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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

September 2019 Update: What’s new?

1. Price cuts on the Crucial MX500
2. Price cuts on the Samsung 860 EVO
3. Price cuts on the Intel 660p
4. Added the ADATA Gammix S11 Pro SSD
5. Updated the menu to put PCIe NVMe drives first
6. 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?

Visit the ‘How to choose the right SSD storage capacity and pay less for your computer‘ article.

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.

PCI-Express NVMe SSDs: Highest performance SSDs

SATA III SSDs:
If you have an older PC or want a 2.5″, M.2 SATA or mSATA SSD

This is an Worldwide Guide!

Do you live in the USA?

Use Amazon or B&H for your purchase.

Do you live outside of the USA?

No problem. B&H offers worldwide shipping.

My recommendations are based on the prices found at Amazon and B&H on September 5th 2019.

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.

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 slot that supports PCIe NVMe. Otherwise, you’ll want 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.

If your computer only supports SATA SSDs:
See our recommended SATA III SSDs.

NVMe M.2 PCIe SSDs

In order of performance, from the slowest PCIe SSD (still faster than SATA III SSDs) to the highest performance model.

Intel 660p

The Intel 660p is one the first consumer SSDs 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 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:

512GB from Amazon or B&H ($59.99)
1TB from Amazon or B&H ($94.99)
2TB from Amazon or B&H ($189.95)

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.

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 September 5th 2019:
The Mushkin Pilot is the least expensive and is readily in stock at Amazon. Other models are other discountinued, hard to find in stock or more expensive.

Get the Mushkin Pilot NVMe PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2:

120GB from Amazon
250GB
from Amazon 
500GB from Amazon
1TB
from Amazon
2TB from Amazon

SM2262EN controller based SSDs:

– HP EX950
– ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro
ADATA XPG Gammix S11 Pro
Mushkin Pilot-E

Silicon Motion, the company behind the SM2262 SSD controller, updated the firmware of their controller and there are now offers SSDs based on the newer SM2262EN controller:
The HP EX950, the ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro, the ADATA XPG Gammix S11 Pro and the Mushking Pilot-E. Compared to products based on the older Silicon Motion SM2262, SSDs based on the SM2262EN controller offer better performance when it comes to burst workloads, which is the majority of consumer workloads.

The HP EX950, ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro and ADATA XPG Gammix S11 Pro (Same as SX8200 Pro, but with a heatsink) offer pretty much identical the same performance, while the Mushkin Pilot-E offers close, but slightly lower performance. The other difference is the warranty: The HP and ADATA drives come with a 5 years warranty, while the Mushkin comes with a 3 years warranty.

As of September 5th 2019:
Depending on the capacity, the HP or ADATA drives are the least expensive. I recommend comparing the prices between them.

The Mushkin Pilot-E isn’t recommend, seeing as it’s not less expensive than other drives despite offering slightly lower performance and a shorter 3 years warranty.

Get the ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2:

256GB from Amazon
512GB from Amazon
1TB from Amazon

Get the ADATA XPG Gammix S11 Pro PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2:

256GB from Amazon
512GB from Amazon
1TB from Amazon

Get the HP EX950 PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2:

512GB from Amazon
1TB from Amazon
2TB from Amazon

High-end PCIe NVMe SSDs:
Samsung 970 EVO Plus PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2

Higher performance than most SSDs

If you want higher performance than most SSDs, but without paying the premium for the Samsung 970 Pro, the Samsung 970 EVO Plus is an excellent choice.

Replacing the Samsung 970 EVO (non-Plus), the Samsung 970 EVO Plus 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 Plus V.S. WD Black SN750
The old Samsung 970 EVO (non-Plus) and the new generation of WD Black SSD trade blows when it comes to performance, although the WD SN750 is more power efficient. That said, the new Samsung 970 EVO Plus offers better performance, hence why I recommend the Samsung 970 EVO Plus over the new generation of the WD Black SSDs.

If you care about power efficiency, for maximum battery life in a laptop, I suggest the ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro recommended above, which offers similar perceivable performance in the vast majority of cases.

Get the Samsung 970 EVO Plus PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2:

250GB from Amazon, B&H ($69.99)
500GB from Amazon, B&H ($109.99)
1TB from Amazon, B&H ($219.99)
2TB from Amazon or B&H ($479.99)

Workstation-class SSDs:
Samsung 970 Pro PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2

Higher performance than pretty much any SSD, except the vastly more expensive Intel Optane 900P/905P.

Performance wise, for regular everyday workloads, the Samsung 970 Pro won’t offer a perceivable performance increase compared to the 970 EVO Plus.

However, if you have highly demanding workloads or have heavy write need the additional endurance from the MLC flash memory in the Samsung 970 Pro compared to TLC memory found in most SSDs,
I only recommend the Samsung 970 Pro for workstations with highly demanding workloads, where utmost reliability, sustained performance, endurance and/or a long warranty matters.

Get the Samsung 970 Pro PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2:

512GB from Amazon, B&H ($149.99)
1TB from Amazon, B&H ($299.99)

Intel Optane SSD 900P and 905P PCI-Express 3.0 x4 SSD

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:

280GB from Amazon, B&H ($369.00)
480GB from Amazon, B&H ($599.00)

Get the Intel Optane SSD 905P:

960GB from Amazon, B&H ($1299.96)
1.5TB from Amazon

What about PCIe 4.0 drives?

With the launch of AMD Ryzen 3000 series and the X570 chipset which feature PCIe 4.0 support, in July 2019, we are starting to see the launch the PCIe 4.0 SSDs, removing the PCIe 3.0 bottleneck.

While these new PCIe 4.0 drives can hit higher peak sequential transfer speeds, they don’t offer any higher sustained random performance under heavy workloads.

Guru3D reviewed the Corsair Force MP600 and said this in their conclusion:
“It shatters records given the right conditions, but on in other workloads, you are down to high-end class TLC NVMe performance(…) The fact that in roughly 50% of the tests a 970 EVO can outperform this unit is an issue. Then again, we doubt you’d ever notice the perf differences.”

Simply put, we are seeing the very first products of a new generation of PCIe NVMe SSDs, based on current controller chips that were quickly updated to support PCIe 4.0 higher transfer rates. I have no doubt that later in 2019 and in 2020, we’ll see products from Intel, WD, Samsung and others that truly provide all around higher performance, but for now, I don’t recommend any PCIe 4.0 SSD.

The Best SATA III SSDs:

If you have an older PC or want a 2.5″, M.2 SATA or mSATA SSD

Best Low Cost SSD:

Crucial BX500

In terms of dollars, this is the least expensive SATA III SSD that I recommend.

The Crucial BX500 is a low-cost, low-performance SSD. Low performance, that is compared to higher-end, more expensive SSD. It still offers far higher performance than a hard drive as a boot drive.

I recommend this SSD for anyone looking to upgrade their hard drive for higher performance at the lowest cost possible for a SATA III SSD.

While it is significantly faster than a hard drive, I don’t recommend it for any kind of intensive workload.

It’s a fine choice if all you do is gaming, web browsing, basic Office work, casual work, for a POS, etc.

For any workload that is more demanding, I do not recommend it.

Get the Crucial BX500 2.5″ SATA III SSD:

120GB:  Amazon or B&H ($22.95)
240GB: Amazon or B&H ($31.95)
500GB: Amazon or B&H ($54.99)

960GB: Amazon or B&H ($99.99)
Consider the higher performance Crucial MX500 for not much more money

Samsung 860 QVO

The Samsung 860 QVO is a low-cost SSD based on QLC NAND, so while its performance isn’t on par with the Crucial MX500 and Samsung 860 EVO, the Samsung 860 QVO offers better performance than the Crucial BX500. Its performance is similar to low-end TLC SSD. It still offers far higher performance than a hard drive as a boot drive.

I recommend this SSD for anyone looking to upgrade to replace their hard drive for higher performance and reliability, while still getting a lot of storage, at the lowest cost possible.

It’s a fine choice if all you do is gaming, web browsing, basic Office work, casual work, for a POS, etc.

More demanding workloads would be best served by an higher-end drive.

Get the Samsung QVO 2.5″ SATA III SSD:

1TB:  Amazon or B&H ($119.99) Get the higher performance Crucial MX500 for less money.
2TB: Amazon or B&H ($219.99) Get the higher performance Crucial MX500 for pretty much the same price
4TB: Amazon or B&H ($499.99)

Best Mid-range SSDs:

Crucial MX500

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 or B&H ($49.95)
500GB from Amazon or B&H ($64.99)
1TB from Amazon or B&H ($107.99)
2TB from Amazon or B&H ($223.48)

Get the Crucial MX500 M.2 SATA III:

250GB from Amazon or B&H ($49.95)
500GB from Amazon or B&H ($64.99)
1TB from Amazon or B&H ($109.99)

Great Performance, Low Power and Encryption:

Samsung 860 EVO:

Don’t limit your computer’s performance!
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. If your computer is equipped with a M.2 PCIe slot, scroll down to higher performance PCIe M.2 SSDs.

If your computer only supports SATA SSDs:
Want higher performance than the above SATA III SSDs? 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.

The Samsung 860 EVO is available as a 2.5″ drive, a M.2 SATA III drive and a mSATA drive.

Remember: 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,

Get the Samsung 860 EVO 2.5″ SATA III:

250GB from Amazon or B&H ($54.99)
500GB from Amazon or B&H ($74.99)
1TB from Amazon or B&H ($129.99)
2TB from Amazon or B&H ($299.99)
4TB from Amazon or B&H ($579.99)

Get the Samsung 860 EVO M.2 SATA III:

250GB from Amazon or B&H ($64.49)
500GB from Amazon or B&H ($89.99)
1TB from Amazon or B&H ($169.99)
2TB from Amazon or B&H ($319.99)

Get the Samsung 860 EVO mSATA:

250GB: No longer available.
500GB from Amazon or B&H ($89.99)
1TB from Amazon or B&H ($159.99)

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) article.

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