It’s that time of the year again where prices are expected to go down and people are expected to buy stuff. For us PC enthusiasts, system builders and PC gamers, it’s a great time to upgrade and buy new PC components and accessories. It’s also this time around (Q4) when new products are injected into the market for those who want to stay up to date and have the latest and fastest hardware around. For those who are planning to buy or upgrade their storage drive(s) into something faster, like an SSD, this is your chance since as we see it prices are starting to go down. Also we have updated this article since there are new, larger (capacities) and better SATA SSDs available; and for those who simply crave for the fastest around, M.2 NVMe SSDs are available to satisfy your demand for speed. During this special season, below are some of our recommended and best SSDs that you should definitely consider; starting from the budget friendly SSDs, to the high performance SSDs, and for the enthusiasts who simply want the best and fastest around.
Must Have SSDs this November 2016 (Black Friday and Cyber Monday)
Best Budget Friendly SATA SSD
Below are some of the budget friendly SSDs that we recommend. These SSDs may not be the fastest around, but they generally offer a decent speed that is significantly faster than a hard drive. These budget friendly SSDs can reduce boot up / loading / wake up and shut down times, compared to a hard drive. However, compared to the higher end SSDs (below), they may not be as feature rich, has shorter warranty or endurance rating; but they are cheaper and a good place to start for those who just want to make that shift to the fast lane. Note: actual read/write speed is usually or may be lower compared to the advertised speeds.
PNY CS1311 SSD
The PNY CS1311 SSD is the company’s cheaper option available. It is powered by a Phison controller and is based on a TLC NAND flash memory; offering speeds of up to 520 MB/s sequential write, 550 MB/s sequential read, 84K IOPs random write and 90K IOPs random read speeds. It’s available in 120GB, 240GB, 480GB and 960GB capacities. Currently, its retail price starts at around $47 / £40 to $250 / £279 depending on the capacity. PNY is also offering a 3 year warranty and 24/7 US based technical support.
Kingston UV400 SSD
Kingston has been in the memory and storage industry for many years. They are currently offering the Kingston UV400, positioned as their budget friendly SSD. The UV400 is powered by a Marvell 88SS1074 controller and features TLC NAND flash. It offers up to 500MB/s sequential write speed and 540MB/s sequential read speed; with up to 50K IOPS 4K writes and 90K IOPS 4K reads. It has a 1 million hours of MTBF and Kingston is offering a 3 year warranty for this SSD. It’s available in 120GB, 240GB, 480GB and 960GB capacities. Currently retail price starts at around $41 / £42 up to $240 / £255.
Toshiba OCZ TL100 SSD
Toshiba is constantly updating their lineup and their latest entry-level budget friendly SSD is the OCZ TL100. The TL100 offers sequential read/write speeds of up to 550MB/s and 530MB/s respectively; and up to 85K IOPS random 4K read and write. The OCZ TL100 is powered by a TC58 DRAM-less controller paired with Toshiba’s 15nm TLC NAND flash. It only has a total bytes written of up to 60GB endurance and is available in 120GB and 240GB capacities only. Toshiba is offering a 3 year warranty with their advanced warranty program for this drive; however their price is a little bit higher compared to the previous two SSDs though.
Samsung 750 EVO SSD
Finally for the (entry-level) budget friendly SSD, Samsung offers the 750 EVO. If the Samsung 850 EVO is the little brother of the 850 PRO, the 750 EVO is the little cousin of the 850 EVO. This one is targeted towards the entry level market but has more features compared to the previous SSDs above. The Samsung 750 EVO is powered by the company’s MGX controller paired with V-NAND flash from Samsung as well. It offers speeds of up to 540MB/s sequential read and up to 520MB/s sequential write; and it’s available in 120GB, 250GB and 500GB capacities. On top of the usual feature, the 750 EVO offers AES 256-bit full disk encryption and a 5 year limited warranty. This one is a bit pricier compared to the previous budget friendly SSDs, but if you need those extra features and longer warranty this would be the better option.
Best Solid to High Performance SATA SSD
Now let’s move to the solid performing and high performance SATA SSDs. These SSDs are faster compared to the entry level SSDs mentioned above. They are also built with more features and usually have a higher endurance rating. This means that under normal circumstances, not only that they should perform faster but they are expected to last longer as well. If you simply want the fastest SATA SSDs around without worrying too much on the cost, consider the following SSDs below. Note: again, actual read/write speed is usually or may be lower compared to the advertised speeds.
Crucial MX300 SSD
The Crucial MX300 SSD is the company’s latest high performance SATA SSD, and it’s also the 3rd generation of their MX series. The MX300 SSD is powered with a Marvell 88SS1074 4-channel controller and features Micron 3D NAND flash technology. It offers sequential read/write speeds of up to 530MB/s and 510MB/s respectively and is available in 5 different capacities: 275GB, 525GB, 750GB, 1TB and 2TB. It also features hardware encryption such as AES 256-bit encryption, TCG Opal 2.0-compliant, IEEE-1667-compliant, and Compatible with Microsoft eDrive. Crucial built the MX300 with Dynamic Write Acceleration, RAIN and other advanced features. You also get the Acronis True Image HD data transfer software with every MX300 SSD. It’s also noteworthy to mention that Crucial’s MX300 SSDs, though slightly slower vs the other SSDs in this category, they are cheaper compared to the higher performance SSDs below.
WD Blue SSD
After Western Digital has acquired SanDisk, WD has recently released their first series of SSD, the WD Blue and WD Green. The WD Blue SSD is a solid performing SSD offering sequential speeds of up to 545 MB/s read and 525 MB/s write; up to 100k IOPS 4K random read and 80k IOPS 4K random write. The WD Blue SSD is powered by a Marvell 88SS1074 controller paired with SanDisk’s 15nm TLC NAND flash. It also feature tiered caching technology and is optimized for multitasking to simultaneously run resource-heavy applications without system slow-down. It’s available in 250GB, 500GB and 1TB capacities; and available in both standard 2.5″ 7mm SATA and M.2 2280 SATA form factors. The WD Blue SSD series isn’t really new per se, think of SanDisk X400 with an updated firmware, but still a good choice if you want a solid performing SSD.
Toshiba OCZ VX500 SSD
Toshiba’s OCZ VX500 is their latest high performance SATA based SSD featuring a Toshiba TC358790 controller and Toshiba 15nm MLC NAND flash. It offers sequential speeds of up to 550MB/s read and 515MB/s write; and up to 92k IOPS $K random read, 65k IOPS 4K random write. Toshiba claims that the higher endurance MLC NAND flash built with the VX500 is designed for write-intensive environments. The VX500 SSD is available in 128GB, 256GB, 512GB and 1TB capacities. Toshiba is offering a 5 year warranty for this SSD, and it’s bundled with an Acronis True Image software for data transfer.
Samsung 850 EVO SSD
Next is the Samsung 850 EVO, yes this is not a new product as it has been in the market for (almost) a couple of years now. Nevertheless, the Samsung 850 EVO is still one of the best SSDs around. The 850 EVO is powered by Samsung’s MHX controller paired with 3D V-NAND flash technology. Note that Samsung has updated their 850 EVO and I think the newer ones are already built with the new revision/version of Samsung’s V-NAND flash. It offers sequential speeds of up to 540MB/s read and 520MB/s write and up to 98K and 90K IOPs 4K random read and write respectively. It’s also built with hardware based encryption and the 850 EVO is now available in capacities starting 250GB, up to 4TB. Samsung is also offering a 5 year limited warranty for the 850 EVO. If you have the budget, this is simply the next option if you think the 850 PRO is too expensive for you already.
Samsung 850 PRO SSD
Finally, the Samsung 850 PRO is still the best SATA based SSD you can get. Other companies tried to compete and dethrone the 850 PRO, but its performance and set of features is unbeatable. The only thing they can beat is its price. Like the 850 EVO, the 850 PRO has been in the market for quite some time. It’s basically the world’s first consumer SSD powered by Samsung V-NAND technology. It offers sequential read and write speeds of up to 550MB/s and 520MB/s respective and up to 100K IOPS 4K random read and 90K IOPS 4K random write. It features full hardware encryption, 10 year limited warranty and is now available in capacities from 128GB up to 2TB. If you want the best SATA SSD without budget constraint, then consider the 850 PRO.
Best M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD
SATA based SSD has already reached its maximum potential speed due to the SATA 6Gbps speed restriction. But that didn’t stopped SSDs from evolving into something faster. Now, for those who simply crave for the fastest SSD around (money no object), there’s what you call the NMVe SSDs. This type of SSDs is insanely fast! And guess who is also leading on the NVMe SSD market? See below…
NOTE: You must have a motherboard with an M.2 slot that supports PCIE NVMe SSDs, otherwise this will not work in your system. Another option is to use an add-in M.2 PCIe adapter and install it on the PCIe slot of the motherboard.
Toshiba OCZ RD400 M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD
First on our list is the Toshiba OCZ RD400 M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD. This is one of latest SSD offering from the company and they are also the first to offer a wider range of capacity for NVMe SSDs. Not to mention, Toshiba is not only offering the RD400 in M.2 form factor alone, but there is also the RD400A that includes a PCIe add-in adapter in case your motherboard doesn’t have an M.2 slot. The OCZ RD400 is powered by a Toshiba controller paired with MLC NAND flash technology. It is a very fast NVMe SSD offering sequential speeds of up to 2,600 MB/s read and 1,150MB/s write; and up to 210K 4KiB IOPS random read and 140K 4KiB IOPS random write. But still, not the fastest around based on our review. It is available in capacities of 128GB, 256GB, 512GB and 1TB and based on our current price check it is cheaper compared to Samsung’s offering. Toshiba is also offering 5 years advanced warranty program for the RD400.
Samsung 950 PRO M.2 NVMe SSD
The Samsung 950 PRO M.2 NVMe SSD is the company’s first NVMe SSD released last year. The 950 PRO is really fast and offers an overall consistent and solid performance compared to the RD400. It offers up to 2,500 MB/s sequential read speed and 1,500 MB/s sequential write speed. It is powered by a Samsung UBX controller paired with Samsung’s 32-layer 128Gbit MLC V-NAND flash technology; and features 256-Bit AES Encryption and a 5-year limited warranty, something that we commonly see with Samsung SSDs. The only limiting factor with this drive is that it is available only in 256GB and 512GB capacities.
Samsung 960 PRO and 960 EVO M.2 NVMe SSD
A couple of months ago, Samsung announced their latest and fastest NVMe SSDs – the Samsung 960 PRO and 960 EVO. These are basically the successor of the 850 PRO, offering faster speed and wider range of capacities. The Samsung 950 PRO/EVO M.2 NVMe SSDs are built with Samsung’s latest Polaris controller, paired with Samsung’s 48-layer MLC V-NAND flash technology. The 950 PRO offers sequential read/write speeds of up to 3,500 MB/s and 2,100 MB/s respectively; and is available in 512GB, 1TB and 2TB capacities. Meanwhile, the 960 EVO offers sequential read/write speeds of up to 3,200MB/s and 1,900MB/s respectively and is available in 250GB, 500GB and 1TB capacities. Both M.2 NVMe SSDs features Dynamic Thermal Guard technology and is compliant with all NVMe specifications. Aside from the speeds, the 960 PRO and EVO also differ in warranty. Samsung is offering a 5 year warranty for the 950 PRO, while only 3 years for the 960 EVO. Both SSDs are still very new in the market, so I don’t think prices will dive soon. Availability is also somewhat limited at this time.