The 25 Best SSDs (Solid State Drives) For Your Money: May 2015

| May 4, 2015 | (2)

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 here.

Samsung 850 EVO mSATA

The Samsung 850 EVO mSATA SSD, the best mSATA SSD.

SSD FAQ:

If you wondering “Who are SSDs for?”, if you want a quick recap on what a SSD is, why you want one, which size to pick, SSD performance and which SSD brand is the most reliable, I invite you to read our SSD FAQ.

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!
The SSDs with the lowest 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 Highest Performance: Best 2.5″ High-End Performance SSDs
The highest performance at a given storage capacity. #1 is the fastest, with the highest price. #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: Even higher performance than the highest performance SATA 2.5″ SSD!
The Best SSDs based on the M.2 (PCI-Express) form factor.

Recommended based on:
Hardware Revolution recommendations for 2.5″ SSDs:
Model, Storage capacity, Price: USA / International Shipping
Best Value
Value+Perf.+LP
V+P+LP+Enc.
HP + Enc.
mSATA
M.2 PCI-E
Transcend SSD370 128GB: – $57.99 (Amazon) / – $57.99 (B&H)
Crucial BX100 120GB: – $64.99 (Amazon) / – $68.15 (B&H)
Samsung 850 EVO 120GB: - $69.99 (Amazon) / – $69.99 (B&H)
Samsung 850 Pro 128GB: - $107.99 (Amazon) / – $107.99 (B&H)

mSATA 850 EVO 120GB: $77.30 (Amazon) / $79.99 (B&H)
Samsung SM951 128GB: $159.99 (Amazon)
Best Value
V+P+LP
V+P+LP+Enc.
HP+ Enc.
mSATA
M.2 PCI-E
Transcend SSD370 256GB: $89.99 (Amazon) / – $89.99 (B&H)
Crucial BX100 250GB: $99.00 (Amazon)/ – $99.00 (B&H)
Samsung 850 EVO 250GB: $117.99 (Amazon) / $117.99 (B&H)
Samsung 850 Pro 256GB: $159.00 (Amazon) / – $159.00 (B&H)
mSATA 850 EVO 250GB: $119.00 (Amazon) / $119.00 (B&H)
Samsung SM951 256GB: $239.00 (Amazon)
Best Value
V+P+LP
V+P+LP+Enc.
HP+Enc.
2nd HP
mSATA
M.2 PCI-E

Transcend SSD370 512GB: $175.99 (Amazon) / $175.99 (B&H)
Crucial BX100 500GB: $179.99 (Amazon) / $189.00 (B&H)
Samsung 850 EVO 500GB: $207.00 (Amazon) / $209.99 (B&H)
Samsung 850 Pro 512GB: $279.00 (Amazon) / $279.00 (B&H)
Sandisk Ext. Pro 480GB: $239.99 (Amazon) / $285.00 (B&H)
mSATA 850 EVO 500GB: $199.99 (Amazon) / $199.00 (B&H)
Samsung SM951 512GB: $499.00 (Amazon)
Best Value
V+P+LP
V+P+LP+Enc.
HP+ Enc.
2nd HP
mSATA
Transcend SSD370 1TB: $359.99 (Amazon) / $359.99(B&H)
Crucial BX100: $379.99 (Amazon) / $379.99 (B&H)
Samsung 850EVO 1TB: $386.27 (Amazon) / $399.00 (B&H)
Samsung 850 Pro 1024GB $529.00 (Amazon) / $529.00 (B&H)
Sandisk Ext. Pro 960GB: $475.00 (Amazon) / $449.00 (B&H)
mSATA 850 EVO 1TB: $399.00 (Amazon) / $399.00 (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 May 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:

Transcend SSD370:

- 128GB: $57.99 (Amazon) or $57.99 at B&H (International Shipping)
– 256GB: $89.99 (Amazon) or $89.99 at B&H (International Shipping)
– 512GB: $175.99 (Amazon) or $175.99 at B&H (International Shipping)
– 1TB: $359.99 (Amazon) or $359.99 at B&H (International Shipping)

Pros:
1. Reliable: These are 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 Transcend SSD370 and may not be available internationally.
2. Despite its low price, it offers great performance for an entry-level SSD, trading blows with the more expensive Crucial BX100 and the Samsung 850 EVO.
3. Includes a 2.5″ to 3.5″ bracket

Cons:
1. Unfortunately AES 256-bit, TCG Opal 2.0 & IEEE-1667 are not supported for hardware encryption.
2. Its power consumption is high (for a SSD), making it not necessarily the best choice for laptops if you want a much longer battery life. That said, it has a high power requirement compared to other SSDs, but it will still use less power than a hard drive. So you’ll still get a very slightly longer battery life, just not as much as you would with another SSD.
3. Performance is good, but there are higher-performance SSDs available.
4. Warranty is limited to three years. Some competing models offer 5 or 10 years warranties.

I recommend the Transcend SSD370 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.

Good Value, Great Performance and Low Power Consumption

Crucial BX100:

- 120GB: $64.99 (Amazon) or $68.15 at B&H (International Shipping)
– 250GB: $99.00 (Amazon) or $99.00 at B&H (International Shipping)
– 500GB: $179.99 (Amazon) or $189.00 at B&H (International Shipping)
– 1TB: $379.99 (Amazon) or $379.99 at B&H (International Shipping)

Want higher performance and lower power consumption than the Transcend SSD370 SSD? The Crucial BX100 offers that.

Ideal for laptops where you want a longer battery life.

However, you get a 3 years warranty and you don’t get hardware encryption support, so if you need that, upgrade to the Samsung 850 EVO just below.

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

Samsung 850 EVO:

- 120GB: $69.99 (Amazon) or $69.99 at B&H (International Shipping)
– 250GB: $117.99 (Amazon) or $117.99 at B&H (International Shipping)
– 500GB: $207.00 (Amazon) or $209.99 at B&H (International Shipping)
– 1TB: $386.27 (Amazon)or $399.00 at B&H (International Shipping)

You get hardware encryption support and a longer 5 years warranty (3 years for BX100) with the Samsung 850 EVO.

Performance and power consumption are similar to the Crucial BX100.

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

Samsung 850 Pro:

128GB: $107.99 (Amazon) or $107.99 at B&H (International Shipping)
256GB: $159.00 (Amazon) or $159.00 at B&H (International Shipping)
512GB: $279.00 (Amazon) or $279.00 at B&H (International Shipping)
1TB: $529.00 (Amazon) or $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:

480GB: $239.99 (Amazon) or $239.99 at B&H (International Shipping)
960GB: $475.00 (Amazon) or $449.00 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, but I only recommend the 480GB and 960GB model because the 240GB is at roughly the same price as the Samsung 850 Pro, so you’re better off with the 850 Pro in that case, as you’ll get more storage capacity (256GB vs 240GB), 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

- 120GB: $77.30 (Amazon) or $79.99 at B&H (International Shipping)
– 250GB: $119.00 (Amazon) or $119.00 at B&H (International Shipping)
– 500GB: $199.99 (Amazon) or $199.00 at B&H (International Shipping)
– 1TB: $399.00 (Amazon) or $399.00 at B&H (International Shipping)

If you want a reliable SSD with great performance 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.

Highest Performance, Best M.2 SSD:

Samsung SM951 PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2

128GB: $159.99 at Amazon
256GB: $239.00 (Amazon)
512GB: $499.00 (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.

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 nothing but the highest performance will do for you, 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 the way to go!

Ideal for 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 recently, to fix a bug that affected read performance. Your data is not at risk. The firmware can be applied without destroying any data.

Samsung calls it the “Samsung SSD 840 EVO Performance Restoration Software”. You can download it 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 .

  • abhish3k

    Thank You for your amazing work. I have recommended this website to all my friends and they are very happy with your work.

  • Stev We

    just wondering if your pc has a pcie 2 x4 slot, how much will the 951 be limited?