In any computer, you need a hard drive to store your data. Traditionally, HDDs were used with spinning disks and magnetic storage, however, that technology is at the limit of its performance. SSDs are the alternative; with the use of flash memory, they can provide a massive upgrade in terms of performance. You do have to pay a price premium, especially at higher capacities, but an SSD can totally be worth it.
Just having your operating system installed on an SSD can significantly reduce your boot-up times and make programs load faster, even if you have most of your documents and other files stored on cheaper HDDs. If you opt for an all-flash setup everything will load faster. For example, copying files, running antivirus scans, and game loading times will all be faster.
Not all SSDs are created equal though. A key thing to look out for is the connection type that’s being used. NVMe is the high-speed option, allowing for the best performance, while SATA is a legacy connector that runs much slower.
Tip: There are a number of physical NVMe connectors including M.2, U.2, PCIe and DIMM.2
Here’s a list of our top 5 SSDs.
Note: All stats are for 1TB models, statistics for other capacities may vary.
Samsung 970 EVO Plus (M.2)
The Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2 drive is the kind of the PCIe gen 3 SSDs. With sequential read speeds of 3500 MB/s and 3300 MB/s sequential writes, the 970 Evo Plus runs incredibly fast. Samsung offers a 5-year warranty or 600TBW (Terabytes written).
Samsung 980 Pro (M.2)
The Samsung 980 Pro M.2 is the first PCIe Gen 4 SSD from Samsung. PCIe Gen 4 doesn’t have wide support on CPUs and motherboards yet, but on supported devices, it offers up to double the bandwidth of PCIe Gen3. The sequential read speed is twice that of the 970 Evo Plus at 7000MB/s while the sequential writes show less of an improvement at 5000MB/s. The warranty lifespan is again 5-years or 600TBW.
Tip: PCIe Gen 4 devices can run at PCIe Gen 3 speeds on devices that don’t support PCIe Gen 4 yet, so you don’t need to worry about compatibility.
Sandisk Ultra 3D SSD (2.5-inch SATA)
Not every motherboard has a spare M.2 slot, or the PCIe lanes to dedicate to it. SATA SSD’s are slower than the NVMe competitors but are still faster than the SATA connected HDDs. The sequential read and write speeds of 560MB/s and 530MB/s basically saturate the speed of the SATA connector. It’s also pretty cheap in comparison to many of its high-end SATA SSD competitors. A five-year warranty is standard, however, there isn’t any information on the amount of data that can be written to the drive.
Samsung T7 (USB)
External hard drives are an important part of proper back-ups as well as being useful for transferring large amounts of data. The Samsung T7 external hard drive uses a USB 3.2 Gen 2 connector to allow transfer speeds of up to 1050 MB/s. Such high transfer speeds mean that you don’t have to wait for ages for your backups to write to your external drive, or crucially for your computer to restore from your backup if you ever need to.
Sabrent Rocket NVMe 4.0 (M.2)
The Sabrent Rocket NVMe 4.0 uses PCIe Gen 4 over an M.2 connector. On devices that support PCIe Gen 4 the Rocket can run sequential reads at 5000MB/s and sequential writes at 4400MB/s. The 5-year warranty is similar to Samsung’s but covers up to 1800 TBW instead, making this a great choice for a computer that will be writing a lot of data.