Best SSDs 2018: From Budget to Blazing Speed

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 Gammix S11 (960GB), an affordable M.2 PCIe drive with great performance. The QLC-based Intel SSD 660p is also an excellent option along those lines, though as we wrote this the 1TB model we tested wasn't yet for sale. 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.

News and Updates

Researchers have found ways to bypass the built-in encryption on Samsung and Crucial SSDs. We expect big SSD sales this month and have posted an article on how to tell an SSD deal from a solid-state dud.

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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  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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
  • Peter Martin
    I can get that drive for 124 at Amazon
  • 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
  • _Johnny5
    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.
  • 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
  • Onus
    I recently ordered a 1TB 2.5" WD Blue SSD for ~$139 on a Shellshocker. Hopefully it arrives soon!
  • WildCard999
    Anonymous 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?
  • Onus
    The drive is 2.5", which means SATA. That system's boot drive is a NvME PCIe x4 drive, the 960 EVO. The data drive was running out of space due to backups, so I needed something bigger and didn't want mechanical.
  • mattkiss
    Got the price wrong on the Samsung 860 Pro. It's $297.99, not $429.99:

    https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16820147682
  • nufelevas
    Please, add some performance index, to be able to make the performance-price chart
  • Onus
    Anonymous said:
    Got the price wrong on the Samsung 860 Pro. It's $297.99, not $429.99:

    https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16820147682

    We understand that the staff is currently working on some issues with the pricing widget; this is by far not the only article in which errors of this sort appear.
    It hasn't mattered how much build experience I have; unless time is more important than money (only sometimes the case), I usually come to the forums before I build a new system because someone will almost always know about a much better deal than I found.
  • saunupe1911
    Do not buy the HP EX920. HP does NOT stand by the claimed 5 year warranty. Also their system does not recognize it's serial number so you can't register for any of it's warranties. I'm speaking from experience. Returning mine back to it's retailer ASAP. I've even contacted HP on their official forum.

    Tom's this product should not be recommended all!!!

    https://h30434.www3.hp.com/t5/Desktop-Hardware-and-Upgrade-Questions/Can-t-find-EX920-product-support-page/m-p/6795948#M162821
  • Uniblab
    Question:

    Since enterprise SSD's are available at increased capacity albeit lesser performance, what criteria would be necessary to allow a consumer ssd review to include performance numbers from enterprise ssd's? I wonder since many are available from sites like amazon. If a consumer was willing to absorb the increased buyin of a 7.6tb enterprise ssd, what considerations are needed to make it work in a consumer environment? I ask because I didnt fully realize that these extra large capacities existed. Sounds intriging.
  • j1s2keen3
    "1TB 2.5" WD Blue SSD for ~$139" NO Life expectancy monitoring for this ssd. Get WD Lifeguard Diagnostics for basic info.
  • ibaldo
    Would love an article about power loss protection in these drives...
    And by the way: whats the cheapest 1Tb Enterprise SSD?
    Because the only drives that guarantee writes are 100% reliable when the OS requests it, are the enterprise ones unfortunately...
    Its better to still use HDDs for critical things which is disappointing.
  • shrapnel_indie
    Interesting...
    Quote:


    Adata XPG GAMMIX S11 (1TB)
    Best Overall
    4.5/5
    Review

    Capacity (Raw / User)
    960GB / 1024GB



    It has more user capacity than raw.