Best M.2 Solid-State Drives

Review & Comparison, Last Update December 3, 2018
Are you looking to upgrade the overall speed of the data performance on your computer? If so, you should take a look at purchasing a new m.2 Solid State Drive to replace the slower hard drive in your system. Read our reviews of five of the best m.2 SSDs available. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2018
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Interface
Capacity
Read/Write speed
NAND Flash
Extras
Dimensions
Warranty
 
PROS

It uses the innovative Samsung Phoenix Controller: its work is based on a five core ARM processor, and one of the cores deals exclusively with servicing operations with the host.

CONS

High power consumption in Burst Mode (up to 10 W).

OUR VERDICT

The Samsung 970 EVO is a breakthrough in the field of SSD-drives in terms of speed and reliability: Samsung Intelligent TurboWrite technology has significantly increased the speed of sequential reading and writing.

detailed parameters
Interface

NVMe interface (PCIe M.2 2280)

Capacity

1 TB (250 Gb, 500 Gb and 2 TB also available)

Read/Write speed

Up to 3400MB per sec / Up to 2500MB per sec

NAND Flash

TLC 3D NAND Flash

Extras

Self-Monitoring and Reporting Technology (SMART), TRIM support, Samsung’s Dynamic Thermal Guard, Magician Software for SSD management

Dimensions

3.16" x 0.09" x 0.87"

0.28 oz

Warranty

5 years or 600 TBW (whichever comes first)

PROS

Thanks to the supplied WD SSD Dashboard software and Acronis True Image WD Edition software, you will have the opportunity to monitor the details of the component's operation in detail, and also be able to easily clone and restore local disks.

CONS

Doesn't come with a mounting screw.

OUR VERDICT

If you are keen on high-end gaming and 4K and/or 3D graphic editing, then we recommend that you look at this SSD-drive: the speed of reading and writing here is the highest at a relatively low price, and therefore quite suitable to the above mentioned tasks.

detailed parameters
Interface

NVMe interface (PCIe M.2 2280)

Capacity

1 TB (250 Gb, 500 Gb also available)

Read/Write speed

Up to 3400MB per sec / Up to 2800MB per sec

NAND Flash

TLC 3D NAND flash

Extras

Self-Monitoring and Reporting Technology (SMART), WD F.I.T. Lab certified, WD Dashboard software for SSD management

Dimensions

3.15" x 0.08" x 0.79"

0.16 oz

Warranty

5 years or 600 TBW (whichever comes first)

PROS

Integrated Power Loss Immunity eliminates the risk of data loss in the event of a power outage - an important point that will prevent you from losing important information in case of an emergency failure in the computer.

CONS

Comparatively low read / write speed.

OUR VERDICT

This model is the best in the category of budget drives: with it, you can upgrade the storage capacity and performance of a PC or laptop by spending a minimum of funds. This drive will greatly enhance your system's performance.

detailed parameters
Interface

NVMe interface (PCIe M.2 2280)

Capacity

1 TB (250 Gb, 500 Gb also available)

Read/Write speed

Up to 560MB per sec / Up to 510MB per sec

NAND Flash

TLC 3D NAND Flash

Extras

Self-Monitoring and Reporting Technology (SMART), TRIM support, Integrated Power Loss Immunity, Crucial Storage Executive software for SSD management

Dimensions

3.15" x 0.05" x 0.87"

0.32 oz

Warranty

5 years

PROS

Thanks to the implementation of MLC 3D NAND Flash, the manufacturer managed to significantly increase the endurance and maximum resources of the drive: up to 50% higher than that of TLC 3D NAND Flash.

CONS

Some experts consider this model somewhat overpriced.

OUR VERDICT

The PRO-version from Samsung is the flagship among similar devices, as in this model it uses all the most advanced and high-tech developments: its tests pleasantly surprised even the most demanding users.

detailed parameters
Interface

NVMe interface (PCIe M.2 2280)

Capacity

512 Gb (1 TB also available)

Read/Write speed

Up to 3500MB per sec / Up to 2300MB per sec

NAND Flash

MLC 3D NAND Flash

Extras

Self-Monitoring and Reporting Technology (SMART), TRIM support, Samsung’s Dynamic Thermal Guard, Magician Software for SSD management

Dimensions

3.16" x 0.09" x 0.87"

0.28 oz

Warranty

5 years or 600 TBW (whichever comes first)

PROS

The shock resistance is 2.17G Peak (in working condition) and 20G Peak (Non-Operating) - this is especially important when installing the drive in laptops and ultrabooks, as it prevents the failure of the component due to vibration and shaking.

CONS

No cloning software comes with the drive.

OUR VERDICT

Kingston solid state drives have proven themselves with hours of daily use: they can easily cope with extreme loads, while not having problems with overheating, even without additional cooling.

detailed parameters
Interface

NVMe interface (PCIe M.2 2280)

Capacity

240 Gb (480 Gb, 960 Gb also available)

Read/Write speed

Up to 1500MB per sec / Up to 800MB per sec

NAND Flash

TLC 3D NAND Flash

Extras

Self-Monitoring and Reporting Technology (SMART), TRIM support

Dimensions

3.15" x 0.14" x 0.87"

0.22 oz

Warranty

5 years

Samsung 970 Evo

Next Generation SSD

Solid state drives are not new on the market. They have already been in wide use for almost a decade now, and they are only becoming even more widespread. Many of the older models were relatively slow, offering only slightly faster read/write speeds than mechanical hard drives, and many of them either suffered from reliability problems or would wear out quickly, frustrating users with their short lifespan. This aspect of solid state drives has changed drastically, though, and they no longer carry the reputation of being unreliable thanks to many of the newer models.

The Samsung 970 Evo NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 SSD is one such model that is helping to improve the reputation of solid state drives. Featuring a small footprint but with a durable design, this m.2 SSD destroys the complaints that were common and well deserved about older solid state drives. This particular drive is available in multiple capacities, ranging from 250 GB to 1 TB, giving users plenty of choice when it comes to storage capacity. Along with the wide choice in capacity also comes blazing fast performance, with read speeds up to 3500 MB/s and write speeds up to 2500 MB/s, giving you the speed necessary to handle any tasks that you throw at it.

Review of Samsung 970 Evo NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 SSD

Durable and Reliable

Along with the great performance of this drive comes reliability that is nearly untouched by other models. The endurance of this drive is rated up to 1200 TBW, which will give you a long lifespan of high and reliable performance that far surpasses older drives, and is nearly untouched even by its contemporary models. This drive should last you for years without worry of the V-NAND technology wearing out and lapsing into failure. This should give you a peace of mind that just doesn't come with many other solid state drives.

In addition to the great reliability and performance comes a host of extras that should give you virtually everything that you would need with an SSD. The included Samsung Magician Software gives you fast and easy cloning and file transfer capabilities, allowing you to easily transfer data from an older hard drive or SSD to your new Samsung m.2 solid state drive. Also included is Samsung's Dynamic Thermal Guard technology, which keeps your drive cool and reduces the risk of overheating while also minimizing performance drops due to heat. This makes this drive perfect for slim laptops and ultrabooks as well as for desktop computers, so you have plenty of choice in where to use this drive. All of these benefits add up into an outstanding package that should give you top performance and reliability for years to come.

Samsung 970 Evo NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 SSD in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

WD Black

Without Limits

Considering the limitations of many older solid state drives, many of those who use them tend to be careful with them. There's always the worry of wearing the drive out, so many users are often worried about the TRIM support of their drives. There are also concerns about reliability and performance, with many drives seemingly slowing down with age, along with the risk of drive failure. Of course, these worries are all based on older SSD technology, which fortunately has come a long way in just a few short years.

The WD Black High-Performance NVMe PCIe Gen3 8 Gb/s M.2 2280 SSD is a great example of the new generation of m.2 solid state drives that do away with many of the old concerns and worries about SSDs. This Western Digital SSD gives you performance that far surpasses that of the old generation with sequential read speeds up to 3400 MB/s, which is up to 60% faster than the previous generation. This comes thanks to the new Western Digital NVMe SSD storage architecture, which gives you the ultimate in performance along with low latency, efficient power usage (down to 2.5mW), and compatibility with most modern PC architectures. You can be assured that this model will work just fine with your new desktop or ultrabook.

Review of WD Black High-Performance NVMe PCIe Gen3 8 Gb/s M.2 2280 SSD

Great Compatibility

Although this is an m.2 SSD, the compatibility of this drive remains high with both newer and older systems, as certified by the Western Digital F.I.T. Lab. This certification helps ensure a high degree of compatibility in almost any computer architecture, reducing the need to research compatibility issues before purchasing it. The drive is also available in lower capacity models, such as 250 GB and 500 GB, so those without the larger capacity needs can get the right drive for their system.

Along with the drive comes a host of features and extras that will give you the power to control your data. The included WD SSD Dashboard software gives you the ability to monitor your drives usage, along with the tools to optimize the performance, all in a very user-friendly interface. It also includes tools for analyzing drive information such as the model, capacity, firmware version, and SMART attributes. Along with this software is the included cloning and backup software, giving you the ability to easily transfer data between drives as well as easy backup capabilities. Anyone who needs a powerful m.2 solid state drive that will hold up to heavy usage will find much to love with this model.

WD Black High-Performance NVMe PCIe Gen3 8 Gb/s M.2 2280 SSD in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Crucial MX500

Priceless Performance

One of the best known names when it comes to computer memory is Crucial, a brand that many computer technicians and enthusiasts swear by. Crucial is well known for making high-quality memory that is affordable, which has made it a favorite of computer enthusiasts all over the world. The same attitude also applies to their solid state drives, which have continued on the tradition of offering quality and great performance while remaining one of the most cost-effective products around.

The Crucial MX500 3D NAND SATA M.2 Type 2280SS Internal SSD continues in this tradition, giving you everything that you would come to expect from a Crucial product. This Crucial solid state drive gives you great performance thanks to the Micron 3D NAND technology, giving you sequential read and write speeds up to 560/510 MB/s, as well as random reads/writes up to 95k/90k. These speeds are the same for all file types, so there is little need to worry about large groups of small files throttling down your drive's performance. Having even performance across your entire drive with all types of files prevents you from needing to micromanage your data just to get the best performance out of your solid state drive.

Review of Crucial MX500 3D NAND SATA M.2 Type 2280SS Internal SSD

Peak Reliability

Having such great performance is not the only concern that most users have about their solid state drives. Many other aspects of an SSD are concerns as well, such as the reliability and life span of a drive, heat dissipation, and others. Thankfully, this Crucial m.2 SSD has plenty of other features to alleviate the concerns that most users have about their SSDs. For instance, this drive includes Crucial's Integrated Power Loss Immunity, which keeps your data safe by preserving work during the event of a power outage, and which also prevents data corruption. This feature alone is one that many users have dreamed of, especially those who have suffered data corruption or loss in the event of a hardware failure.

Along with the Integrated Power Loss Immunity is support for AES 256-bit hardware-based encryption, giving users the ability to encrypt all of the data on the drive, offering maximum protection and security. Also included is the Acronis True Image software, which provides an easy way to clone your old drive and transfer data to your new Crucial drive, and alleviating the need for additional software. With all of these features along with Crucial's fantastic support, this drive is one of the best values available for m.2 solid state drives.

Crucial MX500 3D NAND SATA M.2 Type 2280SS Internal SSD in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Samsung 970 PRO

Great All-Use Drive

With solid state drives, not everyone needs the highest capacity drive available. While having terabytes of storage space is always welcome, sometimes an SSD is really only needed for certain tasks, and may be used in conjunction with other SSDs or mechanical hard drives. In cases such as this, having a reliable, high-performance drive trumps all other concerns, including storage capacity.

The Samsung 970 PRO NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 SSD is one drive that is slated to work well in all conditions, no matter what your specific needs are. This m.2 solid state drive features great performance, with read speeds up to 3500 MB/s, ensuring that all data stored on it can be quickly accessed without causing a performance bottleneck. Along with this great performance is a high durability rating of up to 1200 TBW, which ensures that this drive will work and perform well under heavy loads, with no concern about early failures.

Much of this performance comes courtesy of the latest VNAND technology included in the drive coupled with a new Phoenix controller, which is all bundled together in a small form factor encasing, allowing for easy installation in any computer, whether it be a desktop system or an ultrabook.

Review of Samsung 970 PRO NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 Internal SSD

Beyond Your Expectations

The performance and reliability of this drive alone bring a lot to the table, but this drive also has much more to offer. Included with the drive is the powerful Samsung Magician software, which gives you the ability to monitor and analyze all aspects of the drive's performance and health, as well as to keep the drive's firmware up to date and even boost its performance. Also included is Samsung's renowned drive cloning software, which lets you easily transfer the contents of your old hard drive or solid state drive over to your new Samsung m.2 SSD, without needing to reinstall any of your favorite software and preventing any worries about losing data.

This latest Samsung m.2 solid state drive with the latest in technological developments will surprise you in all aspects, including the performance and reliability listed above, and the included tools give you everything that you need. This makes the drive quite suitable for all situations that it is needed for, whether it be for development, 3D modeling, heavy high resolution video editing, or gaming. Any user who has high demands of their computer hardware will find this drive's performance to exceed even their loftiest expectations.

Samsung 970 PRO NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 Internal SSD in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Kingston A1000

High Quality Budget Drive

There are several brands that are well-known and mainstays to computer hardware enthusiasts. One of those brands is Kingston, a company that has traditionally specialized in and has been well known for their memory and storage devices. Kingston's reputation has preceded them over the years, generally signalling to the buyer that their product is of the highest quality yet very affordable. With the Kingston A1000 PCIe NVMe M.2 2280 Internal SSD, this well earned reputation remains intact, as this drive fits their reputation perfectly.

Featuring 240 GB of storage, this drive, which is also available in other sizes, carries with it a high-quality brand name but with a price that is budgeted to be affordable to anyone who needs it. This great Kingston SSD features read/write speeds of 500 MB/s and 350 MB/s, respectively, which is much faster than a standard mechanical hard drive and still competitive with other higher priced solid state drives from other manufacturers. Despite the m.2 interface, this drive also retains backwards compatibility with the SATA Revs. 2 and 3, which means that even those with older computers will still find their hardware compatible with this drive.

Review of Kingston A1000 NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 Internal SSD

Enhance Your Performance

Despite the budget price of this drive, it still screams high quality with every feature added to it. This drive retains speeds up to 10 times faster than a standard mechanical hard drive, and this speed will be apparent with virtually all aspects of drive use, including file transfers, system startup time, and application loading. This high performance comes with a reliability that also far exceeds that of mechanical hard drives, as it features no moving parts that will be prone to wearing out or breaking down. Several other benefits of this drive include quiet and cool operation, less power draw, and shock and vibration resistance. This makes the drive perfect for those who need a reliable storage option for their laptop or ultrabook computers, and it works fine in a desktop computer as well. The small form factor and high-quality connector also make it quite easy to install and remove, being no more difficult to do so than any other device that is connected to your computer. One small disadvantage of this drive is that it does not come with cloning or backup software, although there are several drive cloning applications that you can download for free from the Internet that work well with this drive. Despite this small negative, this small budget SSD remains one of the best values available.

Kingston A1000 NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 Internal SSD in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

What Is a M.2 Solid-State Drive?

Solid State Drives (SSD for short) are data storage devices that are used in computers to store the computer's data. While most older (and some newer) computers tend to use standard mechanical hard drives for this purpose, many newer computers are starting to use SSDs due to a number of reasons, the most important of which being that they tend to perform much faster than the older mechanical hard drives. They also include a number of other benefits, such as requiring less power and being less prone to mechanical failure. Overall, SSDs are quite superior to standard hard drives in most important areas.

Many older SSDs were made specifically to work with the mSATA standard, but the drives reviewed here are made to work with the newer m.2 standard (also called Next Generation Form Factor, or NGFF). The m.2 standard refers to the interface used by the SSD, which includes a number of benefits over the older mSATA standard. Devices that use the m.2 interface use a smaller form factor interface, which makes them easier to install in laptops and ultrabooks, and it also allows for faster parallel operations, which greatly improves the performance of all devices connected to the m.2 interface.

If you are looking for an external SSD to help increase your computer's total storage capacity, take a look at our reviews of the best external solid state drives.

What Features to Compare

Most people who are quite familiar with computer technology will probably already know what to look for when it comes to buying an m.2 solid state drive. However, most people aren't computer geeks, and many really don't know what to look for when it comes to these drives.

The most important thing to check before buying an m.2 solid state drive is to make sure that your computer actually supports this new interface standard. If your computer is more than a couple of years old, it most likely doesn't and might be better served by an mSATA or PCIE solid state drive. Computers with the newer Intel and AMD chipsets, however, will support it, and many laptops and ultrabooks already include support for the m.2 standard. It is best to check with your computer manufacturer to make sure that your computer already supports this standard.

For those who do have a computer that supports the m.2 standard, there are a few other characteristics to keep in mind when purchasing an m.2 solid state drive.

Storage Capacity

One of the areas that SSDs lag behind mechanical hard drives is in the total storage capacity. Most SSDs are going to have much less storage capacity than an equally priced mechanical hard drive. However, the gap is starting to close on this as SSDs become more and more price competitive. Regardless, you will want to make sure that the SSD you buy is going to have enough storage capacity for your needs.

Read/Write Speed

Probably the biggest way in which a solid state drive is superior to a mechanical hard drive is in its read/write speeds, which dictate how fast the hard drive can read and transfer information to the computer's memory. m.2 solid state drives boast far superior read/write speeds to most other drives on the whole, although it is best to make sure that your specific m.2 SSD will have read/write speeds that match or exceed your needs. This is especially important for people who use their computers for working with large amounts of data, such as for 3D modeling, 4K video editing, and many other data intensive tasks.

Extras

Many m.2 solid state drives will come with some extras, including but not limited to data management and drive cloning software. Data management software is especially important, as this software works to ensure that your computer's operating system is making the best use of its solid state drive. Drive cloning software is also quite important, especially for home users who are buying the solid state drive to replace an older SSD or mechanical hard drive. This software allows the user to easily transfer all of the data from the old hard drive to their new SSD without needing to reinstall all of their software. If this is something that you are planning to do, and you do not already have access to cloning software, then you want to make sure that your new m.2 solid state drive includes this utility.

Checking all of the above mentioned features and characteristics of the m.2 solid state drive before you buy it will help ensure that you have the best experience possible with your new drive.

Did you know?

Installing a New Solid State Drive

If you are looking for a new m.2 solid state drive, chances are that you have a computer with either a mechanical hard drive or an older SSD, and you wish to replace that older drive with your new SSD. While this may seem to be a simple procedure to experienced computer users and technicians, many people who are not familiar with the internals of their computer or how they operate may find this to be a daunting task. Fear not, though - this is actually very simple to do, and requires only a minimum of steps, regardless of which type of computer or operating system that you use. If you find yourself lost on where to begin or how to go about replacing your older drive with your new SSD, then read on to find out the steps you need to take.

Transferring Data

If you are replacing an older drive with your new SSD, and you need to transfer all of your old data to the new drive, then you will have two options on how to go about doing this. The easier option is to transfer just the data while reinstalling the operating system and applications from scratch. Many experienced computer users tend to prefer this method, as it ensures a fresh install of everything on the new drive. However, it is by far the more time-consuming option of the two, and for most people it really isn't necessary. If you aren't experienced with how to do this, then you may either want to find a good online tutorial for this, or find an experienced computer tech who can help you with this process. If you are doing this yourself, then all you need to do is transfer all data from your home directory in Windows (C:\Users\[Home Directory Name]) or Mac OS X (/Users/[Home Directory Name]) from your old drive to the new SSD after you have installed Windows on it.

If you prefer to just transfer all data, including your operating system and applications, to the new drive, then you will most likely find this process to be much easier and quicker to do than the first option. To do this, you will need to use some type of "drive cloning" software, which is a program that allows you to move the entire contents of one drive to another drive in one easy step. Many of the drives featured here actually come with drive cloning utilities. However, if you purchase an SSD that does not include this software, then you will need to acquire this type of software from elsewhere. Thankfully, there are several free to use programs available online that you can use for this. If you are using a version of Windows on your computer (Windows 7, 8, or 10), then you may want to try the Macrium Reflect software, which is highly rated and easy to use. For Mac OS X users who are using the latest version of Mac OS X, then you actually don't need to download any additional software, as you can use Disk Utility to copy the data to your new drive. The process of doing so may involve a few more steps than with dedicated cloning software, but it is still very easy to do if you follow this guide.

As you can see, the process of transferring your data to your new m.2 SSD is not complicated at all, and is easy enough for most people to do without any additional help. However, if you are unsure of what you are doing, then you may want to ask a friend who is experienced with this process for help.

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Publish Date: 2018-08-02 10:25:25