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Best SSDs 2022: From Budget SATA to Blazing-Fast NVMe

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(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

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

Best Overall / Best M.2 SSD: SK hynix Platinum P41 (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Best Overall / Best M.2 SSD

Specifications

Capacities: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB
Form Factor: M.2 2280
Transfer Interface/Protocol: PCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe
Sequential Reads/Writes: Up to 7,000 MBps / 6,500 MBps
Warranty/Endurance: 5 Years / Up to 1,200 TBW

Reasons to buy

+
Fastest drive we’ve tested to date
+
Exceptional power efficiency
+
Competitive pricing
+
Good warranty and software package

Reasons to avoid

-
No heatsink

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.

Read: SK hynix Platinum P41 Review


Fastest SSD: Kingston KC3000 (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Fastest SSD

Specifications

Capacities: 512GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB
Form Factor: M.2 2280 Double-sided
Transfer Interface/Protocol: PCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe 1.4
Sequential Reads/Writes: 7,000 MBps / 7,000 MBps
Warranty/Endurance: 5 Years / Up to 3,200 TBW

Reasons to buy

+
Fast PCIe 4.0 performance and cool operation
+
Attractive design
+
5-year warranty and high-endurance ratings

Reasons to avoid

-
Costly
-
High power use
-
Lacks AES hardware encryption

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 


Best M.2 SSD Alternative: WD Black SN850 (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Best M.2 SSD Alternative

Specifications

Capacities: 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB
Form Factor: M.2 2280 Single-sided
Transfer Interface/Protocol: PCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe 1.4
Sequential Reads/Writes: 7,000 MBps / 5,300 MBps
Warranty/Endurance: 5 Years / Up to 1,200 TBW

Reasons to buy

+
Competitive performance
+
Large dynamic SLC cache
+
Black PCB
+
Software package
+
5-year warranty

Reasons to avoid

-
Hot under heavy load
-
High idle power consumption on desktop test bench
-
AES 256-bit encryption not supported

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


Best PS5 SSD: Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus + M.2 NVMe Heatsink (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Best PS5 SSD

Specifications

Capacities: 1TB, 2TB, 4TB
Form Factor: M.2 2280
Transfer Interface/Protocol: PCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe
Sequential Reads/Writes: Up to 7,000/6,600 MBps (PC)
Warranty/Endurance: Up to 5 Years / Up to 3,000 TBW

Reasons to buy

+
Up to 4TB of capacity
+
Specialized heatsink for the PlayStation 5
+
Exceeds PlayStation 5 performance requirements

Reasons to avoid

-
 Not the cheapest option 

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.

Read: Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus Review


Best Value PS5 SSD: Silicon Power XPower XS70 (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Best Value PS5 SSD

Specifications

Capacities: 1TB, 2TB, 4TB
Form Factor: M.2 2280
Transfer Interface/Protocol: PCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe
Sequential Reads/Writes: 7,300 MBps/Up to 6,800 MBps
Warranty/Endurance: Up to 5 Years / Up to 3,000 TBW

Reasons to buy

+
Good capacity range
+
More than meets the PS5’s performance requirements
+
Attractive heatsink designed to fit the PS5
+
Relatively cheap for what it is

Reasons to avoid

-
Still not the cheapest option for the PS5 

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.

Read: Silicon Power XPower XS70 SSD Review


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.

Best Value PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSD: Crucial P5 Plus (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Best Value PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSD

Specifications

Capacities: 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB
Form Factor: M.2 2280 Single-sided
Transfer Interface/Protocol: PCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe 1.4
Sequential Reads/Writes: Up to 6,600 MBps / 5,000 MBps
Warranty/Endurance: 5 Years / Up to 1,200 TBW

Reasons to buy

+
Competitive pricing
+
Hardware-based AES 256-bit encryption
+
Blacked-out aesthetics
+
5-year warranty
+
Software suite

Reasons to avoid

-
Unimpressive sustained write performance
-
High idle power consumption
-
Less-than-average efficiency under load

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 


Best Value PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSD Alternative: Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Best Value PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSD Alternative

Specifications

Capacities: 1TB, 2TB, 4TB
Form Factor: M.2 2280 Double-sided
Transfer Interface/Protocol: PCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe 1.4
Sequential Reads/Writes: 7,200 MBps / 6,900 MBps
Warranty/Endurance: 5 Years (with registration) / Up to 2,800 TBW

Reasons to buy

+
Fast sequential performance
+
Competitive pricing
+
Large and consistent dynamic cache
+
Attractive design

Reasons to avoid

-
1-year warranty without registration
-
Not quite as responsive or efficient as Samsung / WD
-
No AES 256-bit encryption
-
Slow write speed after write cache fills

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.

Read: Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 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 


Best Performance PCIe 3.0 M.2 SSD: Samsung 970 EVO Plus (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Best Performance PCIe 3.0 M.2 SSD

Specifications

Capacities: 250GB, 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

+
Solid overall performance
+
Black PCB
+
Excellent software package

Reasons to avoid

-
Could use further efficiency optimization

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.

Read: Samsung 970 EVO Plus Review


Best Value PCIe 3.0 M.2 SSD: Crucial P5 M.2 NVMe SSD (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Best Value PCIe 3.0 M.2 SSD

Specifications

Capacities: 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB
Form Factor: M.2 2280 Single-sided
Transfer Interface/Protocol: PCIe 3.0 x4 / NVMe 1.3
Sequential Reads/Writes: 3,400 MBps / 3,000 MBps
Warranty/Endurance: 5 Years / Up to 1,200 TBW

Reasons to buy

+
Competitive pricing
+
Hardware-based AES 256-bit encryption
+
Blacked-out aesthetics
+
5-year warranty
+
Software suite

Reasons to avoid

-
Runs hot
-
Not quite as performant as SK hynix or Samsung

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 


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


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

Specifications

Capacities: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, 8TB
Form Factor: M.2 2280 Double-sided
Transfer Interface/Protocol: PCIe 3.0 x4 / NVMe 1.3
Sequential Reads/Writes: 3,300 MBps / 2,900 MBps
Warranty/Endurance: 5 Years (with registration) / Up to 1800 TBW

Reasons to buy

+
Highest-capacity M.2 SSD available
+
Competitive performance and efficiency
+
Software support
+
Up to five-year warranty

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Slow write speed after write cache fills
-
Low endurance-per-GB compared to TLC
-
May throttle without cooling

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


Best DRAM-less M.2 SSD: WD Black SN770 SSD (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Best DRAM-less M.2 SSD

Specifications

Capacities: 250GB, 500GB, 1TB
Form Factor: M.2 2280 Single-sided
Transfer Interface/Protocol: PCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe 1.4
Sequential Reads/Writes: 5,150 MBps / 4,9003,000 MBps
Warranty/Endurance: 5 Years / Up to 1,200 TBW

Reasons to buy

+
Fast performance and cool operation
+
Competitive pricing
+
Single-sided PCB at all capacities
+
Software support
+
5-year warranty

Reasons to avoid

-
Slow write speed after write cache fills
-
Lacks AES hardware encryption
-
Not available in 4TB

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 


Best DRAM-less M.2 SSD Alternative: Silicon Power UD90 (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Best DRAM-less M.2 SSD Alternative

Specifications

Capacities: 250GB, 500GB, 1TB
Form Factor: M.2 2280
Transfer Interface/Protocol: PCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe
Sequential Reads/Writes: Up to 4,800 / 4,200 MBps
Warranty/Endurance: 5 Years / Up to 600 TBW

Reasons to buy

+
Value champion for its segment
+
Good performance
+
Power efficient

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited capacities
-
Runs a little hot

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.

Read: Silicon Power UD90 Review


Best DRAMless M.2 SSD: WD Blue SN570 (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Best Value DRAM-less M.2 SSD

Specifications

Capacities: 250GB, 500GB, 1TB
Form Factor: M.2 2280 Single-sided
Transfer Interface/Protocol: PCIe 3.1 x4 / NVMe 1.3
Sequential Reads/Writes: 3,500 MBps / 3,000 MBps
Warranty/Endurance: 5 Years / Up to 1,200 TBW

Reasons to buy

+
Competitive pricing and performance
+
Single-sided PCB at all capacities
+
Software support
+
5-year warranty

Reasons to avoid

-
Small SLC cache and weak sustained write speed

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 


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


SATA Drives

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 Consumer SATA SSD: Samsung 870 EVO (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Best Consumer SATA SSD

Specifications

Capacities: 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB
Form Factor: 2.5-inch 7mm
Transfer Interface/Protocol: SATA 6Gbps / AHCI
Sequential Reads/Writes: Up to 560 MBps / 530 MBps
Warranty/Endurance: 5 Years / Up to 2,400 TBW

Reasons to buy

+
Reliable and responsive architecture
+
Appealing aesthetics
+
AES 256-bit encryption
+
Capacities up to 4TB
+
5-year warranty
+
Software suite

Reasons to avoid

-
Premium price

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


Best Consumer SATA SSD Alternative: Crucial MX500
Best Consumer SATA SSD Alternative

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: 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.

Best Workstation SSD: Intel Optane SSD DC P5800X (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Best Workstation SSD

Specifications

Capacities: 400GB, 800GB, 1.6TB
Form Factor: U.2 15mm
Transfer Interface/Protocol: PCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe 1.3d
Sequential Reads/Writes: 7,200 MBps / 6,200 MBps
Warranty/Endurance: 5 Years / Up to 292 PBW

Reasons to buy

+
Top-notch PCIe 4.0 performance
+
Ultra-high endurance ratings
+
AES 256-bit encryption support
+
5-year warranty
+
Software support

Reasons to avoid

-
Low efficiency
-
High cost per GB
-
Limited capacities

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.

Read: Intel Optane SSD DC P5800X Review


Best Workstation SSD Alternative: Seagate FireCuda 530 (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Best Workstation SSD Alternative

Specifications

Capacities: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB
Form Factor: M.2 2280 Double-sided
Transfer Interface/Protocol: PCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe 1.4
Sequential Reads/Writes: 7,300 MBps / 6,900 MBps
Warranty/Endurance: 5 Years / Up to 5,100 TBW

Reasons to buy

+
Very fast PCIe 4.0 performance
+
Very impressive sustained write speeds
+
Impressive endurance ratings
+
5-year warranty w/ 3-year data rescue service
+
Appealing aesthetics
+
Cool operation

Reasons to avoid

-
Costly
-
Lacks hardware-based AES 256-bit encryption
-
Less efficient than competitors

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. 

Read: Seagate FireCuda 530 Review 


Best Value Workstation SSD: Corsair MP600 Pro XT (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Best Value Workstation SSD

Specifications

Capacities: 1TB, 2TB, 4TB
Form Factor: M.2 2280
Transfer Interface/Protocol: PCIe x4.0 x4 / NVMe
Sequential Reads/Writes: Up to 7,200/6,800 MBps
Warranty/Endurance: 6 Years / 3,000 TBW

Reasons to buy

+
Strong performance
+
Strong warranty
+
Affordable

Reasons to avoid

-
No heatsink by default
-
No software, frills, optional features

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.

Read: Inland Performance Plus Review


Best RGB Add-in-Card SSD: WD Black AN1500 (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Best RGB Add-in-Card SSD

Specifications

Capacities: 1TB, 2TB, 4TB
Form Factor: Half-Height, Half Length
Transfer Interface/Protocol: PCIe 3.0 x8 / NVMe 1.3
Sequential Reads/Writes: 6,400 MBps / 4,100 MBps
Warranty/Endurance: 5 Years / N/A

Reasons to buy

+
Aesthetic appeal
+
Competitive performance
+
5-year warranty
+
Software suite

Reasons to avoid

-
Not quite as fast as native Gen4 SSDs
-
Takes up 8 PCIe lanes for full performance
-
Power hog
-
Runs hot, but not too hot
-
Expensive

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.

Shane Downing
Shane Downing

Shane Downing is a Freelance Reviewer for Tom’s Hardware US, covering consumer storage hardware.

With contributions from
  • abryant
    Archived comments are found here: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/id-3711120/ssds.html
    Reply
  • LordConrad
    About the MX500... "but the 500GB looks really good at just $139.99"

    You might want to double check prices when cutting and pasting.
    Reply
  • Peter Martin
    i can get an mx500 500GB for 90 bucks on amazon, they are fantastic ssd, the larger the better, get all that you can afford
    Reply
  • dannyboy3210
    SX8200 480GB looks unbelievably expensive in the states. It goes for $150 CAD up here: https://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=179_1229_1296&item_id=123218
    Reply
  • Peter Martin
    I can get that drive for 124 at Amazon
    Reply
  • WildCard999
    I would think the Samsung 860 EVO 500gb would have grabbed the spot for best SATA as you can get it for $99 (500gb) and it's quite fast. I doubt the pro is fast enough to justify the cost over the EVO version.

    http://ssd.userbenchmark.com/Compare/Samsung-860-Evo-1TB-vs-Samsung-860-Pro-1TB/m423831vsm434505
    Reply
  • Jsimenhoff
    Thanks for bringing this to our attention. It looks like the wires got crossed on our pricing widget. We're implementing a fix. Stand by.
    Reply
  • rapidwolve
    Dannyboy3210 Actually that SX8200 is now only $130CDN @ Canada Computers
    https://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=179_1229_1296&item_id=123218
    Reply
  • Onus
    I recently ordered a 1TB 2.5" WD Blue SSD for ~$139 on a Shellshocker. Hopefully it arrives soon!
    Reply
  • WildCard999
    21394321 said:
    I recently ordered a 1TB 2.5" WD Blue SSD for ~$139 on a Shellshocker. Hopefully it arrives soon!

    Was that the M.2 or the SATA version?
    Reply