A slow storage drive is a huge bottleneck, making your processor sit there twiddling its clock cycles, waiting for data to load. To speed up your reads and writes, you need a fast Solid State Drive (SSD). That's why we thoroughly test more than 50 drives a year and highlight the top models on this page.
Our current favorite SSD overall is the Adata XPG SX8200 (480GB), an affordable M.2 PCIe drive with great performance. If price is no object, we prefer the Samsung 970 Pro (1TB) if you have an M.2 PCIe slot, the Samsung 860 EVO (1TB) for SATA connectivity, and the Intel Optane SSD 905P (960GB) add-in card for desktops with an available PCIe 3.0 x4 (or faster) slot. See below for our full list of SSD recommendations, organized by interface and capacity.
Why Trust Us
Tom's Hardware has been reviewing PC components for more than two decades. We put each SSD through a bevy of benchmarks which measure everything from its read and write speeds to its power consumption. We've tested hundreds of models, most in multiple capacities, so we can separate the winners from the solid-state wannabees.
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.
- 256GB to 512GB: Don't bother getting an SSD smaller than 256GB. For most users, 512GB provides a good balance between price and capacity.
- SATA is slowest: SATA isn't as fast as M.2 PCIe or a PCIe add-in card, but the majority of laptops and desktops 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. Below, you'll find our recommendations for drives with all three major interfaces, in capacities ranging from 256GB to 2TB.
M.2 PCIe Drives
These small, rectangular drives look like sticks of RAM, only smaller. They are usually 80mm long by 22mm wide, which is 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 or ones that support PCIe, but PCIe drives are generally at least three times faster.
Best 256GB M.2 PCIe SSD
Best 512GB M.2 PCIe SSD
Best 1TB (or Larger) PCIe SSD
Though you can get a SATA drive in the M.2 form factor, most SATA drives are 2.5-inch models, which makes allows them to drop into the same bays that hold laptop hard drives. SATA drives are the cheapest and still the most popular.
Best 256GB SATA
Best 512GB SATA
Best Cheap SSD
Best 1TB or Larger SATA
These drives are add-on cards, just like graphics cards or sound cards, so they only work with desktops that have 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, which usually makes them the fastest drives around.
Best 512GB Add-in-Card
Best 1TB Add-in-Card
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