Among the key components in any PC, the storage drive is slowest: transferring bits in a fraction of the time your CPU and GPU take to process it or your RAM takes to load it. A poor-performing storage drive often leads to a big bottleneck, forcing your processor (even if it's one of the best CPUs for Gaming) to waste clock cycles, waiting for data to crunch.
Finding the best SSD or solid-state drive for your specific system and needs is key if you want the best gaming PC or laptop, or even if you just want a snappy productivity machine. To find the best SSDs for gaming and productivity, we test dozens of drives each year and highlight the best ones here. We've also added in a best SSD for NAS category.
Picking the Best SSD for You
The latest NVMe SSDs have undercut mainstream drives on the slower SATA interface (which was originally designed for hard drives), but we shouldn't expect to see the end of SATA drives in the near future. Companies are still doing new things with SATA, like Team Group's cavernous 15.3 TB drive. Existing SATA drives will have to continue to get more affordable in order to at least compete on price, but they can't hope to keep up with newer NVMe drives on performance.
Blazing-fast PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSDs, which offer up to double the sequential speeds of the older PCIe 3.0 standard, have become common with Intel and AMD's current platforms both supporting them. In a desktop, you'll need either an X570 motherboard or B550 board on the AMD side, or a Z690 motherboard from Intel.
If your desktop system can handle a PCIe 4.0 drive and you can pay a little extra for it, they're the best SSDs for gaming. For example, the SK hynix P41, our current choice for best SSD overall, is rated for 7,000 MBps reads, 6,500 MBps writes and 1.4 / 1.3 million IOPS. That means less time waiting for game levels to load or videos to transcode. For most laptops, PCIe 3.0 drives are the best SSD choice, because they use less power.
Believe it or not, raw speed isn't everything. In regular productivity tasks such as web browsing or light desktop work, you may not even notice the difference between a PCIe 3.0 SSD and one with a 4.0 interface.
Ultimately, the best SSD for you is one which provides enough capacity to hold your data at a price you can afford. Consider that a high-end, AAA game can use more than 100GB of data and Windows 11 all by itself may need 60GB.
Quick Shopping Tips
When choosing an SSD, consider the following:
- Pick a compatible interface (M.2 PCIe, SATA, Add-in Card): Look at your user manual or a database like the Crucial Memory Finder to determine what types of SSD your computer supports.
- 500GB to 2TB: 1TB is the practical minimum any PC build (perhaps one of the best PC builds) that costs more than $500. 2TB is the best SSD size for anyone that can spend $200+ on a drive. 500GB is the bare minimum anyone should consider at any price. 4TB drives are an expensive luxury at this point.
- SATA is slowest: SATA isn't as fast as M.2 PCIe or a PCIe add-in card, but the majority of desktops and many laptops can take 2.5-inch SATA drives and many doing typical mainstream tasks users won't notice the difference between a good recent SATA drive and a faster PCIe model anyway.
For even more information, check out our SSD Buyer's Guide. Or if you're looking for an external SSD, you can check out our Best External Hard Drives and SSD page, or learn how to save some money by building your own external SSD. Below, you'll find our recommendations for drives with all three major interfaces.
Best SSDs You Can Buy Today
Top SSDs Overall
SK hynix managed to one-up themselves by improving on the already-great Gold P31. The Platinum P41 takes the basic elements that made the Gold P31 so great and turns the dial to 11. The Platinum P41’s performance is excellent with few if any pitfalls, providing excellent balance for a PCIe 4.0 consumer SSD. SK hynix also provides a SSD toolbox and Macrium-based imaging software to round out the package, all with a reasonable warranty.
The Platinum P41 does run a bit hot under sustained load and SK hynix doesn’t provide a heatsink in the box. We recommended buying one. It can also be difficult to find SK hynix’s drives in some regions, at least at a reasonable price. However, availability in the U.S. already seems sufficient with competitive pricing. If you want the best all-around drive, this is the one to get.
If you’re looking for the fastest SSD on the market, Kingston’s KC3000 fills that role, especially now that Intel has stopped producing its Optane products. The KC3000 is a high-performance PCIe 4.0 x4 NVMe SSD that radishes out bleeding-edge speeds of up to 7 GBps of read and write throughput, along with up to one million IOPS.
Similar to the Seagate FireCuda 530 and Corsair MP600 Pro XT, the Kingston KC3000 is powered by the Phison PS5018-E18 and comes paired with Micron’s 176-Layer TLC flash. However, the KC3000’s flash is faster at 1,600 MTps than the MP600’s 1,200 MTps, giving it a tactical advantage.
The 2TB Kingston KC3000’s endurance and performance comes out on top of the Samsung 980 Pro, but that comes at the cost of efficiency. That translates to shorter battery life for laptop applications. The KC3000 also doesn’t come with OPAL-compliant AES hardware encryption and comes in a double-sided form factor at higher capacities. That means the KC3000 may not be the best pick for your mobile device, but is a fantastic SSD for those building a high-end desktop for gaming or workstation for productivity.
Read: Kingston KC3000 Review
With ever-so-much faster random performance, a more consistent write profile, and higher efficiency, Samsung’s 980 PRO earned the title as our top pick for a next-gen PCIe 4.0 x4 NVMe, but WD’s Black SN850 makes for a top-tier runner-up. Depending on the price, you can’t go wrong with either one for your high-end gaming or workstation build.
WD’s Black SN850 paired with the company’s new 16nm WD Black G2 PCIe 4.0 x4 NVMe 1.4 SSD controller marks a substantial improvement in the company’s SSD architecture. WDs Black SN850 can sustain speeds of up to 7/5.3 GBps and deliver very responsive random performance enabling the SSD to go toe-to-toe with our top pick. Although, that is at the cost of high idle power consumption on our desktop test bench. Also, unlike the Samsung 980 Pro, the WD Black SN850 lacks AES 256-bit encryption.
Read: WD Black SN850 Review
Sabrent takes its flagship PCIe 4.0 drive and makes it better with a bundle that includes thermal tape and a PS5 heatsink. This heatsink is designed specifically to fit the PS5 and makes use of its natural airflow. Thermal tape is included for tight bonding, ensuring better thermal dissipation. This combination means you can have a fast PS5 drive without worrying about the drive overheating.
While the heatsink is available separately and will work on other drives, the bundle makes it easy to get the very best performance out of the box. The Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus now comes with even better 176-layer TLC flash, boosting its peak performance. It is also available up to the PS5’s current capacity limit of 4TB for an expansion drive. The primary caveat is that there are significantly cheaper options that will get the job done with the PS5, like the Silicon Power XS70.
We like the Silicon Power XS70 because it hits all the right notes: great performance, an attractive heatsink, and solid pricing. This SSD has an excellent controller for PS5 usage and the newest flash, all with a heatsink designed to fit the PS5. Pricing at 1TB and 2TB is more than reasonable and is better than the competition, all considered, although cheaper but slower options still exist.
We consider drives using the Phison E16 controller to be a significant budget option for PS5 use, but problems with speed have been reported. The strongest alternative would be the S70 Blade. That drive is also a good fit here, but we find the XS70 more compelling on the whole.
M.2 PCIe NVMe Drives
These small, rectangular drives look like sticks of RAM, only smaller. They are usually 80mm long by 22mm wide, described as size 2280, but some may be shorter or longer, so make sure you get one that matches your slot. You can get M.2 drives that support SATA, but most modern desktops and laptops with M.2 slots support the faster PCIe NVMe standard.
Crucial’s P5 Plus is an evolution of the P5 with a focus on improved performance, especially where the original P5 let us down. Built for gamers and creative professionals who want faster load times and more efficient workflows, Crucial’s P5 Plus is a solid PCIe 4.0 x4 SSD that is priced well for its feature set.
Although it banks on value more than flat-out performance, the P5 Plus proved capable of keeping up with the best in most applications. It features a host of specialized algorithms for data protection and hardware-based, OPAL 2.0-compliant AES 256-bit encryption for data security. If you can’t quite afford the Samsung 980 Pro or WD_Black SN850, the P5 Plus is a solid performing alternative that’s worthy of your consideration.
Read: Crucial P5 Plus Review
Powered by Phison PS5018-E18 PCIe 4.0 x4 NVMe SSD controller and Micron’s 96L TLC flash, the Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus boasts some serious hardware that enabled it to shatters write speed records in our testing. Not only is it fast, with its black PCB and matching black PCB and copper tone heat spreader, but it’s also a very attractive M.2. At prices that undercut both WD and Samsung, it’s a great value for those looking to save some cash, but still, get that responsive PCIe 4.0 performance. Plus, it comes in a spacious 4TB capacity, unlike the WD and Samsung, too. But, bear in mind that at its lower price point it lacks AES 256-bit hardware encryption and comes with a 1-year warranty without registration within 90 days.
SK hynix’s Gold P31 touts market leadership as the first retail SSD product to launch with 128-Layer flash. With SK hynix’s newest flash reaching incredible bit density, the Gold P31 hits the market at very low pricing. Listed at competitive prices, the Gold P31 is a fantastic value that will make you think twice about spending that extra $25-$50 on the Samsung 970 EVO Plus.
SK hynix’s Gold P31 is great if you’re looking to increase your laptop storage, not only to gain capacity but to gain battery life, too. While some drives may perform well against the Gold P31 in benchmarking, the SK hynix is much more power-efficient, which will lead to longer off-the-charger sessions. Laptop users who prioritize battery life should definitely put the new SK hynix Gold P31 at the top of their drive list. Additionally, the Gold P31's very strong write performance and ultra-high efficiency make it a well-rounded choice for many desktop users as well.
Read: SK hynix Gold P31 Review
We're quite impressed with the Samsung 970 EVO Plus. Like the WD Black SN750, Samsung’s drive carries over the same controller as its predecessor. But instead of refreshing it with the same flash, Samsung decided to switch things up a bit with its new 9x-layer flash. Just as the flash is stacked to new heights, performance hits new highs, too. The resulting drive is exactly what its name says: a big Plus.
As the first widely-available retail SSD to hit the market with Samsung's latest 9x-layer flash, the Samsung 970 EVO Plus delivers the same performance as the 970 EVO, plus more. The drive consistently proved that it has some of the strongest write performance on the market and can handle tough workloads. It even beat out Samsung’s own 970 PRO in a few tests, which is quite the feat considering the PRO slots in as Samsung's workhorse for workstation-class applications.
Crucial’s P5 is a mainstream PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 NVMe SSD that has a lot of engineering put into its design with Micron’s in-house designed six-core NVMe controller and some of the latest 96L TLC flash available, but ultimately, the company banks on its value to entice its purchase. While it isn’t as bleeding edge fast as the newest Gen4 SSDs on the market and it can get quite hot under heavy loads, the P5 still holds its own for what it is.
Crucial’s P5 is capable of delivering sequential read and write speeds of up to 3.4/3 GBps, looks great with its blacked-out aesthetic, and comes in a slim, single-sided M.2 form factor for broad compatibility. It also comes supported with a standard 5-year warranty and average endurance ratings, along with some value adder software as a bonus. It even features hardware-accelerated AES 256-bit encryption that is OPAL complaint. But, best of all, in recent times it’s gotten even more affordable than ever. Gamer, prosumer, or just your average PC user looking for a storage upgrade, the Crucial P5 is priced to sell at a very lost cost, making it a solid value for those trying to save a few bucks over the absolute best SSDs.
Read: Crucial P5 Review
Patriot’s Viper VPR400 could be seen as the successor to their now-retired VPR100. The heatsink is essentially the same, as is the RGB. Patriot’s sync software works with ASRock, ASUS, Gigabyte, and MSI. In practice, enabling this mode does draw more power and produce more heat but neither should be a problem in a well-ventilated desktop case. Patriot backs all of this up with a 5-year, 800TBW-per-TB warranty.
Performance is good, as would be expected from a drive with InnoGrit’s IG5220 controller and Micron’s 176-layer TLC flash. While DRAM-less and not as fast as high-end PCIe 4.0 drives, this combination remains competitive and more than enough for most users. However, the aesthetics come at a price: the Viper VPR400 is very expensive for what it is. This is therefore a drive for the gamer who is willing to pay more for the perfect thematic build.
Sabrent is no newcomer to high-capacity SSDs. The company first hit 8TB with their Rocket Q, but now it has a TLC drive at that capacity. Currently, no other manufacturer offers a consumer 8TB TLC drive. As such, this drive offers the best of both the capacity and performance worlds, but it comes at a steep price.
The Rocket 4 Plus has a powerful controller and newer flash, but there are some downsides from pushing the capacity envelope: it has lower power efficiency and weaker all-around performance than some of its lower-capacity peers. That means other drives with this controller and Micron’s 176-layer flash do perform better, but they don’t offer nearly the same capacity. Overall, the 8TB Rocket 4 Plus is the fastest 8TB SSD we’ve ever tested, offering the highest performance available at this capacity point. If you’re looking for a better value, though, turn to the QLC version of this same drive.
Sabrent’s 8TB Rocket Q slots in as the industry’s highest-capacity M.2 NVMe SSD. The pint-sized monster is obviously best suited for the data hoarder on the go, but at $1,500, it’ll set you back about as much as some of the best gaming laptops. The drive doesn't just push capacity to the highest we've seen with a slim M.2 SSD; it also impresses with great performance and efficiency, thanks to the new Phison E12S controller and 96-Layer QLC flash. That said, you can look to the Rocket 4 Plus (listed above) if you're after the fastest 8TB SSD on the market.
QLC flash does have its downfalls, like lower endurance and slower write performance after the SLC write cache gets filled up during large file transfers, but the Phison E12S controller helps push the Rocket Q to deliver respectable performance. The pricing is far more amenable than faster alternatives at this capacity, too.
Read: Sabrent Rocket Q Review
Powered by WD’s in-house four-channel DRAM-less architecture and packing the latest BiCS5 TLC flash, WD’s Black SN770 breaks the mainstream mold. Although its peak bandwidth is a bit limited due to its four-channel controller, the SN770 still trades blows with the best, dishing out sequential speeds of up to 5.15/4.9 GBps read/write and up to 740,000/800,000 random read/write IOPS.
Not only is the SN770’s peak performance exceptional, but its QD1 performance is also exceptional, meaning the drive is plenty snappy. With Game Mode enabled via WD’s SSD Dashboard, the Black SN770 can dish out random read speeds that rival the more costly Black SN850. It is also backed with the same endurance ratings and a five-year warranty.
Overall, the WD Black SN770 delivers exceptionally fast performance and is a solid choice for both gamers and mainstream users looking for a consistent-performing SSD at a reasonable price.
Read: WD Black SN770 Review
Silicon Power’s UD90 enters an increasingly-crowded mid-range PCIe 4.0 SSD market segment, but this drive manages to stand out anyway due to its low price. The 1TB SKU, available on Amazon, undercuts other drives within its performance range. This makes it suitable as a budget PlayStation 5 or PC drive, but capacity options are limited. It can also run a bit hot when pushed to its limits, although this should rarely be an issue.
The UD90 demonstrated strong performance marks across most benchmarks with some peaks and some valleys versus competing drives. This is the first drive based on Phison’s E21T controller that we reviewed and we were pleasantly surprised: not only did it keep up with the competition in performance, it did so while being extremely power efficient. The warranty is also competitive, meaning this drive is a strong option if you want to save a few dollars without compromising on performance.
WD’s Blue SN570 is a solid choice for mainstream builders putting together a new system or even gamers on a budget. The Blue SN570 delivers snappy performance in most consumer work thanks to its BiCS5 TLC flash and an improved NVMe SSD controller design. This pairing makes for a forty percent improvement in sequential performance and solid gains in 4KB random read workloads, positioning it shoulder-to-shoulder against Samsung’s 980. However, at lower prices than the Samsung 980 and also backed with a solid warranty, support software, and decent endurance ratings, the WD Blue SN570 is an even better value.
Read: WD Blue SN570 Review
This drive is effectively an updated WD Black SN750, which was known for its consistent performance and good efficiency, but it’s tailored for NAS usage. That combination makes it a nice choice for a NVMe NAS SSD, especially when coupled with TLC up to 4TB.
The WD Red SN700 doesn’t offer anything special for the general user, but is great for use in a NAS. The underlying technology is also starting to show its age, but that maturity is important for critical storage systems like a NAS where performance isn’t as much of a focus. The WD Red SN700 also doesn’t have power loss protection, although that isn’t surprising as this drive isn’t for an enterprise application. However, the warranty and rated endurance are strong, which makes this a good buy for the right usage, which in this case is in a NAS.
Read: WD Red SN700 SSD Review
You can get a SATA drive in the M.2 form factor, but most SATA drives are 2.5-inch models, which allows them to drop into the same bays that hold laptop hard drives. SATA drives are the cheapest and still the most popular.
Samsung continues to show us that it has the best SATA SSDs on the market. Following in the footsteps of its predecessor with top-ranking performance, great power efficiency, and all the features you could want out of SATA SSD, the 870 EVO dominates. While not as endurant as the PRO models, the 870 EVO comes with enough endurance for most users. Whether you’re a gamer or a prosumer, with high capacities of up to 4TB available, there’s a capacity for almost any need. You don’t need to look farther for a better SATA SSD – this is your best pick.
Read: Samsung 870 EVO Review
If you don’t want to dish out big bucks on something in the NVMe flavor but still want strong SATA performance, the MX500 is a great choice. As an alternative to the Samsung 860 EVO, it offers similar performance and has a strong history of reliability. Usually priced to sell, the MX500 is a top value at any capacity you need.
Read: Crucial MX500 Review
Restrained by the SATA interface, but still need the absolute highest endurance and performance you can get? As the pinnacle of SATA performance inside and out, Samsung’s 860 PRO is the SSD to buy.
Like the Samsung 970 PRO, the 860 PRO uses Samsung’s 64L MLC V-NAND, which helps propel it to the top of the charts in our rounds of benchmarking and makes for some incredible endurance figures. You can get capacities up to 4TB, and endurance figures can be as high as 4,800 TBW. But with prices that are triple that of your typical mainstream SATA SSD, the 860 PRO is mainly for businesses with deep pockets.
Read: Samsung 860 Pro Review
Add-in Card SSDs
These drives are add-on cards, just like graphics cards or sound cards, so they only work with desktops with a spare PCIe 3.0 x4, x8, or x16 slot. However, because they are larger than other form factors, they have room for more chips and better cooling, making them the fastest drives around.
You could get by with using one of our top M.2 picks for workstation use, but flash devices have rather limited capabilities in mixed workloads, so they can still bottleneck the most grueling workloads. For those who don’t want to just 'get by,' but absolutely remove storage as a potential bottleneck, then Intel’s Optane SSD DC P5800X is for you. This is a U.2 design, so you'll find it in most workstations riding on a U.2-to-PCIe carrier, essentially transforming the drive into an add-in-card.
Powered by the company’s second-generation Optane storage media. Intel’s Optane SSD DC P5800X is a supercharged NVMe SSD that can take on nearly any workload you throw its way and ask for more. Capable of delivering sequential performance figures of up to 7.2/6.2 GBps, hitting upwards of 1.5 million random read/write IOPS, and warrantied to withstand up to 292 petabytes, Intel’s Optane SSD DC P5800X is the fastest and most endurant NVMe SSD we’ve ever tested. But it’s pricey, very power-hungry like its predecessors, and has limited capacity compared to its NAND flash counterparts.
The Samsung 980 Pro and WD_Black SN850 are our Best picks, but that doesn’t mean they are the fastest SSDs on the market. We know Optane’s DC P5800X is unearthly fast, but has limited capacity and doesn’t come in the same efficient M.2 form factor. The FireCuda 530, on the other hand, is available in capacities of up to 4TB, comes in that small M.2 form factor, and delivers incredible sustained write speeds for a flash-based SSD.
If you don’t have that deep of pockets for Optane, or maybe just want to out-benchmark your friends, the FireCuda 530 might be up your alley. Sporting Phison’s beastly, penta-core PS5018-E18 NVMe SSD controller and Micron’s fast 176-Layer TLC flash, the FireCuda 530 outperforms both the Samsung and WD across the board and it comes backed by better warranty and support service. However, its high-performance, endurance, and data rescue support add quite a bit to pricing, making it a very premium buy targeted for the professional crowd rather than the average gamer.
We have tested both the original version of this drive, which had a heatsink and 96-layer flash, as well as the updated Gaming version which has a heatsink and 176-layer flash. Inland also has updated this model with that flash and now offers a 4TB capacity option, sans heatsink for all capacities. We do recommend a heatsink for heavier workloads, which can be added yourself if you don’t fancy the Gaming model of Inland’s line or need a 4TB option.
The combination of the Phison E18 controller and 176-layer TLC flash from Micron is a match made in heaven: unrivaled peak performance and, with the right cache design as on the Gaming model, strong sustained performance. That is ideal for workstation tasks, and Inland’s drives are cheaper than competitor offerings while maintaining a decent warranty. This is a barebones drive but will get the job done.
WD’s Black AN1500 is a unique NVMe SSD that combines two of the company’s SN730 NVMe SSDs and pairs them into a RAID 0 with an enterprise-grade RAID controller. The drive delivers the speed of the PCIe Gen4 interface to systems that only support PCIe Gen3.
The drive delivers up to 6.4/4.1 GBps in sequential read/write performance, providing PCIe Gen4-like performance over its PCIe 3.0 X8 interface - but for systems that don’t support PCIe Gen4. However, while the drive offers up incredible performance, it consumes a lot of power and is rather pricey. Fortunately, endurance ratings don’t restrict its warranty coverage, and there is, of course, that well-implemented RGB lighting.
Read: WD Black AN1500 Review
Finding Discounts on the Best SSDs
Whether you're shopping for one of the best SSDs or one that didn't quite make our list, you may find savings by checking out the latest Crucial promo codes, Newegg promo codes, Amazon promo codes, Corsair coupon codes, Samsung promo codes or Micro Center coupons.