Skip to main content

Best SSDs 2020: From Budget SATA to Blazing-Fast NVMe

Best SSDs cover
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Finding the best SSD (solid-state drive) for your needs is important for any system. A slow storage drive is a major bottleneck, making your processor sit there twiddling its clock cycles, waiting for data. To speed up your reads and writes, you need a fast SSD. That's why we thoroughly test dozens of drives a year and highlight the best SSDs available on this page.

As drives like Intel's 660p  and its successor the Intel 665p start to undercut mainstream drives on the old SATA interface, while delivering much more speed, this could be the beginning of the end of our old friend, Serial ATA. And those existing SATA drives will have to continue falling in price as well, in order to at least compete on price, since they can't hope to keep up with NVMe drives on performance.

You may have heard about blazing-fast next-generation PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSDs from the likes of GigabyteCorsairPatriot and others. These drives will indeed up sequential speeds dramatically (thanks to a doubling of the PCIe bus bandwidth), making them the best SSD options for those who need the fastest speed possible. But to make use of that extra speed today, you'll need either a X570 motherboard or one of the upcoming B550 boards to run one of these drives at their top speed. 

Many of the new Intel Z490 boards also technically support PCIe 4.0. But to make use of that feature you'll have to wait until Intel delivers its next-gen Rocket Lake processors to get the PCIe 4.0 speed boost, which may not happen until 2021. Also, keep in mind that in many ways, beyond the obvious bump in sequential performance, users might not see much in the way of real-world benefits from these drives.

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.But 1TB drives are getting significantly cheaper and 2TB drives are now affordable.
  • 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, in capacities ranging from 256GB to 2TB.

Best solid-state drives at a glance:

  1. Adata XPG SX8200 Pro (960GB)
  2. Intel Optane SSD 905P (1TB)
  3. Sabrent Rocket NVMe 4.0 (2TB)
  4. Samsung 970 PRO (1TB)
  5. Silicon Power P34A80 (1TB)
  6. Sabrent Rocket Q (8TB)
  7. Samsung 970 EVO Plus (512GB)
  8. WD Blue SN550 (250GB)
  9. Patriot Viper VPR100
  10. Samsung 860 EVO (250GB)
  11. Crucial MX500 (2TB)
  12. Samsung 860 PRO (1TB)
  13. Intel Optane SSD 900P (280GB)

Best Solid-State Drives 2020

Adata XPG SX8200 Pro (960GB) (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

1. Adata XPG SX8200 Pro (1TB)

Best Overall / Best M.2 SSD

Capacities: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB | Form Factor: M.2 2280 Double-sided | Transfer Interface/Protocol: PCIe 3.0 x4 / NVMe 1.3 | Sequential Reads/Writes: 3,500 MBps / 3,000 MBps | Warranty/Endurance: 5 Years / 640 TBW

Class-leading performance
Class-leading power efficiency
Black PCB w/ stylish DIY heat spreader
SSD Toolbox and cloning software included
Same endurance as the non-Pro model

Adata’s XPG SX8200 Pro is the best 1TB class SSD for the money. With high-performance that rivals Samsung’s 970 EVO Plus and PRO SSDs, it is a Pro class drive through and through. It boasts best-in-class power efficiency with very respectable endurance and has a price that won’t break the bank. Not only that, but Adata also includes a DIY black, metal heat spreader to make your XPG SX8200 Pro even “cooler” when you install it.

Read: Adata XPG SX8200 Pro Review

Intel Optane SSD 905P (1TB)

2. Intel Optane SSD 905P (1TB)

Best Performance / Best Add-in Card

Capacities: 380GB, 480GB, 960TB, 1.5TB | Form Factor: Half-Height, Half Length / U.2 15mm / M.2 22110 | Transfer Interface/Protocol: PCIe 3.0 x4 / NVMe 1.3 | Sequential Reads/Writes: 2,600 MBps / 2,200 MBps | Warranty/Endurance: 5 Years / Up to 27.37 TBW

Leading random read performance
Exceptional mixed workload performance
Endurance up to 27.37 PBW
AES 256bit encryption support
LEDs to light up your PC
SSD Toolbox included
Won’t work in laptops
No GUI LED control
Extremely high cost per GB
Lower sequential performance than NAND based SSDs
High power consumption

When looking for the best SSD, and we mean the absolute best and money is no object, look no further than to Intel’s Optane SSD 905P.  This SSD features Intel’s latest 3D XPoint memory, it breaks free from many of the drawbacks of NAND and offers the best responsiveness out of any storage device we have tested to date. And, those needing a plethora of endurance will find the 905P to be a device sent from the gods. With its endurance rating of over 17 petabytes at the 960GB capacity, or over 27PBW at the 1.5TB capacity, you’ll be sure to upgrade it years before it ever exhausts. Need the best? Don’t look at the rest, get the Intel Optane SSD 905P.

Read: Intel Optane SSD 905P Review

MORE: Best Graphics Cards
MORE: 
How to Buy the Right Graphics Card

M.2 PCIe NVMe 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, but most modern desktops and laptops with M.2 slots support the faster PCIe NVMe standard.

 Sabrent Rocket NVMe 4.0 (2TB)  (Image credit: Sabrent)

3. Sabrent Rocket NVMe 4.0 (2TB)

Best Value PCIe 4.0 SSD

Capacities: 512GB, 1TB | Form Factor: M.2 2280 Double-sided | Transfer Interface/Protocol: PCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe 1.3 | Sequential Reads/Writes: 5,000 MBps / 4,400 MBps | Warranty/Endurance: 5 Years / 3,600 TBW (with registration)

Aesthetics
High performance and efficiency
Class-leading endurance
Software suite
Up to 5 years warranty
1 year warranty without registration
Slow write speed after write cache fills

Offering up some incredible performance with the Phison E16 powering it, the Rocket NVMe 4.0 is a rocket for sure. Capable of delivering up to 5.0/4.4 GBps read/write in sequential transfers and peaking at almost 600,000/550,000 IOPS read/write, it is one of the fastest SSDs you can buy. It’s so fast, it even outperforms Samsung’s 970 EVO Plus and 970 Pro in various real-world and application testing, while being quite efficient.   

With class-leading endurance ratings, Sabrent’s Rocket NVMe 4.0 isn’t going to wear out on you any time soon, either. Constantly moving around large video files or running various virtual machines, or even into benchmarking your hardware to death, the Rocket NVMe 4.0 will keep on going. Our main complaint against it is that you must register your SSD with Sabrent to receive the longer 5-year warranty, but that's not exactly a huge hassle.

Read: Sabrent Rocket NVMe 4.0 Review

Samsung 970 PRO (1TB)

4. Samsung 970 PRO (1TB)

Best 1TB (or Larger) M.2 SSD

Capacities: 512GB, 1TB | Form Factor: M.2 2280 Single-sided | Transfer Interface/Protocol: PCIe 3.1 x4 / NVMe 1.3 | Sequential Reads/Writes: 3,500 MBps / 2,700 MBps | Warranty/Endurance: 5 Years / 1,200 TBW

Excellent endurance
Class-leading performance
SSD Toolbox and cloning software included
Full Disk Encryption
Expensive
Limited capacity range (512GB, 1TB)

TLC NAND based SSDs have flooded the market and have gotten even better than ever. But, even so, the performance of MLC NAND is just a step above. Want the best performing 1TB class M.2 NVMe SSD along with some of the best endurance in the market? Packed with Samsung’s 64L MLC V-NAND, the 970 PRO is an absolute beast that is capable of delivering consistent performance of up to 3.5/2.7GBps read/write. This performance does come at a cost, however, typically twice as much as competing products.

Read: Samsung 970 Pro Review

Silicon Power P34A80 (1TB)

5. Silicon Power P34A80 (1TB)

Best 1TB (or Larger) Value M.2 SSD

Capacities: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB | Form Factor: M.2 2280 Double-sided | Transfer Interface/Protocol: PCIe 3.1 x4 / NVMe 1.3 | Sequential Reads/Writes: 3,400 MBps / 3,000 MBps | Warranty/Endurance: 5 Years / 500 TBW

Speedy performance
Competitive prices
No software toolbox support at the time of writing
Lower endurance than the competition

Silicon Power’s P34A80 features a familiar pairing of Phison’s E12 NVMe controller with Toshiba’s BiCS3 64L TLC NAND flash. Its performance won’t break any records, but it’s still very fast. And at just $0.11 per gigabyte (for the 1TB model we tested), paired with a 5-year warranty, this TLC drive is easy to recommend over similarly priced QLC competition. Its rated endurance isn’t as high as competing drives, and it’s not pretty, but this drive screams value without compromising performance.

Read: Silicon Power P34A80 Review

Sabrent Rocket Q (8TB) (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

6. Sabrent Rocket Q (8TB)

Best High-Capacity M.2 SSD

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) / 1800 TBW

Highest-capacity M.2 SSD available
Competitive performance and efficiency
Software support
Up to five-year warranty
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 a decent gaming laptop. 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.

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 the fastest performance we've seen from a QLC drive.

Read: Sabrent Rocket Q (8TB) Review

Samsung 970 EVO Plus (512GB) (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

7. Samsung 970 EVO Plus (512GB)

Best 500GB M.2 SSD

Capacities: 20GB, 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 / 300 TBW

Solid overall performance
Black PCB
Excellent software package
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 is 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 performance of the 970 EVO, plus some 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

WD Blue SN550 (250GB) (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

8. WD Blue SN550 (250GB)

Best 250GB M.2 SSD

Capacities: 250GB, 500GB, 1TB | Form Factor: M.2 2280 Single-sided | Transfer Interface/Protocol: PCIe 3.1 x4 / NVMe 1.3 | Sequential Reads/Writes: 2.400 MBps / 950 MBps | Warranty/Endurance: 5 Years / 150 TBW

Competitive Performance
Affordable and efficient
5-year warranty
1TB maximum capacity
Small SLC cache
Power optimization on desktops could be better

With a single-sided form factor, the Blue drive is also compact and slim for any M.2 2280 application. And, with a low average and well-regulated maximum power consumption, the WD Blue SN550 will pair nicely with an external NVMe adaptor, too if you’re looking for something on the go. The SN550 delivers a responsive experience and is also a quality SSD that comes backed by thousands of validation tests. With a 5-year warranty and plenty of endurance, the Blue SN550 is well worth considering, even if low cost isn't your main priority.

WD’s Blue SN550 is one of the most consistent performing low-cost NVMe SSDs available. Even though it has a small SLC write cache, when you hammer it with heavy writes, its slowest performance will still remain acceptable. In our testing [of the 1TB model], it even manages to respond faster to applications and most consumer workloads than the WD Black SN750, including loading up your favorite games. 

Read: WD Blue SN550 Review

Patriot Viper VPR100 (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

9. Patriot Viper VPR100

Best RGB M.2 SSD

Capacities: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB | Form Factor: M.2 2280 Double-sided w/heatsink | Transfer Interface/Protocol: PCIe 3.0 x4 / NVMe 1.3 | Sequential Reads/Writes: 3,300 MBps / 2,900 MBps | Warranty/Endurance: 5 Years / 1600 TBW

Solid performance and class-leading endurance
Attractive RGB lighting and heatsink
Available in capacities up to 2TB
Small write cache
Some lighting settings may affect performance
No SSD toolbox or cloning software

When we first took a look at the Viper VPR100, we were a bit concerned about its performance. Not only was it rated lower than most Phison E12 based SSDs, but the company states it will perform slower under various RGB settings. But, when we ran it through its paces with various lighting settings, the drive displayed no such issue our ASRock X570 Taichi testbed. In fact, it even outperformed the MyDigitalSSD BPX Pro at times with the default lighting enabled, beating its rated specs.

The integrated heatshield not only adds quite a bit to the aesthetics of the Viper VPR100, but it also keeps the SSD cool under any workload. And, the LED’s didn’t add any significant heat output either. So, no matter what your style is, you won’t have to sweat over your choice. If you're building an all-RGB rig, or just a new gaming system that you want to also add a bit of color to, the Viper VPR100 will definitely light things up/

Read: Patriot Viper VPR100 Review

MORE: Best Motherboards
MORE: 
How To Choose A Motherboard

SATA Drives

You can get a SATA drive in the M.2 form factor, but 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.

Samsung 860 EVO

10. Samsung 860 EVO (250GB)

Best Consumer SATA SSD

Capacities: 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB | Form Factor: 2.5” 7mm / M.2 2280 Double-sided | Transfer Interface/Protocol: SATA 3 / AHCI | Sequential Reads/Writes: Up to 550 MBps / 520 MBps | Warranty/Endurance: 5 Years / Up to 2,400 TBW

Strong Performance
SSD Toolbox and cloning software included
Class-Leading Endurance
TCG Opal, eDrive encryption support
At the SATA performance ceiling
Write performance after TurboWrite exhausts

When it comes to SATA, Samsung’s got the best drives going. Their 860 EVO drives take the win in almost every benchmark we have thrown at them and pricing is usually very competitive. The 860 EVOs don’t offer as much endurance as the PRO models, but they come in capacities up to 4TB just the same. If you are looking for a new SATA SSD to hold your games library or just about anything, you can’t go wrong with this mainstream leader.

Read: Samsung 860 EVO Review

Crucial MX500 (2TB)

11. Crucial MX500 (2TB)

Best Consumer SATA SSD Alternative

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

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

Samsung 860 PRO (1TB)

12. Samsung 860 PRO (1TB)

Best Prosumer SATA SSD

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

Highest SATA performance for sustained workloads
High endurance
Consistent performance
SSD Toolbox and cloning software included TCG Opal, eDrive encryption support
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 utilizes Samsung’s 64L MLC V-NAND, which helps to 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

MORE: Best CPUs
MORE: 
Intel & AMD Processor Hierarchy

Add-in Card SSDs

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.

Intel Optane SSD 900P (280GB)

13. Intel Optane SSD 900P (280GB)

Best Low-Capacity Add-in-Card SSD

Capacities: 280GB, 480GB | Form Factor: Half-Height, Half Length / U.2 15mm | Transfer Interface/Protocol: PCIe 3.0 x4 / NVMe 1.3 | Sequential Reads/Writes: 2,500 MBps / 2,000 MBps | Warranty/Endurance: 5 Years / Up to 8.76 PBW

Leading random read performance
Exceptional mixed workload performance
Endurance up to 8.76 PBW
AES 256bit encryption support
SSD Toolbox included
Extremely high cost per GB
Lower sequential performance than NAND based SSDs
Limited capacities options
High power consumption

There aren’t many options for AICs in the consumer market as the M.2 form factor has become so popular. At a capacity of 480GB and a nearly absurd price of about $1/GB, the Intel Optane SSD 900P is your top performing option. Powered by a custom Intel NVMe controller and their 3D XPoint memory, the 900P is the one of the fastest performing SSDs out. Unlike the 905P, it comes in an AIC form factor at the 480GB capacity, not just U.2. But while its random performance is better than anything else, we’ve seen before, its sequential performance is rather underwhelming when compared to some of the fastest NAND based SSDs. As well, its power consumption is much higher than any competitor.

Read: Intel Optane SSD 900P Review

MORE: How We Test HDDs and SSDs
MORE:
Best External Hard Drives and SSDs
MORE: 
All SSD Content

  • 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