For what seems like forever now, whenever anybody brought up data storage, they were referring to hard drives. However, the future is now and there’s a better, faster and stronger way. The best SSDs, or solid state drives, will invite you to a world free of the sluggish weight – and wait – of mechanical drives. No more spinning disks, no more slow data transfer rates. Today, it’s all about drives that can process files in an instant and are even more durable than ever. It’s the age of the SSD.
Whether you’re looking to shorten the load times in your favorite games, or you just want your OS to boot up without having time to go fly a kite, the best SSDs can make your PC feel like a fresh system. These SSDs come in two major form factors: PCIe M.2 (or NVMe), which are speedy, enthusiast-grade drives for people who want blazing speeds at any cost, and SATA III, which is for more everyday consumers who want a noticeable performance boost without paying the premium that enthusiast hardware inevitably comes with.
No matter what reason you need an SSD for, neither how big or small your cash reserves are, we have found 11 of the best SSDs available to buy today. Every drive on this list has been considered carefully with expert knowledge, so you know that they’re all worth your hard-earned cash. Plus, with Black Friday deals here already, you’re sure to find some great SSD deals,t oo. So, sit back, relax and check out all of these amazing SSDs while envisioning your faster, more streamlined tomorrow.
What’s more, different SSDs take advantage of various flash technologies as well – Intel’s 64-layer 3D NAND being one of the latest – making the whole space very fragmented in terms of speed and, in some cases, even capacity. Lucky for you, we’ve tackled the whole nine yards, having scaled numerous examples of just about every SSD you can buy in one article.
Best SSD: Samsung 960 Evo
The undisputed king of SSDs
Capacity: 250GB/500GB/1TB | Interface: PCIe | Warranty: 3-years
Variety of sizes
Off-putting price tag
This is the top SSD on the market, and with good reason. It’s astonishingly fast, with up to 3200 MBps read and 1900 MBps write speeds. That’s due to the PCIe interface, which allows light-years faster speeds than the already extremely quick SATA interface. On top of that, it’s available with up to 1TB capacity. And it only requires 5.7 watts of power when active and a mere 1.2 watts when idle.
Best gaming SSD: Kingston HyperX Predator
Up your game with this unbeatable SSD
Capacity: 240GB/480GB/960GB | Interface: PCIe | Warranty: 3-years
M.2 form factor
Available half-height adapter
Kingston’s HyperX line-up is aimed squarely at gamers. Its headsets are known for being much higher quality than their price might hint at, and HyperX customer support is excellent. Its line of SSDs for gaming computers come in an M.2 form factor, but are also available with a half-height adapter that plugs into your PCIe like any other expansion card.
Best NVMe SSD: Samsung 960 Pro
Capacity: 512GB/1TB/2TB | Interface: PCIe | Warranty: 3-years
Available up to 2TB
Whopping price for the larger sizes
The NVMe standard is designed to maximize the strengths of solid-state drives, and the Samsung 960 Pro takes full advantage. With an M.2 form factor and ridiculous read speeds of up to 3500 MBps, these SSDs are already enticing, but the fact it’s available as large as 2TB is incredible. All that storage doesn’t come cheap, but if you need lots (and LOTS) of fast storage, it’s definitely worth it.
Best PCIe SSD: Toshiba OCZ RD400
The most flexible SSD install
Capacity: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB | Interface: PCIe | Warranty: 3-years
Lots of sizes
Not all sizes available in all form factors
If you’re looking for plenty of options, the Toshiba OCZ RD400 series of drives come in 4 sizes and three different form factors: M.2, M.2 2280, and add-in card (AIC). Not all sizes are in all form factors, so if you’re looking for a fast 1TB drive, make sure you have room in your computer case.
Best M.2 SSD: WD Black PCIe SSD
Capacity: 256GB/512GB | Interface: PCIe | Warranty: 5-years
Limited size choices
This M.2 SSD from WD comes with a 5-year warranty and boasts some pretty excellent read/write times, up to 2050 MBps read and 800 write on the 512GB model. Great for installation or OS purposes, but unfortunately the available sizes don’t leave a lot of flexibility as far as storage is concerned.
Best SATA 3 SSD: WD Blue SSD
Globs of flash storage for less
Capacity: 250GB/500GB/1TB | Interface: SATA | Warranty: 3-years
Good size selection
Limited by interface
If you want to save a few bucks, but don’t want to sacrifice too much in the way of performance, the WD Blue SATA SSD is a great compromise. It nearly maxes out the bandwidth of the SATA 3 interface with its read/write speeds, and you can find the 1TB model in the wild for a pittance.
Best U.2 SSD: Intel 750 Series
Capacity: 400GB/800GB/1.2TB | Interface: PCIe | Warranty: 5-years
Great warranty period
Not as fast as some other PCIe drives
The U.2 standard allows for bigger SSD capacities and uses your computer’s PCIe x4 slot to send all that data back and forth. The Intel 750 series includes a cable so you can mount the drive in the bay on your case and still plug it into the PCIe slot on your motherboard.
Best budget SSD: Crucial BX300
Capacity: 120GB/240GB/480GB | Interface: SATA | Warranty: 3-years
Beats the MX300
Not as fast as some other PCIe drives
The Crucial BX300 isn’t the fastest SSD you can buy, but it is affordable and chiefly reliable to boot. Sold in three different sizes, this SATA drive is aimed at users still hanging onto older desktops and laptops that might want their PCs to boot up at a rate more analogous to their phones. Plus, it’s a better performer than the pricier MX300, thanks to MLC NAND.
Best endurance SSD: HP S700 Pro
Tough for anything you throw at it
Capacity: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB | Interface: SATA | Warranty: 3-years
Variety of capacities
If you need an SSD that will last into your next computer, the HP S700 Pro has just what you need. Its life will far exceed its warranty, offering up 2 million hours of use and up to 650 terabytes written. This is one SSD that’s in it for the long haul, but the SATA interface will slow things down somewhat in the read/write department, which technically helps it last even longer.
Best SSD boot drive: MyDigitalSSD BPX
Capacity: 240GB/480GB | Interface: PCIe | Warranty: 5-years
Good price to performance
Booting from an SSD is a life changer. Seriously, if you’re loading your OS from a hard drive, you’re doing it wrong. The difference is night and day. This PCIe SSD from MyDigitalSSD is an excellent choice for booting up, with a good price and solid performance. It only goes up to 480GB, but if you’re just using it to run your OS, that’s way more than enough.
Best external SSD: Samsung Portable SSD T5
Worth the premium for USB-C fanatics
Capacity: 250GB/500GB/1TB/2TB | Interface: USB 3.1 Type-C Gen 2 | Warranty: 3-years
Unless you have a laptop or desktop computer that employs the USB Type-C Gen 2 interface, you might want to reconsider your interest in the Samsung Portable SSD T5. Otherwise, with read/write speeds of up to 540/515MBps, respectively, this external storage device does its best to keep up with some of the more modest PCIe players, and the result is superb.
Read the full review:
- If you wait until Black Friday, you ought to find some stellar SSD deals
Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article