As CPU performance hits new and unforeseen heights, processors increasingly spend time waiting on data from hard drives. This is what makes storage today's most glaring bottleneck, and overcoming it requires an SSD. At the end of the day, the real-world differences between SSDs in a desktop environment aren't altogether large. The most noticeable performance increase occurs when you go from a hard disk to just about any solid-state drive.
With that said, there are measurable attributes separating one SSD from another. But you'll need to approach a purchasing decision as the sum of many parts. Within individual apps, you'll hardly notice the difference between most SATA 3Gb/s and faster SATA 6Gb/s drives. It's the more taxing workloads that make a faster device worth owning.
So, if you don’t have the time to read the benchmarks, or if you don’t feel confident enough in your ability to pick the right drive, fear not. Every month, we publish a simple list of the best SSDs for the money across the full spectrum of capacities.
June 2015 Updates
Last month saw several SSD reviews published. The Intel SSD 750 400GB delivered the goods when it comes to performance, but we're not fans of the smaller capacity compared to Samsung's 512GB SM951. The SSD 750 is faster than the SM951-AHCI in many tests, but things will soon change when SM951-NVMe devices ship next month. Our article that compares SM951-AHCI to SM951-NVMe to the 850 Pro shows exactly how much faster new PCIe-based storage is in relation to older SATA technology.
At Computex, we learned the controller Intel uses on the DC P3700 and SSD 750 supports LDPC advanced ECC. The show previewed several SSD updates, from new PCIe controllers ready to take over the market, to very low cost SSDs that will soon ship in OEM systems. Every major player is ready to tackle both the high and low end of the market: Marvell, Seagate SandForce, JMicron, Micron, Silicon Motion and Phison. Phison was the big winner though, with two important updates. The first was the S10 controller running with 2TB of capacity. On the other end of the performance scale, Phison displayed a new NVMe controller that scales to 1TB: the PS5007-E7. Several companies displayed NVMe PCIe 3.0 x4 controllers, but Phison was the only company ready to hand over the goods to reviewers. Several companies had the new PS5007-E7 in booths as well. This leads us to believe that new products are just around the corner. Of the products on display, G.Skill had the most polished, with the Phoenix Blade X.
There are no changes to the charts this month. We expect some changes next month when new low cost SSDs come out of testing. We also expect some Samsung announcements soon, although the Samsung SSD Global Summit has been postponed due to the MERS outbreak in South Korea.
Top Values In SSDs
About Our Recommendations
- We only recommend SSDs we've actually tested.
- There are several criteria we use to rank SSDs. We try to evenly weigh performance per dollar at each capacity tier and recommend what we believe to the best drive based on our own experiences and information garnered from other sources.
- The list is based on U.S. 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
256GB SATA Recommendations
512GB SATA Recommendations
1TB SATA Recommendations
M.2 PCIe Recommendations