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You can now buy an SSD without spending an arm and a leg. Whether you need to upgrade your computer’s storage or insert it into your gaming console to speed up loading times our list of best SSD’s and buying tips will help you find the one that best suits your needs (and wallet).
In terms of price, there really isn’t much difference between NVMe SSDs and SATA based ones. However, SATA SSDs are four times slower, so why even consider them?
Because some older motherboards do not support NVMe SSD’s. And even those that do, they will most likely have only one M.2 socket. This means that after you have equipped your system with an NVMe SSD as a boot drive, a SATA SSD will be your only option in order to expand your PC’s fast storage capacity.
Quick SSD Buying Tips
When choosing an SSD, consider the following:
- Choose a compatible interface (M.2, SATA, PCIe expansion card). Read your motherboard’s user manual to determine what types of SSDs it supports.
- Don’t buy an SSD smaller than 256GB. For most users, 512GB provides the perfect balance between price and storage capacity. But 1TB drives are becoming significantly cheaper, and 2TB drives can now be considered cost-effective.
- The SATA interface isn’t as fast as M.2 PCIe or a PCIe expansion card, but most laptops and desktops can accommodate a 2.5-inch SATA drive and most users will never notice the difference between a good SATA disk and a faster NVMe model.
Samsung 970 EVO Plus: best NVMe SSD for most people
When you need an SSD, the first name that comes in 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.
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: 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.
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.
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!
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.
Samsung 860 PRO: the best SATA SSD
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.
Samsung 870 QVO: miglior SSD SATA ad alta capacità
Se vuoi il miglior (prestazioni/prezzo) SSD SATA da 2,5 pollici, non guardare oltre il Samsung 870 QVO (Check on Amazon).
Samsung aveva già un forte contendente con il precedente 860 QVO (Check on Amazon), che offriva generose capacità ad un prezzo inferiore grazie all’utilizzo della memoria flash QLC ma il nuovo Samsung 870 QVO garantisce velocità vicine al limite massimo dell’interfaccia SATA.
Mentre queste velocità non sono sicuramente così impressionanti come quelle che troviamo sugli SSD PCIe NVMe, il prezzo per Gigabyte del Samsung 870 QVO è molto convincente.
Se vuoi un SSD con un sacco di spazio di archiviazione questa è la tua migliore scelta. Il vecchio Samsung 860 QVO rimane ancora una solida scelta, ma il più recente 870 QVO è sicuramente il migliore al mondo.
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 a 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.
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.
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.