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SSD Tier List: The Best Deals You Can Find From Each Tier

SSD solid state drive NVMe

SSD Tier List: The Best Deals You Can Find From Each Tier

Key Points

  • SATA SSDs provide a significant performance improvement over HDDs and are a popular choice for home users.
  • Entry-level SATA SSDs do not have DRAM, which can slow down performance compared to mid-level and high-level SSDs.
  • Mid-range SATA SSDs offer a balance between affordability and performance, with better controllers and NAND than entry-level SSDs.
  • High-end SATA SSDs are the fastest and most powerful options, suitable for gaming, data backup, and primary drives.
  • NVMe SSDs offer even faster speeds than SATA SSDs, with entry-level options replacing existing SATA drives.

We’ve got an SSD tier list to help you find the best deals from each tier. We’ll look at SATA and NVMe SSDs and break them into entry-level, middle-range, and high-end categories.

Our SSD tier list will help you pick the best SSD based on price, performance, and availability. Ready to jump in? Let’s do it!

Entry-Level SATA SSDs:

Mid-Range SATA SSDs:

High-End SATA SSDs:

Entry-Level NVMe SSDs

Mid-Range NVMe SSDs

High-End NVMe SSDs

SATA SSD

The SATA interface was developed in the early 2000s and released on the first hard drive in 2003. SATA SSDs use the Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI) protocol that was released in 2004. AHCI is designed for Hard Disk Drives (HDD), not SDD.

A SATA SSD operates on an older computer with a SATA connection. Newer computers do not (generally) use a SATA connection. You may have a choice on the computer motherboard between a SATA or an M.2 SSD. A SATA SSD provides a gigantic performance improvement of 10x over an HDD. Installing a SATA SSD is one of the most common reasons to replace an aging HDD.

A SATA SSD is either an M.2 form factor or a 2.5″ 7mm. If you plan to upgrade, you’ll want to know what kind of SSD will fit into your computer (before you purchase the new SDD!).

Entry-Level SATA SSDs

We recommend using a smaller-sized (1TB) SDD for the primary drive. Use larger-sized SATA (2TB+) SDDs for data storage on a non-primary drive. Due to the chip architecture of the SDDs in the entry-level category of our SSD tier list, you’ll have better read/write performance when you limit the size of the primary drive.

Generally, an entry-level SATA SSD will not have DRAM as part of the SSD architecture. In SSDs with DRAM, the CPU can access the DRAM to locate mapping tables. In SSDs without DRAM, the CPU must access the NAND chip for the mapping tables. The CPU hunting for information slows down the entire process. DRAM is faster than NAND, so SSDs with DRAM will have quicker seek, read, and write times.

Lacking DRAM, the entry-level SSD performance is slower than mid-level and high-level SDD but still performs significantly (7 to 10x) faster than an HDD.

Entry-level SATA SDDs are a popular choice for home users wanting to replace an old spinning HDD with a non-mechanical storage device. It’s hard to beat replacing a 1TB HDD with a SATA SDD for $60.

PNY CS900Kingston Q500
Storage Capacity240GB240GB
Read/Write535/500 Mbps500/450 Mbps
PriceAround $15Around $20
Form FactorM.2 & 2.5″ 7mm2.5″ 7mm
Interface/Protocol SATA/6.0 Gb/sSATA 3.0 Gb/s, SATA 6.0 Gb/s
Layers6464
DRAM?NoNo
ConfigurationSingle-core, 2-ch, 8-CE/chSingle-core, 2-ch, 8-CE/ch
NAND typeTLCTLC
Crucial BX500
Storage Capacity250GB
Read/Write540 Mbps
PriceAround $19
Form Factor2.5″ 7mm
Interface/ProtocolSATA 6.0 Gb/s
Layers64/96
DRAM?No
ConfigurationSingle-core, 4-ch, 4-CE/ch
NAND TypeTLC/QLC

PNY CS900

Very Affordable
PNY SSD7CS900-240-RB 3D NAND 2.5" SATA III Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
$21.99
  • 2.5" SATA III SSD
  • Portable and durable
  • Compatible with laptops and desktops
  • 240GB hard disk size
  • Write 535MB/s seq, Read 500MB/s seq
  • Faster boot up and quicker application launch
  • Low power consumption
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01/17/2024 04:29 am GMT

The primary purpose of the PNY CS900 is to upgrade an existing laptop or desktop computer from a HHD to a SDD. The transition from an HHD to an SDD decreased Windows boot time from approximately thirty seconds to four minutes.

The entry-level SATA SSDs have shorter warranties. Mid-range SATA SSDs will generally have five-year warranties. Hang onto your receipt!

The PNY CS900 is available in 250GB, 480GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB.

Check out the PNY CS900 on Amazon.

Kingston Q500

Good Memory Size
Kingston 240GB Q500 SATA3 2.5 SSD
$24.50
  • 240GB
  • Compatible with gaming consoles
  • High performance
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01/17/2024 04:34 am GMT

The Kingston Q500 uses triple-level cell (TLC) NAND flash memory. The TLC boosts the read/write speed to be ten times faster than a traditional (spinning) HDD. The drive is a dedicated 2.5″ form factor SDD with no M.2 option.

The NAND type is listed as either TLC or QLC. A QLC SSD has a higher storage capacity than a TLC SSD. QLC SSDs are less expensive than TLC SSDs but tend to have more performance issues. The Kingston Q500 is available in 120GB, 240GB, and 480GB.

It’s worth noting that the Kingston Q500 has SATA 3.0 Gbs and SATA 6.0 Gbs. The 3 or the 6 denotes the maximum transfer speed. The Kingston Q500 supports SATA 3.0, which is the prior generation to SATA 6.0.

It’s a reasonable expectation that desktops or laptops from approximately 2010 will use the SATA 3.0 configuration, not SATA 6.0. Check your documentation carefully before you purchase a new SATA SSD.

Check out the Kingston Q500 on Amazon.

Crucial BX500

Great Speeds
Crucial BX500 240GB 3D NAND SATA 2.5-Inch Internal SSD
$24.99
  • 240GB disk size
  • Up to 540 MB/s
  • Compatible with desktops and laptops that accept 2.5" 7mm SATA drives
  • 300% faster than a typical hard drive
  • 45x more energy-efficient than a typical hard drive
  • 3-year limited warranty
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01/17/2024 04:34 am GMT

Computer users express sheer joy at improving boot-up times after installing the Crucial BX500 SSD. Not to be mistaken for a high-end gaming SDD (we’ll get to that), the Crucial BX500 is much faster than an old-school HDD. (And it’s much quieter too!)

Included software allows the user to clone the existing HDD over to the new SDD. The Crucial BX500 is available in 240GB, 480GB, 1TB, and 2TB.

Check out the Crucial BX500 on Amazon.

Mid-Range SATA SSDs

A mid-range SATA SSD isn’t the cheapest nor the most expensive SATA SSD. Generally, mid-range SATA SSD will have DRAM but may have an older controller. The NAND isn’t as high quality as a high-rage SATA SSD.

A mid-range SATA SSD is suitable if you want DRAM for faster read, write, and seek times, but keeping the budget under tight wraps is still the paramount concern.

SK hynix Gold S31ADATA USA Ultimate
Storage Capacity1TB1TB
Read/Write560/525 Mbps560 Mbps
PriceAround $180Around $100
Form Factor2.5″ 7mm2.5”
Hardware Interface & Transfer RateSATA 6.0 Gb/sSATA 6.0 Gb/s
Layers7232/64
DRAM?YesYes
Controller ConfigurationDual-core, 8-ch, 4-CE/chSingle-core, 4-ch, 8-CE/ch
NAND TypeTLCTLC
WD Blue 
Storage Capacity1TB
Read/Write545/525 Mbps
PriceAround $180
Form Factor2.5” 7mm and M.2 
Hardware Interface & Transfer RateSATA 6.0 Gb/s
LayersN/A
DRAM?Yes
Controller ConfigurationDual-core, 4-ch, 8-CE/ch
NAND TypeTLC

SK hynix Gold S31

Dual-Core Controller
SK hynix Gold S31 1TB SATA Gen3 2.5 inch Internal SSD
$129.99
  • Sequential read speeds up to 560MB/s and sequential write speeds up to 525MB/s with proprietary SK hynix HYPERWRITE cache technology
  • Leading edge solution powered by in-house 3D NAND, controller, and DRAM
  • 5-year warranty, superior reliability, and stability
  • Tested and validated through 1,000 hours of HTOL (Stress Test) with MTBF reaching 1.5 million hours, up to 600 TBW (TeraBytes Written)
  • Easy installation across multiple devices, pairing with our custom SK hynix edition Macrium cloning software
  • 1TB
  • Up to 560 MB/s
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01/17/2024 02:10 pm GMT

The SK hynix Gold S31 has a different configuration than the other SSDs we’ve looked at. It has a dual-core controller, while entry-level SSDs have single cores. The controller handles caching from the TLC and the DRAM. As the number of cores (microprocessors) increases, the SSD’s ability to handle data quicker improves.

A key driver for the Hynix Gold 31 is the replacement of a primary HDD with an SDD. The additional DRAM (compared to entry-level models) provides slightly higher data transfer. The reduced workload on the controller, brought about by additional microprocessors and the DRAM, reduces the read/write wear and tear on the SSD.

Check out the SK hynix Gold S31 on Amazon.

ADATA USA Ultimate

Fast and Capable
ADATA USA Ultimate Su800 1TB 3D Nand 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal Solid State Drive
$138.19
  • 1TB
  • 1,024GB digital storage capacity
  • R/W up to 560/520 MB/s
  • 3-year warranty
  • Dynamic SLC Caching and DRAM Cache Buffer for optimized performance
  • RAID Engine & Data Shaping for ultimate protection
  • 3D NAND technology
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01/17/2024 04:54 am GMT

The only mid-range SSD to use a single-core, the ADATA USA Ultimate is also the least expensive mid-range SSD. The SSD distinguishes itself by having the least number of layers of any of the SSDs we’ve looked at so far.

The number of layers is about the NAND architecture. In theory, the greater the number of layers, the greater the ability of the NAND chip to process data. NAND chips are expanding “up” instead of “out.” The number of layers (32 or 64) is about how many cell layers are stacked on top of each other. Bigger isn’t necessarily better, and it is something to keep an eye on when comparing SSDs.

Check out the ADATA USA Ultimate on Amazon.

WD Blue 

Versatile Choice
WD Blue 1TB PC SSD
$104.99
  • 6 GB/s
  • 1TB
  • Sequential read speeds of up to 545MB/s and sequential write speeds of up to 525MB/s.
  • 1.75M hours Mean Time To Failure (MTTF) and several error-correction technologies for lasting reliability
  • Available in 2.5”/7mm and M.2 2280 models to accommodate most PCs
  • WD FIT Lab certification for compatibility across a wide range of laptop and desktop computers
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01/17/2024 05:04 am GMT

The Western Digital Blue is the only SSD SATA in our mid-range round-up with either a 2.5” 7mm design or an M.2 2280 configuration. The M.2 is an industry-standard specification for internally mounted SSDs and their connectors. In this case, the M.2 lets us know that this is an internal install only, and 2280 tells us that the SSD is 22 mm wide and 80 mm long.

An everyday use of the WD Blue is a drive replacement on a MacBook Pro, (older) Playstation drive upgrades, and replacement of a laptop or desktop HDD with an SDD. With the WB Blue available as a 2.5” 7mm or an M.2 2280. Users could easily set the M.2 as the primary drive and the 2.5” as the secondary drive. There’s plenty of room for experimentation.

Check out the WD Blue on Amazon.

High-End SATA SSDs

We’ve made it to the SSD SATA mountaintop! The hardware listed in our SSD tier list for SSD SATA drives is the fastest, most powerful, and most recent in the marketplace. You can use these SSDs for any application — gaming, data backup, or as a primary drive.

Samsung 870 EVOBarraCuda 120
Storage Capacity4TB (250GB-4TB)1TB (250GB – 1TB)
Read/Write560/530Mbps560/540Mbps
PriceAround $215Around $160
Form Factor2.5”2.5”, M.2 2280
Hardware Interface & Transfer RateSATA 6.0 GbpsSATA 6.0 Gbps
Layers12896
DRAM?YesYes
Controller ConfigurationTri-core, 8-ch, 8-CE/ch8ch
NAND TypeTLC3D TLC
SanDisk Ultra 3D
Storage Capacity4TB (500GB – 4TB)
Read/Write550/525 Mbps
PriceAround $220
Form Factor2.5″
Hardware Interface & Transfer RateSATA 6.0 Gbps
Layers64
DRAM?Yes
Controller ConfigurationDual-core, 4-ch, 8-CE/ch
NAND Type3D TLC

Samsung 870 EVO

Tri-Core Speed
SAMSUNG 870 EVO 4TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD
$275.99
  • 4TB
  • Black
  • Compatible with laptops and desktops
  • Shock : 1,500 G & 0.5 ms (Half sine)
  • Meet the demands of every task from everyday computing to 8K video processing, with up to 2,400 TBW
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01/16/2024 06:28 am GMT

Ready for a little tri-core speed? The Samsung 870 EVO is the only SATA with a NAND tri-core and 8 channels. The entry-level SSD has two channels, and the mid-range SSD has four channels. The increased layers in the NAND chip (128) should ease data congestion at the controller.

Not surprisingly, many users are tapping the 870 EVO as a replacement for an existing HDD. The SDD comes with Samsung Data Migration Software to transfer the operating system, user data, and applications from the existing SDD or HDD to the new 870 EVO.

The Samsung 870 EVO has storage capacities of 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB.

Check out the Samsung 870 EVO on Amazon.

BarraCuda 120

Large Storage Capacity
Seagate BarraCuda 120 SSD 1TB Internal Solid State Drive
$164.00
  • 6 GB/s
  • For desktops and laptops
  • Performance Solid State Drive: 2TB, 1TB, 500GB, 250GB
  • Maximum sequential read and write speeds up to 560MB/s and 550MB/s
  • MTBF of 1.8M hours and TBW up to 600
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01/17/2024 05:50 am GMT

The BarraCuda 120 brings a 3D NAND TLC chip to the table. A 3D NAND TLC increases storage capacity without a gigantic price jump. The 3D NAND consumes less power than a typical NAND chip. Less power consumption equates to better battery life in your laptop.

The BarraCuda 120 is an excellent choice for replacing the primary drive on your laptop or desktop computer. Some users utilize it as a PS4 HDD replacement. They report faster load times and improved game performance. It’s available in 250GB, 500GB, and 1TB.

It’s worth a mention that the BarraCuda is available with a 2.5″ 7mm or M.2 2280 form factor.

Check out the BarraCuda 120 on Amazon.

SanDisk Ultra 3D

Fast Speeds
SanDisk Ultra 3D NAND 4TB Internal SSD
$229.99
  • 4TB
  • 6 GB/s
  • Up to 560 MB/s
  • Shock-resistant
  • 3D NAND provides greater endurance so your drive lasts longer and uses less power
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01/17/2024 05:59 am GMT

As with the other SSDs in the high-end tier, the SanDisk Ultra 3D is used by consumers in a wide array of home electronics. PS4, desktop and laptop computers, and video monitoring data storage.

Western Digital purchased SanDisk a few years ago. The SanDisk Ultra 3D is a familiar brand name sticker placed on top of a Western Digital product. While it might seem sneaky, many consumers are brand loyal and only want to purchase products from a manufacturer they’re closely familiar with. In this case, many customers want to see a Seagate logo. Rumor says you’ll find a WD sticker if you peel the Seagate sticker off.

Check out the SanDisk Ultra 3D on Amazon.

NVMe SSD
NVMe stands for nonvolatile memory express and is used to replace SATA SSDs.

NVMe

Just as SATA SDDs are replacing traditional (AKA old!) spinning HDDs, the nonvolatile memory express (NVMe) SDD is replacing the SATA SDD. SATA was developed in the early 2000s, and NVMe was developed in the early 2010s.

NVMe connects to flash storage through a Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) bus. A SATA SSD has a maximum transfer speed of 600 Mbps. An NVMe SSD has a maximum data transfer speed of approximately 3,500 Mbps. Nice little bump, huh?

Entry-Level NVMe SSDs

An entry-level NVMe SSD will likely replace an existing SATA HDD or SDD. A low-end NVMe has minimal or zero DRAM.

Crucial P1Gigabyte NVMe
Storage Capacity500GB (500GB-2TB)512GB
Read/Write2000/1700 Mbps1550/850 Mbps
PriceAround $120Around $65
Form FactorM.2 2280 (Single-Sided)M.2
InterfacePCIe 3.0 x4PCIe 3.0 x4
ProtocolNVMe 1.3NVMe 1.3
Layers6464
DRAM?YesNo
Host Memory Buffer?NoYes
Controller ConfigurationDual-core, 4-ch, 4-CE/chDual-core, 4-ch, 8-CE/ch
NAND/ProcessQLC/20nmTLC
Crucial P3 Plus
Storage Capacity500GB-4TB
Read/Write5000/4200 Mbps
PriceAround $27
Form FactorM.2 2280 (Single-Sided)
InterfacePCIe 4.0 x4
ProtocolNVMe 1.4
Layers176
DRAM?No
Host Memory Buffer?Yes
Controller ConfigurationSingle R5, 4-ch, 4-CE/ch
NAND/ProcessQLC/12nm

Crucial P1

Lots of Charge Levels
Crucial P1 1TB 3D NAND NVMe PCIe Internal SSD
$119.00
  • 1TB
  • 3D NAND
  • Up to 2,000 MB/s
  • Compatible with desktops and laptops that accept M.2 Type 2280SS NVMe PCIe drives
  • Redundant Array of Independent NAND (RAIN)
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01/17/2024 06:00 am GMT

The Crucial P1 SSD uses quad-level cell (QLC) flash NAND memory instead of triple-level cell (TLC) NAND. QLC SSDs contain sixteen charge levels, and TLC SSDs have eight charge levels. The QLC SSD stores four bits of data per cell, while the TLC SSD stores three bits of data.

With QLC NAND, the storage cost (per GB) approaches the HDD cost. The price parity is fantastic! TLC will be more expensive than QLC. QLCs have twice the amount of charge levels than TLCs, so the QLCs are less reliable. More QLC charging levels equate to more data transfer verification than LTC, resulting in overall slower performance.

The Crucial P1 is available in 500GB or 1TB.

Check out the Crucial P1 on Amazon.

Gigabyte NVMe

Great Disk Size
Gigabyte NVMe 1.3/ M.2/ PCIe 3.0x4/ 512GB SSD
$93.45
  • Form Factor: M.2 2280
  • Interface: PCI-Express 3.0 x4, NVMe 1.3
  • Total capacity: 512GB
  • Sequential read speed: up to 1700 MB/s
  • Memory Storage Capacity: 512GB
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01/16/2024 06:33 am GMT

The Gigabyte NVMe uses a host memory buffer (HMB) instead of DRAM. HMB is the technology that the SDD industry is using in an attempt to reduce SDD manufacturing costs.

DRAM is used as the interface for the logical to a physical (L2P) table. This table contains information concerning where all the data is physically located on the SDD. The inclusion of the DRAM chips speeds up the mapping processing. Leaving the DRAM out of an SDD equates to the SDD needing to interface with the OS to find out where each bit is located. It slows down the SDD.

The HMB architecture moves the L2P table to SDD main memory. The HMB accesses the data from there. The (marketing) theory is that the HMB will perform at the same speed as DRAM (hint: it doesn’t!). Leaving a DRAM chip out of an SDD increases the available “real estate.” That newfound space can be used for something like additional SDD capacity.

The Gigabye NVMe is available in one size, 512GB.

Check out the Gigabyte NVMe on Amazon.

Crucial P3 Plus

Very Efficient
Crucial P3 Plus 500GB PCIe Gen4 3D NAND NVMe M.2 SSD
$41.99
  • NVMe (PCIe Gen4 x4) technology with up to 5000MB/s sequential reads, random read/write 350K/460K IOPS
  • Spacious storage up to 4TB
  • Performs up to 43% faster than the fastest Gen3 NVMe SSDs
  • Rated at MTTF greater than 1.5 million hours for extended longevity and reliability
  • Backward compatibility with Gen3
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01/17/2024 06:04 am GMT

The PCIe interface differs between the Crucial P3 Plus (PCIe 4.0) and the other two entry-level NMVe SDDs (PCIe 3.0). The PCIe is the expansion card used for SSDs and graphics cards. A graphics card would be installed in the x16 slot (lanes). A PCIe M.2 SSD would be installed in the x4 slot (lanes).

gigatransfers (2 Lane)gigatransfers (4 Lane)
PCIe 1.0500 MBps1 GBps
PCIe 2.01 GBps2 GBps
PCIe 3.02 GBps4 GBps
PCIe 4.04 GBps8 GBps
PCIe 5.08GBps16GBps

The gigatransfer speed is the theoretical maximum data transfer speed before encoding. Do you need the top transfer speeds? Are you a spreadsheet, email, or YouTube kind of user? You might be okay with slower performance from an SDD. A heavy gamer entirely focused on speed is already reading the “high-end” section. The Crucial P3 Plus is available in 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB.

Check out the Crucial P3 Plus on Amazon.

Mid-Range NVMe SSDs

Whew! We’ve made it back to the middle of the pack! The mid-range NVMe SSDs are just that — the middle of the road. They’re not the cheapest nor the most expensive SSDs. Think about affordability with a decent user experience in the mid-range section of SSDs.

Expect to find eight channels, “just enough” DRAM, and solid NAND. As a dedicated mid-range consumer, you understand that the SSD has a shorter technology lifespan than a high-end SSD.

HP EX920Patriot Viper 
Storage Capacity1TB1TB (1TB-2TB)
Read/Write3200/1800 MBps4800/4000 MBps
PriceAround $115Around $215
Form FactorM.2 2280 (Double-Sided)M.2 2280 (Double-Sided)
InterfacePCIe 3.0 x4PCIe 4.0 x4
ProtocolNVMe 1.3NVMe 1.3
Layers6496
DRAM?YesYes
Host Memory Buffer?NoNo
Controller ConfigurationDual-core, 8-ch, 4-CE/chDual R5 + CoX, 8-ch, 4-CE/ch
NAND/ProcessTLC/16nmTLC/15nm
PNY XLR8 CS3040
Storage Capacity1TB (500GB-4TB)
Read/Write5600/4300 MBps
PriceAround $75
Form FactorM.2 2280 (Single-Sided)
InterfacePCIe 4.0 x4
ProtocolNVMe 1.3
Layers96
DRAM?Yes
Host Memory Buffer?No
Controller ConfigurationDual R5 + CoX, 8-ch, 4-CE/ch
NAND/ProcessTLC/15nm

HP EX920

Super Reliable
HP EX920 M.2 1TB PCIe 3.1 X4 Nvme 3D TLC NAND Internal SSD
$118.99
  • M.2 2280
  • 8 flash memory channels that support PCIe 3.1 x4 and NVMe 1.3
  • Read/write speeds up to 3,200 Mbps/1,800 Mbps
  • Compatible with all Windows PCs
  • eSATA connectivity
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01/16/2024 06:27 am GMT

A great benefit of purchasing a PCIe SSD in the mid-range is that it’s been released for several years. Any functional issues have been sorted out and you’re left with a dependable piece of hardware. You have reams of user reviews to evaluate.

The HP EX920 is a solid choice for a primary boot drive. The size isn’t too big or too small. There’s nothing particularly remarkable about the EX920, but nothing is glaringly wrong with it!

Check out the HP EX920 on Amazon.

Patriot Viper 

Fantastic Warranty
Patriot Viper VP4100 1TB m.2 2280 PCIe
  • Phison E16 Series Controller; 2280 M.2 PCIe Gen4 x 4, NVMe 1.3
  • External thermal sensor, low profile heatshield design, advanced wear leveling, etc.
  • Sequential (ATTO): up to 4,700MB/s Read and up to 4,200MB/s Write
  • Backed by Patriot's award-winning, 3-year warranty and compatible with Windows 7*/8.0*/8.1/10
  • *Gen4 x 4 speeds need to run with AMD's latest CPU and motherboard, other platforms are backward PCIe Gen3 x 4 compatible
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The Patriot Viper is the first NVMe we’ve reviewed with a heat sink option. Do you need a heat sink? It depends! If you’re a high GPU-intensity gamer or do a lot of video editing for hours on end, your NVMe SSD may end up heat stressed.

When an SSD is heat stressed, it automatically throttles the device’s performance to cool down the hardware. That’s not ideal if you’re in the middle of a game!

Many motherboards now have built-in heatsinks located above the M.2 port. Field testing reveals that a heatsink installed with (built into the SSD) an SSD does a better job cooling the SSD than a heatsink installed on the motherboard (wait ’til we tell you about the high-end heat sink!).

The Patriot Viper 4100 is available in 1 or 2TB, with or without the heatsink.

Check out the Patriot Viper on Amazon.

PNY XLR8 CS3040

Awesome Price
PNY XLR8 CS3040 1TB M.2 NVMe Gen4 x4 Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
$214.99
  • 5,600MB/s seq. read and 4,300MB/s seq. write speeds, slower when equipped in PCIe Gen3 x4 motherboards​
  • The enhanced bandwidth of the NVMe Gen4 interface allows for extreme performance and low latency, making it superior to SATA based SSDs​
  • 5-year warranty with support from the U.S.-based technical support team​
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01/17/2024 07:14 am GMT

The PNY XLR8 CS3040 is a mid-range NVMe SSD in the PNY lineup. There are better ones (CS3140), but the price point is attractive. Users are installing the XLR8 CD3040 into the PS5 expansion slot with excellent results.

The PNY XLR8 CS3040 is available in 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, or 4TB. The heatsink is optional.

Check out the PNY XLR8 CS3040 on Amazon.

High-End NVMe SSDs

Are you ready to drop a little cash? Living large in the high-end zone is going to be costly! High-end NVMes have the latest and most fabulous flash and controllers. You won’t need to upgrade your NVMe SSD for a while after picking up your high-end selection.

ADATA NeonStormCorsair MP700
Storage Capacity1TB (1TB-8TB)2TB
Read/Write14,000/12,000 Mbps10000/9500 Mbps
PriceTBDAround $285
Form FactorM.2 2280M.2 2280 (Double-Sided)
InterfacePCIe 5.0 x4 PCIe 5.0 x4
ProtocolNVMe 2.0NVMe 2.0
Layers232232
DRAM?YesYes
Host Memory BufferTBDN/A
Controller ConfigurationUnknownDual R5 + 3xCoX, 8-ch, 4-CE/ch
NAND/Process12 nmTLC/12nm
Crucial T700
Storage Capacity2TB (1TB-4TB)
Read/Write12400/11800 Mbps
PriceAround $295
Form FactorM.2 2280 (Double-Sided)
InterfacePCIe 5.0 x4
ProtocolNVMe 2.0
Layers232
DRAM?Yes
Host Memory BufferN/A
Controller ConfigurationDual R5 + 3xCoX, 8-ch, 4-CE/ch
NAND/ProcessTLC/12nm

ADATA NeonStorm

Let’s admit it up front; we’re geeking out about the ADATA NeonStorm! It’s not every day that an enclosed fluid-cooled NVMe SSD hits the market.

Information is still somewhat hush-hush but the NeonStorm will have a self-contained fluid cooling system bolted to the top of the SSD. Twin fans will circulate the fluid and (hopefully) keep the thermal throttling to a minimum.

Prices haven’t been disclosed yet, but looking at the hardware configuration, we smell a new motherboard in your future. The NeonStrom is expected to be released in Q4 2023.

Corsair MP700

Insanely Fast
Corsair MP700 2TB PCIe Gen5 x4 NVMe 2.0 M.2 SSD
$259.99
  • Powered by NVMe 2.0: PCIe Gen5 x4 combines with the massively high-bandwidth NVMe 2.0 interface to unleash higher-speed data transfers and greater M.2 SSD performance than ever before
  • Reaches up to 10,000MB/sec sequential read and 9,500MB/sec sequential write speeds
  • Microsoft DirectStorage enables the MP700 to communicate directly with your graphics card when playing compatible games, for unbelievably fast load times
  • DirectStorage requires a DirectX12 GPU with Shader Model 6.0 support
  • Backward Compatible: Support for PCIe Gen4 and Gen3 systems
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01/17/2024 07:19 am GMT

All three NVMe SSDs in the high-end category use PCIe Gen5. PCIe Gen5 doubles the amount of data transfer of a PCIe Gen4 device.

So, the good news is that all three SSDs are lightning-fast. The bad news is that you’ll need to pick up a motherboard that can utilize the PCIe Gen5 speed. You can certainly use a PCIe Gen4 motherboard with a Gen5 PCIE device (reverse compatible), but the data transfer capability of the older device will limit the device.

The Corsair MP700 is available in a 2TB configuration.

Check out the Corsair MP700 on Amazon.

Very Capable
GIGABYTE B650 AORUS Elite AX Motherboard
$219.99
  • 5-year warranty
  • AMD AM5 socket supports AMD Ryzen 7000 Series processors
  • DDR5 Compatible: 4*DIMMs with AMD EXPO & Intel XMP Memory Module Support
  • Commanding Power Design: Twin 14+2+1 Phases with 70A Power Stage Digital VRM Solution, 8-Layer 2X Copper PCB
  • Cutting-Edge Thermal Design: 6mm Heatpipe, Fully Covered MOSFET Heatsinks, M.2 Thermal Guard, PCIe Ultra Durable Armor
  • Next Gen Connectivity: PCIe 5.0, PCIe 5.0 NVMe x4 M.2, Front and rear USB-C
  • EZ-Latch: PCIe 5.0 & M.2 Connectors with a Quick Release & Screwless Design
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01/17/2024 07:19 am GMT

Crucial T700

Lightning Fast
Crucial T700 1TB Gen5 NVMe M.2 SSD with Heatsink
$199.99
  • Sequential reads/writes of up to 11,700/9500MB/s and random read/writes of up to 1,500K IOPS for blazing performance
  • With Microsoft DirectStorage, elevate gaming with up to 60% faster texture renders8 and reduced load times, render photos or UHD/8K+ videos, and run heavy workloads with up to 99% less CPU utilization
  • Ready for performance with your motherboard heatsink*, the T700 installs easily in your M.2 slot. (T700 must be installed with a heatsink.)
  • Produced in-house with the Micron 232-layer TLC NAND3 for Intel 13th Gen and AMD Ryzen 7000 CPUs
  • Up to 4TB of capacity
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01/17/2024 07:24 am GMT

Did you notice the read/write speeds of the Crucial T700? It’s so fast! It’s good to see this read/write rate without needing to muck around with water-cooled, (potentially) noise and vibration-introducing heatsink!

Currently, the Crucial T700 is the fastest PCIe Gen 5 NVMe on the market. While its time on the top of the NVMe SSD mountain may be short-lived, we should allow it a moment in the spotlight.

A few customer reviews indicate they’re having issues with the SSD overheating. Automatic thermal throttling kicks in at 80℃ (176℉). While the heatsink is an option, purchasing it or having a motherboard with a built-in heatsink might be wise.

The Crucial T700 is available with or without a heatsink in 1TB, 2TB, or 4TB.

Check out the Crucial T700 on Amazon.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know what kind of SSD I need?

You can crank open your laptop or desktop PC and look at the drive slot. Generally, the slots are labeled, or you could check the owner’s manual or check online.

Which SSD type is fastest?

The NVMe SSDs are the fastest, with read/write times exceeding 12400/11800 Mbps on high-end SSDs.

Does it matter what SSD card I get?

Absolutely! Different SSD cards have different interfaces. It would be easy to select the wrong type of SSD. Read your owner’s manual, open the PC, and look at the slots on the motherboard, or check online for information about what kind of SSD card is appropriate for your system.

Which SSD type is slowest?

SATA SSDs are the slowest but are still significantly faster than an HDD.

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