Image default
Tech

Best SSDs of 2024: Reviews and recommendations

best ssds hubImage: Rob Schultz/IDG

Switching to a solid-state drive is the best upgrade you can make for your PC. These wondrous devices speed up boot times, improve the responsiveness of your programs and games, and generally make your computer feel fast. But not all solid-state drives are the same. You can spend big to achieve read and write speeds that reach a whole other level, or you can find top-notch SSDs that offer solid performance without breaking the bank.

Many SSDs come in a 2.5-inch form factor and connect to your PC via the same SATA port used by a traditional hard drive. But tiny NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) “gumstick” SSDs that fit in an M.2 connection on a modern motherboard are becoming increasingly common, along with blazing-fast PCIe 4.0 (and now 5.0) solid-state drives for compatible PCs; you’ll even find SSDs that sit on a PCIe adapter and slot into your motherboard like a graphics card or sound card. No, picking the perfect SSD isn’t as simple as it used to be.

PROMOTION

Clone & Migrate SSDs | EaseUS Disk Copy

Ready to upgrade to SSDs? EaseUS Disk Copy helps you make it in one click. This straightforward disk cloning software clones HDD/SSD from most manufacturers, migrates data from HDDs to SSDs and clones an SSD to another under Windows. It aligns 4K sectors and autofits the SSD layout for best performance.

Free Download Now

Learn More

Why you should trust us: It’s in our name, PCWorld. Our reviewers have been testing PC hardware for decades. Our storage evaluations are thorough and rigorous, testing the limits of every product — from performance benchmarks to the practicalities of regular use. As PC users ourselves, we know what makes a product stand out. Only the best SSDs make this list. For more about our testing process, scroll to the bottom of this article

See also PCWorld’s guide to the best external drives if you’re strictly looking for a portable storage solution.

Updated April 15, 2024: Several new external SSDs have graced our review bench recently. While they’ve all been very respectable performers, and in some ways, exceptional, none of them made our list of top picks. But you can learn more about these external SSD reviews below our recommendations.

Samsung 870 EVO – Best SATA SSD

Pros

Excellent performance, especially with small file operations Unlike the QVO, long writes don’t slow down

Cons

A little expensive Price When Reviewed:250GB/$40, 500GB/$70, 1TB/$130, 2TB/$250, 4TB/$480Best Prices Today:$64.99 at Samsung$64.99 at Walmart$84.95 at B&H

If you’re looking to add some storage via a traditional 2.5-inch SATA drive rather than a tiny M.2 “gumstick,” Samsung’s spectacular 870 EVO is your best bet. It’s the fastest SATA SSD we’ve tested, it’s available in up to 4TB of capacity, and it’s exceedingly affordable given its speed. Enough said, really—though Samsung’s killer Magician SSD management software and long warranty period also deserve a shout-out. The EVO series is a legend among SSDs for a reason.

That said, the SK Hynix Gold S31 is also worth considering. It’s just a hair behind the 870 EVO in benchmarks and costs $12 less in its 1TB version, at $98. The SK drive is only available in a 1TB flavor these days, however, while the 870 EVO ranges from a 250GB model for $60 all the way up to a massive 4TB goliath for $450. Samsung’s 1TB offering costs $110.

Read our full Samsung 870 EVO SATA SSD review

Crucial BX500 – Best budget SATA SSD

Pros

Good everyday performance Low price per gigabyte

Cons

Slows drastically when secondary cache runs out Price When Reviewed:240GB/$40, 480GB/$55, 1TB/$90, 2TB/$200Best Prices Today:$41.99 at Crucial$41.99 at Walmart$69.99 at Amazon

The Samsung 870 EVO offers an intoxicating blend of performance and affordable pricing, but if you want as much capacity as possible for as cheaply as possible, consider the Crucial BX500. You can get its 1TB model for $41.99, a whopping $50+ less than the equivalent EVO, while a 480GB version costs just $24.99. 240GB and 2TB versions are also available.

“We recommend this QLC drive in the larger capacities for those who want good everyday performance for a budget price,” we said in our review. “The smaller capacities will likely run into more slowdowns during heavy writes.”

Read our full Crucial BX500 SATA SSD (2TB) review

Crucial P3 – Best PCIe 3.0 SSD

Pros

Excellent everyday PCIe 3 performance Fantastically low price per GB

Cons

Very low TBW rating Non-cached QLC writes are extremely slow Price When Reviewed:500GB/$50 I 1TB/$90 I 2TB/$200 I 4TB/$250Best Prices Today:$51.60 at Amazon$89.49 at Walmart$89.99 at Dell Home Home Office

Sure, PCIe 4.0 SSDs scream during big file transfers, but if you’re still using an older system with PCIe 3.0, upgrading to an NVMe SSD still provides substantial benefits to your PC’s speed and overall responsiveness. Better yet, you don’t need to break the bank to take advantage. The Crucial P3 is a very good daily performer, but it’s available for a bargain rate of just $44 for a 500GB model or $84 for a 1TB model. Though it doesn’t have top-tier PCIe 4 performance and the TBW rating is pretty low, the P3 does have excellent real-world write times and unless you really stress the drive you shouldn’t notice much of a difference anyhow.

All told, this drive is an outstanding choice for anyone looking to snag a solid everyday SSD at a great price.

Read our full Crucial P3 review

WD Blue SN580 SSD – Best budget PCIe 4.0 SSD

Pros

Fantastically affordable Super fast real world transfers Single-sided for laptop upgrades

Cons

Slows to less than 300MBps when writing off secondary cache Slightly low endurance rating Price When Reviewed:500GB: $39.99 I 1TB: $59.99 I 2TB: $111.69Best Prices Today:$31.99 at Walmart$58.88 at Amazon$64.99 at WesternDigital com

Cutting-edge PCIe 4.0 SSDs aren’t quite as cheap as SATA or PCIe 3.0 NVMe drives, but now that the technology is becoming more established, we’re starting to see several models available at compelling prices. The best of the affordable bunch? The WD Blue SN580 NVMe SSD—and by quite a large margin. At just $50 for a 1TB model, you won’t likely find any PCIe 4.0 drives with storage that cheap. In our testing, the SN580 turned out both stellar benchmark and real-world results. It did slow down considerably in the large 450GB transfer test, but seeing as how it’s unlikely anyone will write that much contiguous data it likely doesn’t matter. In the end, the SN580 is a wonderfully high-performing PCIe 4.0 SSD that well undercuts the cost of competitors. At this price point it simply can’t be beat.

Read our full WD Blue SN580 review

Solidigm P44 Pro SSD – Best PCIe 4.0 SSD

Pros

Fastest PCIe 4.0 SSD to date DRAM facilitates excellent random performance Synergy low-level Windows driver improves random performance further

Cons

Inconsistent pricing on web Price When Reviewed:512GB: $79.99 I 1TB: $129.99 I 2TB: $219..99Best Prices Today:$67.95 at Amazon$116.99 at Adorama

The Solidigm P44 Pro is the fastest PCIe 4.0 drive we have ever tested bar none. In fact, it finished within the top five fastest drives in our tests, and was only beaten by three next-gen PCIe 5.0 drives. Plus, it becomes even faster when you install the Solidigm Windows driver, which further improves random performance in small read/writes.

Not only does the Solidigm P44 Pro provide top-notch performance, but it also comes in at a very reasonable price if you shop at the right place—we found that pricing varies widely online from retailer to retailer. This is one of the best SSDs on the market, and holds its own at the top despite stiff competition from a crowded field of other excellent PCIe 4.0 drives.

Read our full Solidigm P44 Pro review

Crucial T705 NVMe SSD – Best PCIe 5.0 SSD

Pros

Blazingly-fast benchmarking Available with heatsink Very good overall performance

Cons

Extremely pricey Windows transfers are only average Price When Reviewed:1TB: $240 I 2TB: $400 I 4TB: $690 Best Prices Today:$172.99 at Amazon$174.99 at B&H

As with any PCIe 5.0 SSD, there are important caveats to bear in mind. For starters, you’ll pay a significant premium over extremely fast, and in some cases even faster NVMe PCIe 4.0 drives that employ a host memory buffer (HMB) design, as you can see in our review of the Solidigm P44 Pro — our pick for best PCIe 4.0 SSD.

That being said, if you use multi-threaded software and your system sports a 13th/14th-gen Intel CPU (which the Phison PS5026-E26 controller inside this drive is optimized for), you can be assured of benchmarking-busting performance. Indeed, in our synthetic benchmarks, the T705 was a hands-down winner against all comers, both PCIe 4.0 and 5.0 varieties.

The T705 also comes with a heatsink option that power users might appreciate, although for that you need to tack another $20 onto the price. Still, the T705 is priced similarly to other PCIe 5.0 drives. For now, you’ll need to pre-order the drive — Crucial says it will be available March 12. If you can’t wait that long, you will well-served by this drive’s predecessor Crucial T700 (and enjoy a nice price cut), or the Adata Legend 970, our previous pick for PCIe 5.0.

Read our full Crucial T705 NVMe SSD review

WD Black SN770M SSD – Best SSD for Steam Deck

Pros

Small 2230 form factor for handheld gaming rigs Up to 2TB of capacity Very good real-world performance 5-year warranty and good TBW ratings

Cons

Slow writes when secondary cache is exhausted Requires host memory buffer support (HMB) Price When Reviewed:500GB: $80 I 1TB: $120 I 2TB: $220 Best Prices Today:$79.99 at Western Digital$84.99 at Amazon$84.99 at B&H

In the past, you were out of luck if you wanted to upgrade your storage in a smaller-sized device such as a handheld gaming console. The full-size 2280 NVMe SSDs wouldn’t fit. Thankfully, with the advent of more advanced handheld gaming consoles such as the Steam Deck, manufacturers are changing all of that. There are now a whole host of half-sized 2230 small form factor SSDs on the market. The latest from Western Digital, the WD Black SN770M is our favorite. It comes with up to 2TB of capacity and shockingly good real-world performance. It’s only 30mm long, which means it’ll fit perfectly into small devices such as the red-hot Steam Deck.

This HMB (Host Memory Buffer) drive has great everyday performance and a decent capacity-to-cost. In our testing it aced the 48GB and 450GB transfer tests—even beating out other top-notch full-sized PCIe 4.0 drives. The SN770M is a great SSD, but if your device is able to handle the longer 2280 drives, you’ll likely have more options to choose from and might be able to find better price-for-performance at that standard size. Regardless, this drive expertly fits a niche that is only growing more common with devices such as the Steam Deck.

Read our full WD Black SN770M review

Seagate Game Drive SSD – Best SSD for PS5

Pros

Very good overall performance Excellent 4K performance Low-profile heatsink Twice the TBW rating of the competition

Cons

A bit pricey No 4TB model Price When Reviewed:1TB: $100 I 2TB: $150 Best Prices Today:$109.90 at Amazon$124.99 at Best Buy$144.99 at GameStop

The Seagate Game Drive PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD was made specifically for next-gen consoles—the PS5 in particular. And it doesn’t disappoint. Instead of HMB, it features DRAM for primary caching duties, which is practically essential for Sony’s console system. This is important because the PS5 doesn’t support HMB, so a drive such as this with DRAM cache is a must. The drive comes in 1TB and 2TB models, which means you’ll have plenty of space to store all of your games should you need it.

While the Seagate Game Drive is optimized for a PS5, it’s no slouch as a regular SSD either. In our speed tests it did remarkably well, earning the spot as the second-fastest PCIe 4.0 SSD with random ops that we’ve ever tested. Seagate also provides a generous five-year warranty with the drive and it has an astounding 1,275TBW rating—more than double the industry norm. The drive is a bit pricey, but the special optimizations for PS5 means that console owners can rest easy knowing that their money is going to good use with the Seagate Game Drive.

Read our full Seagate Game Drive PS5 NVMe SSD review

Crucial X9 Pro – Best external SSD

Pros

Super small form factor Great 10Gbps performance Handsome design

Cons

Not the least expensive 10Gbps SSD available Price When Reviewed:1TB:$109.99 I 2TB:$179.99 I 4TB:$239.99Best Prices Today:$94.99 at Amazon$109.99 at Crucial$115.99 at Walmart

With great everyday performance and an affordable price, the Crucial X9 Pro is our favorite external SSD. This svelte beauty will give you transfer rates of 10Gbps and comes in 1TB, 2TB, or 4TB capacities with reasonable prices for each. In our testing we found that the X9 Pro performed admirably against the other 10Gbps competition. It especially excelled in the real-world 48GB transfer test and the 450GB write time test where it smoked other similar 10Gbps drives we’ve tested.

Crucial also has an X10 Pro model on offer that gives you 20Gbps transfer speeds, but you’ll pay quite a bit more for that extra speed. Regardless, we think that the X9 Pro will serve the average user perfectly fine with excellent all-around performance and a cheaper price point. You can’t ask much more from a 10Gbps USD external SSD than what the Crucial X9 Pro gives you.

Read our full Crucial X9 Pro review

Adata Elite SE880 SSD – Most portable SSD

Pros

Very fast, over-20Gbps USB connection Extremely small form factor 5-year warranty

Cons

Slows considerably during long contiguous writes Somewhat low TBW rating Price When Reviewed:$79.99 for 500GB I $129.99 for 1TBBest Prices Today:$84.86 at Amazon

No SSD we’ve seen can match Adata’s Elite SE880 for portability. Indeed, measuring in at only 2.55 inches long, 1.38 inches wide, and 0.48 inches thick, it reminds you more of a USB thumb drive than a standard SSD. It weighs a mere 1.1 ounces to boot, virtually disappearing when placed in your pocket.

The Elite SE880 is also very fast at everyday tasks. In real-world 48GB transfer tests, the drive displayed outstanding marks. However, it did lose significant ground in the longer contiguous write tests meaning photo and video pros with large files might want to look at other options. Considering the respectable transfer rates and the small form factor, the Elite SE880 is a great pick for those looking to take their SSD on the go.

Read our full Adata Elite SE880 SSD review

Sandisk Pro-Blade Transport – Best 20Gbps modular storage

Pros

Fast 20Gbps performance Modular storage More affordable than you might think (as currently discounted)

Cons

Some non-fatal operational glitches Price When Reviewed:$49.99 for dock I $159.99 w/1TB Mag I $219.99 w/2TB I $339.99 w/4TBBest Prices Today:$49.99 at Western Digital$159.99 at Amazon$159.99 at B&H

The SanDisk Pro-Blade Transport is a portable SSD dock that is a cross between removable media and high-speed NVMe. It comes with easy-to-use removable storage modules for fast rotating backup. It can also be used as a good way to organize projects by their own media. These storage modules are great for prosumers or those who need ways to store copies off-site. Additionally, the SanDisk Pro-Blade Transports’ design allows users to expand their TB count over the same connection and keep everything together and organized in neat, handsome cartridges.

The cartridges come in 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB capacities and all have the capability to transfer at speeds of 20Gbps. In our speed tests, the Pro-Blade’s cartridges did well in both synthetic benchmarks as well as real-world transfers, with good sustained speeds throughout both the shorter 48GB and 450GB read/write tests. We did notice that in certain instances, the drive’s system locked up and we needed to manually reboot it to fix the issue. Thankfully this is something that SanDisk should be able to fix with a software update and it wasn’t a major issue anyways. This sleek storage system is a great option to organize your storage and for those who need ultimate flexibility.

Read our full Sandisk Pro-Blade Transport review

Our latest external SSD reviews

Adata SD810: This is a solid 20Gbps drive, as long as you don’t need to write large amounts of data to it on a regular basis — in our tests, the drive slowed considerably in that scenario. That being said, the 4TB capacity is an especially good value at just $300.Lexar SL500: A sibling of the Lexar SL600 — our pick for best 20Gbps external drive — the SL500 has a slim and attractive form factor. It performs nearly the same as the SL600, save for slightly slower 48GB file writes.Corsair EX100U: This handsome and extremely pocketable drive isn’t the best all-around performer, but if you’re mostly concerned with light workloads it will handle those tasks capably. On sale, it’s worth a look.

NVMe SSD setup: What you need to know

Be aware of what NVMe drives deliver before you buy in. Standard SATA SSDs already supercharge boot times and loading times for PCs, and for a whole lot cheaper. You’ll get the most use from NVMe drives, be it in a M.2 form factor like the Samsung 980 Pro or a PCIe drive, if you routinely transfer data, especially in large amounts. If you don’t do that, NVMe drives aren’t worth the price premium.

If you decide to buy an NVMe SSD, make sure your PC can handle it. This is a relatively new technology, so you’ll only be able to find M.2-connection motherboards from the past few years. Think AMD Ryzen and mainstream Intel chips from the 6th-generation era onward, for the most part. NVMe SSDs that were mounted on PCIe adapters were popular in the technology’s early years, before M.2 adoption spread, but they’re rarer now. Make sure you’re actually able to use an NVMe SSD before you buy one, and be aware that you’ll need four PCIe lanes available in order to use it to its full potential. You’ll need a newer Ryzen 3000- or 5000-series CPU, or an Intel 11th- or 12th-gen CPU, to run a PCIe 4.0 SSD to its full potential. PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSDs will work in a PCIe 3.0 computer, but at slower PCIe 3.0 speeds.

To get the most out of an NVMe drive, you want to run your operating system on it, so you must have a system that recognizes the drive and can boot from it. PCs purchased during the past year or two should have no problem booting from an NVMe drive, but support for that can be iffy in older motherboards. Do a Google search for your motherboard and see if it supports booting from NVMe. You may need to install a BIOS update for your board. If your hardware can’t boot from an NVMe SSD, your machine should still be able to use it as a secondary drive.

What to look for in an SSD

Capacity and price are important, of course, and a long warranty can alleviate fears of premature data death. Most SSD manufacturers offer a three-year warranty, and some nicer models are guaranteed for five years. But unlike the olden days of SSDs, modern drives won’t wear out with normal consumer usage, as Tech Report tested and proved years ago with a grueling endurance test.

The biggest thing to watch out for is the technology used to connect the SSD to your PC. We go into deeper details and buying advice in our guide on which type of SSD you should buy.

SATA: This refers to both the connection type and the transfer protocol, which is used to connect most 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch hard drives and SSDs to your PC. SATA III speeds can hit roughly 600MBps, and most—but not all—modern drives max it out. (More on that in the next section.)PCIe: This interface taps into four of your computer’s PCIe lanes to blow away SATA speeds, to the tune of nearly 4GBps over PCIe gen 3. Those sort of face-melting speeds pair nicely with supercharged NVMe drives. Both the PCIe lanes in your motherboard and the M.2 slot in your motherboard can be wired to support the PCIe interface, and you can buy adapters that allow you to slot “gumstick” M.2 drives into a PCIe lane. PCIe 4.0 drives are significantly faster, but require an AMD Ryzen 3000-series or Intel Core 11th-gen (or newer) processor, along with a compatible PCIe 4.0 motherboard.NVMe: Non-Volatile Memory Express technology takes advantage of PCIe’s bountiful bandwidth to create blisteringly fast SSDs that blow SATA-based drives out of the water. Check out PCWorld’s “Everything you need to know about NVMe” for a nitty-gritty deep-dive.M.2: This is where things get tricky. Many people assume M.2 drives all use NVMe technology and PCIe speeds, but that’s not true. M.2 is just a form factor. Sure, most M.2 SSDs use NVMe, but some still stick to SATA. Do your homework. Many modern Ultrabooks rely on M.2 for storage.U.2 and mSATA: You may also stumble across mSATA and U.2 SSDs, but both motherboard support and product availability are rare for those formats. Some older Ultrabooks included mSATA before M.2 became popular, and drives are still available if you need them.

Speed matters, of course, but as we said most modern SSDs saturate the SATA III interface. Not all of them, though.

SSDs vs. hard drives

Do you need an SSD? “Need” is a strong word, but we heartily recommend that everyone upgrade to an SSD. Solid-state drive speeds blow even the fastest mechanical hard drives out of the water. Simply swapping out the hard drive in your old laptop or desktop for an SSD can make it feel like a whole new system—and a blazing-fast one at that. Buying an SSD is easily the best upgrade you can make for a computer.

SSDs cost more per gigabyte than mechanical hard drives, though, and thus aren’t often available in ultra-high capacities. If you want speed and storage space, you can buy an SSD with limited space and use it as your boot drive, then set up a traditional hard drive as secondary storage in your PC. Place your programs on your boot drive, stash your media and other files on the hard drive, and you’re ready to have your cake and eat it too.

How we test SSDs

Drive tests currently utilize Windows 11 (22H2) 64-bit running on an X790 (PCIe 5.0) motherboard/i5-12400 CPU combo with two Kingston Fury 32GB DDR5 modules (64GB of memory total). Intel integrated graphics are used. The 48GB transfer tests utilize an ImDisk RAM disk taking up 58GB of the 64GB total memory. The 450GB file is transferred from a Samsung 990 Pro 2TB, which also contains the operating system.

Each test is performed on a newly formatted and TRIM’d drive so the results are optimal. Note that as any drive fills up, performance will decrease due to less NAND for secondary caching, and other factors.

The performance numbers shown apply only to the drive we were shipped as well as the capacity tested. SSD performance can vary by capacity due to more or fewer chips to read/write across and the amount of NAND available for secondary caching (writing TLC/QLC as SLC). Vendors also occasionally swap components. If you ever notice a large discrepancy between the performance you experience and that which we report (systems being roughly equal), by all means—let us know.

Related posts

Texans are denied adult sites — a good VPN is the answer

admin

The best PC games of 2021 (that don't need a graphics card)

admin

Build a website on your own, no coding skills required, for just $59

admin

Leave a Comment