Best SSDs of 2018

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

SATA Drives

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

Add-in Cards

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

MORE: How We Test HDDs And SSDs

MORE: All SSD Content

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  • footman
    Question: I have a SATA SSD and am looking to upgrade to NVMe drive. Can I simply clone my SATA SSD to the new M2 NVMe drive, or will there be issues?
  • USAFRet
    Anonymous said:
    Question: I have a SATA SSD and am looking to upgrade to NVMe drive. Can I simply clone my SATA SSD to the new M2 NVMe drive, or will there be issues?


    1. Assuming space requirements fit, no problem.
    2. Assuming the other hardware works, no problem.

    Regarding #2, what is the rest of the system? And what do you use this for?
  • footman
    I was told that it would not be possible to clone (boot drive-Win10Pro) the SATA SSD to NVMe M2 as the drivers are different! Just checking here.... SATA to NVMe potential issues! Is this true?
  • USAFRet
    Anonymous said:
    I was told that it would not be possible to clone (boot drive-Win10Pro) the SATA SSD to NVMe M2 as the drivers are different! Just checking here.... SATA to NVMe potential issues! Is this true?


    What is the rest of the parts list?
    SATA SSD to NVMe can be OK, if the rest of the system supports it.

    "i was told..."
    By whom? Did they state why, exactly?
  • CRamseyer
    To get around the driver issue you install the NVMe SSD in your system while the SATA drive still has the OS. This will load the NVMe, it's there already but not utilized in the boot files. After your OS sees the NVMe drive and you reboot its safe to clone the data. I suggest using Acronis because it's what I've always used. You can start from the GUI version inside of Windows. The software will ask you to reboot, then go to a DOS version that will automatically clone your data. At that point you just tell the BIOS to boot to the NVMe drive.

    There could be some hoops to jump through depending on your existing BIOS setup. Just play around with the legacy/UEFI and compatibility settings. Most likely someone has already posted somewhere about how to boot from NVMe on your specific motherboard.
  • footman
    Cheers. Running Win 10 Pro with Gigabyte Z370 and 8700K... Having a few issues with the motherboard not being able to boot from M2 slots after a straight forward clone! I may have to contact Gigabytes support...
  • USAFRet
    Anonymous said:
    Cheers. Running Win 10 Pro with Gigabyte Z370 and 8700K... Having a few issues with the motherboard not being able to boot from M2 slots after a straight forward clone! I may have to contact Gigabytes support...


    For that board, things should be OK.
    Right after the clone process was finished, did you remove the old drive and attempt to boot from only the NVMe drive as the first boot?
  • R0GG
    I have a Samsung 960 evo, 2x WD black and a Samsung PM961(OEM 960 Evo)
    - Price and performance: Samsung PM961 and Evo 960 3.2 GB/sec real, cool price and very cool temps compared to competition
    - WD black: half the bandwidth of the Samsung and they run hotter (new blue version with higher bandwidth but with higher price tag as well)
  • footman
    @USAFRET. Yes, I tried to boot from the NVMe drive after cloning and no luck, received a bios error that the computer is unable to boot from the NVMe drive, returning a message, inaccessible boot drive, rom image not loaded, rom image access denied!
  • R0GG
    Anonymous said:
    @USAFRET. Yes, I tried to boot from the NVMe drive after cloning and no luck, received a bios error that the computer is unable to boot from the NVMe drive, returning a message, inaccessible boot drive, rom image not loaded, rom image access denied!


    I had same issue I had to re-clone but this time disconnected the other drive as windows boot manager got doubled up in Bios, see solution here Cloned os to new M.2 ssd unbootable >> http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/id-3459997/cloned-ssd-unbootable.html
    and here>> Windows 10 fails to boot after HDD clone to SSD >> https://superuser.com/questions/1093305/windows-10-fails-to-boot-after-hdd-clone-to-ssd