Changing your PC’s drive to a solid-state unit is the best improvement you can do. These amazing gadgets shorten startup times, enhance program and game responsiveness, and generally give your PC a faster feel. However, not every solid-state drive is created equal. There are high-quality SSDs that provide strong performance without breaking the bank, or you may spend a lot of money to get read and write speeds that are unheard of.
Several SSDs have a 2.5-inch form factor and attach to your computer using the same SATA port that conventional hard drives utilize. However, incredibly fast PCIe 4.0 (and now 5.0) solid-state drives for compatible PCs are also becoming more and more common, as are tiny NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) “gumstick” SSDs that fit in an M.2 connection on a modern motherboard. You can even find SSDs that sit on a PCIe adapter and slot into your motherboard like a graphics card or sound card. No, choosing the ideal SSD isn’t as easy as it once was.
Reasons to believe in us: We have it listed under BCF. Our reviewers have spent decades evaluating hardware. Our in-depth and exacting storage assessments push each product to its absolute limits, including everything from performance standards to the realities of frequent use. Since we use PCs regularly, we are aware of what makes a product unique. This list includes only the finest SSDs. Go to the bottom of this article to learn more about our testing procedure.
Samsung 870 EVO – Best SATA SSD
Samsung’s amazing 870 EVO is your best option if you want to add storage using a conventional 2.5-inch SATA drive instead than a tiny M.2 “gumstick”. It’s the fastest SATA SSD we’ve tested, and considering its performance, it’s quite cheap. It comes in capacities of up to 4TB. I think I’ve spoken enough, but I also want to mention Samsung’s fantastic Magician SSD management software and extended warranty. There’s a reason why the EVO series of SSDs is legendary.
However, the SK Hynix Gold S31 is a viable option as well. In benchmarks, it lags the 870 EVO by a narrow margin and is $12 less expensive ($98) for the 1TB model. Currently, the SK drive is only offered in a 1TB capacity, whereas the 870 EVO comes in a variety of capacities, starting at $60 for a 250GB model and going up to $450 for a gigantic 4TB monster. The 1TB model from Samsung costs $110.
Crucial BX500 – Best budget SATA SSD
The Samsung 870 EVO provides an alluring balance of performance and affordability, but the Crucial BX500 is a better option if you’re looking for the most capacity at the lowest cost. Its 1TB variant costs $41.99, which is more than $50 cheaper than the comparable EVO, while the 480GB version is only $24.99. There are also 2TB and 240GB variants available.
According to our assessment, “for those who want good everyday performance for a budget price, we recommend this QLC drive in the larger capacities.” “During heavy writes, the smaller capacities are likely to experience more slowdowns.”
Crucial P3 – Best PCIe 3.0 SSD
Even while PCIe 4.0 SSDs humph during large file transfers, switching to an NVMe SSD can still significantly improve your PC’s performance and responsiveness if you’re still running an outdated system with PCIe 3.0. Even better, taking advantage doesn’t have to break the bank. The 500GB and 1TB models of the Crucial P3, which is an excellent everyday performance, are available for a relatively affordable $44 and $84 respectively. The P3 has good real-world write timings and a low TBW rating, but it lacks top-tier PCIe 4 performance. Unless you severely push the drive, you shouldn’t notice much of a difference.
Solidigm P44 Pro SSD – Best PCIe 4.0 SSD
Without a doubt, the fastest PCIe 4.0 drive we have ever tested is the Solidigm P44 Pro. It was only surpassed by three next-generation PCIe 5.0 drives and placed among the top five quickest drives in our tests. Additionally, installing the Solidigm Windows driver makes it considerably faster and enhances random performance in tiny read/write operations.
If you hunt about, the Solidigm P44 Pro not only offers excellent performance but also a very affordable price—we discovered that internet prices differ significantly between retailers. One of the greatest SSDs available, it maintains its position at the top despite fierce competition from a large field of superior PCIe 4.0 drives.
WD Blue SN580 SSD – Best budget PCIe 4.0 SSD
Modern PCIe 4.0 SSDs aren’t quite as affordable as SATA or PCIe 3.0 NVMe drives, but as the technology gains traction, more and more models are becoming available at competitive pricing. The best of the cheap group? the NVMe SSD WD Blue SN580—and by a significant amount. You probably won’t find any PCIe 4.0 SSDs with storage that affordable, at under $50 for a 1TB unit. The SN580 produced excellent benchmark and real-world performance in our tests. In the extensive 450GB transfer test, it did slow down a lot, but since anyone will rarely write that much data at once, it probably doesn’t matter. Ultimately, the SN580 is a superbly high-performing PCIe 4.0 SSD that significantly undercuts rival models’ prices. It is unbeatable at this price.
Adata Legend 970 – Best PCIe 5.0
Finally, PCIe 5.0 is available, satisfying the needs of individuals who can’t get enough of the newest and finest technology without sacrificing performance. The Adata Legend 970 is currently the best PCIe 5.0 SSD available, should you choose to upgrade. Because of the 970’s superior real-world performance and marginally cheaper pricing, it narrowly overtook the equally fantastic Crucial T700 for our top slot.
The Legend 970 impressed us with its performance in the 48GB and 450GB real-world writing tests, but it was the synthetic benchmark tests that really showed off its capabilities. In all cases, it achieved the highest write speeds of any drive we have ever tested, showing a very significant advantage in the 450GB test. Right now, the Adata Legend 970 is without a doubt the best PCIe 5.0 drive available, and among PCIe 4.0 SSDs even more so. It’s unlikely that you’ll discover a quicker drive for a while if your system can handle it.
Crucial T700 – Best PCIe 5.0 runner-up
Although the competition for the PCIe 5.0 slot was fierce, the Crucial T700 ultimately took second place. But don’t let that diminish what a fantastic SSD this is. The Crucial T700 destroyed the competition in our testing, surpassing both artificial and real-world criteria. To put things in perspective, the T700 nearly doubled the speed of our top PCIe 4.0 SSD, the WD Black SN850X, in sequential read and write benchmarks. It also outperformed it by more than a minute in the 48GB transfer test and by roughly 40 seconds in the 450GB transfer test. Those are some crazy figures.
There are three different storage capacities available for the drive: 1TB, 2TB, and 4 TB. However, you will pay a price for this kind of speed, as the T700 costs almost twice as much as some excellent PCIe 4.0 drives that are included in this list. Nevertheless, the T700 will offer great overall performance and is among the fastest SSDs available right now.
Adata Elite SE880 SSD – The most portable SSD
As far as portability goes, no SSD matches Adata’s Elite SE880. Its dimensions—2.55 inches long by 1.38 inches wide by 0.48 inches thick—make it resemble a USB thumb drive rather than a typical SSD. It practically disappears in your pocket because it only weighs 1.1 ounces.
For routine work, the Elite SE880 is likewise incredibly quick. The drive performed exceptionally well in 48GB transfer tests conducted in the real world. But in the lengthier contiguous write tests, it did lose a lot of ground, so professionals in photography and film who work with large files might want to consider other solutions. For people who want to carry their SSD with them everywhere, the Elite SE880 is a fantastic option because of its compact form factor and reasonable transfer rates.