At this point, there's an SSD for your every storage need whether you're looking to completely eliminate loading times or have affordable bulk space. Hard drives still have their place for storing media and game backups, but by now, your gaming PC or any computer should have a solid-state drive running as its boot drive. Even consoles have made the switch to SSDs and you can add install the shelf M.2 drives on your PS5 to expand your storage space.
There's a wide variety of SSDs available with different transfer speeds, NAND types, and all at varying prices. It's a lot to figure out but that's why we're here to present you with only the best SSDs. Whether you're gaming or just want a fast, reliable startup disk, these are the drives you need. Also, we'll help you understand storage specification if you're looking for something outside our recommendations – click here to see them in the UK.
TL;DR – These are the Best SSDs:
- Crucial P5 Plus (Best SSD)
- Crucial P3 Plus (Best Budget SSD)
- Corsair MP600 Pro LPX (Best PS5 SSD)
- WD_Black SN770 (Best SSD Boot Drive)
- Samsung 980 (Best NVMe SSD)
- Corsair MP600 Pro XT (Best M.2 SSD)
- Samsung 980 Pro (Best PCIe 4.0 SSD)
- Samsung 870 QVO (Best SATA SSD)
- Corsair MP600 Pro Hydro X Edition (Best Liquid-Cooled SSD)
- Samsung 990 Pro (Fastests SSD)
Crucial P5 Plus
The Crucial P5 Plus offers fast speeds with solid endurance and even better value. With its 1TB of storage space and 6,600MB/s sequential read speed, it packs a powerful punch all for under $150, making it our top choice for the best SSD. This NVME SSD has PCIe 4.0 technology, making it much faster than drives with PCIe 3.0 technology. And, while costing slightly more, it edges out other drives on our list like the WD_Black SN750 SE and Samsung 980.
This SSD is perfect for hardcore gamers, creative content creators, or those with intensive workloads. Additionally, Crucial P5 Plus meets the minimum spec requirements to work with the PS5 when used with heat sink. The advanced controller technology and Micron Advanced 3D NAND will make the device faster, hold more information, run more efficiently, and use less energy. Plus, the Crucial P5 offers a warranty of 5-years or 600 total drive writes. For your next gaming PC build, it's the perfect part to go with any affordable CPU and motherboard.
See more of our picks for the best PS5 SSD
Crucial P3 Plus
Best Budget SSD
The Crucial P3 Plus may be a slightly toned-down version of our top pick, though it’s still plenty capable, delivering a lot of bang for your buck. Priced under $100 for 1TB (often on sale for much less), this SSD uses Micron QLC NAND to reach high capacities at a low cost without sacrificing much performance. You’ll get solid read speeds at 5,000MB/s, which is on the lower end for PCIe 4.0, but still blows PCIe 3.0 speeds out of the water, ensuring you enjoy limited PC lag and load times.
Given that the Crucial P3 Plus uses QLC NAND technology, it’s slightly less durable than drives using TLC, so you only get 220 total drive writes or a five-year warranty, whichever comes first. That’s still a decent amount of reliability that should last the lifetime of your PC. There’s also a dashboard available to upgrade the drive's firmware and monitor health, though you don’t get any AES hardware-based encryption.
Corsair MP600 Pro LPX
Best PS5 SSD
There isn't a better PS5 SSD than the Corsair MP600 Pro LPX. Well exceeding Sony’s secondary drive requirements with a blistering 7,100 MB/s read speed and 6,800MB/s write speed, it's one of the fastest drives around. Plus, with a 1TB capacity, you should be able to quickly load up your system with double the games and other data the base console holds. And yet, it’s one of the most affordable options at around $110, offering an impressive cost-to-performance ratio.
What makes the Corsair MP600 Pro LPX even better is it comes with a sizable heatsink preinstalled and designed to fit. So, the drive simply slots into your console’s M.2 slot and is thermally protected out of the box. That heatsink helps maintain peak performance, and the drive’s endurance over time shouldn’t be a worry either, as it can be completely rewritten over 700 times and comes with a five-year warranty.
Best SSD Boot Drive
If you want to limit the time you wait for your PC to turn on and all your applications to load, a great boot drive is a must. It should be relatively fast and roomy. This makes the WD_Black SN770 with a 1TB capacity a great option. It offers compelling speeds with fast sequential reads at 5,150 MB/s and writes at 4,900 MB/s. This is 40% faster than the last-gen, WD_Black SN750 SE. Plus, during random operations, where your operating system will likely feel its speeds the most, it still keeps up a solid performance. Another perk is this drive has considerable endurance at up to 600 full drive writes, or 600TBW for the 1TB model.
The WD_Black SN770 is a bit more affordable than its faster counterpart, the WD_Black SN850, so you’ll be able to spring for the larger 1TB capacity, or if you need more space, you can grab the 2TB model. This means the drive should maintain its peak performance for longer as long as you don't fill it completely with files and media. And, where you’ve saved a bit of money on a quality boot drive, you can then spend a bit more on a dragster to handle large file transfers or your game library.
Best NVMe SSD
If your system isn't able to take advantage of the latest PCIe 4.0 NVMe drives, then you don't need to sink the extra cash it takes to get one of them. Instead, you can pick up the newly released Samsung 980 SSD. This is the PCIe 3.0 counterpart to the PCIe 4.0-based Samsung 980 Pro SSD.
What you get from this drive is more or less a continuation of what Samsung had already been offering in this market segment with the Samsung 970 Evo and 970 Pro. You'll find serious speeds around every corner with 3,500MB/s sequential reads and 3,000MB/s sequential writes. Random read and write operations are also cruising along at a fast clip. And, though it's not a major leap up compared to the 970 Evo, Samsung claims it has improved power efficiency by 32% and reduced heat by 50%.
Corsair MP600 Pro XT
Best M.2 SSD
The Corsair MP600 Pro XT provides you with a bunch of storage thanks to its 1TB capacity, and it’ll let you access any of your files or games incredibly fast. This drive can reach a peak sequential read speed of 7,100MB/s when you insert it into a PCIe 4.0 x4 slot on your motherboard, so you’ll want to make sure you find an open slot for it to take full advantage of its impressive speeds. Though it’s not leading the class, it also offers remarkable write speeds, so you can move your files to it quickly and make them more accessible.
This’ll be a solid drive if you want your game library to launch quicker and deliver assets to your graphics card faster, especially if you have an RTX card capable of using RTX IO with Microsoft’s DirectStorage. If you’re shuffling content onto and off of the drive a lot or using it as a scratch disk, you’ll also benefit from the drives extensive durability, which can see it completely rewritten 700 times.
Samsung 980 Pro
Best PCIe 4.0 SSD
The champ has finally done it. Samsung often leads the field when it comes to SSDs, particularly since it designs its own NAND flash and DRAM cache. And, now the Samsung 980 Pro is here to push things even further forward as Samsung's big foray into the PCIe 4.0 space. This new PCIe SSD tops our previous pick by offering a drive that can offer a whopping 1TB of storage and deliver read speed up to 7,000MB/s and write speeds up to 5,000MB/s.
The best part? The Samsung 980 Pro is offering all that at just under $100. It's not the cheapest price per GB, but cheaper drives aren't going to be nearly as fast. This'll be the drive you want for future PC games that can take advantage of Microsoft's DirectStorage API for super-fast transfers of game assets directly over to your graphic card's memory or as additional storage for your PS5.
Samsung 870 QVO
Best SATA SSD
Samsung already had a strong value proposition for SATA SSDs with its 860 QVO, which offered up fairly substantial storage at a lower price thanks to its use of QLC flash storage. Now, Samsung is continuing that offering with the 870 QVO. These SSDs muster a little bit of extra speed, reaching for the maximum throughput SATA can even handle. While speeds are definitely not as impressive as those found on even budget PCIe NVMe SSDs, the price-per-gigabyte of the Samsung 870 QVO is compelling. If you want a lot of storage on an SSD, this is the way to go.
Samsung's 4TB 870 QVO costs under $300. While it's usually true that the more you get of something the less you pay for each one, that hasn't held true for capacious SSDs, but this time Samsung is making it economical to go for the bigger option. That means you can readily fit a massive amount of fast storage in a tiny space without breaking a budget. Samsung also has a 1TB and 2TB version available, and an 8TB model is coming soon. The specs vary slightly between models, with different warranties and DRAM cache sizes being most notable. In any case, there are few more compelling options for switching away from SATA hard drives than these SSDs.
Corsair MP600 Pro Hydro X Edition
Best Liquid-Cooled SSD
What's better than a fast SSD? An extra-fast SSD that has extreme cooling to ensure heat never slows it down. That's what Corsair aims to offer with the Corsair MP600 Pro Hydro X Edition. This takes Corsair's MP600 Pro SSD, which is already a fast drive, and attaches a water block to it so it's ready for your liquid-cooled gaming rig.
The drive itself delivers high speeds thanks to its use of the PCIe 4.0 x4 interface. It can offer sequential read and write speeds of up to 7,000MB/s and 6,550MB/s respectively. Since this drive comes in a spacious 2TB capacity, you won't have to worry about needing to upgrade it anytime soon. Another reason you won't have to upgrade too soon is thanks to the drive's extreme endurance, which has it rated for a total of 1,400 TBW.
Samsung 990 Pro
One of the main reasons for snagging an SSD over other storage options is the insane speeds offered, so why not grab one of the fastest ones out there? The Samsung 990 Pro is costly, but it takes advantage of PCIe Gen4, bringing you 7,450MB/s read speeds to make all your apps run smoother and quicker, with games, video editing, and even 3D rendering included. Plus, with 6,900MB/s write speeds, saves will be a breeze.
The Samsung 990 Pro offers a 2TB capacity and is a speed demon thanks to unique MLC V-NAND technology, which increases endurance and power efficiency. That, combined with a built-in heat spreader, ensures speeds are maintained even when working overtime. And what’s more, Samsung includes its Magician Software to upgrade firmware, optimize the drive, and monitor health, while also including 256-bit AES encryption to maintain a top-notch performance throughout its lifespan.
Where to Get the Best SSD in the UK
Samsung870 Evo Best SSD£85.06Crucial MX500 Best Budget SSD£99.95Crucial P2 Best Budget NVMe SSD£68.99WDBlack SN850 Best Gaming SSD£169.99AdataXPG SX8200 Pro Best SSD Boot Drive£72.09Samsung 980 Best NVMe SSD£184.83Corsair Force Series MP510 Best M.2 SSD£299.50Samsung980 Pro Best PCIe 4.0 SSD£180.89Samsung870 QVO Best SATA SSD£110.99Gigabyte Aorus NVMe Gen4 SSD Best Liquid-Cooled SSD£185.99
What to Look in for an SSD?
Whereas $500 used to buy you a 128GB or 120GB SSD with you can now buy a 4TB Samsung 870 QVO for under $300 and kiss hard drives goodbye forever. What's more SSDs are insanely fast with sequential read and write speeds that start at 500MB/s and peak above 7,000MB/s if you're looking at the latest NVMe PCIe 4.0 drives.
Alternatively, cheap and fast SSDs like the Crucial P3 Plus allow anyone building a new PC to use an NVMe SSD as their main drive
Before you buy a solid-state drive though, you need to know what kind of SSD you want. Newer motherboards have sockets for M.2 drives, which are long, flat sticks of storage that lie flat against the motherboard. If you don’t have that in your system, you can buy a 2.5-inch drive that uses power and data cables just like an HDD.
Now things get a bit more varied once we start talking about connectors. For starters, M.2 drives might utilize a PCI Express- or Serial ATA (SATA)-based interface. The former delivers incredibly high transfer speeds, meanwhile, SATA is limited to a maximum 600MB/s speed. 2.5-inch drives are the other form of solid-state storage you’ll find and they mostly utilize a SATA connection.
The next major thing you should know about is ‘NVMe’ and it stands for the Non-Volatile Memory Express technology. That’s a mouthful, but it’s basically a communications standard, which allows SSDs connected over PCI Express to operate more like fast memory than storage. If you're shopping around for a solid-state drive from this category you'll want something that achieves at least a 2,000MB/s sequential read/write speed.
M.2 drives aren’t the only type of drives that can tap into this wickedly fast PCIe NVMe connection. For example, there are solid-state drives that connect directly into the PCIe slot on motherboards. Alternatively, you may also find some 2.5-inch drives that utilize a U.2 connection and operate just as fast as the best NVMe SSDs, though, these are becoming increasingly rare.
Almost all SSDs are made up of NAND flash memory, but they don't necessarily use the same type. in fact, the market is currently made up of four types of NAND memory—with SLC, MLC TLC, and QLC variants—and the big thing that separates them all is how their underlying cells store the 1's and 0's that make up your data. Let's take a quick look at what makes each type of NAND memory tick
- SLC: short for single-level cells, this is the original form of NAND memory and arguably the best. SLC is designed to only accept one bit per memory cell, which makes them the fastest, most durable and reliable, and often also the most expensive.
- MLC: Multi-Layer Cell store one more bit to every cell, bringing the number to two. It's a bit slower than SLC, because two bits are being written to every cell, which in turn makes this type of NAND slower and less reliable. The shortcomings of MLC aren't too bad though and that's why you see a lot of flagship SSDs utilize this type of NAND memory.
- TLC: Now we're starting to get into the budget spectrum with Triple-Layer Cell. As its name might suggest, TLC has three bits written to every cell and all its detriments.
- QLC: You guessed it, QLC is short for Quad-Level Cell and you probably also surmised that it writes four bits to each cell. At this point, speed isn't a concern and storage space becomes the priority here. That said, reliability and endurance become a concern here, but at least SSDs of this type are usually very cheap.
- PLC: Penta-Level Cell SSDs, which write five bits to every cell, are still on the horizon but it'll be interesting to see how low it will make the prices of SSDs go.
SSD vs HDD
What’s the best type of PC storage for you? Here we explore SSDs vs HDDs.
An HDD or hard drive is packing an actual hard disc and an actuator arm that moves across the disc when reading or writing and often comes in a 3.5-inch or 2.5-inch drive size with a SATA data connector and power connector. On the other hand, SSDs or solid-state drives contain electrons moving around with no moving parts. These drives also come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with some resembling HDDs and others which come in much smaller form factors, slotting directly into motherboards. That means you won’t need to worry about running more SATA and power cables.
If you’re looking for speed, an SSD runs laps around HDDs. Even the slowest SATA SSDs beat out the fastest HDDs, and you can find PCIe SSDs with read speeds that clock in above 7,000MB/s. So, SSDs are the clear winner for storing your most used applications and especially shine in games. However, though HDDs are slow, they offer a ton of storage for a low price, making them ideal candidates to house large files or documents you don’t access frequently and applications that don’t require speed.
SSDs are the winner when it comes to durability, as you don’t have the moving parts of an HDD that can get easily damaged when dropped or bumped. But in terms of longevity—if you aren’t dropping it—a hard drive saves data more safely. The flash memory cells in an SSD are stored using an electrical charge that can leak, making a hard drive's written disk a better choice for long-term storage.
That’s everything you need to know about SSDs for now and there has never been a better time to ever buy one. The SSD market is so vibrant right now with manufacturers trying to top each other with increasingly faster and cheaper options
Kevin Lee is IGN's Hardware and Roundups Editor. Follow him on Twitter @baggingspam