Best Solid State Drives

Review & Comparison, Last Update August 10, 2018
It is impossible to imagine a modern gaming or multimedia PC without an SSD drive. The most important advantages of SSDs are high performance, minimum power consumption and the high rate of read/write speed. Here is the list of the most popular solid-state drives you can buy. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2018
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Interface
Capacity
Read/Write Speed
NAND Flash
Extras
Warranty
 
PROS

With the MLC 3D NAND Flash implemented, Samsung has enhanced their SSD in durability and capacity departments: almost 50% more compared to the TLC 3D NAND Flash.

CONS

Some users find the software interface awkward.

OUR VERDICT

The Samsung 960 EVO is a new word in the world of SSDs when it comes to the read/write speeds and reliability, the former mostly thanks to the Samsung Intelligent TurboWrite technology used here.

detailed parameters
Interface

2.5 Inch, 7mm

SATA 6 Gb/s (compatible with SATA 3 Gb/s and SATA 1.5 Gb/s)

Capacity

1 TB (250 GB, 500 GB, 2 TB and 4 TB also available)

Read/Write Speed

Up to 550MB per sec / Up to 520MB per sec

NAND Flash

MLC 3D NAND Flash

Extras

Self-Monitoring and Reporting Technology (SMART), TRIM support, AES 256-bit hardware-based encryption support, Magician Software for SSD management

Warranty

5 years or 600 TBW (whichever comes first)

PROS

The Integrated Power Loss Immunity makes it virtually impossible to lose data due to a power outage, which can save the whole day's work in some cases.

CONS

Heats up when the load is high.

OUR VERDICT

The Crucial MX500 SSD can boost your computer's performance in a way that is noticeable: copying data will take up far less time and the system, as well as apps, will launch in a blink.

detailed parameters
Interface

2.5 Inch, 7mm (9.5 mm adapter included)

SATA 6 Gb/s (compatible with SATA 3 Gb/s and SATA 1.5 Gb/s)

Capacity

1 TB (250 GB, 500 GB, 2 TB 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, Adaptive Thermal Protection, Crucial Storage Executive software for SSD management

Warranty

5 years

PROS

Owing to the high-speed "buffer" nCache 2.0 technology, this model offers what is probably the best writing speed in its price range.

CONS

Cloning local disks may be a bit complicated.

OUR VERDICT

SanDisk has a vast experience and theirs are among the most reliable SSD products. If you are looking to up your PC's performance significantly at a reasonable price, this is one of the best options.

detailed parameters
Interface

2.5 Inch, 7mm

SATA 6 Gb/s (compatible with SATA 3 Gb/s and SATA 1.5 Gb/s)

Capacity

1 TB (250 GB, 500 GB, 2 TB also available)

Read/Write Speed

Up to 560MB per sec / Up to 530MB per sec

NAND Flash

TLC 3D NAND flash

Extras

Self-Monitoring and Reporting Technology (SMART), TRIM support, nCache 2.0 Technology, SanDisk Dashboard software for SSD management

Warranty

3 years or 400 TBW (whichever comes first)

PROS

The MTTF of this model is 1.75M hours, one of the longest for current SSDs. The same goes for its TBW parameter. Your data will be safe and sound for the longest time.

CONS

The software from WD to clone old drive only works with a WD regular hard drive.

OUR VERDICT

WD Blue solid state drive has passed a WD F.I.T. Lab certification, meaning it has proven the ability to offer its top performance in next to all systems. The reading and writing speeds will satisfy the most demanding users.

detailed parameters
Interface

2.5 Inch, 7mm

SATA 6 Gb/s (compatible with SATA 3 Gb/s and SATA 1.5 Gb/s)

Capacity

500 GB (250 GB, 1 TB, 2 TB also available)

Read/Write Speed

Up to 560MB per sec / Up to 530MB per sec

NAND Flash

TLC 3D NAND flash

Extras

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

Warranty

5 years

PROS

Your casual browsing or gaming will become even more casual and stress-free thanks to the SLC caching that provides the so-called "burst moment" to boost the writing speed when you open a page, load a new open-world level, etc.

CONS

Copying a big amount of data can slow down the drive quite a bit.

OUR VERDICT

An inexpensive internal SSD from SanDisk will handle any everyday tasks, even those that take you hours and hours to complete. Its speed is not the highest but it is still 15-20 times better than that of an HDD.

detailed parameters
Interface

2.5 Inch, 7mm

SATA 6 Gb/s (compatible with SATA 3 Gb/s and SATA 1.5 Gb/s)

Capacity

480 GB (120 GB, 240 GB, 960 GB, 1 TB also available)

Read/Write Speed

Up to 535MB per sec / Up to 445MB per sec

NAND Flash

TLC NAND flash

Extras

Self-Monitoring and Reporting Technology (SMART), TRIM support, SanDisk Dashboard software for SSD management

Warranty

3 years

Samsung 860 EVO

New Best-selling Family Member

The EVO series is the most popular SSD series not only among Samsung models but in general throughout the industry. That is the result of the company's work on constantly upgrading their product range as well as their flexible pricing policy: with innovations being released as often as at Samsung, the previous versions slightly decrease in price, thus becoming harder to compete with for other companies.

The Samsung 860 EVO is based on an MLC V-NAND Flash. MLC drives are the best option for general consumers today: if you are looking for the fastest solid state drive for your gaming computer, for example, you probably need an MLC SSD. While SLC models a faster still, they are not found among consumer-level options and are geared towards enterprises. Though MLCs are a bit on the expensive side, mostly, they are worthy of the price in the long run.

The drive is offered in several capacities: 250 GB, 500 GB, 1 TB, 2 TB, and 4 TB. All of them offer the reading speed of up to 550 MB/s and the writing speed of 520 MB/s. The speeds are higher than the previous models thanks to the TurboWrite technology. This technology also provides a larger buffer that enhances the performance of the SSD. For example, the buffer size for a 1 TB drive is 42 GB.

Review of Samsung 860 EVO 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD

The Most Reliable SSD

Another remarkable spec this model is carrying is its TBW, the terabytes written. It is 150 TB for every 250 GB of capacity and is only topped by the Samsung 860 Pro. 150 TBW for every 250 GB means that, if you choose a 1TB drive, you get 600 TBW, and with a 4 GB drive that number rises to no less than 2400 TBW. That's actually very impressive, no competitor comes close to these at the moment.

The 860 EVO is faster, more reliable than its predecessors, and it also consumes less energy: 2.5 Volts as compared to 3.3 Volts of a previous model. Furthermore, it is equipped with an MJX controller, which, in its turn, works nicely with a DDR4 memory that is also known to be a low-consumption one.

The drive comes with the Magician software for monitoring it and the access to a tool for migration. The Magician is rather difficult to manage but it does offer a couple of useful features if you are ready to spend some time mastering it.

Drawing a conclusion, we'd say that this model is an undeniable winner when it comes to constant heavy loads, like with professional gaming or some similar activity. Its main selling point is durability, after all. If you use your PC more moderately, the price difference between this and some other models might not be worth it. Consider your needs and maybe check out other suggestions in this review before you decide.

P.S. This internal SSD is compatible with some ancient systems, like Windows XP with service pack 2, for example, released almost 15 years ago, in August 2004. Rare as it is nowadays, some computers still have this OS version and not many solid-state drives are capable of working with something released this much earlier than they were.

Samsung 860 EVO 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Crucial MX500 SATA III

Unexpected Breakthrough

For the first time in a while, the Crucial brand is closing on the industry leaders, the Samsung SSD, not overcoming them yet but after the years of producing drives for lower tiers, their MX500 solid state drive wins in the price department against EVO 850, for example, so much that the differences in performance can be overlooked as not too substantial.

This MX500 is equipped with a 64-layer TLC 3D NAND which has elevated the performance a healthy 30% compared to the 32-layer 3D NAND; the contrast with the planar NAND is even more stark. This drive is faster and more durable, with 360 TB endurance for a 1 TB drive and 700 TB for a 2 TB one. While EVO 860 has 600 TB for the 1 TB drive, winning hands down, the EVO 850 only offers 150 TB there. That's something to consider if you are looking for an SSD to use under some load but aren't willing to cough up more than $200 for 1 TB.

The Crucial SSD offers 560 MB/s sequential reading and 510 MB/s writing speed. Both numbers are more or less average for the class. At the same time, the model shows a top performance in random reading, which is a good thing.

Crucial sells their MX500 solid state drive in four capacities: 250 GB, 500 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB. The model is not the cheapest on the SATA market but is cheaper than models from more famous brands that offer near-similar performance.

Review of Crucial MX500 SATA III 3D NAND 2.5 Inch Internal SSD

Safe as They Come

The MX500 solid state drive offers top-notch data protection in a case of a power loss. The feature was present in the MX series before but now it has been slightly adjusted to enhance the protection quality by reducing power requirements to maintain the signal.

Here's more. While most TCL drives use SLC buffers, the one designed by Crucial here is dynamic instead of fixed. This means its capacity is flexible: it depends on how much data there is on the flash. When the SSD is in its idle period, the technology frees some capacity that will be used when the speed-up time comes. This way, your drive writes data faster and better.

Included with the drive is the Storage Executive software. This is a collection of tools to manage your MX500. In addition to the standard set of tools, there is a tool to up the overprovisioning, i.e. allocate some more space for the controller's background operation. This will result once more in the performance boost of the drive in general.

We've stated this at the beginning of this review but it won't hurt to repeat: the Crucial's MX500 is not the very best among the drives on today's market but its performance exceeds expectations for the devices of its price so the deal is more than nice in the end.

Crucial MX500 SATA III 3D NAND 2.5 Inch Internal SSD in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

SanDisk Ultra

Budget 3D NAND

Same as other SanDisk's SSDs, the Ultra 3D NAND is enclosed in an aluminum case. This provides superb durability and also serves as a shock and vibration absorber, prolonging the drive's life. The looks of the model haven't been changed as well, the company seems to be focusing more on the performance, which is a good thing, of course—after all, it is an internal SSD, you install it inside your computer or laptop and that's it. Not like you look at it often.

With the 560 MB/s or sequential reading speed and 530 MB/s writing one, this SanDisk model is one of the best offers on the market in its price range. It is primarily advertised as a replacement for an HDD and it is hardly a strong rival to top-shelf 3D NAND drives from the likes of Intel or Samsung but in most circumstances with casual-level load, like home or office work and movie watching its performance is more than satisfactory. We do not generally recommend it for the hardcore gaming session, though.

While the performance of this internal SSD is fairly average, nothing to write home about, it does have good endurance numbers. For a 1 TB option, for example, it is 400 TBW. Not half bad, really, you can write and rewrite over 350 GB every day and the drive will live through its whole warranty period and more.

Review of SanDisk Ultra 3D NAND SATA III SSD - 2.5-inch Solid State Drive

Everything Is Up-to-date

Ultra is a TLC 3D NAND flash drive but, same as many other TLCs, it uses a pseudo-SLC caching mode to boost its writing speed; in this case, it's the SanDisk's proprietary nCache 2.0. The nCache 2.0 allocates 5 GB of the NAND per every 120 GB of capacity for the SLC-like caching. Furthermore, owing to the SanDisk On-Chip Copy feature, the data transfer from the SLC portion to the TLC one is managed fully internally, thus reducing the redundant writes, increasing the TBW, and prolonging the life of the drive. You get more performance without it weighing down on the device's durability.

The solid state drive is managed with the SanDisk Dashboard software included with the purchase. The software has all the necessary tools for you to monitor and analyze the performance, clone the drive, and more. It will also notify you when there is a firmware update available, which is nice.

The Dashboard software also has a sometimes handy option to erase the data on your drive to the point of no return: it is not simply erased but overwritten with zeroes, which makes it virtually impossible to recover it. If you have something on your disk that you want gone once and for all, you will appreciate this feature.

SanDisk Ultra 3D NAND SATA III SSD - 2.5-inch Solid State Drive in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

WD Blue SATA III

WD's Breakthrough Model

The WD Blue is one of the most reliable SSD devices, with its Mean Time To Failure (MTTF) bordering on 1.75 million hours. That's almost 200 years of operation, can you imagine that? Of course, the actual lifespan depends more on the drive use and, therefore, such parameters as TBW (Terabytes Written) and DWPD (Drive Writes Per Day) but the sheer number of 200 years is still impressive.

As of 2016, Western Digital (shortened to WD) is a parent company of SanDisk, which means they have similar, if not the same, technologies used in their products. Particularly in this solid state drive, WD has implemented the 3D NAND TLC flash created for them by SanDisk. The drive has 200 TBW and approximately 0.22 DWPD for 500 GB of capacity, which is not something we'd consider too over-the-top but is really good for the price and the 5-year warranty. The price is, by the way, exceptionally moderate, low even, all things considered.

Basically, at a price below $100 for a 500 GB SSD, you get the near-top reading and writing speed SATA interface can offer: 560 MB/s and 530 MB/s respectively. Some testers claim the drive even exceeds them, if only slightly to the point of being unnoticeable during the actual use.

Review of WD Blue SATA III 3D NAND SSD - 2.5" Solid State Drive

Top Average User Bargain

This solid state drive for your desktop computer is a real energy savior: compared to its predecessor, the traditional non-3D WD Blue, this one consumes 25% less energy while performing way better.

The WD Blue 3D NAND internal SSD has been subjected to extensive testing by the company's labs to ensure that it works with basically any system without so much as a glitch. It also comes with the access to download the WD Dashboard, a free monitoring software with all the necessary tools for the drive management, including the Acronis True Image WD Edition that allows cloning the system. There is a catch here, though, and it is that this cloning tool, in particular, seems to only cooperate faultlessly when your regular hard drive is also the model from Western Digital; however, there seems to be no problem with all other tools and the general monitoring of the WD Blue drive.

This is the drive primarily for those wishing to upgrade to better manage their everyday computer-related tasks. It is not a gaming or video editing model, at least not for anything hardcore, but it does offer high quality, endurance, and better-than-nice speeds for just about anything else at a somewhat ridiculous price.

WD Blue SATA III 3D NAND SSD - 2.5" Solid State Drive in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

SanDisk SSD PLUS SATA III

Perfect for a Student's Laptop

Looking for a planar, not 3D NAND solid state drive for a computer or a laptop to boost performance but you're on a tight budget? SanDisk has you covered. Their Plus SATA III model is 20 times as fast as a regular HDD, it offers up to 535 MB/s for reading speed and up to 445 MB/s for writing: the SanDisk Plus is a TLC NAND that uses SLC caching to enhance the burst writing speed, same as most TLC drives. These speeds are not as high as the 3D Ultra from the same manufacturer or some competitor models but at the same time, heaps better than your old drive. And it is more or less affordable for the quality provided by SanDisk. Your system will boot 20 times as fast, as will all the apps.

The model is designed and manufactured with exactly zero moving parts, meaning no excessive noise, no vibrations that can shorten the lifespan of the drive as well as the PC in general. It also means the drive will most likely live through some drops, securing the data against your or someone else's clumsiness in a rush of the day.

The available capacities range is nice for the more or less standard workload: 120 GB, 240 GB, 480 GB, 960 GB, and 1 TB. Everyday home use for work and entertainment, office use, studying—these are only some of the activities this internal SSD can handle with ease. If you are a dedicated gamer or a professional designer who uses "heavy" loading programs, though, you might want to check other options in this review with more space and higher speeds to offer.

Review of SanDisk SSD PLUS SATA III Solid State Drive

Save Time and Money

The SanDisk Dashboard software you will be able to download from the company's official website will allow you to monitor the SSD performance as well as clone the system from your old drive to the new one. This model is close enough to the premium shelf to be called one when it comes to planar drives, and it is a good solid state drive but as these premium devices come, it is a fairly basic one. Therefore, do keep in mind that copying a large chunk of data in one go will most probably slow the drive down to some extent.

There are other good sides to this drive still. One would be that, in addition to sturdiness and quiet operation, it also requires a moderate amount of power, so, if you are a student or if you work on-foot, travel a lot, and thus use a laptop instead of a desktop, with this solid state drive inside, the said laptop will work longer on a single charge.

To save your buck on professional installation, the manufacturer has included a manual on how to switch the drives on your own. It is a fairly simple process if you are confident enough and have basic hardware knowledge.

SanDisk SSD PLUS SATA III Solid State Drive in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Infographics

Comparison of Solid State Drives

What Is a Solid State Drive?

If you want to buy a new computer or a laptop, you should take into account such individual components as the processor speed, RAM size, Wi-Fi availability and of course, memory capacity of the hard disk. This parameter shows how much information you can save on your computer. Nowadays, if you want to record or store information on the hard disk drive (HDD), you can face some drawbacks. That's why we would like you to pay some of your attention to the newish technology - a solid state drive. Solid state drive or SSD is a non-mechanical storage device based on memory chips. SSD is designed to replace the hard disk drives. The SSD is less energy-consuming and resistant to mechanical effects.

You still need to keep an external hard drive, for when we face a lack of storage space, SSD can't help a lot. Hard drives can help us store plenty of media content and not affect PC's performance. In addition, if you're looking for a comfortable keyboard to type, take a peek at our review on ergonomic keyboards.

What Features to Compare

For many people, the choice of an SSD drive is quite difficult. How to choose the best SSD correctly? What parameters of a solid state disk should you take into account? In this review, we will try to give answers to many questions related to the choice of the SSD drive.

First of all, you need to decide what Capacity of the SSD drive will satisfy your needs. Maybe, you would like to use this device as the main memory in the computer? As the additional one? Or just for the installation of the operating system? The standard capacity of a solid state disk varies from 60 to 500 Gb. As the practice shows, it is extremely convenient to use the SSD just as an operating system storage. It is better to store all other data like movies, music, etc. on the hard disk. If you think it will be a suitable option for you, the disc capacity from 60 to 250 Gb is surely enough.

SSDs can have different Form Factor. Nowadays, most of the solid state disks have a 2.5-inch form factor. This size is great because you can install the SSD on almost any laptop or PC. Several models have a smaller form factor, but it shouldn't be a problem at all. You can simply buy the adaptor.

Depending on the form factor, SSD drives can be connected to a PC or a laptop with the help of Connection Interface - PCIe or SATA (II or III). You should know that the data transfer rate of the SSD drive directly depends on the connection interface. If you are connecting the SSD solid via the SATA interface, it is better to connect it via the SATA III (up to 6Gb/s). You will see, the speed of the SSD drive will be much faster than with the SATA II (up to 3Gb/s). So, our suggestion - it is better to choose the drive with SATA III interface.

Also, you surely need to pay attention to such a feature as Read and Write Speed. The higher these figures are, the faster the work of the driver will be. However, you should notice that manufacturers indicate the highest possible speed characteristic. In reality, the drive probably will not work as fast (but still much faster than HDD).

In addition, you have to pay attention to the cycle index of re-recording. Nowadays, we can pick up two main types: MLC (Multi-Level Cell) up to 10 000 cycles and SLC (Single Level Cell) up to 100 000 cycles. All models in our SSD drive review are made on MLC technology. We would like to mention, that such type is the most acceptable in the quality-price relation. And don't forget about the warranty! The more, the better!

Did you know?

TBW, DWPD, MTTF—Which One Is the Most Important for an SSD?

Everything wears off after time, hardware does, too. For solid state drives, there are several parameters that showcase wearing and endurance. Same as with most products, the answer to the "Which one is more important?" question here depends on your needs and on how you plan to use the device. However, in our experience, the MTTF parameter is the one most often disregarded as irrelevant, both by customers and manufacturers. But still, let's define the terms before making a decision.

MTTF is the Meat Time To Failure of your drive. Basically, it's what it sounds like: the time before it stops working altogether. Do not confuse it with MTBF, Mean Time Between Failures. The latter is for devices that can be repaired and used again and again. Solid state drives are, as a whole, non-repairable. They don't have that many parts, to begin with, so when they fail, they fail for good. MTTF is expressed in hours it will take for the drive to fail under normal circumstances. Why is this parameter often overlooked? Because most drives have it in a number of hours equaling hundreds of years, longer than anyone uses them. This parameter is of importance for engineers working with critical systems, rarely for an average consumer.

TBW, or Terabytes Written, is the maximum amount of data you can write on the SSD before it fails. It is usually measured in hundreds of terabytes. It is not, per second, a capacity of your drive, which can be less than even 1 TB, let alone hundreds. The thing is, even when you delete data from the device, the amount of space it took up is still remembered in the core. So you write the data, then erase it and write something new. The capacity does not dwindle here, at least not much, but when, eventually, the TBW is exceeded, you won't be able to write more data even if there is actual space free there. The drive can still be read, though, most of the time.

DWPD, the Drive Writes Per Day. This is the parameter most directly connected to the warranty, capacity, and the TBW. It is, in a nutshell, the number of times you can re-write the drive in its full capacity every day for it to fail right on the day its warranty ends. For example, when the DWPD is 1, the warranty is 3 years, and the capacity is 1 TB, it means you can write and re-write 1 TB of data every day for the next 3 years, after which the drive will die on you. Usually, the DWPD is less than 1, it is calculated like this:

DWPD = TBW / (Warranty * 365 days * Capacity).

If you do not overwrite the drive completely (or in any significant part) every day, you may not worry about this.

Knowing all this, you can decide which parameter to turn to when you are buying a new solid state drive.

Sources:

1. Joel Lee 5 Things You Should Consider When Buying An SSD, MakeUseOf. August 7, 2015.

2. Solid-state drive, Wikipedia. November 9, 2016.

3. Mark Kyrnin SSD Buyer's Guide, Lifewire. October 9, 2016.

4. Adam Dachis The Complete Guide to Solid-State Drives, Lifehacker. February 7, 2014.

5. Jason Hidalgo How to Choose a SSD, Hybrid or Hard Disk Drive, Lifewire. October 19, 2016

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