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Ask any video editor, gamer, or person who goes hard-and-heavy on their computer and they’ll tell you:

Solid state drives are the future.

Because they use flash memory (unlike traditional hard drives), solid state drives offer quicker startups and faster load times. SSDs also process pictures and video much faster than your old HDD ever could.

Plus, they’re a lot lighter than those clunky, arcane HHDs and they tend to last longer, too.

But, with hundreds of solid-state drives available on the market, how are you supposed to choose one? How can anyone sift through all those options and come out on the other side with the perfect drive?

Well, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best SSDs on the market right now. Although they vary in price and differ in some key ways, each one of these should have your computer flying in no time.

Take a look:


Samsung 860 EVO 1TB

Features

  • Total Storage: 1TB
  • Lifespan: 1,200TBW
  • Interface: SATA 6GBps
  • Random IO: 95K/90K IOPS read/write
  • Sequential IO: 560MB/510 MB/sec read/write
  • Price: $149.99

Gamers were one of the first consumer demographics to gravitate toward SSD technology. After all, there isn’t any other group who is as consistently in search of a faster PC experience.

And, according to PCGamer, the Samsung 860 EVO is one of the best SSDs out there.

While it may not have the largest storage capacity of any drive out there (considering that there are some with several TBs of storage), it’s sturdy and capable of working for hours on end without slowing down.

Or, as they put it, “[The Samsung 860 EVO] doesn’t win every benchmark… but you can pound the drive with writes all day long without killing it.”

Pros

  • Extremely fast for a SATA drive
  • Great value for such high performance

Cons

  • Doesn’t perform as well as an NVMe drive
  • Risk of data loss due to RAPID software

Samsung 860 Pro 4TB

Features

  • Total Storage: 4TB
  • Lifespan: 4,800TBW
  • Interface: SATA 6Gbps
  • Random IO: 100K/90K IOPS read/write
  • Sequential IO: 560MB/530 MB/sec read/write
  • Price: $1199.99

A “sequel” to the 860 EVO, Samsung’s Pro model is stocked with far more memory than its smaller counterpart. But, it comes with a (much) higher price point.

Unfortunately, many users have found that the PRO doesn’t perform much better than the EVO in terms of speed. So, the only thing you’re really getting is a ton of extra storage.

Now, this one made our list because Samsung’s 860 series is one of the best and most durable SSDs available. But, unless you’re handling massive amounts of video, it’s unlikely that you’ll need to shell out more than a grand for a decent drive.

If you’re stuck on Samsung, the Samsung 970 Evo, 960 Evo, or 850 Evo are all worth a look as well.

Pros

  • More than enough storage for the average gamer.
  • High TBW (Total Terabytes Written) means this thing is built to last.

Cons

  • Definitely on the expensive side
  • Not enough extra speed to justify the expense

SanDisk Ultra 3D 1TB

Features

  • Total Storage: 1 TB
  • Lifespan: 400 TBW
  • Interface: SATA 6GBps
  • Random IO: 95K/84K IOPS read/write
  • Sequential IO: 560MB/530 MB/sec read/write
  • Price: $134.99

SanDisk is one of the forerunners in flash drive technology. If you’ve ever popped an SD card into your camera, chances are that it was a SanDisk product.

Because solid-state drives are essentially a more complex SD card that gets installed inside of your computer, it only makes sense that this company would make good ones.

And their Ultra 3D drives are some of the best. With a sturdy body and an efficient design, this drive is lightning-fast, quiet, and doesn’t drain your battery like some drives do.

Plus, SanDisk equips all of their drives with a dashboard program that allows you to watch your drive’s performance in real-time. That way, you can see exactly how well it functions.

Pros

  • One of the most affordable SSDs out
  • Available in a range of sizes (250GB – 2TB)

Cons

  • Benchmarks don’t meet the standards set by other SSDs
  • With such a low TBW, it may not be built for endurance.

Crucial MX500 1TB

Features

  • Total Storage: 1 TB
  • Lifespan: 360 TBW
  • Interface: SATA 6GBps
  • Random IO: 95K/90K IOPS read/write
  • Sequential IO: 560MB/510 MB/sec read/write
  • Price: $134.99

Produced by Micron, one of the world’s leading memory technology outfits, the Crucial MX500 1 TB is built for longevity.

While similar in price and benchmarks to drives like the SanDisk Ultra 3D, this drive is equipped with TCG Opal encryption support and the company’s special power loss protection feature.

Both of these features are intended to keep your data safe and secure in the event of a breach or a power outage. So, although it may not perform as fast as some other models out there, it could be a great choice for people who are constantly afraid of losing their data.

Pros

  • Great value for a low price.
  • Extra security features will help you sleep at night.

Cons

  • Low TBW means that you’ll want to avoid too many overwrites.
  • A weirdly outdated look for a 2017 model.

WD Black High-Performance NVMe SSD 500GB

Features

  • Total Storage: 500 GB
  • Lifespan: 600 TBW
  • Interface: PCI Gen3 8GBps
  • Random IO: 410K/330K IOPS read/write
  • Sequential IO: 3,400MB/2,500MB/sec read/write
  • Price: $136.22

For a long time, most SSD products have come equipped with a SATA (or Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) interface. This was, ultimately, the standard in performance-enhancing storage solutions.

But, while SATA still has its benefits, we find that more and more SSDs are manufactured with an NVME interface.

We won’t bore you with details about the differences between the two (read more here if you’d like). However, we will say that NVMe SSDs tend to run a lot faster.

This 500GB NVMe drive from Western Digital is a great example of the power of the technology. With a Random read/write speed of 410,000 IOPS and 330,000 IOPS, respectively, it operates at a level that most SATA drives could only aspire to.

Pros

  • Only $136 for a high-performing drive.
  • Customers can upgrade to 1TB for less than $140

Cons

  • Low endurance and storage are not good for users who require frequent overwrites.

Toshiba OCZ RD400 Series SSD 512GB

Features

  • Total Storage: 512 GB
  • Lifespan: 592 TBW
  • Interface: PCIe NVMe 2.1GB/s
  • Random IO: 190K/120K IOPS read/write
  • Sequential IO: 2,600MB/1,600MB/sec read/write
  • Price: $197.99

Another high-performing yet affordable NVMe model, the Toshiba OCZ RD400 series is great for those who are just getting started with the technology. For less than $200, you can ramp your computer up and take it to a pretty high speed.

This one falls just below WD’s NVMe drive, however, because it costs slightly more money but has lower benchmarks.

The great thing about this one, however, is that it comes with a 5-year warranty. So, if you happen to exhaust it during the first five years, Toshiba will reimburse you for it.

Pros

  • One of the more affordable NVMe drives
  • 60-month warranty

Cons

  • Read/write speeds are not as high as comparable products

How to Find the Best SSD for You

Not sold on any of the models listed above?

Looking for something faster, more powerful, or more durable?

Well, that’s okay! There are literally hundreds of solid-state drives for sale on Amazon and other online marketplaces. So, you should have no problem finding one that suits your needs.

If you’ve never purchased an SSD before, though, it can be quite overwhelming.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind that might help you find the perfect drive for you:

External Drives are Less Expensive (But Not as Fast)

When most people think about computer storage, their brain goes straight to external hard drives.

After all, if you don’t know how to take apart a computer, the idea of adding internal storage can make you shudder.

But, any expert will tell you that internal storage is much better than external storage, especially if it’s speed that you’re after.

In fact, they didn’t even start making external SSDs until a few years ago.

Basically, they operate much better because they connect directly to the devices inside your computer. Therefore, the connections are much smoother and far more powerful

An external SSD, on the other hand, connects through the USB port like a normal external hard drive.

Now, the problem with that is this:

Information is transferred much faster through the SATA ribbon or the NVMe device (inside of your computer) than it is through the USB port.

Whereas a USB drive is capable of transferring up to 5 GB (with the absolute newest version) a SATA attachment can transfer well over 6 GB.

So, your computer is going to move a lot quicker with an SSD like that.

It Needs to Fit Your PC

Not all SSDs fit every computer, so you’ll have to find one that’s compatible with yours.

For the most part, drives come in three different sizes: 1.5”, 2.5”, and 3.5”.

There are larger ones but those are mostly for high-end, industrial grade computers (let the IT people deal with those).

Consumer-grade SSDS, however, are made to fit comfortably inside of home computers. So, you have to find the size that fits yours.

Usually, you should be able to find out whether or not an SSD is compatible with your computer by taking a peek at the drive manufacturer’s website. If it’s not there, feel free to call their customer support line and ask them directly.

Now, if you’ve already purchased one (or happen to buy one) and it’s too small, there’s a fix:

You can use brackets.

Many companies actually make specialized mounting brackets that will hold your drive in place.

If you don’t know how to install one of these, you may need to ask a computer-savvy friend. But, they’re generally pretty easy to install.

Those brackets will only work in the case that your drive is too small for your computer.

If it’s too large, you’re out of luck. You’ll have to return it to the store you bought it from.

It Should Add Significant Storage

The whole point of an SSD is to give your computer some more storage space so that it will run faster.

So, you want to make sure that the cost of your SSD (and the hassle of installing it) is worth the trouble.

Therefore, we recommend that you don’t buy one with less than 200 GB-250 GB of storage.


As we’ve shown above, there are SSDs out there that hold several terabytes of information. However, they do run pretty expensive and not exactly what the average person needs.

If you are just looking for something that will speed your computer up but won’t cost you an arm and a leg, but will still add some value and convenience to your life, then we recommend you get something with at least 250 GB – 500 GB of storage on it.

If it’s any less than 256GB, don’t bother with it.

When your internet is running smooth and your computer is operating like a dream, you’ll be happy that you splurged the extra $50 or so for a better storage drive.

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