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This is one of many articles on the best computers parts
Do you want to know what are currently the best CPUs, graphic cards and other components?
Check out the Best Computer Parts for Your Money page.
This is one of 3 articles dedicated to storage drives:
1. Best External Hard Drives, SSDs and USB Flash Drives
2. Best Internal SSDs (this article)
3. Best Internal 2.5″ and 3.5″ Hard Drives
Holidays 2018 Update: What’s new?
1. Price cuts on the Mushkin Source SATA III SSDs
2. Price cuts on the Crucial MX500 SATA III SSDs
3. Price cuts on the Samsung 860 EVO SATA III SSDs
4. Prices cuts on the Intel 660p NVMe QLC SSDs
5. Price cuts on the Samsung 970 EVO NVMe SSDs
6. Price cuts on the Samsung 970 Pro NVMe SSDs
7. Up to date prices
SSD FAQ: What is a SSD and why do I want one?
Read a quick recap on what a SSD is and why you want one in 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?‘
If you have the time to do research… but who does in this busy world?
I know that not everyone has the time to read detailed SSD reviews. This is why I write this guide: To help you save your money, time and sanity by letting you know what are the best SSDs based on what you need.
What are my recommendations based on?
Click on a category to jump to the recommendations.
SATA III SSDs: 2.5″, mSATA and M.2 SATA III SSDs: Lower price and performance
- Low cost SSDs: Ideal as a low-cost Hard drive replacement
Least expensive reliable SSDs. Faster than hard drives, but entry-level performance SSD wise.
- Mid-range SSDs: Sweet spot between performance and price.
A step up in performance, without much of an increase in price.
- Great SATA III Performance, Low Power and Encryption, 5 Years Warranty
Higher performance than low cost and mid-range SSDs, great all around SSD, up to 4TB!
- Highest SATA III Performance, Low Power and Encryption, 5 Years Warranty
Highest performance for a SATA III SSD. PCI-Express SSDs offer much higher performance though!
- mSATA SSDs
The Best SSDs based on the mSATA form factor.
PCI-Express SSDs: Highest performance SSDs, higher price
- NVMe PCI-Express M.2: Highest performance possible!
NVMe protocol offers the highest performance possible, but requires a PC compatible with NVMe M.2 drives.
This is an Worldwide Guide!
Do you live in the USA?
Do you live outside of the USA?
No problem. B&H offers worldwide shipping.
My recommendations are based on the prices found at Amazon, B&H and Newegg on November 30th 2018.
Prices fluctuate every day, so I recommend that you click on the links and double-check the prices yourself to see if there’s a better deal available.
In terms of dollars, this is the least expensive SSD that I recommend.
The Mushkin Source, while offering lower performance than higher-end models, holds it own against other low-cost SSDs.
I recommend this SSD for anyone looking to upgrade their hard drive for higher performance at the lowest cost possible for a SSD.
While it is significantly faster than a hard drive, I don’t recommend it for any kind of intensive workstation type of workloads.
It’s a fine choice if all you do is gaming, web browsing, light Office work, for a POS, etc.
It’s available either as a 2.5″ SATA III drive, or a M.2 SATA III drive.
Get the Mushkin Source M.2 SATA III SSD:
In term of $ per GB, this is the least expensive SSD that I recommend.
If you’ve never heard of Micron, don’t worry, it is the company that owns the well known Crucial brand.
This is an OEM drive, usually sold to PC manufacturers for prebuilt PCs or enterprise customers. It also means that you only get the SSD, no fancy box or anything else.
That said, it is priced well below any other 2TB drive, so if you want a reliable 2TB SSD that offers better performance than any hard drive, at a rock bottom $/GB price, this is my recommendation.
Get the Micron 1100 2.5″ SATA III SSD:
The Crucial MX500 offers great performance for a SATA III SSD, not far behind the Samsung 860 EVO and it’s one of the least expensive SSD on the market, making it easy to recommend.
On top of that, you get a 5 years warranty.
For a laptop, a PC boot drive, media drive, or game library drive, the Crucial MX500 is a good SSD at a great price.
The Crucial MX500 V.S. the Crucial MX300 and the WD Blue
The Crucial MX500, recommended, offers significantly better performance than the Crucial MX300 and WD Blue, often at lower prices on top of that!
For a workstation, with requirements for higher sustained performance, a lot of writes and top-notch random access, I recommend a much higher performance M.2 PCI-Express SSD.
The Crucial MX500 is available as a 2.5″ and M.2 SATA III drive.
Get the Crucial MX500 2.5″ SATA III:
250GB from Amazon, B&H ($52.99) and Newegg ($52.99)Currently not recommended: Get the higher performance Samsung 860 EVO for similar prices.
500GB from Amazon, B&H ($74.99) and Newegg ($74.99) Currently not recommended: Get the higher performance Samsung 860 EVO for similar prices.
1TB from Amazon, B&H ($139.99) and Newegg ($139.99) Currently not recommended: Get the higher performance Samsung 860 EVO for similar prices.
2TB from Amazon, B&H ($325.48) and Newegg ($324.99) Currently not recommended: Get the higher performance Samsung 860 EVO for the same price.
Samsung 860 EVO:
Want higher performance than all SATA III SSDs other than the much more expensive Samsung 860 Pro? The Samsung 860 EVO offers that.
It also offers lower power consumption than the Crucial MX500, making it ideal for laptops where you want a long battery life and great performance.
You get also hardware encryption support and a 5 years warranty with the Samsung 860 EVO.
In other words, the Samsung 860 EVO is a great all around SSD, offering pretty much everything that you could want from a SATA III SSD, without costing that much more.
Get the Samsung 860 EVO 2.5″ SATA III:
250GB from Amazon, B&H ($55.99) or Newegg ($55.99)
500GB from Amazon, B&H ($72.99) or Newegg ($72.99)
1TB from Amazon, B&H ($127.98) or Newegg ($127.96)
2TB from Amazon, B&H ($294.88) or Newegg ($297.99)
4TB from Amazon, B&H ($797.99) or Newegg ($760.00)
250GB from Amazon, B&H ($67.99) or Newegg ($67.99)
500GB from Amazon, B&H ($97.99) or Newegg ($97.99)
1TB from Amazon, B&H ($127.99) or Newegg ($127.99)
2TB from Amazon, B&H ($297.99) or Newegg ($297.99)
Samsung 860 Pro:
Want the highest performance 2.5″ SATA III SSD available on the market?
Then you want the Samsung 860 Pro.
If your computer supports M.2 PCI-Express SSDs, get a PCI-Express SSD instead, as they offer significantly higher performance than SATA III SSDs and buying the Samsung 860 Pro makes no sense.
If your PC doesn’t support M.2 PCI-Express SSDs and you don’t have space nor desire to have an add-on card PCI-Express SSD, this is the highest performance SSD available with a SATA III connection.
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 5 years warranty.
256GB from Amazon, B&H ($97.99) or Newegg ($97.99)
512GB from Amazon, B&H ($147.99) or Newegg ($147.99)
1TB from Amazon, B&H ($284.99) or Newegg ($297.99)
2TB from Amazon, B&H ($573.24) or Newegg ($597.99)
4TB from Amazon, B&H ($1179.99) or Newegg ($1189.65)
Best M.2 PCI-Express SSDs:
The SATA III protocol limit SATA III SSDs to less than 600MB/s transfer rates. PCI-Express SSDs don’t have that limitation and can reach far higher rates!
In other words, PCI-Express SSDs enable much higher performance than SATA III based SSD.
Just make sure that your computer is equipped with a M.2 PCIe slot. Otherwise, you’ll want a PCI-Express expansion card. You can also but a M.2 PCI-e SSD with a M.2 PCIe to PCIe 3.0 x4 Adapter card, meaning that you’ll plug the M.2 SSD into the PCIe adapter card, which you’ll then plug into a PCI-Express slot on your motherboard.
In order of performance, from the slowest PCIe SSD (still faster than SATA III SSDs) to the highest performance model.
Newly released, the Intel 660p is the first consumer SSD that uses the new QLC flash storage technology.
Its biggest pro: Higher capacities at a lower price!
QLC flash memory allows it to store more data within the same quantity of flash memory, driving down costs by reducing the number of memory chips required to reach a certain storage capacity.
On the downside, this means that:
1- Endurance is reduced:
Write endurance is rated at 100TB for the 512GB model, 200TB for the 1TB model and 400TB for the 2TB model. Do you want a SSD for a workstation with a lot of write operations with heavy files, like video editing? Then this might not be the ideal drive for you. However, for the average user, this is plenty enough endurance for your SSD to easily last over a decade. Intel warranties this SSD for 5 years.
2- Performance is lower compared to SSDs with TLC flash memory:
That said, the Intel 660p is equipped with a high-performance SLC cache, that will cache data and accelerates performance until it fills up. Its size varies depending on the capacity of the SSD and how full it is. In other words, the more free capacity you have, the faster your SSD will be.
When the cache isn’t full, which is the vast majority of time, unless you’re working with very large data files (40GB+) or your drive is over 75% full, the Intel 660p write performance is competitive with higher-end TLC drives, such as the ones I recommend below. When it comes to read performance, it is competitive with other lower-end PCI NVMe drives and much faster than SATA III SSDs. For the average user, the Intel 660p offers excellent performance in most tasks, at an outstanding price.
Overall, it’s priced around the same as entry-level or mid-range SATA III SSDs and it offers far superior performance in the vast majority of scenarios, so it’s easy for me to recommend.
Get the Intel 660p NVMe PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2:
Mid-range PCIe NVMe SSDs:
SM2262 controller based SSDs:
– HP EX920
– ADATA XPG SX8200
– Mushkin Pilot
– Intel 760p
Solid State Drives based on the Silicon Motion SM2262 controller offer better performance than lower performance entry-level PCIe NVMe SSDs, based on the Phison E7 (MyDigitalSSD BBX), Phison E8 (Kinstron A1000 and MyDigitalSSD SBX), the QLC Intel 660p or models without a DRAM cache.
The HP EX920, the ADATA XPG SX8200 and the Mushkin Pilot are all based on the SM2262 controller, with reference firmware. The Intel 760p is also based on the SM2262 controller, but with a custom firmware. Simply put, all four SSDs offer similar performance, with the Intel 760p slightly better in some cases and slightly worse in other cases.
Note that the ADATA XPG SX8200 comes in slightly smaller storage capacities.
Warranty wise, the HP EX920 and Mushkin Pilot are covered for 3 years, while the ADATA SX8200 and the Intel 760p come with a 5 years warranty.
As of November 30th 2018, the Mushkin Pilot are the least expensive 120GB, 250GB and 2TB. The ADATA XPG SX8200 is less expensive for a 480-500GB drive. Get the HP EX920 if you want the least expensive 1TB model.
That said, I recommend that you check the current prices by clicking the links below, considering how fast prices can fluctuate. If you can find one of the three other options at a lower price, go for it.
The only cases where I’d recommend specifically the Intel 760p is if you need to buy it from B&H, who offer worldwide shipping. Even then, consider the Samsung 870 EVO, which offers even better performance for not that much more money.
120GB from Amazon or Newegg ($42.99)
250GB from Amazon or Newegg ($59.99)
500GB from Amazon or Newegg ($108.99)
1TB from Amazon or Newegg ($209.99) Get the HP EX920 instead.
2TB from Amazon or Newegg ($479.99)
Get the ADATA XPG SX8200 PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2:
Get the HP EX920 PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2:
Get the Intel 760p PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2:
128GB from Amazon, B&H ($80.25) or Newegg ($57.99)
256GB from Amazon, B&H ($99.99) or Newegg ($69.99)
512GB from Amazon, B&H ($155.14) or Newegg ($129.99)
1TB from Amazon, B&H (N/A) or Newegg ($294.99)
2TB from Amazon, B&H (N/A) or Newegg ($599.99)
High-end PCIe NVMe SSDs:
Samsung 970 EVO PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2
If you want higher performance than most SSDs, but without paying the premium for the Samsung 970 Pro, the Samsung 970 EVO is an excellent choice.
Replacing the Samsung 960 EVO, the Samsung 970 EVO brings even higher performance, at similar or even lower prices!
Offering top-tier performance, high reliability, all of that at a reasonable price, with a solid warranty.
Samsung 970 EVO V.S. WD Black new generation
The Samsung 970 EVO and the new generation of WD Black SSD trade blows when it comes to performance, although the Samsung 970 EVO comes on top overall, while being available at similar or lower prices, hence why I recommend the Samsung 970 EVO over the new generation of the WD Black SSDs.
Get the Samsung 970 EVO PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2:
250GB from Amazon, B&H ($77.99) or Newegg ($77.99)
500GB from Amazon, B&H ($117.99) or Newegg ($117.99)
1TB from Amazon, B&H ($229.99) or Newegg ($227.99)
2TB from Amazon, B&H ($544.99) or Newegg ($547.99)
Higher performance than pretty much any SSD, except the vastly more expensive Intel Optane 900P/905P.
While the Intel Optane 900P now offers the highest performance in the vast majority of cases, the Samsung 970 Pro is no slouch. It will offer similar real-world performance in all but the most demanding workloads, at much lower prices.
Ideal for workstations, high-end PCs, any demanding workload, any environment where reliability, sustained performance, endurance and/or a long warranty matters.
Get the Samsung 970 Pro PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2:
PCI-Express expansion card SSD:
Convert your M.2 SSD into a PCI-Express expansion card SSD:
All M.2 PCI-Express SSDs can be used in a PCI-Express slot, with a M.2 PCIe to PCIe 3.0 x4 Adapter card.
I recommend the Intel Optane 900P and 905P for:
Ultimate high performance. If you have extremely demanding workloads, this is the best of the best. It doesn’t make sense for consumer/prosumer workloads, but for a workstation where time is money, where you work with heavy files and cannot afford to wait, this is the SSD with the best performance. For consumers workloads, it is completely overkill.
The Intel 905p is basically an updated version of the Intel 900p, offering slightly better performance, as well as a 960GB capacity option.
So I recommend the Intel 900p if you need 280GB or 480GB of storage capacity and the Intel 905p if you need 960GB of storage capacity.
It beats almost all the performance records, outperforming the Samsung 970 Pro. There are cases where the Optane SSD simply crush the competition. The low queue depth random read performance of the Optane SSD is several times faster than any flash-based SSD has attained.
Get the Intel Optane SSD 900P:
Get the Intel Optane SSD 905P:
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.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this latest edition of The Best SSDs (Solid State Drives) article.
If you have a question, feedback or suggestion, I invite you to leave a comment below this article.