speeds of up to 7,000 MB/s in read and 5,300MB/s in write, which means performance on par with the Samsung 980 Pro. However, compared to the latter, it consumes a tad more power, runs hotter, and doesn’t have 256-bit AES encryption.
Also, remember that you will need a PC that can take advantage of the new PCIe 4.0 interface. Otherwise, we recommend buying one of the best NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSDs, such as the Samsung 970 Evo Plus (Check on Amazon), thus saving a good chunk of money.
Crucial MX500: best SATA SSD for most people
The Crucial MX500 (Check on Amazon) uses the old SATA III interface, meaning it is slower than NVMe drives, but also more universally compatible. Don’t be fooled by other cheaper SATA SSDs with slightly higher transfer speeds on paper: in real-life tests, the MX500 constantly beats these drives.
Despite Samsung dominating the high-end segment of solid-state technology, Crucial dominates the economy segment. Thanks to its parent company Micron, Crucial is able to offer SSDs that utilize its own high-quality flash memory at an exceptional price. The MX500 costs less than the Samsung 860 EVO (Check on Amazon) but offers an almost identical performance, given the speed limit imposed by the SATA III interface.
Recapitulating, the Crucial MX500 is cheap and much faster than any “rotating” hard drive, has a five-year warranty (like all other SSDs in this list), and supports 256-bit hardware-based encryption.
It is available in both the classic 2.5-inch and the newer M.2 form factor (the interface is always SATA III) and therefore can fit in almost every desktop or laptop computer.
If you own a relatively recent computer, the WD Blue SN550 (NVMe) (Check on Amazon) delivers far better performance for roughly the same price.
Samsung 860 EVO: a valid alternative
When it comes to SATA drives, the Samsung 860 EVO finishes first in almost all benchmarks and its price is not that prohibitive. Since the entirety of Samsung SSDs are made “in-house”, the company is able to be very aggressive with their pricing.
The Samsung 860 EVO replaces the 850 EVO (Check on Amazon). Since both of them use the SATA III interface, the 860 EVO is not faster than the previous model. However, its improved durability is definitely worth the modest investment. It doesn’t offer the same durability as the PRO models, though, but neither the added cost.
If you’re looking for a new SATA SSD, you can’t go wrong with the Samsung 860 EVO.
Samsung 980: best mid-range SSD
If your system is unable to take advantage of the latest NVMe PCIe 4.0 drives, then the Samsung 980 is a stellar choice since it offers the best possible performance from PCIe 3.0 connectivity. It is in all respects and purposes the PCIe 3.0 counterpart of the Samsung 980 Pro (NVMe PCIe 4.0).
This is an inexpensive M.2 drive, without DRAM, but one that boasts the company’s fastest flash. Despite being limited by its PCIe Gen3 interface (compared to the Gen4 Samsung 980 Pro) it is a very responsive and efficient SSD thanks to its optimized design, that manages to keep up with many of the best NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSDs.
What you get from this SSD is more or less what Samsung already offered in this market segment with the Samsung 970 Evo (Check on Amazon) and 970 Pro (Check on Amazon). Its speed of 3,500 MB/s (sequential readings) and 3,000 MB/s (sequential writes) is not a big leap forward compared to the 970 Evo, but Samsung claims to have improved energy efficiency by 32% and reduced heat emissions by 50%. The other big plus is obviously the price since the Samsung 980 starts from (Check on Amazon).
In addition, compared to its direct competitor in this price range, the WD Blue SN550 (Check on Amazon), the Samsung 980 sports a cache that is 13 times bigger, which means that this SSD doesn’t have to slow down that often, thus providing a much more responsive user experience.
Samsung 970 EVO Plus: best NVMe SSD for most people
When you need an SSD, the first name that comes to mind is Samsung. Still, when the South Korean company launched the 970 EVO Plus (Check on Amazon), even we were surprised. The Samsung 970 EVO Plus is simply one of the fastest SSDs on the market (nothing new here), but Samsung is selling it at an absolutely bonkers price; thus we can only recommend it to just about everybody.
The Samsung 970 EVO Plus uses the same controller as its predecessor but instead of refreshing the flash memory unit, Samsung decided to use its new 96-layer TLC NAND flash. Doing so the random writing performance of the 970 EVO Plus has been improved by up to 57% over the previous model!
In tests, the sequential transfer rates rose from 2,500MB/s to as much as 3,300MB/s, meaning that in some cases the 970 EVO Plus exceeds the speed of the 970 PRO (Check on Amazon)!
This drive is perfect for tasks that require a continuous stream of data such as 4K video editing, photo editing using RAW images with the highest resolution possible, and 3D rendering in real-time. However, for games, we prefer the WD Black SN750 (Check on Amazon).
Adata XPG SX8200 PRO: a valid alternative
The Adata XPG SX8200 PRO (Check on Amazon) is not the fastest SSD on the market; however, there is not a single drive out there that can match its performance to price ratio. The PCIe connection allows for incredible read and write speeds (3,500MB/s and 3,000MB/s respectively). With this kind of performance, the XPG SX8200 PRO can even rival Samsung’s 970 EVO Plus (Check on Amazon) and 970 PRO (Check on Amazon) drives.
It also boasts the best energy efficiency in the category. Not only that, but the unit also comes with a built-in heatsink to keep temperatures down, as well as Adata’s handy monitoring software.
WD Blue SN550: the cheapest NVMe SSD
Until a year ago, getting an SSD on a budget meant settling for the slower speeds of a drive that used the SATA III interface. Today cheap NVMe SSDs deliver much better performance than SATA models, at no extra cost, and the WD Blue SN550 (Check on Amazon) is the best among them.
It is a very responsive drive [it can be three or four times faster than the Crucial MX500 (Check on Amazon)], has proven durability, and comes with a five-year warranty (like all SSDs on this list).
In short, the WD Blue SN550 is highly recommended to those who want to switch to NVMe SSDs without spending a fortune.
Samsung 870 QVO: best high capacity SATA SSD
If you want the best (performance/price) 2.5-inch SATA SSD, look no further than the Samsung 870 QVO (Check on Amazon).
Samsung already had a strong contender in place with the previous 860 QVO (Check on Amazon), which offered generous capacities at low prices thanks to the use of QLC flash memory. Now the new Samsung 870 QVO guarantees speed close to the maximum limit of the SATA interface.
While these speeds are definitely not as impressive as the ones we find on NVMe PCIe SSDs, the price per Gigabyte of the Samsung 870 QVO is very compelling.
If you want an SSD with tons of storage, this is your best choice. The older Samsung 860 QVO is still a solid purchase, but the newer 870 QVO is definitely the best one you can buy.
Sabrent Rocket Q: best high capacity NVMe SSD
The 8TB Sabrent Rocket Q is the industry’s largest capacity M.2 NVMe SSD, a size that was unimaginable for an NVMe drive just a year ago. This little monster is obviously better suited for a laptop, but at (Check on Amazon) it also costs about as much as a gaming laptop. Not only does this drive offers the maximum capacity but also provides exceptional performance and efficiency thanks to the new Phison E12S controller and a Micron 96L QLC memory (and although it provides worse durability and slower write speeds than TCL memory after the SLC write cache is filled during large file transfers, it still delivers more than solid performance).
Its read speed is measured around 3200MBps while the write speed sits around 3000MBps – with the exception of lower capacity models, especially the 500GB model that scores 2000MBPS and 1000MBps respectively.
In addition, all Sabrent SSDs include Sabrent Acronis True Image software for free in the package; they offer a five-year warranty – you must register your SSD with Sabrent for that – and provide support for SMART and TRIM. They also feature an advanced LDPC error correction engine that dramatically improves durability and offers support for APST, ASPM, and L1.2 power management protocols.
All in all, if you’re looking for one of the best high capacity NVMe SSDs the Sabrent Rocket Q is definitely a great choice.
Crucial P5: best NVMe PCIe 3.0 M.2 SSD
If you want the SSD with the best performance/price ratio, you’ve found it!
The Crucial P5 (Check on Amazon) is an NVMe PCIe 3.0 M.2 SSD that hides a lot of advanced engineering in its modern design, such as Micron’s in-house six-core NVMe controller and the latest 96-layer TLC NAND flash memory. It is capable of delivering sequential read and write speeds of up to 3.4/3 Gbps and is also backed by a 5-year warranty.
This is a decent choice if you want solid all-around performance (it doesn’t top any rankings), support for hardware-accelerated 256-bit AES encryption (OPAL compliant), and useful software tools, and it’s faster than its competitors when working with large files.
In fact, if you copy hundreds of gigabytes of files at a time or load gargantuan games, the Crucial P5 represents a speed boost over the Samsung 980 (Check on Amazon).
While not as fast as the latest 4th generation SSDs, and it can get quite hot under heavy loads (so perhaps not the best fit for a laptop), the Crucial P5 (Check on Amazon) represents the best value for the average user looking to save some money when upgrading.
Samsung 870 EVO: best SATA SSD
Samsung’s EVO series has been at the top of our list of best SSDs since 2014, and the new 870 EVO (Check on Amazon) is a great choice for people who want the perfect mix of speed, price, and reliability. The new Samsung 870 EVO achieves maximum SATA SSD performance; it is so fast, in fact, that it can be confused with an NVMe PCIe 3.0 drive.
Samsung continues to produce the best SSDs on the market. Following in the footsteps of its predecessor – Samsung 860 EVO (Check on Amazon) -, the 870 EVO offers the best performance on the SATA interface (sequential read speeds up to 560MB/s and write speeds up to 530MB/s, an increase of 10MB/s compared to the previous model), great energy efficiency and Samsung’s Magician software. It doesn’t have the same durability as the PRO models, but its 128-layer V-NAND with a resistance of 600 total drive writes and its five-year warranty, will be more than enough for most users.
And, Samsung offers all this at a reasonable price. If you want a solid SATA SSD with a capacity of up to 4TB, the Samsung 870 EVO is your best choice! If you need more speed, you’ll have to upgrade to an NVMe SSD.
Samsung 860 PRO: a valid alternative
Samsung has always topped the list of best SSDs as of 2012 and its legendary 840 PRO. Today the best SSDs use the new NVMe interface that delivers far better performance, but Samsung has not stopped improving its SATA products.
The Samsung 860 PRO (Check on Amazon) proves that the older interface has its uses. With storage capacities up to 4TB and transfer speeds approaching the theoretical limit of the SATA III interface – not to mention top-of-the-line reliability and security – the Samsung 860 PRO is the best SSD for anyone who still uses the older standard.
Similar to the Samsung 970 PRO (Check on Amazon) (best NVMe SSD), the 860 PRO uses Samsung’s 64L MLC V-NAND technology, which pushes it to the top of the benchmarking charts and grants it improved durability. Unfortunately with a price that is twice that of typical SATA SSDs, the 860 PRO is mainly used by companies.
Addlink S70: best bang for your buck
If you want top performance without spending an arm and a leg, check out the Addlink S70 (Check on Amazon).
Addlink has been the catalyst for the recent price drop of NVMe SSDs, cutting them down to the cost of SATA models.
Without the branding, the S70 is almost identical to Seagate’s more noteworthy Firecuda (Check on Amazon). It is also on par with the WD Black SN750 (Check on Amazon), which made Western Digital slash its price in order to compete.
Although Addlink is not as famous as Seagate or Western Digital, the S70 uses a Phison PS5012-E12 controller and Toshiba’s 3D TLC NAND memory, so there’s nothing to worry about reliability. It also offers a 5-year warranty to put you even more at ease.
The 512GB S70 (Check on Amazon) is probably the best cheap NVMe SSD you can buy today, while the 1TB version delivers even better performance (up to 3,500 MB/s) and costs just (Check on Amazon). That said, the performance of the WD Blue SN550 (Check on Amazon) is more than enough for most users, and this model costs even less.
When competing SATA SSDs cost the same, and Samsung ones cost more but without offering a big advantage in speed, then the Addlink S70 is an excellent choice whether you’re building a PC for work or gaming.
WD Black SN750: best gaming NVMe SSD
Western Digital is a giant in the hard drive industry, but only recently began to catch up in the SSD market, following the acquisition of SanDisk. It was worth the wait, though. The WD Black SN750 (Check on Amazon) can rival Samsung’s EVO SSDs performance.
The combination of memory controllers and flash memory all built “in-house” means that the manufacturing process is on par with that of Samsung. And that means WD can be just as aggressive with pricing.
Introduced last year, the WD Black SN750 is still one of the best performing NVMe SSDs and was partially responsible for the price drop we observe today.
But why do we consider it the best NVMe SSD for gaming? This SSD has an extremely high random read speed of 412.5MB/s, which should make games load almost instantly. The firmware has also been optimized for in-game performance. In addition to the excellent speeds, Western Digital equipped this SSD with its “Black Dashboard”: this application allows you to modify the disk’s settings and monitor its performance. For example, you can turn on the Game Mode that turns off system sleep mode and improves game performance.
There is also a more expensive version with a heatsink so that the unit will stay cool even after hours of gaming, but we don’t think it’s necessary.
Intel Optane 905P: best SSD overall
The Intel Optane 905P (Check on Amazon) is too expensive to claim a spot on this list. But it deserves an honorable mention. This drive is equipped with XPoint 3D memory, a new type of NAND flash that eliminates many of the disadvantages of NAND and offers the best responsiveness of any other SSD tested to date.
Equipped with the latest generation NVMe PCIe 3.0 x4 connectivity, the unit is available in two different form factors, one with LED lights and one with an integrated heatsink.
The Optane 905P has random reading rated at 575,000 IOPS and a random write rated at 555,000 IOPS. Sure, its 2,600MB/s sequential read speeds and 2,200MB/s sequential write speeds might seem a bit pedestrian to you, especially alongside the Samsung 970 EVO Plus (Check on Amazon) and WD Black SN750 (Check on Amazon) SSDs. But its durability is utterly unprecedented. Where the lifespan of most SSDs is measured in Terabyte, the Optane 905P has a lifespan measured in Petabyte: 8.76PB! The Samsung 970 PRO, for comparison, has a rated lifespan of “just” 1.2PB.
However, the price of the Intel Optane 905P is excessive for the average user, including most professionals. But if you really want the best of the best, this is it.
WD Blue 3D NAND: the cheapest SATA SSD
If you’re looking to add an SSD to your desktop PC or laptop on the cheap, then look no further than the WD Blue 3D NAND (Check on Amazon). It uses the older SATA III standard but is still a great SSD found at bargain prices.
Samsung 970 PRO: the best NVMe SSD
If you want the very best performance and reliability and you are willing to pay for it, then the Samsung 970 PRO (Check on Amazon) is the best NVMe SSD you can buy right now. However, in terms of performance, you will never be able to tell the difference between this and any other NVMe SSDs on this list.
The question arises spontaneously. If the Samsung 970 EVO Plus (Check on Amazon) can achieve a similar score in synthetic benchmarks, why should I spend more on the 970 PRO? What sets the 970 PRO apart from its competitors (including the 970 EVO Plus) is that it uses higher quality MLC NAND technology and, therefore, will last longer than its more affordable TLC counterparts. Its nominal lifespan is in fact twice that of the EVO Plus.
Most users don’t need a PRO-level SSD, but if you want the best drive, the Samsung 970 PRO is the king.