Best SSDs


Here we list our current recommendations for SATA-based solid-state drives at each major capacity range. For the newer PCIe-based SSDs, see our top picks on the previous page.

June 2016 Updates

Three-bit per cell flash moving into the NVMe PCIe space signals the end of high-performance SATA SSDs. A few companies will release SATA-attached drives with MLC flash to satisfy the upgrade market, but they'll be few and far between. All of our upcoming reviews based on the SATA interface utilize TLC NAND and fall into the entry-level category.

The sole exception is Corsair's Neutron XTI with a Phison S10 controller, Toshiba 15nm MLC and two times more DRAM than any other S10-based SSD. The additional memory improves performance consistency under heavy workloads, but does not help the random read speed issues at low queue depths. The Neutron XTI is Corsair's new flagship featuring an attractive red chassis. Our review will go live later this month.

The biggest news for SATA users comes from Crucial. The company released a limited edition SSD designed to show off Micron's 3D TLC flash with 384Gb dies. The new memory configuration uses eight packages with two dies per package to yield 750GB of capacity. Crucial still calls this MX300 a mainstream SSD, but our performance results show only a slight increase over entry-level products. As Micron's 3D flash yields increase, we will see more capacities come to market. Crucial is still working out the MX300 family's details. Expect to see odd sizes like 1050GB, though.

Silicon Motion's SM2258 powers the new Intel SSD 540s, and the controller is paired up with SK hynix's 16nm TLC planar flash. Intel classifies the drive as a mainstream device armed with extras like full disk encryption. In reality, modest performance puts this one in the entry-level category. Still, we give it high praise for reliability.

SK hynix also released a new SSD that'll be reviewed soon. It features an in-house controller from the former Link A Media Devices team. The SL308 uses the same 16nm TLC flash we found in Intel's SSD 540s, but with much better performance. This is the first mainstream SSD we've tested that compares favorably to the Samsung 850 EVO. Pricing is comparable, too. The 500GB SL308 is currently available for the same $150.



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About Our Recommendations

  • We only recommend SSDs we've actually tested.
  • The list is based on US prices from online retailers. In other countries or at retail stores, your mileage will most certainly vary.
  • These are new SSD prices. No used or open-box offers are in the list.
  • Our picks should be valid throughout the month of publication, but SSD pricing is especially competitive, and a $15 difference can be the reason why one SSD makes the list, while another does not.
  • Prices and availability change on a daily basis, but the embedded green links provide real-time pricing.

Best 256GB SATA SSDs

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    Your comment
  • willie nugs
    Can't you use Amazon price link buttons that have real-time pricing in the button? For example, the SanDisk Extreme PRO 512GB Premium say on your button that it is $429.99 on Amazon, but if you clink on that link, it takes me to am Amazon website has it listed for $187.75. That's a big difference. And in fact, as you go down the line, not a single button is the correct price. And I'm reading these prices on the same day you posted this Article, June 30th 2016.
  • CRamseyer
    The price button uses the MSRP and not the current price. I would like it to show the current price as well. I think someone is working on it.
  • logainofhades
    We need a value section, for the M.2 drives. That mainstream starting price is pretty steep. A 256gb, Sandisk X400 is like half the price of 256gb, Samsung SM951. It might not be as fast, but for most people, it is good enough.
  • junkeymonkey
    I would like to see something on if the ssd has any power loss data protection . seems like a detail that should be covered on each drive review
    to me it could be a important feature that rarely ever discussed or out in any ssd reviews

    maybe toms reviewer would try to cover this from here on out
  • Greg Gregorich
    nice if you include PCI-E adaptors toO.
  • deelybop
    No Crucial drives at all??