Best SSDs 2024: From Budget SATA to Blazing-Fast NVMe

Best SSDs: Reviewed and Benchmarked
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Of the key components in any PC, the storage drive is the 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 as it waits 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 have multiple categories, including the best SSD for NAS and the Best SSD for the Steam Deck listed below. For those on the hunt for the Best SSD for the PS5, be sure to head to that link for our recommendations based on our exhaustive testing. If you're looking for the ultimate in cheap and deep storage, we also have a list of the best hard drives.

Picking the Best SSD for You

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The newest budget NVMe SSDs have undercut the pricing of 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 SSDs any time soon.

The era of PCIe 5.0 SSDs is upon us, propelling us to new heights of stratospheric SSD performance. Blazing-fast PCIe 5.0 M.2 SSDs, which offer up to twice the sequential speeds of the older PCIe 4.0 standard, are now supported with Intel and AMD's current platforms, the Zen 4 Ryzen 7000 and 13th-Gen Raptor Lake.

It's great if your desktop system can handle a PCIe 5.0 drive, but they are still new and expensive, so they aren't a requirement: For example, the PCIe 4.0 Samsung 990 Pro is our current choice for the best SSD overall, and the best SSD for gaming. This drive is rated for 7,450 / 6,900 MBps of sequential read/write throughput and 1.2 / 1.55 million read/write IOPS. That means less time waiting for game levels to load or videos to transcode, not to mention a snappier experience in Windows. 

The PCIe 5.0 SSDs still have plenty to offer. The Crucial T700 is unquestionably the fastest consumer SSD in the world that you can actually buy, at least for now, delivering up to a blistering 12.4 GB/s of sequential throughput and 1.5 million random IOPS over the PCIe 5.0 interface. That's an amazing level of performance from an amazingly compact device. 

While the PCIe 5.0 drives are the fastest SSDs money can buy right now, 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, let alone a new bleeding-edge PCIe 5.0 model. The latest PCIe 5.0 SSDs also carry a heavy price premium for now, so you're probably best suited with a PCIe 4.0 or 3.0 model — unless you're after the fastest possible performance money can buy, of course. If that's the case and your system supports it, go for a new PCIe 5.0 SSD. 

Ultimately, the best SSD for you is one that 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. 

Best SSDs in 2024 at a glance (more info below):

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Best SSDsBest SSDAlternate
Best Overall / Best M.2 SSDSamsung 990 ProWD Black SN850X
Fastest SSDCrucial T705Crucial T700
Best Budget M.2 SSD Crucial P3Row 2 - Cell 2
Best SSD for PS5Inland Gaming Performance PlusRow 3 - Cell 2
Best SSD for Steam Deck, MobileSabrent Rocket 2230 Row 4 - Cell 2
Best M.2 SSD for LaptopsSK hynix Gold P31Teamgoup MP44

Here's the shortlist of our rankings below, but we have deeper breakdowns for these drives below, along with far more picks for other categories, like RGB SSDs, value-centric PCIe 3.0 SSDs, workstation SSDs, DirectStorage SSDs, and SATA SSDs, among other categories. 

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 for any PC build that costs more than $500 (perhaps one of the best PC builds). 2TB is the best SSD capacity for anyone that can spend $200+ on a drive. 500GB is the bare minimum anyone should consider at any price. 4TB drives have also plummeted recently, so good deals abound.
  • SATA is slowest: SATA isn't as fast as an M.2 PCIe or a PCIe add-in card, but the majority of desktops and many laptops support 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.

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

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Best Overall / Best M.2 SSD

Specifications

Capacities: 1TB, 2TB, 4TB (2023)
Form Factor: M.2 2280
Transfer Interface/Protocol: PCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe
Sequential Reads/Writes: Up to 7,450 MBps / 6,900 MBps
Warranty/Endurance: 5 Years / Up to 2400 TBW

Reasons to buy

+
The fastest drive we've tested to date
+
Samsung software and support
+
Heatsink and RGB options
+
Consistent, efficient, and cool-running

Reasons to avoid

-
MSRP is too high

Samsung hit back at its competitors with this impressive update to the 980 Pro. New hardware and new options, including a heatsink with RGB and a 4TB variant, have allowed Samsung to retake the M.2 SSD crown. Performance is excellent across the board, setting a few new performance records, such as with 4K random read performance. In our testing, the drive was consistent, power-efficient, and cool. Samsung has also updated its software for this drive, giving it the best SSD toolbox available, and the drive is backed by a competent warranty and decent support.

$20 extra for a heatsink and RGB is a good deal, and as we see with all vendors recently, pricing is at or near all-time lows. Samsung will likely discount this drive quickly. There are also competing PCIe 5.0 drives on the market that serve up faster performance, but they still carry a premium. 

Read: Samsung 990 Pro Review 

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Best M.2 SSD Alternative

Specifications

Capacities: 1TB, 2TB, 4TB
Form Factor: M.2 2280
Transfer Interface/Protocol: PCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe
Sequential Reads/Writes: Up to 7,300 / 6,600 MBps
Warranty/Endurance: 5 Years / Up to 2400 TBW

Reasons to buy

+
Top-tier performance
+
Large, consistent SLC cache
+
Strong warranty and software toolbox
+
Optional heatsink and RGB

Reasons to avoid

-
Pricing

WD has taken its popular Black SN850 SSD and turned it up to 11. The Black SN850X leverages an improved controller and newer flash to get the most out of the PCIe 4.0 interface. Performance is improved across the board, and the drive rivals most of the top contenders in the PCIe 4.0 market. There's also a heatsink option that comes with RGB at 1TB and 2TB. WD also supports the SSD with its decent Dashboard application and a respectable five-year warranty.

The M.2 Black SN850X was a bit pricey at launch, however, with a daunting MSRP, but those prices have largely come down. The touted Game Mode 2.0 feature felt incomplete in our testing, although WD ensures us that this will improve with future firmware updates. All-in-all, this is a good compromise if you can’t find the Samsung 990 Pro. This drive is also our best pick for PS5 SSDs, as you can read about in the #5 slot below. 

Read: WD Black SN850X Review

Best M.2 PCIe NVMe Drives 2023

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.

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Fastest SSD

Specifications

Capacities: 1TB, 2TB, 4TB
Form Factor: M.2 2280
Transfer Interface/Protocol: PCIe 5.0 x4 / NVMe 2.0
Sequential Reads/Writes: Up to 14,500 / 12,700 MB/s
Warranty/Endurance: 5 years / Up to 2,400 TBW

Reasons to buy

+
Fastest drive to date with great all-around performance
+
Optional passive heatsink
+
DirectStorage-optimized firmware
+
Crucial software and encryption support

Reasons to avoid

-
High price
-
Real world gains are sometimes questionable
-
Power-hungry with a lot of heat output

The Crucial T705 is the fastest drive we have tested to date, finally breaking the 14 GB/s barrier. Careful work with Phison’s Max14um reference SSD design has led Crucial to eke out even more performance, taking their excellent T700 - a previous Fastest SSD position holder - up a notch. The optional heatsink design remains passive, which is a bonus, and the drive can also be purchased bare. Aside from the solid sequential performance, the T705 also has good sustained performance and can reach an incredible 1,550K / 1,800K random read and write IOPS at 2TB.

This is the fastest drive, for now, although there will be others. The Sabrent Rocket 5 is not too far behind, and there are drives built on non-Phison controllers - like the InnoGrit IG5666-based Teamgroup T-Force GE Pro - that also promise over 14 GB/s of potential throughput. Gen 5 drives remain an enthusiast product due to cost and availability concerns, and so far they have proven inefficient and unwise for laptops and the PS5. Still, if you want the fastest consumer storage you can buy, the T705 is the fastest drive on the market.

Read: Crucial T705 Review

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Fastest SSD Alternative

Specifications

Capacities: 1TB, 2TB, 4TB
Form Factor: M.2 2280 Double-sided
Transfer Interface/Protocol: PCIe 5.0 x4
Sequential Reads/Writes: 12,400 MBps / 11,800 MB/s
Warranty/Endurance: 5 Years / Up to 2,400 TBW

Reasons to buy

+
High all-around performance, fastest to date
+
Effective passive heatsink, optionally DIY
+
DirectStorage-optimized firmware

Reasons to avoid

-
Early adopter product with incoming competition
-
Much higher price relative to fast PCIe 4.0 SSDs
-
Only modest real-world performance gains
-
Optional heatsink only does "okay"

Crucial's T700 is the world's fastest SSD, taking the hands-down performance lead in every performance category. That groundbreaking speed comes courtesy of the drive's PCIe 5.0 x4 connection, which offers a pathway for up to twice the throughput of PCIe 4.0 SSDs, and the Phison E26 SSD controller paired with Micron's leading-edge 232-Layer 3D TLC flash. That potent common creates an SSD that's the fastest on the market for PC game loading times. 

Yes, faster drives will be released to the market near the end of the year, but for now, the T700's 12.4 / 11.8 GB/s of throughput leads the market, not to mention the beastly up to 1.5 million random read/write IOPS that remains uncontested by any SSD on the market. The Crucial T700 can take a beating, too: The T700 doesn't lose as much steam as other drives during heavy sustained workloads, making it a suitable drive for even the heaviest of workloads, like workstation-class video editing.

Many of the first PCIe 5.0 SSDs come with active cooling solutions, meaning they have a fan attached to the heatsink. In contrast, the T700 has a stylish passive heatsink that does an admirable job of assuring top-notch performance. Crucial also offers the drive without a heatsink, thus allowing you to use either your own third-party cooler or the in-built motherboard M.2 heatsinks that are becoming increasingly popular. 

The Crucial T700 also has plenty of endurance, with 600TB of write endurance per TB of capacity, meaning you can confidently hammer the drive with heavier workloads, too. The drive also comes backed by Crucial's five-year warranty, leaving pricing as one of the few quibbles — you can expect to pay a premium for this drive. However, you get premium performance in exchange.   

Read: Crucial T700 Review

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Best 4TB SSD

Specifications

Capacities: 1TB, 2TB, 4TB (2023)
Form Factor: M.2 2280
Transfer Interface/Protocol: PCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe
Sequential Reads/Writes: Up to 7,450 MBps / 6,900 MBps
Warranty/Endurance: 5 Years / Up to 2400 TBW

Reasons to buy

+
Fastest Gen 4 SSD to date
+
Samsung software and support
+
Heatsink/RGB option
+
Single-sided

Reasons to avoid

-
Pricing

4TB has become a more attractive capacity point for SSDs as time has gone on. While there are now many options available, most come with compromises of one sort or another. You may have to settle for QLC, a weaker controller, no DRAM, unreliable hardware, etc. This is not always a big deal, especially if the drive is intended to be a secondary gaming drive. In the PlayStation 5, however, extra cooling is beneficial, so it’s convenient to have a heatsink option available. At the same time, laptops favor bare drives and especially single-sided drives, the latter of which have been very rare with TLC until recently.

Samsung has managed all of this with its high-performing 990 Pro SSD. You have a powerful controller with DRAM, cutting-edge TLC flash, and a single-sided drive with or without heatsink even at 4TB. WD’s SN850X has been out a while at 4TB but has no heatsink option and is double-sided, with the SN850P being a latter heatsinked version for the PS5. There has been an increasing amount of 4TB TLC drives, including the Lexar NM790 and Addlink A93, but these cannot compare to the power and brand power of Samsung’s 990 Pro. You do have to pay for that privilege given the high MSRP, but at this time there is no substitute.

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Best 4TB PCIe 3.0/Gen 3 M.2 SSD

Specifications

Capacities: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB
Form Factor: M.2 2280
Transfer Interface/Protocol: PCIe 3.0 x4 / NVMe 1.3
Sequential Reads/Writes: 3,500 / 2,900 MB/s
Warranty/Endurance: 5 years / Up to 2,400 TBW

Reasons to buy

+
Inexpensive way to get TLC at 4TB
+
DRAM

Reasons to avoid

-
Gen 3 with older hardware
-
Runs hotter and is less power-efficient

The Teamgroup MP34 is in the unique position of offering TLC NAND flash at 4TB while remaining affordable. It uses older hardware, including a Realtek controller with minimal DRAM, and can only push PCIe 3.0 levels of bandwidth. Still, it offers a compelling alternative to QLC-based drives like the Crucial P3 and may be less expensive than PCIe 4.0 options such as the Crucial P3 Plus. This is the drive to get if you want capacity at the lowest price possible without needing to go for a DRAM-less, QLC-based option.

There are caveats that come with older hardware. This drive will run hotter and pull more power. It’s probably best used only in a desktop, and you may need to add a heatsink. It won’t work for the PS5, either. Teamgroup has a reputation for maintaining TLC in many of its products, such as the MP44L, which has also been on our list, so if that’s a factor for you, then the MP34 might be the solution.

Read: Team Group MP34 M.2 NVMe SSD Review

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Best Budget M.2 SSD

Specifications

Capacities: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB
Form Factor: M.2 2280
Transfer Interface/Protocol: PCIe 3.0 x4
Sequential Reads/Writes: Up to 3,500 MBps / 3,000 MBps
Warranty/Endurance: Up to 5 Years / Up to 800 TBW

Reasons to buy

+
High capacity options
+
Relatively cheap per GB, especially on sale
+
Efficient and cool
+
5-year warranty and software support

Reasons to avoid

-
QLC
-
DRAM-less
-
Limited to PCIe 3.0
-
Low Endurance

The Crucial P3 is the little sibling to the P3 Plus. There’s not much difference between the two, other than the P3 being limited by its PCIe 3.0 interface. This isn’t all bad, as the P3 is a bit cheaper and also more efficient. In fact, it’s incredibly efficient, making it a useful addition to any system. The lack of a 4.0 interface reduces its maximum bandwidth and sequential performance, plus puts it out of range for use in the PlayStation 5.

It’s nice to see some newer hardware in the PCIe 3.0 SSD market segment, especially with capacities of up to 4TB. Crucial backs it with a full 5-year warranty and decent software support. However, its guaranteed write endurance is quite low. The P3 is based on QLC and is also DRAM-less, so it might be prone to potential performance issues. It’s also best at higher capacities. Still, it’s a good option on sale for an upgrade, or if you just need more NVMe-class bulk storage.

Read: Crucial P3 Review

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Best Budget Gen 4 M.2 SSD

Specifications

Capacities: 1TB, 2TB, 4TB
Form Factor: M.2 2280
Transfer Interface/Protocol: PCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe 1.4
Sequential Reads/Writes: 5,000 / Up to 4,800 MB/s
Warranty/Endurance: 5 years / Up to 2,400 TBW

Reasons to buy

+
Inexpensive way to get 4TB
+
Relatively good/reliable controller and flash
+
Power efficient

Reasons to avoid

-
QLC-based (2TB/4TB)
-
Fastest, similar drives are on the way

The Crucial P3 is a great all-around budget drive, but it’s limited to PCIe 3.0 speeds. Its bigger brother, the P3 Plus, has more competition at PCIe 4.0. The least expensive drives will be DRAM-less with QLC NAND flash, but there are many to pick from if you need 4TB. Right now, the Silicon Power UD90 is a pretty good choice. It’s inexpensive but uses tried-and-true hardware with a well-known controller and relatively decent QLC. If budget is your number one priority, it’s not a bad pick.

This drive would be perfectly at home as a secondary drive for games, storage, and more. Hard drives remain less expensive per gigabyte for this application but have far lower performance. The only place an SSD like this may hitch up is with seriously large sustained writes or with a very overfull drive. In most cases, though, 5 GB/s is more than enough, and the UD90 has a leg up over the PCIe 3.0 P3 in this respect.

Read: Silicon Power UD90 SSD Review

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Best SSD for PS5

Specifications

Capacities: 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, 8TB
Form Factor: M.2 2280
Transfer Interface/Protocol: x4 PCIe 4.0 / NVMe 1.4
Sequential Reads/Writes: 7,000 / 6,850 MB/s
Warranty/Endurance: 5 years / Up to 6,000 TBW (8TB)

Reasons to buy

+
Solid all-around performance
+
Wide range of capacities
+
PS5-compliant heatsink included
+
Affordable

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the fastest drive possible
-
Not as power-efficient as newer drives
-
No software support

The Inland Gaming Performance Plus is a mature platform that performs well in the PS5, and the included heatsink means one less thing to worry about. It also comes in a great range of capacities, including 8TB, making it perfect for game libraries of any size. While it may not be fancy, this drive is a great value for PS5 and desktop gaming. While the SN850X and 990 Pro are faster, they’re also significantly more expensive.

Newer drives, like the Lexar NM790 and Crucial T500, are more power efficient, although these tend to tap out at 2TB or at most 4TB. Those drives are heatsink-optional, and while it’s true the Gaming Performance Plus comes sans heatsink in the Performance Plus, we think it’s worth investing in cooling for the PS5 for long-term use. This drive’s hardware provides the best performance consistency, and its easy availability is a plus.

Read: Inland Gaming Performance Plus SSD Review

Crucial 2TB T500 SSD

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Best Budget SSD for PS5

Specifications

Capacities: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB (2024)
Form Factor: M.2 2280
Transfer Interface/Protocol: PCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe 2.0
Sequential Reads/Writes: Up to 7,400 / 7,000 MB/s
Warranty/Endurance: 5 Years / Up to 1,200 TBW (2TB)

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent all-around performance
+
Power-efficient
+
Single-sided
+
Optional PS5-compliant heatsink 

Reasons to avoid

-
Pricing
-
Inconsistent sustained performance
-
No 4TB option (yet)

The Crucial T500 is a high-end PCIe 4.0 x4 NVMe SSD that dishes out speeds of up to 7.4 / 7.0 GB/s of read/write throughput along with up to 1.18 million IOPS. The 2TB model checks in at just over $100 (it comes without the heatsink, which costs an extra $23), while the 1TB with a heatsink weighs in at a mere $64. That 1TB drive is particularly attractive as a budget upgrade option.

The drive dishes out plenty of performance, and while it's not quite as fast in the PS5 read test as the top drives, it was basically just as fast in our real-world file copy tests. As noted in our Best SSD for PS5 article, the difference between the fastest and slowest SSDs in real-world gaming is incredibly slim, so the T500's price tag will draw in the value seekers.

The endurance ratings on the various T500 models are a bit lower than some of the competition, topping out at 1,200 TBW for the 2TB drive, but will you really completely fill and erase the drive 600 times while using it in a PS5? Probably not. You can also examine the Crucial P5 Plus as a similar-performing alternative that may save you a few dollars, depending on sales.

Read: Crucial T500 Review

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Best All-Around Alternative M.2 SSD

Specifications

Capacities: 1TB, 2TB
Form Factor: M.2 2280 (with or without heatsink)
Transfer Interface/Protocol: PCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe 1.4
Sequential Reads/Writes: 7,000 / 6,500 MB/s
Warranty/Endurance: 5 years / Up to 1,200 TBW

Reasons to buy

+
Good to excellent all-around performance
+
Power efficient
+
Works in laptops, PS5

Reasons to avoid

-
DRAM-less
-
Significant competition

The Corsair MP600 Elite is the first of a new wave of Phison-based SSDs, using the new DRAM-less E27T controller with Kioxia BiCS6 162-Layer TLC. It’s the first drive we’ve tested with this hardware, and we were pleasantly surprised: performance is very good across the board, and the drive is also fairly power-efficient. It competes with drives like the Lexar NM790, which is more efficient and has a 4TB option, and the Crucial T500, which has DRAM but also some drawbacks.

While we think the T500, with its 232-Layer TLC NAND flash and DRAM-equipped controller, is the best all-around M.2 SSD, especially since its four-channel design also lends it to good use in laptops and the PS5, there are many viable alternatives. Of these, the Corsair MP600 Elite is the first among its peers. Its heatsink is thankfully optional, and it performs well where it matters. We feel it has less of a hot spot issue than Maxio MAP1602-based drives like the NM790, which makes it a more reliable all-around pick, although if you need DRAM, go with the T500.

Read: Corsair MP600 Elite SSD Review

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Best SSD for Steam Deck, Mobile

Specifications

Capacities: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
Form Factor: M.2 2230 Single-sided
Transfer Interface/Protocol: PCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe
Sequential Reads/Writes: Up to 5,000 MBps / 4,300 MBps
Warranty/Endurance: 2-Year (5-Year with registration)

Reasons to buy

+
Retail PCIe M.2 2230 SSD
+
Good all-around and sustained performance
+
Very efficient
+
Known brand with support and registered warranty

Reasons to avoid

-
Pricey
-
No 2TB option yet
-
Full warranty requires registration

The Sabrent Rocket 2230 is a fast and efficient M.2 2230 drive designed for devices that need smaller PCIe SSDs, like the Steam Deck or Microsoft’s Surface Pro series. Such smaller drives are usually sold only with pre-built OEM machines. A retail option like the Rocket 2230 means that you can avoid second-hand drives that may lack reliable support and a warranty.

Since the Rocket 2230’s launch, there have been many competing drives released that could be a better value if the price is right. These include the Corsair Mini MP600, which is virtually identical but only available at 1TB. The Inland TN446 is also similar and has a 512GB option. The Rocket 2230 still holds on as being the only one with a 256GB option, though.

Retail 2TB M.2 2230 drives use slower QLC flash, although this is not all that detrimental in the Deck. It’s also possible to get the OEM WD SN740 with TLC up to 2TB, but it has a higher power draw and costs more than some QLC alternatives. This leaves the Rocket 2230 as the best overall drive for this segment with good performance, efficiency, and capacity options, but make sure to compare pricing when buying.

The Rocket 2230 has good all-around performance and maintains a solid level of performance in sustained workloads. It is also quite efficient in our tests thanks to its blend of a newer PCIe 4.0 controller and 176-Layer NAND flash. You can get the same results with many M.2 2280 drives at a much lower cost, however. The drive is also currently limited to just 1TB, and product registration is required to get the full warranty. Still, it’s the best choice for certain machines, particularly the popular Steam Deck.

Read: Sabrent Rocket 2230 SSD Review

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Alternative Best SSD for Steam Deck/ROG Ally

Specifications

Capacities: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB
Form Factor: M.2 2230
Transfer Interface/Protocol: PCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe 1.4
Sequential Reads/Writes: 5,150 / 4,900 MB/s
Warranty/Endurance: 5 years / Up to 1,200 TBW

Reasons to buy

+
2TB TLC in single-sided M.2 2230
+
Good performance

Reasons to avoid

-
Runs hotter with more power draw
-
Somewhat more expensive than QLC options

The WD Black SN770M is unique in that it offers 2TB of TLC NAND flash in the tiny M.2 2230 form factor in a single-sided design. This makes it optimal for use in the Steam Deck, ASUS ROG Ally, and other portable gaming/computing devices. Some of these can take double-sided drives or longer drives, but the most popular of them all - the Deck and Deck OLED - work best with this form factor. For a long time, it was only possible to get QLC if you wanted 2TB, but with the SN770M, that compromise is no longer required.

This comes at a cost as the older hardware on the SN770M - which is the same as the popular M.2 2280 Black SN770 - pulls more power and puts out more heat. For regular gaming use, this wasn’t an issue in our testing. The difference in battery life is essentially negligible, and the drive is usually not pushed enough for its direct heat output to be an issue. Therefore, it offers the best baseline performance in this form factor for now, but QLC-based alternatives may be more affordable.

Read: WD Black SN770M Review

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Best Value PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSD

Specifications

Capacities: 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB
Form Factor: M.2 2280
Transfer Interface/Protocol: PCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe 1.4
Sequential Reads/Writes: 5,150 / 4,900 MB/s
Warranty/Endurance: 5 years / Up to 1,200 TBW

Reasons to buy

+
Affordable TLC at 2TB
+
Power efficient

Reasons to avoid

-
E27T-based drives are on the way 

With Crucial phasing out the P5 Plus for the new T500, which is an excellent SSD, there’s a need for a value drive to replace it in our lineup. Right now, that drive is the Teamgroup MP44L. While many drives in this area use QLC at 2TB, Teamgroup has stuck with TLC, which makes this drive a great value at that capacity. It also offers smaller capacities that are often missing these days with newer NVMe SSDs. It’s an affordable drive with fast and efficient hardware without any serious drawbacks.

In time, drives built on the Phison E21T controller - like the MP44L - will be replaced by those with the newer E27T, which promises more throughput. Different or newer flash is also possible. For now, though, the MP44L offers a good opportunity to get a “fast enough” SSD without any sacrifices if you don’t need 7 GB/s. This makes it a good buy, especially as it out-benchmarks the older P5 Plus in most areas.

Read: Team Group MP44L SSD Review 

Best M.2 SSD for Laptops: SK hynix Gold P31 (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Best M.2 SSD for Laptops

Specifications

Capacities: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB
Form Factor: M.2 2280 Single-sided
Transfer Interface/Protocol: PCIe 3.0 x4 / NVMe 1.3
Sequential Reads/Writes: 3,500 MBps / 3,200 MBps
Warranty/Endurance: 5 Years / Up to 1,200 TBW

Reasons to buy

+
Class-leading power efficiency
+
Top-tier performance
+
Competitive endurance and 5-year warranty
+
Single sided-form factor
+
Low cost
+
AES 256-bit encryption

Reasons to avoid

-
The 2TB model is a little slower than the 1TB model
-
Black PCB only for 2TB capacity
-
Encryption is not OPAL compliant 

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 

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Best Alternative/4.0 M.2 SSD for Laptops

Specifications

Capacities: 512GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, 8TB
Form Factor: M.2 2280
Transfer Interface/Protocol: x4 PCIe 4.0 / NVMe 2.0
Sequential Reads/Writes: 7,400 / 6,900 MB/s
Warranty/Endurance: 5-Year / Up to 6000TBW

Reasons to buy

+
Strong performance
+
Power-efficient
+
Wide range of capacity options

Reasons to avoid

-
Competition at most capacities

The Team MP44 is part of the vanguard for new and better DRAM-less SSDs. Newer controllers and flash are letting budget/value drives push the limits of the PCIe 4.0 interface while providing high capacities without making compromises. They can have the endurance and performance of TLC and the high power efficiency of four-channel, DRAM-less controllers, all without extra cost. Less power means less heat, and these drives are also designed to be single-sided. That combination makes the MP44 perfect for laptops.

The SK hynix Gold P31 is still the gold standard for laptop SSDs, especially as it has DRAM, but it’s limited to PCIe 3.0 bandwidth, isn’t always available, and is limited to 2TB of capacity. The MP44 can get twice the bandwidth, but even in a 3.0 slot, it is inexpensive for 4TB and even has an 8TB option. Other alternatives, like the Crucial P3 Plus or Corsair MP600 Core XT, are slower and use QLC. The heatsink found on the Addlink A93 and other SSDs preclude them from laptop use and can add a little cost. Otherwise, the MP44 will have some competition at lower capacities, but it is worth a look if you can find it at the right price.

Read: Teamgroup MP44 SSD Review 

Best RGB M.2 SSD: Patriot Viper VPR400 (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Best RGB M.2 SSD

Specifications

Capacities: 512GB, 1TB, 2TB
Form Factor: M.2 2280
Transfer Interface/Protocol: PCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe
Sequential Reads/Writes: Up to 4,600 MBps / 4,400 MBps
Warranty/Endurance: 5 Years / Up to 1,600 TBW (estimated)

Reasons to buy

+
RGB!
+
Able to sync RGB with major motherboards using software
+
Attractive heatsink
+
Solid performance
+
Good warranty

Reasons to avoid

-
Very expensive

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.

Read: Patriot Viper VPR400 Review

Best High-Performance High-Capacity M.2 SSD: Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 8TB SSD (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Best High-Performance High-Capacity M.2 SSD

Specifications

Capacities: 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, 8TB
Form Factor: M.2 2280
Transfer Interface/Protocol: PCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe
Sequential Reads/Writes: Up to 7,000/6,850 MBps (4TB)
Warranty/Endurance: Up to 5 Years / Up to 6,000 TBW

Reasons to buy

+
Very high capacity
+
Uses TLC and not QLC for such a large capacity
+
Absolute performance remains strong

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Some performance pitfalls

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.

Read: Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus SSD Review

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Best Value High-Capacity M.2 SSD

Specifications

Capacities: 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, 8TB
Form Factor: M.2 2280 Double-sided
Transfer Interface/Protocol: PCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe 1.4
Sequential Reads/Writes: 7,000 MB/s / 5,800 MB/s
Warranty/Endurance: 6 Years / Up to 6000 TBW

Reasons to buy

+
Good performance
+
Good warranty
+
One of few 8TB options

Reasons to avoid

-
No software support, limited support

The Inland Performance Plus is a sleeper drive, often being priced very well for its hardware at higher capacities. It’s difficult to call any 8TB NVMe drive a “budget” choice, but the Performance Plus is regularly one of the least expensive options here, aside from maybe the TeamGroup MP44. The Performance Plus has also been priced well on sale for 4TB many times in the past. It uses the same hardware as other prominent drives like the Rocket 4 Plus and includes an excellent warranty.

The downsides would be a potential lack of support, less availability in some regions, and no software support. It’s also still more expensive than getting multiple, smaller-capacity drives. Still, it’s a good, yet hidden, option if you can find it on sale, and its small pSLC cache makes it great for heavier workloads. It’s an excellent performer and better than the original, which had older flash. It might be worth putting a heatsink on this one, though, or you can opt for the Gaming Performance Plus, which is the same drive with a heatsink.

Read: Inland Performance Plus M.2 NVMe SSD Review


(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Best DirectStorage Gaming SSD

Specifications

Capacities: 1TB, 2TB, 4TB
Form Factor: M.2 2280
Transfer Interface/Protocol: PCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe
Sequential Reads/Writes: Up to 7,200 / 6,850 MBps (unofficial)
Warranty/Endurance: 5 Years / Up to 2,800 TBW

Reasons to buy

+
A proven hardware combination, but a bit better
+
Custom firmware designed for DirectStorage
+
Consistent all-around performance

Reasons to avoid

-
Pricey
-
Heatsink isn’t bundled

Sabrent took its updated Rocket 4 Plus and turned the dial up a notch to produce the Plus-G. The original Rocket 4 Plus was an excellent drive when it launched, and Sabrent later quietly updated its flash to Micron’s 176-layer TLC without much fanfare. Phison has since made special firmware for DirectStorage, which requires this fast and reliable flash. Sabrent’s Rocket 4 Plus is the first SSD designed for DirectStorage with a customized version of this firmware, so it’s optimized for future gaming.

Still, newer drives like the SK hynix Platinum P41, WD Black SN850X, and Samsung 990 Pro are often a bit faster. Only one of those drives currently has a 4TB model available, though. Games that can use DirectStorage are also delayed, with the first game to use it, Forspoken, expected in early 2023. This makes the Plus-G seem stranded without any games that support one of its most important features, although our I/O+ firmware preview definitely showed superior performance in sustained workloads. This drive deserves a heatsink, but it’s currently sold separately. The MSRP on this drive, like with the SN850X and 990 Pro, is also a bit high.

Read: Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus-G SSD Review 

Best NAS SSDs 2023

Best NAS M.2 SSD: WD Red SN700 (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Best NAS M.2 SSD

Specifications

Capacities: 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB
Form Factor: M.2 2280
Transfer Interface/Protocol: PCIe 3.0 x4 / NVMe
Sequential Reads/Writes: Up to 3,400/3,100 MBps
Warranty/Endurance: 5 Years / Up to 5,100 TBW

Reasons to buy

+
Up to 4TB of capacity
+
Good warranty and endurance
+
Consistent sustained performance
+
Efficient
+
Good pricing for 4TB of TLC

Reasons to avoid

-
Poor peak and general performance
-
Old technology
-
No power loss protection

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

Best SATA SSDs 2023

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.

Best SATA SSD: Crucial MX500
Best SATA SSD

Specifications

Capacities: 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB
Form Factor: 2.5” 7mm
Transfer Interface/Protocol: SATA 3 / AHCI
Sequential Reads/Writes: Up to 560 MBps / 510 MBps
Warranty/Endurance: 5 Years / Up to 700 TBW

Reasons to buy

+
Mainstream performance
+
Competitive pricing
+
SSD Toolbox and cloning software included
+
Host power failure protection• Hardware AES-256 Encryption
+
TCG Opal 2.0 SED Support

Reasons to avoid

-
Smaller capacities slightly slower than larger
-
The design could use a makeover

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

Best Prosumer SATA SSD: Samsung 860 Pro
Best Prosumer SATA SSD

Specifications

Capacities: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB
Form Factor: 2.5” 7mm
Transfer Interface/Protocol: SATA 3 / AHCI
Sequential Reads/Writes: 560 MBps / 530 MBps
Warranty/Endurance: 5 Years / Up to 4,800 TBW

Reasons to buy

+
Highest SATA performance for sustained workloads
+
High endurance
+
Consistent performance
+
SSD Toolbox and cloning software included TCG Opal, eDrive encryption support

Reasons to avoid

-
Extremely high cost

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: