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Finder's team combed through the stacks of SSDs currently on the market to find the best options for any system. We checked out hundreds of customer reviews and looked into detailed product information to select the most suitable drives for each category to help you make a confident decision when buying a speedy new SSD.
Super high speeds are one of the main appeals of upgrading to a fancy new SSD, and Samsung's new 980 Pro is a performance powerhouse. With up to double the speed of last-generation storage, the sleek drive is the best overall SSD money can buy.
Utilising the PCIe 4.0 interface, the 980 Pro can reach sequential read speeds as high as 7,000 MB/s, with write speeds hitting an impressive 5,000 MB/s. That's around twice as fast as top-of-the-line PCIe 3.0 SSDs and 12.5 times quicker than Samsung's fastest SATA SSDs.
The 980 Pro has one other trick up its sleeve: Samsung Magician. The SSD management software is fantastic, with a clean, easy-to-use and feature-filled design that puts it leagues ahead of its main competitors. It'll let you check vital information, such as drive health, and give you access to several data management features such as drive encryption and secure erase.
It's not a perfect drive, though. You're paying a premium for cutting-edge storage technology, but the 980 Pro still manages to be a better value choice than many other PCIe 4.0 SSDs. Another downside: PCIe 4.0-compatible devices are few and far between. Unless you're upgrading a brand-new laptop or your rig is running the latest AMD tech, you won't even be able to experience the blazing-fast speeds listed on the 980 Pro's box.
The 980 Pro has received high praise from customers, earning a rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars from more than 530 reviews on Amazon. Many said they saw noticeable improvements when switching over to the drive, with game load times reducing significantly compared to SATA III SSDs. Users weren't quite so impressed with the drive's price point, which is higher than many other storage solutions.
A late arrival in the SSD space, Western Digital's budget-oriented Blue drives manage to hit the sweet spot between price and performance. With impressive endurance, a 5-year warranty window and great speeds, the WD Blue SN550 is the best budget SSD you can buy.
Using the PCIe 3.0 interface, the SN550 is capable of pretty impressive performance for its price. The M.2 SSD can hit sequential read speeds as high as 2,400 MB/s, with write speeds coming in much lower at around 950 MB/s. These numbers still put the SN550 leagues ahead of any SATA-based storage device, and it's still competitive amongst NVMe SSDs. But if we're honest, performance isn't even in the same ballpark as what's on offer with WD's gaming-focused Black drives.
The SN550 is covered by a 5-year warranty period, which is the same as you'd find on top-of-the-line drives from WD Black, Samsung, Crucial and other major players in the space. The SSD has impressive endurance numbers, too, with the 500GB model capable of having 300TB written to it over its lifetime.
The SN550 falls short on aesthetics, which is something manufacturers usually get right on M.2 SSDs. Unfortunately, WD took its "Blue" branding a step too far by using a blue PCB for the drive, instead of the more common black. While it might not seem like a big deal, the drive could feel out of place in many PC builds.
Western Digital's SN550 received high praise from customers, with the drive earning a 4.8 out of 5 rating from more than 14,800 reviews on Amazon. Buyers were elated by the drive's performance and value for money. Some customers noted that the SSD didn't come with any screws or hardware in the box to assist with installation, so you'll have to ensure you've got the right bits to install the drive.
Last-generation technology can still pack a punch, and that's exactly what Samsung's 970 Evo Plus does. With its fantastic performance figures, great reliability and sleek style, it's the best PCIe 3.0 SSD you can buy.
Samsung's 970 Evo Plus still holds its ground 2 years after release, with the drive boasting exceptional read and write speeds on the PCIe 3.0 interface. The company claims you can squeeze 3,500 MB/s in sequential read speeds out of the 970 Evo Plus, with write speeds coming in only slightly slower at 3,300 MB/s. While these are theoretical maximums and real-world performance will wind up lower, performance numbers that high place the 970 Evo Plus among the best of the best.
If you're looking for the fastest storage speeds and have a PCIe 4.0-equipped system, the latest SSDs using the new interface leave the ageing 970 Evo Plus in the dust. These pricey drives can hit sequential read speeds double that of this PCIe 3.0 drive, topping out at 7,000 MB/s.
Like all of Samsung's SSDs, the 970 Evo Plus is extraordinarily reliable. The 1TB model is rated to have up to 600TB of data written to it, so you could completely wipe and rewrite the drive 600 times before you'd have to worry. There's a 5-year warranty, too, so if you haven't written more than 600TB of data and the drive fails within that time, you're covered.
The 970 Evo Plus isn't Samsung's latest PCIe 3.0 drive, with the recently-released 980 taking that spot. The newer model hasn't made it to store shelves yet, but it's slated to be cheaper than the 970 Evo Plus with similar specs. If you can get your hands on the 980 for less, you should go with that one instead.
The 970 Evo Plus boasts a 4.9 out of 5 rating from more than 8,000 reviews on Google. Customers were impressed with the SSD's reliability and quality, as well as its overall performance. Some did note that the drive could get warm when under load, something to watch to avoid performance issues and a reduced drive lifespan.
Some games are infamous for long load times, but Western Digital's gaming division has a solution for cutting down on all the waiting: the WD Black SN850. The PCIe 4.0 drive pairs incredible speeds and high capacities with a clean, all-black aesthetic that makes it the best SSD for gamers.
The performance of the SN850 is top-tier, with the drive capable of hitting sequential read speeds of up to 7,000 MB/s alongside phenomenal write speeds of 5,300 MB/s. There's a little bit of variation on performance based on the drive's capacity, but the 1TB model we've selected here is the fastest of the bunch.
WD Black drives have always featured a stealthy aesthetic, and the SN850 is no different. With a black PCB and label, it'll blend in with most motherboards and look right at home once it's installed in your rig.
Unfortunately for your wallet, the latest and greatest tech doesn't come cheap. The 1TB model will set you back around $439, which is far more expensive than last-generation drives and is still quite a bit pricier than competing PCIe 4.0 SSDs.
Anyone planning to use the SN850 on an older system without PCIe 4.0 support shouldn't. While the drive is backwards compatible with PCIe 3.0 and even works on PCIe 2.0 devices, speeds would be cut in half. It's just not worth the price unless you'll be upgrading the rest of your system shortly.
The WD Black SN850 touts an impressive 4.9 out of 5 star rating on Amazon from more than 420 reviews, with customers lauding the drive's speeds in everything from game load times to content creation. Many did note that real-world performance could be a bit lower than the 7,000 MB/s advertised, though.
SATA SSDs have fallen out of fashion as M.2 drives take over, but that doesn't mean there's no place for the bulkier storage solutions. Boasting incredible capacities and fantastic performance numbers, Samsung's 870 QVO is the best SATA SSD money can buy.
Samsung opted to use QLC flash technology on the 870 QVO, which allows for more data to be stored on each memory chip at the expense of drive endurance. While there is a trade-off to be made by having a QLC drive, it means you can buy the 870 QVO in capacities up to 8TB. Speeds haven't suffered either, with the SSD hitting sequential read speeds as high as 560 MB/s and writes only falling slightly behind at 530 MB/s.
While the 870 QVO's high capacity and decent performance specs make it a very impressive SSD, it might not last as long as you'd like. You can write up to 720TB worth of data to the 2TB drive over its lifetime, and while that seems like a lot, it doesn't come close to Samsung's other SSDs, like the 870 Evo and 980 Pro, which are both rated for 1,200TB written.
The drive's warranty isn't quite as competitive as other drives, either. The 870 QVO comes with a 3-year limited warranty, 2 years less than offered on Samsung's EVO and PRO products. The shorter warranty period makes the drive a harder sell, as many stick with the same SSD for well over 3 years.
The Samsung 870 QVO sports a 4.8 out of 5 star rating from more than 3,500 customer reviews on Amazon. Many customers bought the drive to upgrade older systems or consoles and experienced faster load times across the board. Like some other Samsung drives, a couple of customers mentioned they had compatibility issues when plugging the SSD into a Mac.
While the gap in pricing between SATA III and NVMe drives is closing, many still need the more traditional, budget-friendly 2.5-inch SSDs. That's where Crucial steps in with its affordable MX500, which at the price point of $82, is the best budget SATA SSD you can pick up today.
SSDs are about speed, and the MX500 has plenty of performance in the tank. Crucial says you can expect sequential read speeds to hit up to 560 MB/s, with write speeds coming in slightly lower at 510 MB/s. That pales in comparison to the fastest PCIe 4.0 drives hitting the market today, but it's almost entirely saturating the SATA III interface used on the SSD. Given the use of technology, it's just about impossible to top these speeds.
The MX500 might be affordable, but it's still a high-quality drive. The SSD comes with a solid 5-year warranty and can have 360TB of data written to it over its lifetime. For most people, that endurance rating should be more than enough, but it is significantly lower than the 600TB you can write to Samsung's equivalent Evo and Pro drives.
The MX500 released back at the beginning of 2018, so it's by no means the newest SATA SSD you could buy. It's also not the prettiest SSD either, with its rather pronounced branding and bright silver colour scheme standing out. If you're hiding the drive or installing it in a laptop, aesthetics won't matter all that much, but those planning to install the MX500 in a glass-covered gaming rig might be less pleased by the SSD's design.
It's worth noting that there are cheaper SSDs on the market at this price point, but we didn't feel comfortable recommending any of those due to their lacklustre performance and the relatively small difference in price between those drives and Crucial's MX500.
The Crucial MX500 is one of the most popular and well-liked SSDs on the market, with a 4.8 out of 5 star rating on Amazon from more than 79,000 reviews. Buyers praised the drive for its value, performance and energy efficiency when compared to older spinning storage. Some customers weren't impressed with the drive's real-world performance numbers.
Laptops benefit heaps from SSD upgrades, which can improve snappiness and breathe new life into older machines. Samsung's 2.5-inch 870 Evo is a formidable drive that pairs incredible reliability with great speeds, making it the best SSD for laptops.
The 870 Evo is an incredibly capable drive, managing to hit sequential read speeds as high as 560 MB/s. Writes are slightly lower as always, but at 530 MB/s, those numbers are still impressive. It's obviously no NVMe SSD, but it's almost as good as you can get over the SATA III interface.
With more than a decade of SSD manufacturing experience, Samsung has learned how to make both a great performing and visually stunning drive. The minimalist design of the 870 Evo is timeless and will look right at home wherever it winds up. Unfortunately, if you're slotting it into a laptop like we're suggesting, its aesthetics won't make any difference.
Despite its age, the 870 Evo isn't a cheap drive. The pricing on the 1TB model is equivalent to that of the brand-new 980, which is a much faster M.2 drive. Still, many older laptops, which see the most significant benefit from an SSD upgrade, don't support M.2. Many newer Ultrabooks and gaming laptops support M.2 and don't support SATA drives like this one, so check what your system supports before you go out and buy an SSD.
Samsung's 870 Evo earned itself a staggering 4.9 out of 5 rating from more than 100 reviews on Google, with users happy with the drive's performance. Many were also pleased with the reliability of the SSD, but some took issue with its price.
Sometimes that USB in the bottom of your bag just won't cut it, but Samsung has a solution with its USB-C-based SSDs. The last-generation T5 Portable SSD boasts fantastic value, durability and comes in a compact size, making it the best portable SSD you can buy today.
The T5 Portable SSD is what its name suggests: portable. The drive comes in an ultra-small and slim form factor that measures just 7.4 centimetres across and weighs almost nothing, hitting the scales at 51 grams (depending on the storage capacity). The drive is also durable, with the metal enclosure capable of withstanding drops up to 2 metres in height.
With transfer speeds up to 540 MB/s, the T5 isn't Samsung's fastest portable SSD, but it packs a punch in the value for money category. At its sticker price of $229, it's a whole $70 cheaper than Samsung's speedier T7, and it's price per gigabyte lead grows wider when compared to many popular models from SanDisk, Seagate and WD. In even better news for your wallet, you can find the T5 for way below retail at many local retailers. It's probably as affordable as it is due to its age, at 4 years old.
We crowned the T5 as the best portable SSD for next-generation consoles in our best portable SSDs round-up, with the drive winning out here thanks to its wide availability and stellar performance.
The T5 Portable SSD is extremely popular among customers, with an overall rating of 4.6 out of 5 on Amazon from more than 1,900 reviews. Users were happy with the drive's performance, form factor and durability. Some buyers did experience compatibility issues when connecting the drive to a Mac.
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