The Fastest 2.5″ SATA & M.2 PCIe Solid State Drives in 2024 – Ranking

SATA and M.2 PCIe solid state drivesAs of early 2024, SSDs have long since saturated the SATA interface, as well as its much faster PCI Express (PCIe) 3.0 successor. The PCIe 4.0 interface is also more or less maxed out by the fastest M.2 SSDs, and the first PCIe 5.0 SSDs exceed even that limitation.

Some of the fastest SSDs for the usual consumer form factors and interfaces currently include:

  • 2.5″ SATA: OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G (Phison S12)
  • M.2 PCIe 3.0: Samsung 970 EVO/PRO
  • M.2 PCIe 4.0: Samsung 990 PRO
  • M.2 PCIe 5.0: Crucial T700

Keep reading for a more comprehensive walkthrough of these and other SSDs, along with other considerations to keep in mind when upgrading your storage.

The Best SSDs in Early 2024

SSDs replacing hard drives was one of the most fundamental improvements to the PC user experience in decades. Swapping an older SSD with a more recent model is not as transformative, but you will certainly see performance gains – especially when moving from 2.5″ SATA to M.2 PCIe/NVMe.

First, a quick look at the drives that I’d consider class leaders in their respective form factors at this time based on more than a decade of testing. 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
OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G (2TB)
Fastest M.2 PCIe Gen4
Samsung 990 PRO (2TB)
Best M.2 PCIe Gen5
Crucial T700 (2TB)
Image
OWC 2TB Mercury Extreme Pro 6G 2.5-inch SATA 7mm SSD
SAMSUNG 990 PRO Series - 2TB PCIe Gen4. X4 NVMe 2.0c - M.2 Internal SSD (MZ-V9P2T0B/AM)
Crucial T700 2TB Gen5 NVMe M.2 SSD - Up to 12,400 MB/s - DirectStorage Enabled - CT2000T700SSD3 - Gaming, Photography, Video Editing & Design - Internal Solid State Drive
Sequential read (max.)
550 MB/s
7,450 MB/s
12,400 MB/s
Sequential write (max.)
530 MB/s
6,900 MB/s
11,800 MB/s
Random 4K read (max.)
100K IOPS
1.4M IOPS
1.5M IOPS
Random 4K write (max.)
90K IOPS
1.55M IOPS
1.5M IOPS
Warranty
5 years
5 Years
5 Years
Endurance rating
1,500 TBW
1,200 TBW
1,200 TBW
MSRP (1TB)
$139.99
$289.99
$339.99 (2TB)
Fastest 2.5-inch SATA
Product
OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G (2TB)
Image
OWC 2TB Mercury Extreme Pro 6G 2.5-inch SATA 7mm SSD
Sequential read (max.)
550 MB/s
Sequential write (max.)
530 MB/s
Random 4K read (max.)
100K IOPS
Random 4K write (max.)
90K IOPS
Warranty
5 years
Endurance rating
1,500 TBW
MSRP (1TB)
$139.99
Check Price
Fastest M.2 PCIe Gen4
Product
Samsung 990 PRO (2TB)
Image
SAMSUNG 990 PRO Series - 2TB PCIe Gen4. X4 NVMe 2.0c - M.2 Internal SSD (MZ-V9P2T0B/AM)
Sequential read (max.)
7,450 MB/s
Sequential write (max.)
6,900 MB/s
Random 4K read (max.)
1.4M IOPS
Random 4K write (max.)
1.55M IOPS
Warranty
5 Years
Endurance rating
1,200 TBW
MSRP (1TB)
$289.99
Check Price
Best M.2 PCIe Gen5
Product
Crucial T700 (2TB)
Image
Crucial T700 2TB Gen5 NVMe M.2 SSD - Up to 12,400 MB/s - DirectStorage Enabled - CT2000T700SSD3 - Gaming, Photography, Video Editing & Design - Internal Solid State Drive
Sequential read (max.)
12,400 MB/s
Sequential write (max.)
11,800 MB/s
Random 4K read (max.)
1.5M IOPS
Random 4K write (max.)
1.5M IOPS
Warranty
5 Years
Endurance rating
1,200 TBW
MSRP (1TB)
$339.99 (2TB)
Check Price

Last update on 2024-03-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The high-end 2.5″ SATA market has been stagnant for many years now. In some ways it has even gone backwards, as most of the competition is now in the low-cost segment using entry-level controllers and NAND. One exception was Seagate’s FireCuda 120, which managed to eke out some additional performance thanks to the Phison S12 controller. This SSD has been discontinued, but the latest version of OWC’s Mercury Extreme Pro 6G is a strong alternative based on the same controller. It also brings an excellent endurance rating to the table, making it a solid option for an older system or a NAS.

Crucial T700In the Gen4 space, Samsung’s 990 PRO is still the fastest SSD overall. It holds a slight lead over competitors like the WD Black SN850X and Kingston Fury Renegade.

Since early last year, there is also an increasing number of PCIe 5.0 SSDs in the market. All early Gen5 drives use the same Phison E26 controller and most max out at sequential speeds of up to 10,000 MB/s. The Crucial T700 is an exception that reaches 12,400 MB/s thanks to faster memory chips. Its rivals (again, using the same controller and NAND) include the Teamgroup T-Force Z540, Corsair MP700 Pro, and Gigabyte AORUS Gen5 12000.

Users with Gen5 M.2 slots are still a minority, of course, as the interface is only supported starting with the latest AMD Ryzen 7000-series platform (with an X670 or B650 chipset) or Intel’s 13th-gen Core series with select Z790 motherboards.

For our more complete list of SSDs, we will start with the best 2.5″ SATA drives. These SSDs are of course bandwidth-limited compared to PCI-express/NVMe drives, but still have plenty of use cases – not least thanks to a lower cost per GB.

Our 2.5-inch SATA SSD rankings are based on an average of read/write performance. Random performance is weighted highest, as this is typically associated with the best real-world performance. PCIe/NVMe drives, on the other hand, are primarily ranked based on 3DMark Storage Benchmark bandwidth. For a more complete story, check out the reviews linked to in the descriptions.

Fastest 2.5-Inch SATA SSDs

OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G1. OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G (Phison S12 Version)

Available Capacities: 240GB – 4TB
Interface: SATA 6 Gbps
Max. Sequential Performance: 559 MB/s read, 527 MB/s write
Max. Random Performance: 100K IOPS read, 90K IOPS write
Endurance Rating (2TB): 1,500 TBW

This is not the first SSD that OWC sells under the name Mercury Extreme Pro 6G. An earlier revision used the SandForce SF-2200 controller, but it is now equipped with TLC NAND from Micron and the same Phison S12 controller as the Seagate FireCuda (and IronWolf) 120. 

In other words, it is one of the fastest 2.5″ SSDs in the (admittedly very small) high-end SATA space. Although it doesn’t match Seagate’s rather extreme endurance rating, the Mercury Extreme Pro 6G comes with 7% NAND over-provisioning, resulting in above-average endurance. 

There isn’t an abundance of reviews of this drive (or SATA drives in general) available, but the Seagate Firecuda 120 reviews by TweakTown and StorageReview should be indicative.

Check prices (2TB): Amazon, Newegg


Samsung 870 EVO2. Samsung 870 EVO

Available Capacities: 250GB – 4TB
Interface: SATA 6 Gbps
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 in early 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, major 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 slight improvements over its class-leading predecessors. In most benchmarks, it is comparable to the Seagate FireCuda 120 (and by extension the above-mentioned OWC drive).

Along with the Phison S12-based SSDs, the Samsung 870 EVO may be one of the last high-end SATA SSD releases from big-name brands that we will ever see in the consumer market.

Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

Reviews: LegitReviews


860-pro3. Samsung 860 PRO

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

Samsung became a market leader in the SSD space early on, starting with the almost legendary 840 Pro. In 2023, the Samsung 860 PRO is still one of the best and quite possibly one of the most reliable drives on the market.

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), are 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: N/A

Reviews: AnandTech, Notebookcheck


860 EVO4. Samsung 860 EVO

Available Capacities: 250GB – 4TB
550 MB/s read
520 MB/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 is significantly less expensive and you will hardly notice the performance difference in real-world use.

It performs well and 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 (or WD Blue)

Available Capacities: 250GB – 4TB
Interface: SATA 6Gbps
560 MB/s read
530 MB/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 with 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


WD Red SA5006. WD Red SA500 NAS SSD

Available Capacities: 500GB – 4TB
Interface: SATA 6Gbps
560 MB/s read
530 MB/s write
Endurance Rating (1TB): 600 TBW

As mentioned, the SanDisk Ultra 3D and WD Blue are more or less identical. However, a third option from Western Digital that is similar but not identical is the WD Red SA500. Although it is based on largely the same hardware including the Marvell 88SS1074 controller, it takes aim at NAS users with improved endurance ratings. Its higher endurance does indeed make it more suitable for network storage, but there is of course nothing that prevents you from using it for a desktop build.

The drive’s sequential throughput is no different from the standard consumer models at 550 MB/s and 530 MB/s, but due to the higher endurance rating (and overprovisioning to match), the SA500 is typically more expensive per GB.

Check prices: Amazon, Newegg

Reviews: TechPowerup


7. Crucial MX500

Available Capacities: 250GB – 2TB
Interface: SATA 3 6Gbps
560 MB/s read
510 MB/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 KC6008. Kingston KC600

Available Capacities: 256GB – 2TB
Interface: SATA 6Gbps
550 MB/s read
520 MB/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 S319. 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 releases 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 Source10. Mushkin Source II

Available Capacities: 120GB – 2TB
Interface: SATA 3 6GBps
560 MB/s read
515 MB/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.

More recently, the Source was replaced by the Source-II, which is similar but based on the updated Silicon Motion SM2259XT (originally SM2258XT) controller and TLC NAND. Its sequential performance remains more than adequate compared to the competition. Random performance is 75K/75K read/write (1TB model).

Check prices: Amazon, Newegg


M.2 NVMe Drives

See also: our new, up-to-date listing of the fastest M.2 SSDs.

Crucial T7001. Crucial T700 (+ Similar Competitors)

Interface: PCIe Gen5 x4 / NVMe 2.0
Available Capacities: 1TB, 2TB, 4TB
12,400 MB/s read (2TB)
11,800 MB/s write (2TB)

SSDs in the first batch of Gen5 SSDs to reach the market in early 2023 use the same Phison E26 controller and Micron NAND. Micron’s subsidiary Crucial is however one step ahead with the T700. While the competitors reach an already-impressive 10,000 MB/s sequential read speed, the Crucial T700 goes 12,400 MB/s. Sequential write speeds also hold a lead of about 20% at 11,800 MB/s, whereas random performance is more in line with the E26 competition.

In short, it’s the fastest SSD that is currently available to consumers – provided, of course, that the user also has a brand-new PC with a Gen5-capable M.2 slot. Another downside to the T700 and all other early Gen5 SSDs is high power consumption. Proper cooling is a must, meaning that you need at least a sufficiently effective heatsink to avoid issues.  

Check prices (1TB): Amazon, Amazon UK, Newegg

Reviews: HotHardware, Guru3D

Current competitors of this SSD (based on nearly identical components) are:

  • Teamgroup T-Force Z540
  • Corsair MP700 Pro

Seagate FireCuda 540 SSD2. Seagate FireCuda 540 (+ Other Phison E26 Models)

Interface: PCIe Gen5 x4 / NVMe 2.0
Available Capacities: 1TB, 2TB
10,000 MB/s read (2TB)
10,000 MB/s write (2TB)

As mentioned previously, other early Gen5 SSDs from early 2023 also use the Phison E26 controller, but not the fastest possible NAND memory chips. Most current drives employ NAND running at 1,600 MT/s, which results in sequential transfer rates of up to about 10,000 MB/s (read/write). This is still quite a bit more than what any Gen4 SSD is capable of, even if it’s nowhere near maxing out the PCIe 5.0 interface.

High power consumption and heat will nevertheless be an issue for drives like the Gigabyte Aorus Gen5 10000, Inland TD510, and Corsair MP700 to handle. As a result, competent cooling is needed and some Gen5 SSDs even come with a fan.

Check prices (2TB): Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

Reviews: TweakTown


Samsung 990 PRO SSD3. Samsung 990 PRO (Fastest Gen4 SSD)

Interface: PCIe Gen4 x4 NVMe
Available Capacities: 1TB, 2TB
7,450 MB/s read (1TB)
6,900 MB/s write (1TB)

The 990 PRO is Samsung’s latest flagship in the high-end PCIe 4.0 category. It was launched as recently as November 2022 and marks the manufacturer’s return to the top of the charts. This is made possible by Samsung’s proprietary Pascal controller and in-house 176-layer V-NAND 2000 MT memory circuitry.

What particularly stands out with the 990 PRO’s specs is not so much its sequential performance – which, like other leading SSDs, mostly maxes out the available Gen4 bandwidth – but random performance. Even the 1TB capacity offers an eye-watering 1.55M random write IOPS. This is enough to give it a slight lead over the competition in several (but not all) benchmarks. For more details, see our comparisons with the SN850X and Fury Renegade.

Check prices (1TB): Amazon, Amazon UK, Newegg

Reviews: GamingPCBuilder, HotHardware


SK Hynix Platinum P414. SK Hynix Platinum P41

Interface: PCIe Gen4 x4 NVMe
Available Capacities: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB
7,000 MB/s read (1TB)
6,500 MB/s write (1TB)

The SK Hynix Platinum P41 was introduced in May 2022 and availability is still limited at the time of writing. It has however already made a strong impression on hardware editors and there seems to be no doubt that it is among the fastest SSDs yet in the consumer space. SK Hynix is the second-largest memory manufacturer on the planet but has mostly been supplying chips in an OEM capacity until quite recently. The Platinum P41 is entirely based on SK Hynix parts, including the controller, and this seems to be enough to outpace the Phison E18 lineup and other competitors in several real-world benchmarks.

Check prices (1TB): Amazon, Amazon UK


wd black sn850x5. WD Black SN850X

Interface: PCIe Gen4 x4 NVMe
Available Capacities: 1TB, 2TB, 4TB
7,300 MB/s read (1TB)
6,300 MB/s write (1TB)

When it arrived in 2020, the WD Black SN850 was quite possibly the fastest SSD on the market for some time. And to be fair it is still among the best, although several competitors have caught up with and surpassed it. To remedy this situation, Western Digital released a successor known as the SN850X. The main difference with this updated version is that it ships with higher-density memory chips in the form of 112-layer BiCS 5 NAND. This has boosted random read/write performance from 1M/720K IOPS with the original SN850 to 1.2M/1.1M IOPS in the 2 TB SN850X.

As a result, the SN850X is (again) one of the best SSDs, as evidenced in real-world benchmarks such as PC Mark 10 and 3DMark. It is also one of the fastest SSDs available in a 4TB capacity.

Check prices (1TB): Amazon, Newegg

Reviews: GPCB


Kingston Fury Renegade6. Kingston Fury Renegade

Interface: PCIe Gen4 x4 NVMe
Available Capacities: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB
7,300 MB/s read (1TB)
6,000 MB/s write (1TB)

Phison’s E18 controller and Micron’s new 176-layer TLC NAND emerged as a winning combination in late 2021. The Seagate FireCuda 530 first topped the charts using this combo, followed by Kingston’s KC3000 among others. Compared to the KC3000, the Kingston Furu Renegade is an almost identical but slightly faster version of the original.

In other words, if you are looking to pair your PCIe Gen4-compatible system with one of the fastest possible SSDs, this is a strong contender for most use cases. This drive and the FireCuda 530 appear to perform particularly well in gaming loads.

Shopping links (1TB): Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

Reviews: Tom’s Hardware, StorageReview


Seagate Firecuda 5307. Seagate FireCuda 530

Interface: PCIe Gen4 x4 NVMe
Available Capacities: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB
7,300 MB/s read (1TB)
6,000 MB/s write (1TB)

As previously mentioned, the Seagate FireCuda 530 uses the same Phison E18 controller and 176-layer TLC NAND combo but falls ever-so-slightly behind Kingston’s KC3000 in most benchmarks. This does not change the fact that the FireCuda 530 is an exceptionally fast SSD, and it also comes with excellent endurance ratings: 1,275 TBW with the 1 TB model and 2,550 TBW with the 2 TB capacity.

Check prices (1TB): Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

Reviews: StorageReview, TweakTown


Corsair MP600 Pro XT8. Corsair MP600 PRO XT

Interface: PCIe Gen4 x4 NVMe
Available Capacities: 1TB, 2TB, 4TB
7,100 MB/s read (1TB)
5,800 MB/s write (1TB)

As its name implies, the Corsair MP600 PRO XT is an updated version of the MP600 PRO (non-XT). The main difference is that this model has been updated with the same high-density memory chips as the first two drives mentioned above. Consequently, it offers about the same performance, with sequential transfer rates of up to 7,100 MB/s (read) and 5,800 MB/s (write) for the 1TB version. Much like its main competitors, however, the 2TB and 4TB capacities are a bit faster in terms of sequential write performance (6,800 MB/s) and up to 1,000,000 IOPS random reads.

Check prices (1TB): Amazon, Newegg


9. Adata Legend 960

adata legend 960

Interface: PCIe Gen4 x4 NVMe
Available Capacities: 1TB, 2TB, 4TB
7,400 MB/s read (1TB)
6,000 MB/s write (1TB)

Adata’s Legend 960 was launched in late 2022, and like many of its competitors, it uses the excellent B47R 176-layer NAND from Micron. Instead of the somewhat ubiquitous Phison E18 controller, however, it is equipped with the 8-channel Silicon Motion SM2264 controller. It nevertheless follows the same pattern as its Phison-based competitors, with the 2TB and 4TB capacities being measurably faster than the smaller 1TB model.

Check prices (1TB): Amazon


970 EVO Plus10. Samsung 970 EVO Plus (Best Gen3 SSD)

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


Also see our budget NVMe SSD coverage for the drives with the best price/performance ratios.

Other Considerations

We’ve tried our best to compile the most comprehensive list of SSDs possible and used this to create the lists you see above. Since there are new drives launched each month, we will update the list 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 likely sound incomprehensible. We will attempt to explain some of them here.

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

SLC, MLC, TLC, QLC NANDAn SSD’s 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.

Over the past few years, QLC (quad-level cell) drives such as the Samsung QVO have also become 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 is no substitute for higher-quality NAND.

As is often the case, high-end memory chips are more expensive to produce. There are no SSDs based on SLC memory in the market today (it has always been prohibitively expensive), and very few that use MLC. Samsung’s PRO lineup is an exception, excluding the 980 PRO, which is a TLC drive.

SSD endurance: What is 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 600 TBW rating, 600 TB is the amount of data that the manufacturer guarantees can be written to it. Warranties are however mutually exclusive with a set number of years (usually five). 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 gamer or office user, durability is rarely an issue, since most SSDs are likely to outlive the rest of the computer by a fair margin. Low-cost drives with cheap NAND should however not be used in a server or other environment with a high continuous workload.

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Jesper Berg
Jesper Berg

I got started with PC building in the 3dfx Voodoo era somewhere back in the 1990s, and have been writing for tech publications for a bit more than a decade. In other words old enough to have lost count of the times PC gaming has been pronounced dead.

27 Comments
  1. The Seagate BarraCuda Fast also uses the Phison S12 controller in an external form factor with USB Type-C. Seems like it performs about the same as the best internal SATA drives.

  2. thanks, interesting read

  3. thank you very much

  4. excellent info but i’d like to see some about the really inexpensive chinese components

  5. TEAMGROUP T-Force CARDEA A440 Pro Graphene 2tb

    7400/7000
    1TB: 700TBW
    2TB: 1,400TBW
    4TB: 3,000TBW

  6. Thank you for writing this post. I purchased a 2TB Seagate FireCuda 530 and discovered that it is an NVME device. Perhaps the increased speed is due to this.

  7. So, now that it’s common knowledge that manufacturers are switching out components to much lower performance units, are you willing to take down these reviews, or at least add caveats, since you can’t even purchase many of these drives anymore?

  8. kingston fury renegade 4tb is faster than Seagate FireCuda

  9. Great list. Samsung is what I recommend.

  10. Great information, thanks for sharing it with us

  11. 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.

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

  13. 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?

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

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

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

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

    Thanks a lot!

  18. 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. 🙂

  19. 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?

  20. 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.

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