The 32 Best SSDs (Solid State Drives) For Your Money: June 2015

| June 4, 2015 | (7)

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 Intel 750 SSD, the highest performance SSD currently available, thanks to the use of the NVMe protocol.

The Intel 750 SSD, the highest performance 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, why you want one, SSD performance and which SSD brand is the most reliable, 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 pick my recommendations?

- Best Value (V) SSD: Best Budget SSD
I recommend the drives that offer the best combination of reliability, low-price and performance at a given storage capacity point, in that order.
- Best Value (V) + High Performance (Perf./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!
- Highest Performance (HP) and 2nd HP: 2.5″ SSD Best Performance
The highest performance at a given storage capacity for a 2.5″ SSD. #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.
- M.2 PCI-Express: Higher performance than the highest performance SATA 2.5″ SSD!
The Best SSDs based on the M.2 (PCI-Express) form factor.
- PCI-E 3.0 4x: SSD that are installed in a PCI-Express expansion slot
Even higher performance than M.2 PCI-Express SSDs, if you want nothing but the best!

Recommended based on:
Hardware Revolution recommended SSDs:
Model, Storage capacity, Price: USA / International Shipping
Best Value
V+P
V+P+LP
V+P+LP+Enc.
HP+LP+Enc.
mSATA
M.2 PCI-E 3.0 x4
Sandisk SSD Plus 120GB: – $49.00 (Amazon)
Transcend SSD370 128GB: – $57.99 (Amazon) / – $57.99 (B&H)
Crucial BX100 120GB: $66.99 (Amazon) / $66.99 (B&H)
Samsung 850 EVO 120GB: - $67.99 (Amazon) / – $67.99 (B&H)
Samsung 850 Pro 128GB: - $97.99 (Amazon) / – $107.99 (B&H)

mSATA 850 EVO 120GB: $77.99 (Amazon) / $77.99 (B&H)
Samsung SM951 128GB: $149.99 (Amazon)
Best Value
V+P
V+P+LP
V+P+LP+Enc.
HP+LP+Enc.
2nd HP+LP
mSATA
M.2 PCI-E 3.0 x4
Sandisk SSD Plus 240GB: $84.99 (Amazon)
Transcend SSD370 256GB: $89.99 (Amazon) / – $89.99 (B&H)

Crucial BX100 250GB: – $96.99 (Amazon) / – $99.00 (B&H)
Samsung 850 EVO 250GB: $100.95 (Amazon) / $117.99 (B&H)
Samsung 850 Pro 256GB: $149.39 (Amazon) / – $157.99 (B&H)
Sandisk Ext. Pro 240GB: $139.99 (Amazon) / $139.00 (B&H)
mSATA 850 EVO 250GB: $117.99 (Amazon) / $117.99 (B&H)
Samsung SM951 256GB: $215.75 (Amazon)
Best Value
V+P
V+P+LP
V+P+LP+Enc.
HP+LP+Enc.
2nd HP+LP
mSATA
M.2 PCI-E 3.0 x4
PCI-E 3.0 4x
Sandisk Ultra II 480GB: $169.99 (Amazon) / $179.99 (B&H)
Transcend SSD370 512GB: $175.99 (Amazon) / $175.99 (B&H)

Crucial BX100 500GB: $185.99 (Amazon) / $189.99 (B&H)
Samsung 850 EVO 500GB: $177.99 (Amazon) / $177.99 (B&H)
Samsung 850 Pro 512GB: $259.00 (Amazon) / $277.99 (B&H)
Sandisk Ext. Pro 480GB: $229.00 (Amazon) / $229.00 (B&H)
mSATA 850 EVO 500GB: $197.99 (Amazon) / $197.99 (B&H)
Samsung SM951 512GB: $441.06 (Amazon)

Intel 750 400GB: $409.99 (Amazon) / $471.00 (B&H)
Best Value
V+P
V+P+LP
V+P+LP+Enc.
HP+LP+Enc.
2nd HP+LP
mSATA
PCI-E 3.0 4x
Sandisk Ultra II 960GB: $311.79 (Amazon) / $339.00 (B&H)
Transcend SSD370 1TB: $359.99 (Amazon) / $359.99 (B&H)

Crucial BX100 1TB: $379.99 (Amazon) / $379.99 (B&H)
Samsung 850 EVO 1TB: $365.99 (Amazon) / $397.99 (B&H)
Samsung 850 Pro 1TB: $489.08 (Amazon) / $527.99 (B&H)
Sandisk Ext. Pro 960GB: $439.00 (Amazon) / $439.00 (B&H)
mSATA 850 EVO 1TB: $390.64 (Amazon) / $397.99 (B&H)
Intel 750 1.2TB: $1049.99 (Amazon) / $1200.00 (B&H)

Keep in mind:

1. This list is based on the best prices from B&H, NewEgg and/or Amazon that I’ve seen on June 4th 2015. 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 Value SSD:

Sandisk SSD Plus and Sandisk Ultra II

Sandisk SSD Plus 120GB:

$49.00 (Amazon)

Sandisk SSD Plus 240GB:

$84.99 (Amazon)

Sandisk Ultra II 480GB:

$169.99 (Amazon)
$179.99 (B&H – International Shipping)

Sandisk Ultra II 960GB:

$311.79 (Amazon)
$339.00 (B&H – International Shipping)

We have two contenders as the best value SSDs:
The Sandisk SSD Plus and the Sandisk Ultra II.

The Sandisk SSD Plus comes only in 120GB and 240GB storage capacity points. This is why I recommend the Sandisk Ultra II at the 480GB and 960GB storage capacity point.

There isn’t much information available on the Sandisk SSD Plus, as it is a new SSD that has become available only recently. Considering that it’s a lower-end product for Sandisk, below the Sandisk Ultra II, which offers lower performance than the Transcend SSD370, the Sandisk SSD Plus most likely offers lower performance than the Transcend SSD370, but most likely uses less power as well, which is good if you want a longer battery life.

Sandisk is a major manufacturer of SSDs, with an excellent track record with their Ultra II and Extreme Pro SSDs, hence why I feel comfortable recommending their new SSD Plus line-up of SSDs, especially when considering their very low prices! These are some the least expensive SSDs that I recommend. There are SSDs that might be $5-$10 less expensive, but they don’t have the reliability track record of the Sandisk SSD.

Power consumption is also relatively low. Not the best, but it beats the Transcend SSD370.

Unfortunately AES 256-bit, TCG Opal 2.0 & IEEE-1667 are not supported for hardware encryption. Performance is outstanding compared to a hard drive, but not so great compared to other SSDs. Note that the warranty is limited to three years. Some competing models offer 5 or 10 years warranties.

I recommend the Sandisk SSD Plus and the Sandisk Ultra II to anyone who wants a reliable SSD with good performance at the lowest price.

That said, if you want hardware encryption, a longer battery life, higher performance and/or a longer warranty, consider one of the alternatives below.

Great Value SSD with better performance:

Transcend SSD370:

Available in a silver aluminum casing or a black plastic casing. Pick whichever you prefer.

Transcend SSD370 128GB:

- $57.99 (Amazon)
- $57.99 at B&H (International Shipping)

Transcend SSD370 256GB:

- $89.99 (Amazon)
- $89.99 at B&H (International Shipping)

Transcend SSD370 512GB:

$175.99 (Amazon)
– $175.99 at B&H (International Shipping)

Transcend SSD370 1TB:

$359.99 (Amazon)
– $359.99 at B&H (International Shipping)

The Transcend SSD370 offers higher performance than the Sandisk SSD Plus and the Sandisk Ultra II, according to AnandTech’s bench numbers. It even trade blows with the more expensive Crucial BX100 and Samsung 850 EVO, at a much lower price!

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 and laptop users who care more about performance at a low price and not so much about battery life, it’s an outstanding choice!

The Transcend SSD370 includes a 2.5″ to 3.5″ bracket adapter to allow you to install your 2.5″ SSD in a 3.5″ drive slot, if your computer case doesn’t support 2.5″ drives.

Unfortunately AES 256-bit, TCG Opal 2.0 & IEEE-1667 are not supported for hardware encryption. The warranty is limited to three years. Some competing models offer 5 or 10 years warranties.

Good Value and Performance, and Lowest Power Consumption

Crucial BX100:

Crucial BX100 120GB:

$66.99 (Amazon)
$66.99 (B&H – International Shipping)

Crucial BX100 250GB:

$96.99 (Amazon)
$99.00 (B&H – International Shipping)

Crucial BX100 500GB:

$185.99 (Amazon)
$189.99 (B&H – International Shipping)

Crucial BX100 1TB:

$379.99 (Amazon)
$379.99 (B&H – International Shipping)

If you want every single minute of battery life that you can get, the Crucial BX100 is the best choice. See AnandTech’s review of the Crucial BX100 for more details.

Compared to the Samsung 850 EVO, the BX100 offers slightly lower performance but also slightly lower power consumption. However, the Samsung 850 EVO offers a longer 5 years warranty and hardware encryption support.

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

Samsung 850 EVO:

Samsung 850 EVO 120GB:

$67.99 (Amazon)
$67.99 at B&H (International Shipping)

Samsung 850 EVO 250GB:

$100.95 (Amazon)
$117.99 at B&H (International Shipping)

Samsung 850 EVO 500GB:

$177.99 (Amazon)
$177.99 at B&H (International Shipping)

Samsung 850 EVO 1TB:

$365.99 (Amazon)
$397.99 at B&H (International Shipping)

Want higher performance and lower power consumption than the Transcend SSD370 SSD? The Samsung 850 EVO offers that. Performance and power consumption are slightly higher than the Crucial BX100.

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 onusing 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:

$97.99 (Amazon)
$107.99 at B&H (International Shipping)

Samsung 850 Pro 256GB:

$149.39 (Amazon)
$157.99 at B&H (International Shipping)

Samsung 850 Pro 512GB:

$259.00 (Amazon)
$277.99 at B&H (International Shipping)

Samsung 850 Pro 1TB:

$489.08 (Amazon)
$527.99 at B&H (International 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:

$139.99 (Amazon)
$139.00 at B&H (International Shipping)

Sandisk Extreme Pro 480GB:

$229.00 (Amazon)
$229.00 at B&H (International Shipping)

Sandisk Extreme Pro 960GB:

$439.00 (Amazon)
$439.00 at B&H (International Shipping)

The Sandisk Extreme Pro doesn’t quite match the Samsung 850 Pro in performance but it is faster than the Samsung 850 EVO/Crucial BX100/Transcend SSD370 and it is considered a high-end 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

$77.99 (Amazon)
$77.99 at B&H (International Shipping)

Samsung EVO mSATA 240GB

$117.99 (Amazon)
$117.99 at B&H (International Shipping)

Samsung EVO mSATA 500GB

$197.99 (Amazon)
$197.99 at B&H (International Shipping)

Samsung EVO mSATA 1TB

$390.64 (Amazon)
$397.99 at B&H (International 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.

Higher Performance than SATA III, Best M.2 SSD:

Samsung SM951 PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2

Samsung SM951 128GB:

$149.99 at Amazon

Samsung SM951 256GB:

$215.75 (Amazon)

Samsung SM951 512GB:

$441.06 (Amazon)

Only recommended if your PC has a M.2 PCIe 3.0 x 4 slot (ASUS Maximus VII/ASRock Z97 Extreme6 / Extreme6/ac / Extreme9 for Z97 chipset or most X99 motherboards).

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: 2150MB/s and Sequential Write: 1500 MB/s

Replacing the Samsung XP941, which has the following specs: Sequential Read: 1170MB/s and Sequential Write: 930 MB/s.

Bootable on Z97 and X99 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 XP941 (Sequential Read: 1080MB/s, Sequential Write: 800 MB/s, Random Read (QD=32): 120K IOPS, Random Write (QD=32): 60K IOPS) 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, Best PCI-Express 3.0 4x SSD:

Intel 750 NVMe PCI-Express 3.0 x4

Intel 750 400GB:

$409.99 (Amazon)
$471.00 (B&H – International Shipping)

Intel 750 1.2TB:

$1049.99 (Amazon)
$1200.00 (B&H – International Shipping)

Note that this SSD must be installed in a PCI-Express 3.0 x4 (or 8x or 16x) slot, it’s not a 2.5″ drive.

Should be bootable on any modern motherboard.

Higher performance than any other SSD, thanks to the adaption of the NVMe standard, far superior to AHCI. In terms of IOPS, it’s rated for Random 4KB Read up to 430,000 IOPS and Random 4KB Write up to 230,000 IOPS, far and beyond what any other SSD can offer.

If you want higher performance than what any other SSDs can offer, then the Intel 750 is the way to go.

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

Updating the SSD firmware

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

The Samsung 840 EVO has had a firmware update launched at the end of April, to fix a bug that affected read performance. Your data is not at risk. The firmware can be applied without destroying any data.

You want to download ‘Samsung Magician Software’ and the latest firmware for the Samsung 840 EVO SSD. You can download that and read the instructions from this page on Samsung’s website. It’s a simple but slightly lengthy process.

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.

Category: The Best Computer Parts For Your Money

About Mathieu Bourgie: HR Founder - Computer expert with over 14 years of experience in building, fixing and modifying PCs. Over the years, I’ve developed a passion for PC hardware and now I enjoy helping others build their own PCs! In April 2008, I launched Hardware Revolution and ... Read more at my about page .

  • dollaboi954

    thanks

  • diya

    Samsung EVO 850 or Crucial MX 200 (250 Gb)? which one would you suggest for inspiron 3542 (around 100$ and 250 Gb)?

    • https://www.facebook.com/Mathieu.HR MathieuB

      The MX200 offers similar performance to the BX100, but with encryption support as well.

      The 850 EVO offers slightly higher performance, but also uses slightly more power.

      Ultimately, if you want every single minute of battery life, go with the MX 200. If you want slightly higher performance, the Samsung 850 EVO.

  • Lukas22

    Can you help me with my decision? Transcend SSD370S or Crucial BX100 (both 250GB drive) it’s for desktop. I’ve read many reviews and tests, and still cant decide, BX100 has lower endurance 72TB, has less DRAM (256MB DDR3), has lower power consumption, but by reviews is slightly faster, SSD370S has higher endurance 280TB (by anandtech), has more DRAM (512MB but older DDR2), eat more power and by one review the latest firmware has hardware encryption, but dont know what type, transcend has no changelog with firmware versions. In my shop they both cost the same, well BX100 is about 1-2€ cheaper so no big deal.

    • https://www.facebook.com/Mathieu.HR MathieuB

      Unless you write a LOT of data on your SSD, you shouldn’t worry about endurance. For the average user, 72TB is more than enough to last over a decade.

      I’d go with the BX100, for the higher performance.

  • Midix

    I miss reliability factor. Many vendors have had failures in the past and it would be great to know which SSDs are known for having stable firmware and no issues.

    I remember recent issues with Samsung 840 EVO read performance which had to be fixed *twice* by Samsung. And no-one knows if they are really fixed for good. Also, some firmware updates bricked Samsung 850 series SSDs.

    Reliability is important factor to take into account. But the problem is that it takes some years to know if the drive is reliable or not, and then after some years you cannot buy that model any more because the manufacturer has replaced it with some newer model, which again might have issues to solve during next years.

    Oh, this technological progress sometimes drives me crazy – the chance for getting a reliable, time-proven product becomes lesser because manufacturers are pushing technologies to their limits and it always has high risks.

    • https://www.facebook.com/Mathieu.HR MathieuB

      I’ll re-add the failure rates for SSDs in the next update of this article.

      “Oh, this technological progress sometimes drives me crazy – the chance for getting a reliable, time-proven product becomes lesser because manufacturers are pushing technologies to their limits and it always has high risks.”

      Sure, there are problems with some SSDs, but overall the failure rates have been dropping, SSDs are much more mature and reliable than they used to be several years ago. They are more reliable than hard drives nowadays.

      Sure, there has problems with some SSDs. While the Samsung 840 EVO needed two firmware updates to restore read performance, the data itself has not been lost.

      Companies have learned through the years as they gained experience.

      Overall the failure rates have been dropping for SSDs over the years. They are are much more mature and more reliable products than they used to be several years ago. They are more reliable than hard drives nowadays.

      I expect this trend of higher reliability to continue. SSD technology is a lot more mature now than it was just a few years ago.