SSD Ranking: The Fastest Solid State Drives

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In the past decade, no other hardware upgrade has delivered such a dramatic improvement to the overall user experience as the shift from slow hard drives to fast solid state drives.

The SATA interface used by the first SSD generations has been fully saturated for years, and the same thing quickly happened to their much faster PCIe Gen3 successors. As of 2021, the fastest SSDs in the consumer market use the PCI Express (PCIe) Gen4 interface, which offers twice the bandwidth of Gen3 – and the best Gen4 drives are already using most if not all of this bandwidth.

This page is intended as a rough guide to the best SSDs on the market in the common form factors supported by consumer motherboards. Rankings are based on an average of read/write transfer rates, with additional weight given to drives with high random performance, as this is typically associated with the best real-world performance.

First, a quick look at the drives that we consider leaders in their respective form factors. They don’t necessarily represent the best value but are definitely some of the speediest storage devices that you can use in your PC build today.

Product
Fastest 2.5-inch SATA
SAMSUNG 870 EVO 1TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-77E1T0B/AM)
Fastest M.2 PCIe Gen4
WD_BLACK 1TB SN850 NVMe Internal Gaming SSD Solid State Drive - Gen4 PCIe, M.2 2280, 3D NAND, Up to 7,000 MB/s - WDS100T1X0E
Best Add-In Card
Intel Optane SSD 905P Series (960GB) (AIC PCIe x 4 3D XPoint)
Image
SAMSUNG 870 EVO 1TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-77E1T0B/AM)
WD_BLACK 1TB SN850 NVMe Internal Gaming SSD Solid State Drive - Gen4 PCIe, M.2 2280, 3D NAND, Up to 7,000 MB/s - WDS100T1X0E
Intel Optane SSD 905P Series (960GB) (AIC PCIe x 4 3D XPoint)
Sequential read (max., MB/s)
560 MB/s
7,000 MB/s
2600 MB/s
Sequential write (max., MB/s)
530 MB/s
5,300 MB/s
2200 MB/s
Random read IOPS (4K/QD32)
98,000 IOPS
1,000,000
575,000 IOPS
Random write IOPS (4K/QD32)
88,000 IOPS
720,000
550,000 IOPS
Average rating
User reviews
4,648 Reviews
575 Reviews
24 Reviews
Warranty
5 years
5 Years
5 Years
Endurance rating
600 TBW (1 TB)
600 TBW
17,520 TBW (960 GB)
Price
$114.99
$207.95
$1,535.13
Fastest 2.5-inch SATA
Product
SAMSUNG 870 EVO 1TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-77E1T0B/AM)
Image
SAMSUNG 870 EVO 1TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-77E1T0B/AM)
Sequential read (max., MB/s)
560 MB/s
Sequential write (max., MB/s)
530 MB/s
Random read IOPS (4K/QD32)
98,000 IOPS
Random write IOPS (4K/QD32)
88,000 IOPS
Average rating
User reviews
4,648 Reviews
Warranty
5 years
Endurance rating
600 TBW (1 TB)
Price
$114.99
Store link
Fastest M.2 PCIe Gen4
Product
WD_BLACK 1TB SN850 NVMe Internal Gaming SSD Solid State Drive - Gen4 PCIe, M.2 2280, 3D NAND, Up to 7,000 MB/s - WDS100T1X0E
Image
WD_BLACK 1TB SN850 NVMe Internal Gaming SSD Solid State Drive - Gen4 PCIe, M.2 2280, 3D NAND, Up to 7,000 MB/s - WDS100T1X0E
Sequential read (max., MB/s)
7,000 MB/s
Sequential write (max., MB/s)
5,300 MB/s
Random read IOPS (4K/QD32)
1,000,000
Random write IOPS (4K/QD32)
720,000
Average rating
User reviews
575 Reviews
Warranty
5 Years
Endurance rating
600 TBW
Price
$207.95
Store link
Best Add-In Card
Product
Intel Optane SSD 905P Series (960GB) (AIC PCIe x 4 3D XPoint)
Image
Intel Optane SSD 905P Series (960GB) (AIC PCIe x 4 3D XPoint)
Sequential read (max., MB/s)
2600 MB/s
Sequential write (max., MB/s)
2200 MB/s
Random read IOPS (4K/QD32)
575,000 IOPS
Random write IOPS (4K/QD32)
550,000 IOPS
Average rating
User reviews
24 Reviews
Warranty
5 Years
Endurance rating
17,520 TBW (960 GB)
Price
$1,535.13
Store link

Last update on 2021-06-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Note that our choice of M.2 drive currently requires a Gen4-capable platform to run at full speed over the PCI Express 4.0 interface. This includes a combination of AMD’s X570, B550, or TRX40 chipsets and 3rd- or 5th-gen Ryzen/Threadripper CPUs, or Intel’s 11th-gen Rocket Lake CPUs and a Z590/H570/B560 board. If you use a Gen3 system, the Samsung 970 EVO Plus is still a class leader.

For our more complete list of SSDs, we’ll start with 2.5″ SATA drives. Today’s high-end SATA SSDs are all bandwidth-limited compared to more modern interfaces/protocols such as PCI-express/NVMe (M.2 or add-in card form factors). So if your computer has an available NVMe-capable PCIe M.2 slot, this is the form factor you should be looking at first.

Quick links
Best 2.5″ SATA SSDs
Best M.2 PCIe/NVMe SSDs
Best PCI-Express add-in card SSDs

Best 2.5-inch SATA SSDs

Samsung 870 EVO1. Samsung 870 EVO

Available Capacities: 250GB – 4TB
Interface: SATA 6Gbps
560 MB/s read (1TB)
530 MB/s write (1TB)
Endurance Rating (1TB): 600 TBW

New releases in the high-end SATA SSD market are rare events these days. Most of the efforts recently have gone into building cheap DRAMless SATA drives based on ever more cost-effective types of NAND. One notable exception – launched as recently as January 2021 – is the Samsung 870 EVO, which is a continuation of Samsung’s long-running and extremely popular EVO series.

Considering the bandwidth cap imposed by the SATA interface, any sort of revolutionary performance gains are no longer possible. Nevertheless, thanks to Samsung’s refined MKX controller and new high-density 128-layer 3D TLC NAND, the 870 EVO offers some slight improvements over its class-leading predecessors.

Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

Reviews: LegitReviews


Seagate FireCuda 1202. Seagate FireCuda 120

Available Capacities: 500GB – 4TB
Interface: SATA 6Gbps
560 MB/s read (1TB)
540 MB/s write (1TB)
Endurance Rating (1TB): 1,200 TBW

Besides Samsung, Seagate is one of a limited few manufacturers that are still active in the high-end SATA space. Seagate was quick to take advantage of the Phison S12 controller that was released in the middle of 2020, and the result was the very impressive FireCuda 120

This drive outperforms the old performance leader Samsung 860 PRO in several areas while being considerably less expensive since it uses TLC NAND instead of MLC. Sequential performance is at the top of the charts, as are its 100K read and 90K random write IOPS. Endurance should not be an issue either, with the 4TB model offering an endurance rating of no less than 5,600 TBW (terabytes written).

Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

Reviews: TweakTown, StorageReview


860-pro3. Samsung 860 PRO

Available Capacities: 256GB – 4TB
560MB/s read
550MB/s write
Endurance Rating (1TB): 1,200 TBW

This list has been maintained for many years now and Samsung has been on top since late 2012, starting with the somewhat legendary 840 Pro. As of 2021, the 860 PRO is still one of the best and quite possibly one of the most reliable.

If previous Samsungs are an indication, the 300 TBW (terabytes/total bytes written) rating for the 256 GB model up to 4,800 TBW for the 4 TB model (all use durable MLC NAND), might be conservative estimates. This, coupled with a 5-year warranty and great overall performance, makes the 860 Pro look very attractive overall. Unfortunately, its MLC memory chips also make it a lot more expensive than its main rivals.

Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

Reviews: AnandTech, Notebookcheck


860 EVO4. Samsung 860 EVO

Available Capacities: 250GB – 4TB
550MB/s read
520MB/s write
Endurance Rating (1TB): 600 TBW

The 860 EVO is the successor of Samsung’s incredibly successful 850 EVO. It’s a great alternative to the 860 PRO, as it’s significantly less expensive and you will hardly notice the performance difference in real-world use.

It performs very well considering it’s a TLC-based SSD. Moreover, it offers excellent endurance numbers at precisely half those of the 860 Pro at equivalent capacities (i.e. still better than most competitors), as well as a 5-year warranty.

Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

Reviews: TweakTown


SanDisk Ultra 3D5. SanDisk Ultra 3D

Available Capacities: 250GB – 4TB
Interface: SATA 6Gbps
560MB/s read
530MB/s write
Endurance Rating (1TB): 400 TBW

The Ultra 3D from Flash SanDisk (now a subsidiary of Western Digital) delivers excellent performance at a reasonable price point. It has now been around for a few years but is still a popular choice due to its attractive mix of good performance and usually a lower price than the Samsung 860 EVO. Its sequential read speeds of 550 MB/s and write speeds of 530 MB/s are complemented by very good random read/write figures as well (95K/84K IOPS).

SanDisk uses a controller from Marvell 88SS1074 in the Ultra 3D SSD, in combination with 64-layer TLC NAND. This makes it identical to the WD Blue SSD in everything but the name.

Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

Reviews: HotHardware, AnandTech


6. Crucial MX500

Available Capacities: 250GB – 2TB
Interface: SATA 3 6Gbps
560MB/s read
510MB/s write
Endurance Rating (1TB): 360 TBW

Crucial’s MX500 uses TLC NAND and also offers great performance at an attractive price point. It’s available in capacities of up to 2 TB. Like the 860 EVO, the MX500 is backed by a 5-year warranty, but its endurance rating is lower than both the 860 EVO and the SanDisk Ultra 3D. It starts at 100 TBW for the 250 GB model and ranges up to 700 TBW for the 2 TB model, which should still be more than sufficient for the average user.

The MX500 can compete with the 860 series in many areas, but rarely (if ever) surpass it. However, the price/performance ratio is excellent so this drive is a good choice for most SATA-limited systems.

Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

Reviews: AnandTech, Guru3D


Kingston KC6007. Kingston KC600

Available Capacities: 256GB – 2TB
Interface: SATA 6Gbps
550MB/s read
520MB/s write
Endurance Rating (1TB): 600 TBW

Kingston’s KC600 was launched in 2019 and comes with a Silicon Motion SM2259 controller and 96-layer 3D TLC NAND from Micron. Although it is a bit more expensive than many of its competitors, it does offer hardware-based 256-bit AES encryption, making it an interesting option for business users. The overall specs are also excellent.

Performance-wise, it’s slightly slower than the Samsung 860 series but still in the high-end SATA territory. Random performance is up to 90,000/80,000 IOPS (read/write). Another plus is that the endurance ratings are on par with the best.

Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

Reviews: Hexus.net


SK Hynix Gold S318. SK Hynix Gold S31

Available Capacities: 250GB – 1TB
Interface: SATA 6GBps
560 MB/s read
525 MB/s write
Endurance Rating (1TB): 600 TBW

South Korean SK Hynix is one of the world’s largest memory manufacturers but is mainly known for its DRAM, such as DDR4 modules and GDDR6 chips for graphics cards. However, the company is also an experienced supplier of NAND Flash, including complete SSDs, for OEMs.

Now, SK Hynix is launching SSDs under its own brand and this SATA drive is one of the first. The SK Hynix Gold S31 has been very well received and immediately established itself among the leaders in the segment. Like most high-end SATA SSDs, it will saturate the interface, but it also tends to compete with (and in some cases surpass) drives like the Samsung 860 EVO and Crucial MX500 in real-world tests.

Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

Reviews: TweakTown, AnandTech


Mushkin Source9. Mushkin Source

Available Capacities: 120GB – 2TB
Interface: SATA 3 6GBps
560MB/s read
520MB/s write
Endurance Rating (1TB): 400 TBW

The original Mushkin Source was and is positioned as an entry-level SATA SSD. But now that many high-end MLC-based drives have disappeared from the market in favor of cheaper alternatives, the Source has risen in the charts.

It’s based on a Silicon Motion SM2258XT controller and 64-layer TLC NAND, meaning that sequential performance is more than adequate compared to the competition. Random performance is 78K/81K read/write (1TB model).  However, in mixed read/write workloads, the Mushkin Source falls a bit behind. On the other hand, this is reflected in its moderate price tag.

Check prices: Amazon, Newegg


TeamGroup L510. TeamGroup L5 Lite 3D

Available Capacities: 120GB – 960GB
500MB/s read
480MB/s write
Endurance Rating (960GB): 240 TBW

There is a wide variety of entry-level SATA SSDs on the market. Some of the cheapest models are not particularly attractive even from a price/performance perspective, but the TeamGroup L5 performs better than many of its competitors. Although it doesn’t fully saturate the interface like the more expensive alternatives, it comes close enough to do well in many benchmarks. On the downside, the largest capacity is just 960 GB.

Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK


M.2 Drives (2280/2260)

Update: Check out our new, up-to-date listing of the best M.2 SSDs.

Western Digital SN8501. WD Black SN850

Interface: PCIe Gen4 x4 NVMe
Available Capacities: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB
7,000 MB/s read (1TB)
5,300 MB/s write (1TB)

If you are looking to pair your PCIe Gen4-compatible system with the fastest possible Gen4 SSD, you will end up with Western Digital’s WD Black SN850. The Samsung 980 PRO is a very close competitor and is ahead in some benchmarks, but the SN850 is slightly faster on average. It reaches sequential transfer rates of up to 7,000 MB/s (read) and 5,000 MB/s (write). 4K random performance is up to 1,000,000 IOPS.

This also means that the SN850 easily outperforms the first Gen4 SSDs based on the Phison E16 controller. On the downside, its endurance ratings are not as attractive.

Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

Reviews: AnandTech


Samsung 980 PRO2. Samsung 980 PRO

Interface: PCIe Gen4 x4 NVMe
Available Capacities: 250GB, 500GB, 1TB
7,000 MB/s read (1TB)
5,000 MB/s write (1TB)

While it has arguably been dethroned by the WD Black SN850 as the fastest possible Gen4 SSD, the Samsung 980 PRO will not fall behind it on a noticeable level. It is only marginally behind the SN850 in some areas (and ahead in others) and offers sequential speeds of up to 7,000 MB/s (read) and 5,000 MB/s (write). 4K random performance is up to 1,000,000 IOPS.

Unlike its predecessor, the 980 PRO is not equipped with high-end (and significantly more expensive) MLC NAND memory. Instead, it uses Samsung’s own 128-layer TLC NAND. As a result, the 980 PRO’s endurance ratings at 150 TBW (250GB), 300 TBW (500GB), and 600TBW (1TB) are lower than its predecessor, the 970 PRO.

Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

Reviews: AnandTech


XPG Gammix S703. Adata XPG Gammix S70

Interface: PCIe Gen4 x4 NVMe
Available Capacities: 1TB, 2TB
7,400 MB/s read (1TB)
5,500 MB/s write (1TB)

The XPG Gammix S70, launched in 2021, is Adata’s current flagship M.2 SSD and the first to use the InnoGrit IG5236 Rainier controller. Its exceptional sequential transfer rates bring the Gammix S70 to the very top of the charts in some benchmarks, although it doesn’t quite keep up with the leaders when it comes to shuffling random data (1TB model: 350/720K IOPS, 2TB: 650K/740K read/write).

This does not alter the fact that the XPG Gammix S70 is among the fastest SSDs on the consumer market. One detail to keep in mind with the S70 is to ensure that your motherboard can accommodate its large (and apparently non-removable) heatsink.

Check prices (1TB): Amazon, Newegg

Reviews: TechPowerup


Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus4. Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus

Interface: PCIe Gen4 x4 NVMe
Available Capacities: 1TB, 2TB, 4TB
7,000 MB/s read (1TB)
5,300 MB/s write (1TB)

Sabrent’s Rocket 4 Plus is a significant step up from its predecessor. Instead of the early and now-ubiquitous PCIe 4.0-capable Phison E16, it makes use of the newer Phison E18 controller. As a result, its maximum sequential performance has been bumped from 5,000 MB/s to 7,000 MB/s, practically maxing out the Gen4 x4 interface’s bandwidth.

Random/real-world performance is not quite on par with the Samsung 980 PRO or WD Black SN850, but unlike these competitors, the Rocket 4 Plus is available in a 4 TB capacity.

Check prices (1TB)AmazonNewegg

Reviews: LegitReviews


5. Gigabyte Aorus Gen4

Interface: PCIe Gen4 x4 NVMe
Available Capacities: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB
5,000 MB/s read (1TB)
4,400 MB/s write (1TB)

If you own an X570 or B550 motherboard and AMD Ryzen 3rd-gen combo, the Aorus Gen4 is another option. This is one of several Gen4 devices that use the same combination of a Phison E16 controller and 96-layer TLC NAND. Other than the Aorus Gen4, this includes the Sabrent Rocket 4, Seagate Firecuda 520 (listed below), Patriot Viper VP4100, and the Corsair MP600.

Since these drives all use essentially the same hardware, performance is similar as well. Sequential read bandwidth approaches 5 GB/s. Peak write speeds are lower, but exceed any PCIe 3.0 SSD by a fair margin. As is often the case, the smallest capacity is slightly slower.

Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

Reviews: MMORPG


sabrent gen4 ssd6. Sabrent Rocket Gen4

Interface: PCIe Gen4 x4 NVMe
Available Capacities: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB
5,000 MB/s read (1TB)
4,400 MB/s write (1TB)

Looking at the spec sheet of Sabrent’s PCIe 4-enabled Rocket, you may notice that it’s identical to the above Gigabyte Aorus. The reason is that they are more or less identical as they use the same components. Just like the Aorus, it uses Phison’s E16 controller and the same Toshiba NAND.

However, the firmware is apparently not identical and the drives do differ in some real-world benchmarks, but not by much. Like its close relatives, this drive also peaks at 5 GB/s sequential read transfer rates over the new interface. You can get this drive with or without a sizeable heatsink on top.

Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK


7. Seagate Firecuda 520

Interface: PCIe Gen4 x4 M.2
Available Capacities: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB
5,000 MB/s read (1TB)
4,400 MB/s write (1TB)

The Firecuda 520 is Seagate’s version of the very same Phison E16-based Gen4 SSD as those mentioned above. Thus, it closely resembles the Sabrent and Aorus drives (and others). It uses the same controller/NAND combo and also performs about the same.

While the hardware is largely identical to the above drives, Seagate has built its own controller firmware. Unlike its competitors, there is no version of the Seagate Firecuda 520 that comes with a heatsink. Seagate is instead relying on the fact that most modern PCIe 4 motherboards come with an M.2 heatsink integrated.

Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK


970-pro8. Samsung 970 Pro

Interface: PCIe Gen3 x4 NVMe
Available Capacities: 512GB, 1,024GB
3500MB/s read
2300MB/s write

If you want top PCIe Gen3 performance and are willing to pay a bit more for it, then the Samsung 970 Pro is about as good as it gets in this form factor. Although in terms of everyday user experience, you would probably never be able to tell the difference between this and any of the other top contenders in this segment.

What sets the 970 Pro apart from many of its competitors (including the 970 EVO) is that it uses higher-quality MLC NAND, and will, therefore, last longer than its more affordable TLC counterparts. The endurance rating is 600 TBW (twice that of the comparable EVO) or five years (same as the EVO).

It will also perform better and more consistently thanks to the better NAND. This is particularly noticeable in the random write area, with 500,000 IOPS (4K, QD32) in both available capacities.

Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

Reviews: StorageReview, TweakTown


970 EVO Plus9. Samsung 970 EVO Plus

Interface: PCIe Gen3 x4 NVMe
Available Capacities: 250 GB, 500 GB, 1 TB
3500MB/s read
3300MB/s write

Instead of launching an entirely new model, Samsung updated its popular 970 EVO lineup with the 970 EVO in 2019. As the name implies, it is basically an improved version of the same SSD, using the same controller but denser, 96-layer TLC NAND, and some additional tweaks. The improvements are particularly noticeable in terms of write performance. Sequential transfer rates are up from 2,500 MB/s to 3,300 MB/s, meaning that it outperforms the 970 PRO in some cases.

According to Samsung, random write performance with the 970 EVO Plus has been improved by as much as 57% compared to the previous EVO.

Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK


sn75010. WD Black SN750

Interface: PCIe Gen2 x4 M.2
Available Capacities: 250GB, 500GB, 1TB
3470MB/s read (500GB)
3000MB/s write (500GB)

This drive is a slight update of the WD Black 2018 but uses SanDisk’s 96-layer TLC flash, which brings some performance improvements over its predecessor. Its sequential transfer rates are high but differ quite a bit between capacities. This is particularly true for the drive’s listed write speed, where the 250 GB drive (1,600 MB/s) is considerably slower than the 1TB variation (3,000 MB/s). The random figures are also more impressive in the larger capacities.

WD offers a 5-year warranty with these drives and the TBW rating is up to 600 TBW. All capacities except the 250 GB model are available with an optional heatsink that might help the drive perform consistently during extended high loads.

Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

Reviews: AnandTech, TweakTown


Best PCI Express Add-In Card SSDs

optane 905p1. Intel Optane SSD 905P

Interface: PCIe NVMe 3.0 x4
Form Factor: Add-in Card, HHHL (CEM 3.0)
Available Capacities: 480GB, 960 and 1.5TB
Up to 2600MB/s read
Up to 2200MB/s write
Random 4K Write: Up to 550K IOPS

Considering the overall performance scores that this drive racks up across various reviews, this may well be the fastest SSD in the world at this time. And it also has an endurance rating in a league of its own compared to other drives aimed at not-necessarily-professional users.

However, for the average user – including most professionals – this drive is probably overkill. But if you really want the best-performing drive, you’ll be happy to learn that Intel has introduced a new endurance metric for it known as PBW, or petabytes written.

The 960 GB capacity has a PBW rating of 17.52, meaning you can write about 17.5 million GB to it before it wears down. Intel’s 3D Xpoint memory, which appears to be practically invincible, is the reason why this drive is difficult to compare to regular NAND-based SSDs.

Check prices: Amazon, Amazon UK, Newegg

Reviews: TweakTown


900p ssd2. Intel Optane SSD 900P Series

Interface: PCIe NVMe 3.0 x4
Form Factor: Add-in Card, HHHL (CEM 3.0)
Available Capacities: 280GB and 480GB
Up to 2500MB/s read
Up to 2000MB/s write
Random 4K Write: Up to 500K IOPS

Only slightly behind its successor is the 950p’s predecessor in Intel’s Optane 900p-series. These drives also use 3D Xpoint memory, and while it may not show in the drives’ raw sequential transfer performance, it’s a very impressive SSD.

As is the endurance rating, which is 10 full drive writes per day for 5 years. Such characteristics mean that it’s well suited not only for enthusiast builds but also for heavy-duty workstations.

Check prices: Amazon, Amazon UK, Newegg

Reviews: HotHardware


nx5003. Corsair Neutron NX500

Interface: PCIe NVMe 3.0 x4
Form Factor: Add-in Card, HHHL
Available Capacities: 400GB, 800GB and 1600GB
Up to 3000MB/s read
Up to 2500MB/s write
Random 4K Write: Up to 270K IOPS

In spite of its higher theoretical maximum transfer rates (measured with ATTO, according to Corsair), we will rank the Neutron NX500 from Corsair below the Optane 900p because real-world performance is consistently below according to the reviews we’ve seen (links below).

It’s apparently tough to compete with 3D Xpoint, but that doesn’t mean that the NX500 is a low-end product. Among the small number of consumer-oriented PCIe drives currently available in the add-in card form factor, it’s an attractive option given that the price point is reasonable compared to the Optane.

Check prices: Amazon, Amazon UK, Newegg

Reviews: AnandTech, Tom’s Hardware


Summary and Explanations

We’ve tried our best to compile the most comprehensive list of SSDs available and used this to create the lists you see above. Since there are new drives launched each month, we will update our list and ratings regularly. Also, if you think we’ve omitted something or need correction, don’t hesitate to leave a comment!

Lots of abbreviations and technical terms are used on product pages and SSD discussions. If you are new to them they will, needless to say, be totally incomprehensible. We will attempt to explain some of them here.

What Does SLC, MLC, TLC, and QLC Mean?

SLC, MLC, TLC, QLC NANDAn SSDs performance, as well as its life span, is to a large extent determined by the quality of the memory cells. Higher-quality memory not only performs better but can also be erased and written to a larger number of times before it wears out.

SLC (single-level cell) NAND Flash memory is more durable than MLC (multi-level cell, two bits per cell), which in turn is more durable than TLC (triple-level cell) NAND.

Since recently, QLC (quad-level cell) drives such as the Samsung QVO are also available. Additional bits per cell affect performance negatively because it makes the cells considerably more error-prone. There are clever technologies that compensate for this, but in the end, there’s no substitute for higher-quality NAND.

Unsurprisingly, high-end memory is also much more expensive to produce. There are zero SSDs today in the consumer space based on SLC memory and very few that use MLC (Samsung’s PRO lineup excluding the 980 PRO, which is a TLC drive).

Most consumer SSDs in 2020 use comparatively affordable TLC memory, but QLC is increasingly common. SLC memory has always been prohibitively expensive and has never been used in the consumer market and MLC is being phased out.

SSD endurance: What’s MTBF and TBW?

MTBF is short for “mean time before failure” and is more relevant for conventional hard drives than SSDs, which have no mechanical parts that are prone to failure over time. TBW (terabytes written or total bytes written) is much more useful. This will give you is an indication of how much data can be written to the drive before it wears out. This is affected by the drive’s capacity, spare capacity (so-called overprovisioning), and the quality of the NAND memory chips.

For a drive with a 300 TBW rating, 300 TB is the amount of data that the manufacturer guarantees can be written to it (usually in a mutually exclusive number of years). This is not to say that an SSD will necessarily fail after this amount of data has been written. It is part of the warranty terms and an indication of its relative endurance.

Production Processes

Unlike other parts such as a CPU/GPU, a smaller production process as measured in nanometers (nm), is not a strong selling point, as this results in lower durability, all else being equal. For the average home or office user, durability is rarely an issue, since most SSDs are likely to outlive the rest of the computer by a fair margin. Just don’t rely on low-cost drives with cheap NAND in a server or other environment with a high continuous workload.

As a PC gaming enthusiast since the 3dfx Voodoo era, Jesper has had time to experiment with a fair few FPS-improving PC parts over the years. His job at GPCB is to test and evaluate hardware, mainly focusing on GPUs and storage devices.

14 Comments
  1. Interesting that you did not list Samsung 1725a or b drives 3500/3000Mbps at 800,000 Iops or the PM983.

    • A valid point. Actually we did list enterprise/datacenter products originally. But since these can barely be obtained or used by the average mortal due to the cost and interface constraints, we decided to lessen the scope to just consumer drives.

  2. Hello, This post was really helpful. I bought a corsair mp600 ssd and found out that it’s a NVME type. May be that’s the reason for higher speed. Right?

  3. Corsair CSSD-N400GBNX500 took my boot time for Windows 10 Pro from a descent 18 seconds on my corsair 1T SSD to 13 seconds flat. I load into many of my games on PUBG at least 12 seconds before my son’s SSD loads him in when que’ed up on the same team. The install was super simple and quick, no drivers were needed to install, just plug and play. 🙂

  4. After your suggestion, I bought the OCZ RevoDrive 350 from Amazon and it arrived within 2 days.

    Thanks a lot!

  5. I am thinking of getting Samsung 860 EVO as soon as this Coronavirus tension eases

  6. crucial mx500 is still cheap and a better choice in my opinion!

  7. I am thinking to buy Crucial MX500 for my desktop PC.

  8. Silicon Power PCIe 3.0 and 2.5 Sata are great options and you can usually find it cheaper than many of the ones listed. I believe they have a PCIe 4.0 too. What do you think Jesper?

  9. Seagate FireCuda 120 SSD is my all time favorite.
    This ssd is very fast and I also love to review it.

  10. Samsung 970 Evo Plus is absolutely one of the best and fastest SSD, I had ever use till now.

    I bought it from amazon last 5 months ago and has experienced a really good speed on my pc performance.

  11. Great information, thanks for sharing it with us

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