The Best SSDs and Hard Drives For Your Money article has been split in two parts:

– This is the Best Solid State Drives (SSDs) For Your Money article.
The Best Hard Drives (HDD) For Your Money article can be found by clicking here.

The Samsung 950 SSD, the highest performance (for most usage cases) SSD currently available, thanks to the use of the NVMe protocol.

The Samsung 950 Pro SSD, the highest performance (for most usage cases) SSD currently available, thanks to the use of the NVMe protocol.

SSD FAQ:

If you wondering “Who are SSDs for?”, if you want a quick recap on what a SSD is and why you want one, I invite you to read our SSD FAQ.

What capacity should I pick for my SSD?

Are you asking yourself:
How much storage capacity do I need for my computer?

We have a guide to help you answer that question. Visit the ‘How to choose the right SSD storage capacity and pay less for your computer‘ article by clicking here.

If you have the time to do research… but who does in this busy world?

I do realize that not everyone has the time to read detailed SSD (Solid State Drive) reviews.

This is why I write this guide for you: To help you save your time, sanity and money by letting you know what are the best SSDs for your needs at various price points.

How do I make my recommendations?

– Best Value (V) SSD: Best Budget SSD
I recommend the drives that offer the best combination of reliability and low-price and performance at a given storage capacity point, in that order.
– Best Value (V) + Great Performance (P) SSD: Best Bang For Your Buck SSD
Higher performance than the value-only recommendations, at a slightly higher price. A great choice if you want a good balance between price and performance.
– Low Power (LP): The best SSDs for laptops!
SSDs with lower power usage during idle and heavy workloads, in that order of priority. The best SSD for laptops where a lower power consumption will increase the battery life.
– Encryption Support (Enc.): For security purposes
If you deal with sensitive data, cannot risk this data getting in someone else hands, a SSD that support hardware encryption is a must.
– High Performance (HP) and 2nd HP: 2.5″ SSD Best Performance
The highest performance at a given storage capacity for a 2.5″ SATA III SSD. PCI-Express M.2 SSDs offer higher performance.
#1 is the fastest, #2 is also a high-end SSD, just not as fast as #1, but it’s also priced at a lower price.
– mSATA:
The Best SSDs based on the mSATA form factor.
– SATA M.2 : SSDs that use the M.2 form factor with the SATA standard
The Best SSDs based on the M.2 that use the SATA standard.
– PCI-Express M.2: PCI-Express standard, higher performance than the highest performance SATA-based SSD!
The SATA III standard is a bottleneck for most modern SSDs. SSDs that use the M.2 form factor with PCI-Express connectivity offer significantly higher performance.
– PCI-Express expansion card SSD: High performance expansion card
These are SSDs that plug into a PCI-Express slot, to avoid the SATA III bottleneck. Similar performance to M.2 SSDs with PCI-Express connectivity.

Keep in mind:

1. This list is based on the best prices from B&H, NewEgg and/or Amazon that I’ve seen on February 2nd 2016. Prices and availability change all the time. While I can’t keep up with ever changing prices, I can suggest to you great drives that you won’t regret buying.
2. All prices are based on new drives prices, no used/open box drives are listed; they might be a good deal but come with trade offs such as limited return policy, limited warranty, etc.

Best 120-128GB SSDs

Transcend SSD370 128GB: Best Value + Good Performance

$43.99 (B&H – Worldwide Shipping)

Samsung 850 EVO 120GB Value + Great Performance + Low Power + Enc.

$67.74 (Amazon) / $69.99 (B&H) / $69.75 (Newegg)

Samsung 850 Pro 128GB: High Performance + Low Power + Enc.

$89.99 (Amazon) / $89.99 (B&H) / $89.95 (Newegg)

mSATA Samsung 850 EVO 120GB mSATA: V + P + Low Power + Enc.

$73.00 (Amazon) / $73.00 (B&H) / $73.00 (Newegg)

M.2 Samsung 850 EVO 120GB M.2: V + P + Low Power + Enc.

$74.99 (Amazon) / $77.99 (B&H) / $74.99 (Newegg)

Best 240-256GB SSDs

ADATA SP550 240GB: Best Value

$59.99 (Amazon) / $59.99 (Newegg)

Samsung 850 EVO 250GB: Value + Great Performance + Low Power + Enc.

$85.00 (Amazon) / $85.00 (B&H) / $89.45 (Newegg)

Samsung 850 Pro 256GB: High Performance + Low Power + Enc.

$122.29 (Amazon) / $122.29 (B&H) / $122.29 (Newegg)

Sandisk Ext. Pro 240GB: 2nd High Performance + Low Power

$119.99 (Amazon) / $114.99 (B&H) / $114.99 (Newegg)

mSATA 850 EVO 250GB: mSATA

$87.00 (Amazon) / $87.00 (B&H) / $87.00 (Newegg)

M.2 850 EVO 250GB: M.2 SATA III

$94.99 (Amazon) / $89.99 (B&H) / $94.99 (Newegg)

Samsung 950 Pro 256GB: M.2 PCI-E 3.0 x4

$189.99 (Amazon) / $189.99 (B&H) / $189.99 (Newegg)

Best 480-512GB SSDs

ADATA SP550 480GB: Best Value

$124.99 (Amazon) / $124.99 (Newegg)

Samsung 850 EVO 500GB: Value + Great Performance + Low Power + Enc.

$154.99 (Amazon) / $154.99 (B&H) / $157.99 (Newegg)

Samsung 850 Pro 512GB: High Performance + Low Power + Enc.

$218.99 (Amazon) / $220.99 (B&H) / $218.99 (Newegg)

Sandisk Ext. Pro 480GB: 2nd High Performance + Low Power

$204.00 (Amazon) / $199.00 (B&H) / $189.00 (Newegg)

mSATA 850 EVO 500GB: mSATA

$160.89 (Amazon) / $160.89 (B&H) / $167.99 (Newegg)

M.2 850 EVO 500GB: M.2 SATA III

$167.99 (Amazon) / $167.99 (B&H) / $169.99 (Newegg)

Samsung 950 Pro 512GB: M.2 PCI-E 3.0 x4

$329.75 (Amazon) / $329.99 (B&H) / $329.75 (Newegg)

Intel 750 400GB: PCI-E 3.0 4x

$354.95 (Amazon)

Best 960GB-1TB SSDs

Mushkin Reactor 1TB: Best Value + Good Performance

$249.00 at Amazon / $249.99 (Newegg)

Samsung 850 EVO 1TB: Value + Great Performance + Low Power + Enc.

$327.99 (Amazon) / $327.99 (B&H)

Samsung 850 Pro 1TB: High Performance + Low Power + Enc.

$428.99 (Amazon) / $428.99 (B&H)

Sandisk Ext. Pro 960GB: 2nd High Performance + Low Power

$359.00 (Amazon) / $356.00 (B&H)

mSATA 850 EVO 1TB: mSATA

$309.59 (Amazon) / $309.59 (B&H)

Intel 750 1.2TB: PCI-E 3.0 4x

$1,049.99 (Amazon)

Best 2TB SSDs

Samsung 850 EVO 2TB: Value + High Performance + Low Power + Enc.

$617.99 (Amazon) / $617.99 (B&H)

Samsung 850 Pro 2TB: Highest Performance + Low Power + Enc.

$874.98 (Amazon) / $874.99 (B&H)

Best Value SSDs:

Transcend SSD370, ADATA SP550 and Mushkin Reactor

Transcend SSD370 128GB:

$43.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

ADATA SP550 240GB:

$59.99 (Amazon)
$59.99 (Newegg)

ADATA SP550 480GB:

$124.99 (Amazon)
$124.99 (Newegg)

Mushkin Reactor 1TB:

$249.00 at Amazon
$249.99 (Newegg)

Best Value SSD:

Transcend SSD370:
The Transcend SSD370 offers higher performance than the Sandisk SSD Plus and the Sandisk Ultra II, according to AnandTech’s bench numbers. It has no problem outperforming the ADATA SP550 and the Mushkin Reactor.
It even trade blows with the Samsung 850 EVO, at a lower price for the 128GB capacity.

However, it also uses more power, so it’s not the ideal SSD for laptop users who want every minute of battery life that they can get. That said, for desktop users who care more about performance at a low price, it’s a good choice.

ADATA SP550 and Mushkin Reactor:
These are entry-level SSDs. While they offer better performance than hard drives, they pale in comparison to more expensive, higher-end SSDs. The main issue with performance is they don’t offer high-performance when it comes to sustained write performance.

You’ll see transfer rates dip below 100MB/s when you transfer large files to the SSD. So if you are a professional, performance enthusiast or if you regularly transfer large files, you’ll want to choose an higher performance SSD, such as the Samsung 850 EVO, which doesn’t suffer from this issue.

That said, if you don’t mind lower write performance and just want a SSD with a lot of storage capacity at a very low price, for example to play video games, these are perfectly fine choices.

Good Value, Great Performance, Low Power Consumption and Encryption:

Samsung 850 EVO:

Samsung 850 EVO 120GB:

$67.74 (Amazon)
$69.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
$69.75 (Newegg)

Samsung 850 EVO 250GB:

$85.00 (Amazon)
$85.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
$89.99 (Newegg)_

Samsung 850 EVO 500GB:

$154.99 (Amazon)
$154.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
$157.99 (Newegg)

Samsung 850 EVO 1TB:

$327.99 (Amazon)
$327.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

Samsung 850 EVO 2TB:

$617.99 (Amazon)
$617.99 (B&H – Worldwide Shipping)

Want higher performance and lower power consumption than the Sandisk SSD Plus, Sandisk Ultra II, Transcend SSD370 and Crucial BX100/BX2oo SSD? The Samsung 850 EVO offers that.

The prices on the Samsung 850 EVO have dropped quite a bit since the last update to this article. The Samsung 850 EVO 250/500GB SSDs are now priced lower than most competitors and they offer higher performance as well as a longer 5 years warranty, which is why they are easy to recommend.

Ideal for laptops where you want a long battery life and great performance.

You get also hardware encryption support and a longer 5 years warranty (3 years for Transcend SSD370, Sandisk SSD Plus, Sandisk Ultra II and the Crucial BX100) with the Samsung 850 EVO.

You also get 3D V-NAND memory, with higher endurance ratings. The models with 120GB and 250GB capacities are rated at 75TB, which is fairly average, but the 500GB and 1TB models have their write endurance rated at 150TB, more than the average, same as the higher-end Samsung 850 Pro line-up. If you intend to do a lot writes to your SSD and intend on using it for a decade or longer, this is an advantage for the Samsung 850 EVO.

Highest SATA III Performance, Low Power Consumption, Encryption, 10 Years Warranty:

Samsung 850 Pro:

Samsung 850 Pro 128GB:

$89.99 (Amazon)
$89.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
$89.95 (Newegg)

Samsung 850 Pro 256GB:

$122.29 (Amazon)
$122.29 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
$122.29 (Newegg)

Samsung 850 Pro 512GB:

$218.99 (Amazon)
$220.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
$218.99 (Newegg)

Samsung 850 Pro 1TB:

$428.99 (Amazon)
$428.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

Samsung 850 Pro 2TB:

$874.98 (Amazon)
$874.99 (B&H – Worldwide Shipping)

Want the highest performance 2.5″ SATA SSD available on the market?
Then you want the Samsung 850 Pro.

Ideal for workstations, high-end PCs, any demanding workload, any environment where reliability, sustained performance, endurance and/or a long warranty matters.

You also get low power consumption for a longer notebook battery life, AES 256-bit, TCG Opal 2.0 & IEEE-1667 encryption support and a 10 years warranty.

2nd Highest SATA III Performance, Low Power Consumption, 10 Years Warranty:

Sandisk Extreme Pro:

Sandisk Extreme Pro 240GB:

$119.99 (Amazon)
$114.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
$114.99 at Newegg

Sandisk Extreme Pro 480GB:

$204.00 (Amazon)
$199.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
$189.00 (Newegg)

Sandisk Extreme Pro 960GB:

$359.00 (Amazon)
$359.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

The Sandisk Extreme Pro doesn’t quite match the Samsung 850 Pro in performance, but it definitely is less expensive and it is faster than the Samsung 850 EVO/Crucial BX100/Transcend SSD370. It’s pretty much only second to the Samsung 850 Pro when it comes to SATA III SSD performance.

Simply put, if you want high-end SSD performance, but don’t want to pay the large premium price on the Samsung 850 Pro, get the Sandisk Extreme Pro. They offer the best bang for your buck for a high-end SATA III SSD.

It’s available in 240GB, 480GB and 960GB capacities. If you can find the Samsung 850 Pro for the same price, you’re better off with the 850 Pro in that case, as you’ll get more storage capacity, higher performance and hardware encryption support.

You also get a 10 years warranty, but no hardware encryption support, so if that’s important to you, get the Samsung 850 Pro instead.

Ideal if you high performance and a long warranty but aren’t ready to pay the price for the Samsung 850 Pro.

Best mSATA SSD:

Samsung 850 EVO mSATA

Samsung EVO mSATA 120GB

$73.00 (Amazon)
$73.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
$73.00 at Newegg

Samsung EVO mSATA 240GB

$87.00 (Amazon)
$87.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
$87.00 at Newegg

Samsung EVO mSATA 500GB

$160.89 (Amazon)
$160.89 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
$167.99 (Newegg)

Samsung EVO mSATA 1TB

$309.59 (Amazon)
$309.59 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

If you want a reliable SSD with great performance, low power consumption and a 5 years warranty in the mSATA form factor, the Samsung 850 EVO is the best choice in my opinion.

Great performance, reliable and available in capacities up to 1TB.

Best M.2 SATA III SSD:

Samsung 850 EVO M.2 SATA III

Samsung 850 EVO M.2 120GB:

$74.99 at Amazon
$77.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
$74.99 at Newegg

Samsung 850 EVO M.2 250GB:

$94.99 at Amazon
$89.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
$94.99 at Newegg

Samsung 850 EVO M.2 500GB:

$167.99 at Amazon
$167.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
$169.99 (Newegg)

For laptops or motherboards equipped with M.2 SATA III slot(s).

If you want a reliable SSD with great performance, low power consumption and a 5 years warranty in the M.2 form factor with the SATA III standard, the Samsung 850 EVO is the best choice in my opinion.

Great performance, reliable and available in capacities up to 500GB.

Higher Performance than SATA III SSDs:
Ideal for Workstations:

Samsung 950 Pro PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2

Samsung 950 Pro PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 256GB:

$189.99 (Amazon)
$189.99 (B&H – Worldwide Shipping)
$189.99 (Newegg)

Samsung 950 Pro PCIe 3.0 4x M.2 512GB:

$329.75 (Amazon)
$329.99 (B&H – Worldwide Shipping)
$329.75 (Newegg)

Highly recommended if your computer has a M.2 PCIe 3.0 x 4 slot.

Higher performance than any other SSD in most usage cases, thanks to the adaption of the NVMe standard, far superior to AHCI.

Motherboards equipped with a M.2 device slot compliant with PCIe 2.0 x2 will limit this SSD to a maximum sequential read speed of about 800 MB/s, thereby bottlenecking this SSD, but it will be still faster than any SATA based SSD. PCI-Express 2.0 4x or PCI-Express 3.0 2x will limit this drive to a maximum sequential read speed of about 1600 MB/s, thus still bottlenecking it, just not as badly.

Higher performance than any SATA-based SSD, with the following specs: Sequential Read: Up to 2500MB/s and Sequential Write: Up to 1500 MB/s

Replacing the Samsung XP941, which has the following specs: Sequential Read: 2150MB/s and Sequential Write: 930 MB/s.

Bootable on Z97, X99 and Z170 chipset equipped motherboards, only in UEFI mode, so you can’t use Windows 7. Windows 7 doesn’t support TRIM on PCI-Express SSDs anyway.

If you want higher performance than what SATA III SSDs can offer, then the Samsung SM951, the replacement to the Samsung Sm951 is a relatively affordable solution. If you’ve got the budget and want nothing but the best, see the Intel 750 below.

Ideal for workstations, high-end PCs, any demanding workload, any environment where reliability, sustained performance, endurance and/or a long warranty matters.

Highest Performance SSD for Servers:

Intel 750 NVMe PCI-Express 3.0 x4 SSD

Intel 750 400GB:

$354.95 (Amazon)
$389.00 (B&H – Worldwide Shipping)
– $319.99 (Newegg)

Intel 750 1.2TB:

$1,049.99 (Amazon)

Note that this SSD must be installed in a PCI-Express 3.0 x4 (or 8x or 16x) slot.

Should be bootable on any modern motherboard.

I recommend the Samsung 950 Pro for most users, if you want a faster boot-up, higher sequential transfers speed and low-queue IOPS. It also won’t take a PCI-Express slot, unlike the Intel 750.

I recommend the Intel 750 for either highly demanding workstation workloads, with many tasks running at the same time or for servers serving many clients simultaneously.

Either that or if you need power loss protection.

Updating the SSD firmware

Recommended to get the latest bug fixes and the best performance possible out of your SSD.

When you start using your SSD
I strongly urge you to double-check for an update to the SSD’s firmware, in order to get the latest bug fixes and the best performance. Make sure to read the instructions available on each update page, in order to understand how to properly update the firmware.

Some SSDs have newer firmware available than the one that they are shipped with, so make sure to double-check your SSD’s firmware version and to update it if’s not the latest.

If you update your SSD’s firmware after starting to use it, make sure to backup your data beforehand, just in case something goes wrong during the update process, in which case you could lose the data on the SSD.

If you have questions regarding firmware updates, contact the manufacturer or visit their support forums.

To find the latest firmware for your SSD, simply visit the manufacturer’s website, find your SSD and look for the latest firmware. Instructions on how to update the firmware should be found on the same page, or in a link to a .pdf file.

Conclusion

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this latest edition of The Best SSDs (Solid State Drives) For Your Money article.

If you have a question, I invite you to leave a comment below this article.