Looking to upgrade your computer storage? We probably don’t have to tell you about the lightning-fast speeds that solid state drives provide (but we can if you like). The best SSD options are now bigger, more affordable, and more compatible than ever, which makes this a good time to buy.
If you’re looking for a storage option that also comes with a significant speed boost, we have the top options in several different price ranges for you to consider.
It should be noted that some companies quote capacity after overhead, and others before. This leads to uneven rounding practices, and explains why you see some drives at 256GB and some at 250GB. Even then, it’s rare for a drive to have exactly its stated capacity, though variance is generally less than 10GB.
Samsung 970 EVO Plus 500GB
For superior performance and reliability, Samsung’s 970 Evo Plus line is one of the best around. Our tests found that the SSD offers read and write speeds upwards of 2.5GB/s, with the ability to keep functioning with up to 600 terabytes written on the drive. It’s a great upgrade for anyone who really needs extra professional storage or a big speed boost for their current computer.
It also comes with both PCI Express (PCIe) and NVMe technologies. PCI Express refers to the latest SSD standard that offers greatly improved speeds and versatility compared to older SSDs — it’s an important feature to watch for when buying solid-state drives for newer computers. NVMe is a similar new protocol that offers the most advanced ways to transfer storage data between the SSD and the computer. Together, PCIe and NVMe make the best combination for high-performance drives, and this Evo Plus is an excellent example.
Samsung 860 Pro 256GB
This 2.5-inch SSD is a broadly excellent upgrade choice for a variety of needs. The interface for this drive is SATA 6Gb/s, with a sequential read speed of 540 megabytes per second and a write speed of 520 MB/s. Our review found it to be one of the quickest SATA drives available.
Like most of the SSDs on our list, the 860 Pro comes in several different size options ranging from 256GB to 4TB of storage, with costs varying accordingly. We picked the 256GB version for a couple reasons. It’s a good size for an all-purpose SSD designed for the general user, and it provides a widely-shared base storage number to help you compare it with other models.
The Samsung 860 Pro starts at $90 for the 256GB model, and goes up from there depending on the amount of storage you’re looking for. It’s not the cheapest SSD out there, but it offers the best balance of performance and price, and it comes with a five-year warranty. Chances are this thing will outlast most of the other components in your PC.
The Western Digital Blue 1TB is another great SSD that gets frequent recommendations for upgraders and has our full support. Note that we picked the 1TB for more robust storage options, but there are three different sizes available depending on your needs. It’s available in SATA or M.2 configurations, and two smaller sizes — 256GB and 512GB.
The Western Digital Blue 1TB SATA version offers sequential read speeds up to 488 MB/s and write speeds up to 520 MB/s. It’s not exactly the fastest drive on the market, but it’s quick enough to keep up with most users, especially for such a killer price.
The Intel 750 SSD shows off the advantages of NVMe storage with its flexible installation options and high speeds. This makes the drive fast — in ideal scenarios, it can exceed transfer speeds of two gigabytes per second — but the high-end SSD has other advantages, too. One of the most interesting is the choice between add-in card and 2.5-inch form factors, which allow you to pick a design that fits your upgrade plans and current drive standards. The lightning speeds and compatibility of the card put it on the top of our list, but you’ll have to pay at least $1,000 for the 1TB model. Just make sure you really want it!
Western Digital Black SN750 250GB NVMe Gaming SSD
With transfer speeds up to 3,100 MB/s and random read speeds of 412.5 MB/s, gamer-friendly features, and a very reasonable price tag, this SSD is a great upgrade for your gaming rig, no matter how humble it may be. In addition to excellent speeds, Western Digital has given this SSD the “Black Dashboard” for extra control: This allows you to manipulate settings and review performance. For example, you can enable the Gaming Mode setting to disable the system sleep mode and improve performance. The attached heatsink will also do its part to make sure your system stays cool even when going fast.