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Solid-state drive (SSD) is a computer storage device that uses integrated circuit assemblies to permanently store data. They typically use flash NAND flash memory, and can function either as a primary or secondary storage device in your computer. Unlike ordinary mechanical hard drives, SSDs produce no noise, feature faster reading and writing speeds, and are more resistant to physical shock.
Nowadays, classical hard drives are only used to store data that is rarely accessed, while superfast and super-compact SSDs can be used for everything else. Solid state drives’ popularity can be attributed to the fact that their price is falling down each year, while at the same time their performance and reliability are going up.
Compared to mechanical hard drives, SSDs let you boot up your Windows, macOS or Linux machine in less than 10 seconds, and allow you to instantly open heavy-duty applications, such as Adobe Photoshop, iMovie, or web browsers like Safari and Chrome. They are also especially great for gaming, as they are able to significantly decrease loading times, and increase overall system performance thanks to their super-fast data transfer speeds.
If you want to breathe a new life into your PC, then getting a fast SSD is the best way to go. Keep in mind, however, that SSDs are usually more expensive than mechanical hard drives per gigabyte of storage they offer. They also have limited number of writes, and get slower the more filled up they get.
How to Choose the Right SSD?
Before taking a look at our list of the best SSDs in 2021, here is a few things you should consider when choosing the right SSD for your PC or laptop computer:
- Interface – many SSDs use different data interfaces, such as M.2, SATA or PCI-E, in order to transfer data. Be sure to check what types of SSD your computer supports before making the final decision.
- Capacity – purchasing an SSD with capacity smaller than 256GB is nowadays completely useless. For most users, 512GB should be enough, but if you are a gamer, then getting a 1TB SSD is a must since many new games are now taking up well over 150GB of storage.
- Performance – SATA SSDs are the slowest, so if you want to get the fastest drive possible, then go with M.2 or PCI-E SSD. Drives that support PCIe 4.0 interface are even faster than PCIe 3.0 drives, and can reach read and write speeds of up to 5.000 MB/s and 4.500 MB/s respectively.
Best M.2 SSD/Best Overall:
Best SATA SSD:
Best PCI-E SSD:
Best PCIe 4.0 SSD:
Best High-Capacity SSD:
Best M.2 SSD/Best Overall: Samsung 970 EVO Plus
Capacity: Up to 2TB | Interface: M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 | Sequential Read: 3,500 MB/s | Sequential Write: 3,200 MB/s
- Excellent real-world performance
- Reliable technology
- Affordable price
- Tends to run hot
Samsung is known for making high-quality SSDs, and 970 EVO Plus is no exception in that sense. In fact, this refined variant of the original 970 EVO is probably one of the best SSDs currently available on the market. Featuring Samsung’s highly advanced Phoenix controller, this drive can deliver read and write speeds of up to 3,500 MB/s via PCIe 3.0 interface. As such, the Samsung 970 EVO Plus is an amazing solid-state drive, both for mainstream users, as well as for professional content creators.
Best SATA SSD: Samsung 860 EVO
Capacity: Up to 4TB | Interface: SATA 6 Gb/s | Sequential Read: 550 MB/s | Sequential Write: 520 MB/s
- Consistently strong performance
- High SSD endurance
- Low price
- Limited by SATA3 interface
Although limited by the SATA3 interface, the Samsung 860 EVO is a fantastic consumer SSD that is able to deliver astonishing performance, and surpass its widely beloved predecessor – the 850 EVO. Featuring improved read and write speeds, as well as good endurance, the 860 EVO is the best high-end budget storage drive around. It is available in capacities of up to 4TB, and as such is the perfect drive for storing video games, movies, photos, music, and all other data.
Best PCI-E SSD: Intel Optane 905P
Capacity: Up to 1.5 TB | Interface: PCIe 3.0 x4 | Sequential Read: 2,600 MB/s | Sequential Write: 2,200 MB/s
- Top-tier random read performance
- Extremely high SSD endurance
- Outstanding user experience
- LED lighting
- Very expensive
- High power consumption
- Doesn’t support PCIe 4.0 interface
Although there are SSDs out there with higher sequential read and write speeds, the Intel Optane 905p can boast with impressive random read performance rate at 575,000 IOPS and random write performance rated at 555,000 IOPS. This drive also features Intel’s latest 3D XPoint memory, which means it’s not limited by NAND’s flash memory drawbacks, and is able to offer outstanding responsiveness that no storage device has been able to match do date. With endurance of more than 27PBW for the 1.5 TB model, this is by far the best workstation SSD for serious professionals and PC enthusiast.
Best PCIe 4.0 SSD: Corsair Force MP600 2TB
Capacity: 2 TB | Interface: M.2 PCIe 4.0 x4 | Sequential Read: 4,950 MB/s | Sequential Write: 4,250 MB/s
- Outstanding data transfer speeds
- Supports PCIe 4.0 interface
- Comes with a heatspreader
- Very big write cache
- May not be compatible with all AMD X570 and B550 motherboards due to heatsink size
The Corsair Force MP600 is a perfect high-performance SSD if you already own a motherboard that supports PCIe 4.0 interface. Compared to ordinary PCIe 3.0 SSDs, the Force MP600 has two times higher data bandwidth limit, which means it can achieve unprecedented transfer speeds for a very affordable price. This SSD is also equipped with a heatspreader whose job is to keep its Phison controller running cool and stable. Featuring sleek design and amazing read and write speeds, the Corsair Force MP600 is most certainly one of the best gaming SSDs to be paired with AMD Ryzen CPU.
Best High-Capacity SSD: Sabrent Rocket Q 8TB
Capacity: 8 TB | Interface: M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 | Sequential Read: 3,300 MB/s | Sequential Write: 2,900 MB/s
- 8TB of storage capacity
- High performance
- Supports ONFi 4.0 interface
- Low endurance due to QLC flash memory
- Very expensive
If you are a serious content creator, and need a spacey and fast drive to store all of your raw data files, then Sabrent Rocket Q is the perfect solid-state drive for you. This 8TB drive is industry’s highest-capacity M.2 NVMe SSD, and for a price of around $1,500 it is able to offer impressive performance. The drive features a Phison E12S controller and 96-layer QLC flash memory, and it also supports ONFi 4.0 interface, as well as SMART and TRIM commands. Although it has somewhat lower endurance compared to other top-tier drives, it is still by far the best high-capacity SSD available out there.
Best M.2 SSD for Gaming: WD Black SN750 1TB
Capacity: 1 TB | Interface: M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 | Sequential Read: 3,470 MB/s | Sequential Write: 3,000 MB/s
- Excellent sequential read performance
- Great for gaming
- Competitive pricing
- Runs hot under full load
It took a long time for WD to enter the SSD market, but its SSDs were worth the wait. The WD Black SN750 is an excellent gaming SSD whose performance is on par with the best Samsung’s EVO SSDs. Featuring a company’s proprietary controller, as well as Toshiba’s top-tier 3D NAND flash memory, the SN750 is able to deliver impressive sequential read speeds that are perfect gaming purposes. Although its sequential writing speed is slightly slower compared to Samsung 970 EVO Plus, it is still quite impressive. This SSD, unfortunately, has one major flaw – it runs very hot, so we strongly recommend purchasing an aftermarket heatsink to keep it cool.
Best SATA SSD for Gaming: Crucial MX500 1TB
Capacity: 1 TB | Interface: SATA 6 Gb/s | Sequential Read: 560 MB/s | Sequential Write: 510 MB/s
- One of the best SATA SSD drives
- Useful dedicated software
- Great price per gigabyte of storage
- Slower than most M.2 SSDs
If you don’t have a motherboard featuring M.2 SSD slot, or just want a simple and reliable SATA3 SSD for gaming, then Crucial MX500 is your best bet. Despite the fact that this drive features a far slower data transfer technology, it is still worth buying as a secondary storage drive for your games library. The Crucial MX500 is one of the best SATA3 SSD drives, as it’s able to deliver read speeds of up to 560 MB/s, which are just below SATA3’s maximum theoretical bandwidth limit. This drive also comes with a very useful SSD toolbox and cloning software, so it also works great for performing Windows OS and data migrations.
Best RGB SSD: Patriot Viper VPR100
Capacity: Up to 1 TB | Interface: M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 | Sequential Read: 3,300 MB/s | Sequential Write: 2,900 MB/s
- Very good performance
- Class-leading endurance
- Attractive design
- Some lighting effects may affect performance
- May interfere with GPU on some motherboards due to heatsink thickness
Patriot Viper VPR100 is a perfect SSD for gamers who like to show-off with their custom-built gaming rigs. Not only its integrated heatspreader adds a unique aesthetic touch to its visual design, but it also keeps it cool under any workload. The LEDs featured on its casing don’t add any significant heat output, which is great given the fact that this is a high-performance SSD that tends to run hot. According to its manufacturer, some lighting settings might affect drive’s performance, but in reality, this performance impact is either negligible or non-existing. Overall, the Viper VPR100 is a fine SSD drive that is going to be the most appealing to the lovers of RGB-lit gaming rigs.
Best Budget M.2 SSD: WD Blue SN550
Capacity: Up to 2 TB | Interface: M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 | Sequential Read: 2.600 MB/s | Sequential Write: 1,800 MB/s
- Excellent price
- Outstanding endurance
- Low power consumption
- 5-year warranty
- Small SLC cache
- Slower than some other M.2 SSDs
The WD Blue SN550 is one of the cheapest, yet most reliable solid-state drives currently available on the market. Available in capacities of up to 2 TB, this slim and compact drive is able to offer decent performance, alongside with low power consumption. Great thing about this drive is that it comes with 5-year warranty, and it features great endurance. However, its low price comes with certain costs. The SN550 features rather small SLC cache, and is slower compared to some other SSDs from the same price segment. Overall, if you need a reliable and affordable SSD, the WD Blue SN550 is one of the best around.
Best Budget SATA SSD: Kingston A400 480GB
Capacity: 480 GB | Interface: SATA 6 Gb/s | Sequential Read: 500 MB/s | Sequential Write: 450 MB/s
- Extremely cheap
- Available in capacities of up to 1.92 TB
- Great as a replacement drive
- Mediocre performance
- Endurance could be better
Kingston A400 480GB solid-state drive is not the fastest SATA3 SSD out there, nor is the most endurable one, but by far it is the cheapest. Although it’s available in capacities of up to 1.92TB, we particularly like this 480GB model, as it costs less than $50. Despite its low price, the A400 is able to offer very fast data transfer speeds, and can serve as a secondary drive for applications, or as a replacement hard drive. Overall, the Kingston A400 is significantly better than any other mechanical hard drive. It’s not the best, but it gets the job done.
Solid-state drives come in different shapes and sizes. Some of them are better for gaming and productivity, while some of them can be used either for storing applications or performing data migration procedures. If you plan to use your SSD as a primary storage device, then go with high-end M.2 drives. If, however, all you need is something to store apps or movies, than SATA3 drives will suffice. We hope our buying guide helped you in search of the information you were looking for. If you still feel confused, and need advice about buying, feel free to post comment below. We will try to help you.