- Our choice for the #1 Best Overall SSD is the Samsung 980 PRO.
- Desktop SSDs are incredibly affordable, starting at around two cents per GB.
- Data read speeds of approximately 7 GB per second make an internal PCIe 4.0 SSD not only a cost-effective SSD selection but a fast choice, too!
- When you’re searching for the best SSD, consider a few of these items before dropping your credit card: form factor (Size), input/ output operations per second (IOPS), and the price.
When considering a solid state drive (SSD), it’s generally about a desktop computer, a laptop computer, a desktop hard drive, or a gaming (PS5 or Xbox) device. Selecting the correct SSD for your application, and your budget, will make all the difference in your ultimate satisfaction with the SSD.
Choosing the correct SSD that matches your existing hardware will allow you to maximize the SSD performance in conjunction with the hardware (desktop, laptop, gaming) performance.
Therefore, after reviewing (far too) many SSD configuration options, our ranking for the best overall SSD in 2023 is as follows.
- Best Overall: Samsung 980 PRO
- Best for PS5: Seagate Game Drive M.2 SSD for PS5
- Best for Xbox: Seagate Xbox Series X|S 1TB
- Best for Desktop PC: WD_BLACK SN850X
- Best SATA SSD for Laptop PC: Samsung SSD 860 EVO 4TB
- Best Portable SSD: SanDisk 2TB Extreme Portable SSD
#1 Best Overall SSD: Samsung 980 PRO
- Integrated heatsink
- PCIe 4.02 interface
- Magician software (monitors drive health, optimizes performance, and protects valuable data)
- 2 TB of digital storage capacity
The Samsung Electronics 980 PRO SSD is our selection for the #1 best overall SSD. The Samsung 980 Pro has just enough storage space to keep us satisfied and data transfer speeds that are quick enough that you can play a game, watch a video, or crunch numbers without fear of data transfer speed throttling.
We appreciate the heat sink that whisks residual heat away from the SSD. If you’re a power user who likes to play video games, edit videos, or perform continuous SSD-intensive activities (let’s hear it for the bean counters!), a heat sink is right up your alley.
If your SSD begins to “overheat,” internal SSD software will apply the brakes (thermal throttling). Thermal throttling slows down the rate at which the SSD processes data to allow it to cool down.
Heat sinks for SSD aren’t new, but a heat sink that’s attached to the SSD instead of just the motherboard is greatly appreciated.
We love the speed! The PCIe 4.02 interface is 2x faster than PCIe 3.0 SSDs and about 13x quicker than SATA SSD. You’ll be enjoying data transfer speeds of up to 7,000MBps. Check out the Samsung 980 Pro on Amazon.
|The additional heat sink provides improved performance.||The SSD isn’t the cheapest option on the table (by far). The 1TB SSD runs at approximately 16 cents per GB. The 2TB option will cost roughly 13 cents per GB. (Ouch!)|
|The data transfer speeds (7,000MBps) allow you the flexibility to play games, edit videos, or relax and watch a video without stressing the SSD.||It would be nice to have sizes other than 1TB and 2 TB. This relegates the SSD to a secondary drive status for data-intensive users.|
|The SSD is reliable; Samsung offers a five-year warranty.|
Best SSD for PS5: Seagate Game Drive M.2 SSD for PS5
- Works with both Digital and Standard editions of the PS5
- Custom heatsink helps minimize thermal throttling
- Up to 7300/6000MB/s read/write speeds
- 1 TB of digital storage capacity
The Seagate Game Drive M.2 SSD for PS5 is designed to work seamlessly with the PS5. Other SSDs are designed to work with a wide array of devices, and the PS5 is just one device. This one works seamlessly with the Standard and Digital editions of the console.
A custom heat sink reduces thermal throttling and keeps you in the action when lightning-fast reflexes (and speed) matter the most. You’ll enjoy data transfer read and write speeds up to 7250/ 6900MBps. Check out the Seagate Game Drive M.2 SSD on Amazon.
|It’s designed for the PS5. Move your existing games from the default HD over to the new SSD to free up space.||SDD maintenance software consumes 37GB of the drive.|
|A heat sink (which you really want!) is already attached to the SSD.||Higher transfer speeds are only obtainable through PCs with PCIe 3.0 or 4.0.|
|We like the cost! A 1TB or 2TB SSD will set you back about 9 cents per GB.|
|Super fast installation; less than 5 min from start to finish.|
Best SSD for Xbox: Seagate Xbox Series X|S 1TB
- Designed in partnership with Xbox
- 1TB of storage increases the overall capacity of the Xbox Series X/S
- Replicates the Xbox Velocity Architecture
- Faster load times, richer environments, and more immersive gameplay
The Seagate Xbox Series X|S 1TB is designed specifically for the Xbox Series X or the Xbox Series S, but not the Xbox One. A challenge of adding additional (new) storage is that the additional SDD will have a different performance than the internal SDD (existing.)
The Seagate Xbox Series X|S 1TB plugs directly into the expansion slot on the back of the Xbox S or Xbox X. The new storage has almost the same performance as the existing one. So, you’ll be able to transfer the games between devices and play from either SDD. Nice!
The SDD is a big step for the Xbox series game stations. Older systems didn’t accept game installation via SDD, hard disk drives (HDD), or USB drives due to the slow data transfer speeds. The Seagate Xbox Series X|S 1TB configured specifically for the Xbox X or S is a big win for gamers wanting more game storage. Check out the Seagate Xbox Series X|S 1TB SSD on Amazon.
|The SDD is specifically designed to function correctly with the Xbox series X and S.||It works great with the Xbox X or S, but it will leave a dent in your bank account.|
|The SDD installation is quick. Snap it into the slot, and you’re ready to roll.||The SDD doesn’t support transfer speeds at the same rate as the internal one. (It’s slower.)|
|512GB and 2TB options have been released. Add a little, or a lot, of storage; it’s up to you.|
Best Gaming SSD for Desktop PC: WD_BLACK SN850X
- Predictive Loading, Adaptive Thermal Management, and Overhead Balancing features
- Up to 7,300MB/s
- Game Mode 2.0
- Features WD's dashboard to monitor your SSD's health and control your current RGB style.
The WD_BLACK SN850X is the perfect SSD for your desktop PC. We’re venturing into dangerous territory, here! That’s because our selection of the WD_BLACK SN850X is targeted towards systems compatible with the M.2 key port and able to accept M.2 2280.
The WD_BLACK SN850X is a screaming fast SDD that delivers transmission speeds up to 7,300 MB per second. The SDD has a variety of sizes: 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB. We’re partial to the integrated heat sink, but it will run you a few additional dollars.
Game Mode 2.0 is a brand-new feature that uses predictive loading, overhead balancing, and adaptive thermal management. It predicts and detects upcoming workloads while smoothing out the rough portions of thermal throttling. The final result should be smoother, faster, and less jittery gameplay. Check out the WD_BLACK SN850X on Amazon.
|Heat sink configuration (option) is a nice touch since the SDD tends to run hot.||The SDD lacks 256-bit Advance Encryption Standard (AES) hardware-based encryption.|
|This is close to the top of the performance stack for SDDs. It’s a solid choice for gaming.||The SDD requires a heat sink for optimal performance. You do want a heat sink.|
|Game Mode 2.0 does a nice job of smoothing out high-intensity I/O data transfers.||The 1TB and 2TB have optional heat sinks, but the 4TB lacks this feature.|
Best SATA (Old-School) SSD for Laptop PC: Samsung SSD 860 EVO 4TB
- Sequential read/ write speeds up to 550 MB/s and 520 MB/s, respectively
- 4 TB of digital storage capacity
- Intelligent TurboWrite technology
The best old-school SSD for your computer is the Samsung SSD 860 EVO 4TB. OK, so grandma gave you her old laptop configured with a SATA 2.5-inch form factor. The Samsung SSD 860 EVO 4TB provides you with many backward compatibilities but does not provide M.2 PCI Express NVMe drive combability.
The Samsung SSD 860 EVO 4TB will leave you pleased with its robustness but questioning your life choices with read and write transfer speeds of 550MBps and 520MBps. The SDD is a good choice for backward compatibility but not for brand-new laptops seeking an SDD upgrade.
If you’re not short on expansion slots, perhaps you have an available M.2 slot? Using a PCle NVMe SSD is worth serious consideration instead of a SATA SSD. You’ll find that an NVMe PCIe M.2 SSD card is much faster (around 3,000MBps read/write) versus the slower speed of a SATA drive (max. about 600MBps read/ write). Check out the Samsung SSD 860 EVO 4TB on Amazon.
|This SSD is robust and carries a 5-year warranty. There are (literally) 75,000 reviews praising this SDD.||Data transfer speeds will leave you cooking a complete meal while you wait for large transfers to complete.|
|SATA, that’s where it’s at, baby! Breathe new life into that old dusty laptop.||Do you have a free M.2 slot? Consider using an NVMe PCIe M.2 SSD card. The speed is approximately 6x faster.|
|The 4TB SSD will set you back about 9 cents per GB.||A 4TB NVMe PCIe M.2 SSD will cost around 8.4 cents per GB. Shop around, and you may find it much cheaper.|
Best Portable SSD: SanDisk 2TB Extreme Portable SSD
- Up to 2-meter drop protection
- IP55 water- and dust-resistance
- Features a carabiner loop
- Up to 1050MB/s read and 1000MB/s write speeds
The best portable SSD is the SanDisk 2TB Extreme Portable SSD. Now, a portable SDD is an investment in crushing your soul down the road. We understand, and we’re not judging. We have portable SDDs, too.
It’s time to consider the cloud seriously. The risks of portable SSDs should not be downplayed; a virus from someone else’s computer, drop hazards, lack of security, the list goes on and on.
The SanDisk 2TB Extreme Portable SSD is fast for a portable SDD. If you have an older USB configuration on your laptop or desktop, say 3.1, you’ll have data transfer speeds of approximately 1050MBps up/ down.
If you have a USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 card on your laptop or desktop, you’ll enjoy up/ down rates of approximately 2000MBps read/ write. USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 cards are new within the past year or so. Know your desktop/ laptop hardware configuration before making a purchase.
The extra cushioning/ padding on the SanDisk 2TB Extreme Portable SSD is a welcome improvement. After years of using external drive protection/ carrying cases to protect our drives from drop hazards, we welcome any extra protection that SanDisk can offer. Check out the SanDisk 2TB Extreme Portable SSD on Amazon.
|It’s durable and rated for a six-foot drop.||To maximize the transfer speed, you need a USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 card. Most newer laptops and desktops have this configuration, but most older systems don’t. Prepare to plop down another $50.|
|The transfer speeds are very good for a portable SSD, transferring approximately 1050MBps read and 1000MBps write vis USB, or 2000MBps read/ write with a USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 card.||The USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 card is only available to upgraded desktops. You’re stuck with what you have on a laptop. (Sorry!)|
|There’s a portable hook to attach the SSD to your belt loop.||If we see you with any SSD attached to your belt, we will throat-chop you. Just saying.|
How to Pick the Best SDD: Step by Step
When planning to purchase the best SDD, there are several steps to consider:
- Form Factor
- Storage capacity
Let’s dig into these categories and see how they’ll impact your decision-making process.
Let’s face it, money matters. If you plan to purchase an SDD as an external device to sit on your desk, you have some options to consider.
- A hard disk drive (HDD) may be cheaper and provide the same functionality you want.
- A WD 4TB desktop HDD will run you about 2 cents per GB.
- A Samsung 4TB External SDD will cost approximately 5 cents per GB.
If you plan to upgrade an existing desktop or laptop, the internal card selection is important, too. A SATA card is less expensive than newer SDDs, but the transfer speeds are slower. What’s more important to you?
- An internal SDD has a variety of flavors! Different needs require different SDDs.
- A Silicon Power 4TB Internal SATA will set you back around 4 cents per GB and have a transfer speed of approximately 500MBps.
- A Samsung 2TB PCIe NVMe internal M.2 will run around 6 cents per GB, but the transfer speed will jump to 7,000MBps.
The Form Factor plays a critical role in selecting the best SSD that meets your needs. SSDs have either a SATA or NvMe connection.
SATA has long been the more popular choice because it’s compatible with older desktops and laptops. NvMe is now the prevalent SSD configuration. Even knowing this, we need to split the form factor into several categories.
A 2.5″ SSD will fit into most laptops and desktops. Its shape is similar to a traditional hard disk drive. It’s connected to a SATA cable.
The new standard for laptops and notebooks, M.2, is shaped similarly to your cell phone if we cut it (your cell phone) in half horizontally. An M.2 is often attached directly to the motherboard. M.2 can support either SATA or PCle interfaces.
A Mini SATA (mSATA) is a compressed version of a SATA that’s used in smaller systems when space is extremely tight. An mSATA connection will only support SATA.
Consider the SSD in terms of how you plan to use its storage capacity. Yes, we all want the “biggest and the best,” but the capacity of the SSD will come with an increased price tag.
Do you need a 4TB SSD? (How many pictures of grandma do you have?) Can you manage with 2TB and purge a bit of data? If you’re a gamer, you could offload your unused games to a backup drive smaller than your primary drive.
What to Know Before Buying the Best SSD
Before buying an SSD, it’s important to know that one doesn’t fit all applications. SSDs are designed with differing applications in mind. So, purchasing an mSATA SDD for a PCle device may leave you with buyer’s remorse and an expensive paperweight.
An HDD will likely cease functioning (you’ll hear the death rattle) when the platters no longer spin in perfect balance. An SDD will function for a long, long time. An SDD has no moving parts, and mechanical failure won’t occur.
The SDD will most likely cease to work if it’s exposed to a power spike or when the SDD has reached its lifetime write maximum value. (Roughly five to seven years of faithful service if you’re writing several GB daily.)
Using the Best SDD: What it’s Like
When you boot up your laptop, you’ll appreciate the lightening fast SSD. SSDs are roughly one hundred times faster than HDDs. (Whoa!) With a faster data transfer speed, the SDD is more easily able to handle large amounts of data, gaming, predictive analytics, and video editing.
An SDD is very stable. While you shouldn’t throw your SDD across the room into a brick wall, it will fare much better than its mechanical failure-prone brother, the platter spinning HDD.
While an HDD device is gobbling power to spin the platters (6 to 15 watts), an SDD device consumes electricity at a much lower rate (2 to 6 watts). And while this may seem inconsequential, you’ll notice the difference when using your laptop in a non “wall hugging” mode.
You’ll feel the difference when you toss your laptop into your backpack. SDDs weigh far less than HDDs. Your shoulders will thank you!
|#1||Samsung 980 PRO||Overall|
|#2||Seagate Game Drive M.2 SSD for PS5||PS5|
|#3||Seagate Xbox Series X|S 1TB||Xbox|
|#4||WD_BLACK SN850X||Desktop PC Gaming|
|#5||Samsung SSD 860 EVO 4TB||Laptop PC (SATA)|
|#6||SanDisk 2TB Extreme Portable SSD||Portable|
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Tester128/Shutterstock.com.