Ssd recommendations: Best SSDs 2022: SATA, NVMe, and Add-in Cards

Crucial P5 Plus M.2 NVMe SSD Review: Affordable Gen4 Performance

Tom’s Hardware Verdict

The 2TB Crucial P5 Plus sees minor performance gains thanks to twice the flash dies, but could use some work on its efficiency. Still, with overall solid performance, ultra-competitive pricing, and a solid feature set, the P5 Plus is a great value for those in search of a new PCIe Gen4 SSD.

November 10, 2021 Update: We’ve updated this article with new testing for the 2TB Crucial P5 Plus M.2 NVMe SSD on page 2.

Original Review published August 3, 2021:

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We have had quite a few PCIe 4.0 x4 SSDs pass through our lab since we saw the first demo in early 2019, but none from the likes of Crucial, until now that is. Crucial’s P5 Plus marks the company’s first Gen4 SSD release, and it follows the company’s value over top-end performance agenda well, ranking it as a solid value for those looking for next-gen performance at prices below that of the competition.

While competitors are working on breaking the limits of current PCIe 4.0 capability, Crucial has decided to play things safe with the introduction of its new PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD, optimizing it for specific workloads and reliability rather than trying to go for gold in all testing metrics. Only rated for speeds of up to 6.6 GBps, it’s not quite the bleeding-edge competitor we were expecting from such a large memory brand, but it’s a solid step in the right direction.


Product 500GB 1TB 2TB
Pricing 107.99 179.99 367.99
Capacity (User / Raw) 500GB / 512GB 1000GB / 1024GB 2000GB / 2048GB
Form Factor M.2 2280 M.2 2280 M.2 2280
Interface / Protocol PCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe 1.4 PCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe 1.4 PCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe 1.4
Controller Crucial NVMe Architecture Crucial NVMe Architecture Crucial NVMe Architecture
Memory Micron 176L TLC Micron 176L TLC Micron 176L TLC
Sequential Read 6,600 MBps 6,600 MBps 6,600 MBps
Sequential Write 4,000 MBps 5,000 MBps 5,000 MBps
Random Read 360,000 IOPS 630,000 IOPS 720,000 IOPS
Random Write 700,000 IOPS 700,000 IOPS 700,000 IOPS
Security AES 256-bit encryption  AES 256-bit encryption  AES 256-bit encryption 
Endurance (TBW) 300 TB 600 TB 1,200 TB
Part Number CT500P5PSSD8 CT1000P5PSSD8 CT2000P5PSSD8
Warranty 5-Years 5-Years 5-Years

Crucial’s P5 Plus comes in capacities of 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB and is priced aggressively low for a PCIe 4. 0 SSD. At MSRPs of $107.99, $179.99, and $367.99, the P5 Plus delivers on value for sure. In terms of its performance, it’s rated to deliver sequential speeds of up to 6.6/5.0 GBps read/write and can manage upwards of 720,000/700,000 random read/write IOPS when tasked to full load, thanks to dynamic write acceleration (Crucial’s SLC caching implementation). 

Like the P5 and most high-end competitors, the P5 Plus comes with a five-year warranty and is rated for similar endurance capabilities. Due in part to RAIN (Redundant array of independent NAND), a multistep data integrity algorithm, and LDPC ECC, Crucial rates the P5 Plus to withstand up to 1,200 TB of writes at its highest capacity. As for the smaller capacities, endurance halves as the capacity halves.

The P5 Plus supports TRIM, S.M.A.R.T. data reporting, secure erase capability as well as hardware-accelerated, AES 256-bit full-disk encryption based on the TCG OPAL 2.0 specification. When enabled, it can keep your data locked down and safe from the hands of thieves if you are to ever lose your precious hardware to unforeseen circumstances. Because it is OPAL 2.0 compliant it is also Windows BitLocker compliant, too.

Software and Accessories

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

Crucial’s P5 Plus helpfully comes with an M.2 screw, in case your system came without one (or you’ve lost yours in a late-night carpet tragedy). Crucial also provides the company’s own SSD toolbox and some cloning software to support the P5 Plus. 

Crucial Storage Executive lets you monitor the drive, as well as update its firmware and enable certain features such as momentum cache, which is similar to Samsung Magician’s Rapid Mode DRAM caching. The company also provides downloads for Acronis True Image for Crucial, letting you clone data from old drives to the P5 Plus.

A Closer Look

Image 1 of 3

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)
(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

As the name indicates, Crucial’s P5 Plus looks very similar to the original Crucial P5. It features a black PCB and a clean black sticker over top of the hardware, with all compliance markings and SKUs located on the backside, out of sight. Our 1TB sample comes in an M.2 2280 form factor like the P5 we previously reviewed. And while faster, the P5 Plus remains fairly cool when tasked with heavy workloads.

Image 1 of 2

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

Micron is one of the few vertically integrated SSD vendors. But while in such a pivotal position, the company was less than forthright when it came time to open up about the hardware secrets behind the P5 Plus. The controller is designed in-house, and we speculate that it is very similar to the six-core controller powering the P5, save for the new Gen4 PHY. There is the possibility that the company has cut the number of cores or opted for a smaller process node to manufacture the controller, based on its lower heat output in relation to the P5. But we can’t confirm any of this. 

Regardless, the controller is still an 8-channel design that leverages LPDDR4 DRAM to accelerate FTL management. The 500GB model and 1TB model utilize 1GB of DRAM, while the 2TB has 2GB. It also sports NVMe autonomous power state transition (APST) and adaptive thermal protection that kicks in at a temperature of 80 degrees Celsius and hotter to protect data. You also get integrated power loss immunity due to the way Crucial programs the flash.

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

The main performance improvement behind the P5 Plus is the flash, however. Rated for interface speeds of up to 1,600 MTps, Micron’s B47R 176L TLC is some of the fastest NAND on the market. There are two NAND packages on our 1TB sample, each crammed with eight 512Gb dies. 

This flash is different from that of the previous-generation that we’ve seen produced by Micron. We went into detail about this new flash on our Phison PS5018-E18 preview, but for those who want the gist, instead of taking advantage of a floating gate architecture, the company’s B47R flash leverages a replacement gate architecture.

Micron’s replacement gate architecture combines both charge traps with the company’s CMOS-under array technology, allowing for a 30% smaller die size when compared to competitors’ flash. When compared to the company’s previous-generation 96L TLC, the new replacement gate flash replaces the polysilicon gates with metal and takes advantage of a different etching method, resulting in greatly reduced cell-to-cell capacitive coupling issues, lowered resistance levels, and allows for increased program pulse ramping. All this works in unison to provide not only lower read and write latencies and boosted throughput, but also improved reliability and endurance. 


MORE: How We Test HDDs And SSDs

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Sean is a Contributing Editor at Tom’s Hardware US, covering storage hardware.

Best SSDs for 2022: Reviews and recommendations


The best solid-state drives can supercharge your PC.

By Brad Chacos

Executive editor, PCWorld

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 solid-state drives for compatible PCs, and you’ll even find SSDs that sit on a PCIe adapter and slot into your motherboard like a graphics card or sound card. Picking the perfect SSD isn’t as simple as it used to be, though excellent new drives like the SK Hynix Platinum P41 are certainly trying to achieve no-brainer upgrade status.

That’s the purpose of this guide. We’ve tested numerous drives to find the best SSDs for any use case, and offer our top picks below. In addition to that we give you useful information on what to look for in an SSD so you can be a more knowledgable shopper. Quick note: This roundup only covers internal solid-state drives. Check out PCWorld’s guide to the best external drives if you’re looking for a portable storage solution, such as the Samsung T7 Shield—our newly crowned pick for the best high-performance portable SSD.

Updated 09/22/2022: To included the Crucial P3 as our pick for best PCIe 3.0 SSD. Check out our new pick below for more information.

The best SSDs

Samsung 870 EVO – Best SATA SSD


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


  • A little expensive

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 SSDreview

Crucial BX500 – Best budget SATA SSD


  • Good everyday performance
  • Low price per gigabyte


  • Slows drastically when secondary cache runs out

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 $80, a whopping $30 less than the equivalent EVO, while a 480GB version costs just $45. 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


  • Excellent everyday PCIe 3 performance
  • Fantastically low price per GB


  • Very low TBW rating
  • Non-cached QLC writes are extremely slow

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.

Seagate FireCuda 530 – Best PCIe 4.0 SSD


  • Fastest NVMe PCIe 4 SSD we’ve tested
  • Very high TBW (longevity) rating
  • Five-year warranty with three-year data recovery for free


  • On the pricey side

If you’re looking for a lightning-fast PCIe 4. 0 SSD, you can’t go wrong with the Seagate FireCuda 530, whose enticing mix of extreme performance and blazing speed recently unseated the vaunted SK Hynix Platinum P41 on this list. The FireCuda 530 beat out all rival vendors as the fastest drive we’ve tested in both synthetic benchmarks and real-world transfers. The only real downside here is the price—it isn’t cheap, but it’s the fastest thing out there.

If you’re using a system with PCIe 3.0, this will also rival most of the competition in terms of speed, but you might consider finding a more affordable option as this is two or three times the price of other PCIe 3.0 SSDs.

Read our full
Seagate FireCuda 530 (2TB)review

WD Black SN580X – Best PCIe 4.0 SSD runner-up


  • Excellent performance
  • Decently affordable given its speed
  • Available up to 4TB
  • Optional heatsink for 1/2TB models


  • Pricey per gigabyte
  • Somewhat parsimonious TBW ratings

The Seagate FireCuda 530 may be the best PCIe 4. 0 SSD around, but it’s far from your only option. If you don’t mind something a little slower, but still plenty-fast enough, then the WD Black SN850X offers great PCIe 4.0 speeds for a slightly lower price. In terms of overall performance, the SN850X is outstanding making it a more than viable alternative. This is one of the best SSDs on the market, but Seagate’s slightly higher speeds and significantly higher TBW (terabytes that may be written) rating leads us to give the FireCuda 530 the overall nod.

Read our full
WD Black SN850Xreview

Crucial P3 Plus – Best budget PCIe 4.0 SSD


  • Super affordable
  • Good PCIe 4 performance
  • Excellent PCIe 3 performance


  • Second-tier performance overall
  • Extremely low TBW ratings

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 Crucial P3 Plus. Its pricing can’t be beat, at just $100 for a 1TB model, and it delivers solid overall performance. The P3 Plus isn’t a barn burner among the PCIe 4.0 crowd, sure, but it has decent real-world transfer rates and it is still NVMe so it might be slower, but it’s not slow. If you are looking for a ton of NVMe storage for not a lot of money, then the Crucial P3 Plus is your best bet.

Read our full
Crucial P3 Plus NVMe SSDreview

Adata Elite SE880 SSD – Most portable SSD


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


  • Slows considerably during long contiguous writes
  • Somewhat low TBW rating

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 SSDreview

Kingston XS200 USB SSD – Best high-capacity portable SSD


  • Super svelte
  • Good 20Gbps performance
  • Available in up to 4TB in capacity


  • Slower than much of the competition
  • Not much of a looker

The Kingston XS2000 sits in the Goldilocks zone of SSDs—it might not be the smallest, fastest, or largest capacity drive, but it scores above average on most of these categories. It is small enough to fit in your pocket and with up to 4TB in capacity, it comes with considerably more storage than any other ultra-portable drive out there right now.

The Kingston XS2000 also has data transfer rates of up to 20Gbps, which isn’t lightning quick, but it beats the 10Gbps competitor portable drives. Overall, this super small, affordable, and fast enough SSD is a solid product, especially if you have a lot of data you need to carry around with you.

Read our full
Kingston XS200 USB SSDreview

Corsair MP600 Pro XT – Best PCIe 4.0 SSD w/ water-cooling option


  • Fantastic performance
  • Hefty heat sink (removable)
  • Liquid-cooling option
  • Affordable for PCIe 4


  • Much pricier than PCIe 3 drives

“Considering the Corsair MP600 Pro XT’s tantalizing combination of price, performance, and features an Editor’s Choice award was no-brainer,” we said in our review. “Highly recommended.” This “absolute barn-burner” of an SSD hangs with and sometimes bests the fastest drives we’ve ever tested, for a considerably lower price than its fellow hot-rod rivals. It comes with a five-year warranty that guarantees hundreds of written terabytes before failure. And if you want to get fancy, there’s even a version designed to plug into the liquid-cooling setup of exotic PCs, for a minimal markup.

We can’t find much to complain about. You’ll need a modern PC (from the last two or three years) with PCIe 4.0 support to unlock those face-melting speeds, however, and this sort of cutting-edge performance doesn’t come cheap. The 1TB version of the Corsair MP600 Pro XT will set you back $200, while 2TB and 4TB offerings go for $300 and $800, respectively.

As far as alternatives go, the Kingston KC3000 and Seagate FireCuda 530 both deliver face-melting performance on par with Corsair’s drive. That said, Seagate’s drive costs quite a bit more, while the KC3000 is only officially available through Kingston’s website. The MP600 Pro XT’s wider availability helps it earn our top recommendation.

Read our full
MP600 Pro XTreview

Seagate Beskar Ingot NVMe SSD (FireCuda 530) – Most collectible SSD


  • Exceptional performance
  • Long warranty with a high TBW rating
  • Beefy Star Wars-themed heatsink


  • Pricier than a plain FireCuda 530

If you’re a die-hard Star Wars fan, then we have the perfect SSD for you. Seagate recently released a series of two Mandalorian-themed SSDs—the Beskar Ingot SATA SSD and the Beskar Ingot NVMe SSD. And while both SSDs are excellent options for any budding bounty hunter, we chose the Beskar Ingot NVMe SSD due to its exceptional performance and blazing-fast speeds.

If you think it’s just a middle-of-the-road NVMe with a hefty Beskar-themed heatsink, then much to learn you still have, young padawan. The FireCuda 530 is one of the fastest NVMe drives we’ve ever tested and very well could compete against the Millenium Falcon in the Kessel run.

All of that being said, this is a top-notch drive perfect for the Star Wars fan with a windowed case who wants to show off their latest Beskar metal bounty.

Read our full
Seagate Beskar Ingot NVMe SSD (FireCuda 530)review

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.

mentioned in this article

Intel Core i5-12600K

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.

The Samsung 960 Pro NVMe SSD in an M.2 slot.

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.

  1. 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.)
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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

We test SSDs using a variety of synthetic benchmarks (such as CrystalDiskMark 6’s various tests) and real-world tests, including 48GB transfers that showcase how a drive performs in common tasks, and a grueling 450GB transfer test that pushes an SSD’s cache performance to the brink.

The PCIe 3 tests utilized Windows 10 64-bit running on a Core i7-5820K/Asus X99 Deluxe system with four 16GB Kingston 2666MHz DDR4 modules, a Zotac (Nvidia) GT 710 1GB x2 PCIe graphics card, and an Asmedia ASM2142 USB 3. 1 card. It also contains a Gigabyte GC-Alpine Thunderbolt 3 card, and Softperfect Ramdisk 3.4.6 for the 48GB read and write tests.

The PCIe 4 testing was done on an MSI MEG X570 motherboard socketing an AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 8-core CPU, using the same Kingston DRAM, cards, and software. All testing is performed on an empty, or nearly empty drive. Performance will decrease as the drive fills up.

Author: Brad Chacos, Executive editor

Brad Chacos spends his days digging through desktop PCs and tweeting too much. He specializes in graphics cards and gaming, but covers everything from security to Windows tips and all manner of PC hardware.

Crucial BX500 SATA SSD review

At a Glance

Expert’s Rating


  • Good everyday performance
  • Low price per gigabyte


  • Slows drastically when secondary cache runs out

Our Verdict

We recommend this QLC drive in the larger capacities for those that want good everyday performance for a budget price. The smaller capacities will likely run into more slowdowns during heavy writes.

Crucial’s BX500 internal SSD offers a lot of capacity for not so much cash, along with great everyday, real-world performance. Most users will be perfectly happy with this QLC drive, as long as they don’t bang on it too hard—as in writing large amounts of data in a short period of time, or filling the drive to point where it runs out of NAND to treat as cache. At that point, write performance drops to around the hard-drive level.

This review is part of our ongoing roundup of the best SSDs. Go there for information on competing products and how we tested them.

The BX500 is a 7-millimeter-thick, super-light, 2.5-inch SATA 6Gbps SSD. It comes in several flavors: The 2TB capacity we tested (currently $200 on Amazon), 1TB ($90 on AmazonRemove non-product link) , 480GB ($55 on AmazonRemove non-product link), and 240GB ($39.95 on AmazonRemove non-product link) of this review. That’s about as cheap as you’ll find, not to mention a rather interesting mix of capacities.

Normally you’ll see 250GB and 500GB drives sold in product lines that feature 1TB and 2TB models, or conversely, 980GB and 1920GB with 240GB and 480GB drives. This is due to the percentage of NAND used for over-provisioning (allotting spare cells as replacements). Crucial obviously feels that the lower-capacity BX500s require more, which might have something to do with intelligent caching. Or not. 

The BX500 employs a Silicon Motion SM2259XT controller. The four NAND chips inside our 2TB test model bore the OBY22NX894 marking. I found no reference to those NAND part numbers online, however, there were four chips on the rather small PC board inside the unit. The large drop in performance after running out of secondary cache during our long 450GB write test strongly suggests that it’s QLC or quad-level cell/4-bit (16 voltage levels).

You won’t necessarily find the same-density NAND chips in the lower capacities. All are rated for the same 540MBps reading and 500MBps writing, so the type of NAND and controller likely remain the same. Crucial does not promise that this product will use the same components throughout its life cycle, however—which could mean your drive won’t perform the same as the one we tested.

Note that the write speed estimate is for a virgin drive with enough NAND available to be treated as SLC cache—there’s no DRAM on board. When the drive runs out of cache, as mentioned, write performance will drop significantly.  


Crucial’s BX500 makes a great upgrade in capacity for older laptops. Most users will never hit the drive hard enough to experience a write slowdown.


Whatever the componentry, the 2TB BX500 is a very good everyday performer. Most users will never run into write slowdowns, at least with the larger capacities. With the 240GB and 480GB drives, which have far less NAND to employ as cache, you might.

All but the best SSDs slow down when NAND cache is gone, with QLC being the slowest when this occurs. Also, the phenomenon will present itself more frequently in all drives as they fill up and there’s less free NAND available for use as cache. That’s why it’s important to overbuy in terms of capacity with the vast majority of SSDs. 


CrystalDiskMark 6 rates the BX500 as slightly slower than the competition, but just barely. During normal operation, you’d never notice the difference.

The BX500 actually led the pack (Samsung 860 QVO, Samsung 870 QVO, Kingston KC600) in performance during our 48GB file transfers. These are more indicative of the occasional long writes that most users might experience during backup or other heavy operations. But remember that these times were posted by the 2TB drive. The 240GB and 480GB BX500s are likely to hit the QLC write slowdown far earlier and post slower times than those shown below. 


For normal-to-large transfer operations, the BX500 is competitive and then some. It bested all the drives it’s compared with in these real-world transfers.

You can see just how much the BX500 and other QLC drives slow down when they run out of cache in the 450GB write times shown below. The much pricier Kingston KC600 is the only TLC drive in the charts, and the only one that doesn’t slow down off-cache, if indeed it’s even employing cache. 


While not as tragic as Samsung’s older 860 QLC when it runs out of secondary cache, the BX500 slows dramatically. It’s not the SSD you want for writing a large amount of data in a single blow.

As you can see from the screen capture shown below, when the BX500 runs out of cache, write speed can drop as low as 40MBps—10MBps if the drive is caught doing housekeeping. It doesn’t flatline there, however. It bounces between 40MBps and full speed, suggesting that more cache is being allotted in real time.

Our 2TB drive ran out of juice at around 140GB, so all things being equal, the 1TB drive would likely run out of cache at 70GB written, the 480GB at around 35GB, and the 240GB drive at around 15-17GB.   


As you can see, when the BX500 runs out of cache, write performance can drop as low as 40MBps.  

While we’re compelled to talk about the slow write speed off-cache, again, this comes into play only when you write fairly large amounts of data—or as I said, when the amount of data stored approaches the capacity of the drive. 

The PCIe 3 tests utilized Windows 10 64-bit running on a Core i7-5820K/Asus X99 Deluxe system with four 16GB Kingston 2666MHz DDR4 modules, a Zotac (NVidia) GT 710 1GB x2 PCIe graphics card, and an Asmedia ASM3242 USB 3.2×2 card. It also contains a Gigabyte GC-Alpine Thunderbolt 3 card, and Softperfect Ramdisk 3.4.6 for the 48GB read and write tests.

The PCIe 4 testing was done on an MSI MEG X570 motherboard socketing an AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 8-core CPU, using the same Kingston DRAM, cards, and software. All testing is performed on an empty, or nearly empty drive that’s TRIM’d after every set of tests. Performance will decrease as the drive fills up. 

Crucial is one of several vendors who’ve downgraded components without changing product designations. If the performance of your BX500 varies drastically from what we found with our review drive, please let us know.

Good for everyday use

The BX500 is subjectively as fast as anything out there until it runs out of cache. That’s likely to be a rare occurrence for the average user. Power users should skip it, but for everyone else it’s a good deal. We do, however, recommend overbuying capacity-wise by at least 50 percent.

Author: Jon L. Jacobi, Freelance contributor

Jon Jacobi is a musician, former x86/6800 programmer, and long-time computer enthusiast. He writes reviews on TVs, SSDs, dash cams, remote access software, Bluetooth speakers, and sundry other consumer-tech hardware and software.

Samsung 870 EVO SATA SSD review: The speed you need, at sane prices

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Excellent performance and endurance ratings for a competitive price.

By Jon L. Jacobi



At a Glance

Expert’s Rating


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


  • A little expensive

Our Verdict

The Samsung 870 EVO is a little pricier than the competition, but it’s also faster with small file operations. You get what you pay for, and in this case, you get a lot.

Best Prices Today: Samsung 870 EVO SATA SSD

Samsung’s been at the top of the SSD storage food chain since the day the company entered the market, and the 870 EVO honors that tradition. 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. 

This review is part of our ongoing roundup of the best SSDs. Go there for information on competing products and how we tested them.

Specs and pricing

The 870 EVO is a 2.5-inch, SATA 6Gbps SSD employing Samsung’s own TLC (Triple-Level Cell/3-bit) V-NAND. The company is typically coy as to on the actual controller technology or the number of layers, but it’s likely an in-house Samsung-designed controller with, judging from the capacities, 92 or 96 layers.

The drive will ship in 250GB/$40, 500GB/$70, 1TB/$130, 2TB/$250, and 4TB/$480 flavors (see note at end). There’s 512MB of primary DRAM cache for every 250GB of capacity, and the drives are rated for 150TBW (TeraBytes that may be Written) or five years of service—whichever comes first. That is, the five-year warranty is invalid once you exceed the TBW rating. Most end users won’t come close to writing that much data, so consider it five years.

Samsung’s 870 EVO is a step up from the 870 QVO in overall performance, albeit at a higher price. 

The 870 EVO uses Samsung’s TurboWrite variable secondary cache algorithm, in which the main NAND is treated as SLC by writing only a single bit per voltage level. That should allow top write performance until the drive nears full capacity. As a rule of thumb, you should stay below 75 percent of capacity when using SSDs or performance will suffer.


The 870 EVO proved the fastest overall SATA SSD we’ve tested so far, largely due to its superior performance with small files. We’re not talking the same kind of difference you’ll see with far faster NVMe technology—6Gbps SATA itself is the limiting technology. Numbers are very similar for all top-tier SATA drives. That said, the 870 EVO will cut a second or two off a lot of tasks and over the long run, that will add up.

Note that I included the 2019-era Seagate IronWolf 110 in the comparisons, as it’s one of the few drives that can keep up with the 870 EVO in all phases. However, it’s significantly more expensive and designed for SMB or the enterprise.

Sustained reading and writing are limited by the SATA bus, hence the statistically meaningless differences shown here. But check the 450GB test to see where the 870 QVO falls behind.

As you can see above, there’s scant difference among the competitors when it comes to sustained write or read performance. However, as you can see below, design prowess and components can, and do, make a difference in random/small file performance.

The 870 QVO offers outstanding small file performance, only losing out in some tests to its QVO cousin. 

As in the CrystalDiskMark 6 sustained throughput test, the differences between the drives in our 48GB transfers were slight. The 870 EVO still took home the win by 12 seconds, or about 2 percent.

The Samsung 870 EVO was the fastest overall in our real world 48GB transfers, though by a relatively small margin. 

Below, you can see why the 870 EVO is a bit pricier than the 870 QVO: The latter slows down to a miserable 150MBps when it runs out of secondary NAND cache. The 870 QVO doesn’t allocate NAND as secondary cache dynamically, as does the 870 EVO.

This is why you might want to spend more money on an EVO (or the others) rather than a QVO. If long writes aren’t’ something you do, don’t sweat it. Note that this was the 2TB version of the QVO; the 8TB version would have more secondary NAND cache and not slow down as soon.

The 450GB write was performed on both the 1TB and 4TB models, resulting in a 5-second difference which is well within the expected variation. That means the TurboWrite is doing its job on the larger capacities. You might see a slowdown with the 500GB model, though it shouldn’t be as drastic with the TLC-based EVO as it is with the QLC in the 870 QVO.

The PCIe 3 tests utilized Windows 10 64-bit running on a Core i7-5820K/Asus X99 Deluxe system with four 16GB Kingston 2666MHz DDR4 modules, a Zotac (NVidia) GT 710 1GB x2 PCIe graphics card, and an Asmedia ASM2142 USB 3.1 card. It also contains a Gigabyte GC-Alpine Thunderbolt 3 card, and Softperfect Ramdisk 3.4.6 for the 48GB read and write tests.

The PCIe 4 testing was done on an MSI MEG X570 motherboard socketing an AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 8-core CPU, using the same Kingston DRAM, cards, and software. All testing is performed on an empty, or nearly empty drive. Performance will decrease as the drive fills up.

Best in the price range

The Samsung 870 EVO is easily the best performer in its class, and a top performer in in any class across all usage scenarios. If you never write very large files, you could opt for the cheaper 870 QVO. Just make sure you go for a capacity well beyond what you think you’ll need. If you’re not strapped for cash, the 870 EVO is easily the better drive, the more future-proof of the two, and our recommendation.

This article was edited on 01/20/2021 to reflect a change in initial pricing. The 250GB through 1TB drives were originally quoted to us as $10 more, the 2TB as $20 more, and the 4TB, $40 more.

The Best Internal SSDs for 2022

Solid-state drives (SSDs) have come a long way in recent years: a long way up in speed and capacity, and a long way down in price.

Technology that was previously reserved for enterprise customers and the PC performance elite has gained the common touch, with mainstream desktops and laptops now featuring SSDs rather than hard drives as primary storage choices. And adding an internal SSD to an older PC as a new boot drive remains a great, cost-effective upgrade. If you’re still relying on spinning metal, you’ll find it one of the easiest ways to an instant, undeniable speed boost.

That said, while almost any SSD is much faster than any hard drive, not all SSDs are created equal—not by a long shot. SSD interfaces have evolved greatly over the last few years, and SSDs themselves are taking on different shapes and core technologies.

More About Our Picks

WD Blue SN570

4.0 Excellent

Best Overall M.2 Drive for Mainstream Upgrades

Bottom Line:

The WD Blue SN570, the third iteration of Western Digital’s popular budget SSD, is faster than ever and proved a solid performer in our benchmark tests.


  • Affordable
  • Decent speed for a PCIe 3.0 SSD


  • Low write durability rating for a TLC-based drive
  • Low AS-SSD program load benchmark score

Read Our WD Blue SN570 Review

Samsung SSD 870 QVO

4.0 Excellent

Best Overall SATA Drive for Mainstream Upgrades

Bottom Line:

If you’re looking for one of the best 2.5-inch SATA SSDs in terms of value and performance for the money, search no further than Samsung’s SSD 870 QVO, a stellar followup to its first QLC-based outing.


  • Excellent price-to-performance ratio for a SATA-based SSD
  • Very fast 4K read and write speeds
  • Feature-rich Magician management software
  • 8TB version coming soon


  • Warranty is only three years
  • QLC’s modest durability ratings make it less suited to heavy write duty

Read Our Samsung SSD 870 QVO Review

Acer Predator GM7000

4. 5 Outstanding

Best Overall M.2 Drive for Gaming, PS5 Upgrades

Bottom Line:

With blistering throughput speeds and fine benchmark results, Acer makes a splash with its Predator GM7000, the first PCI Express 4.0 SSD in its line and every bit as lethal as its gaming laptop and monitor brandmates.


  • Slightly exceeds its blistering rated speeds
  • Good all-around benchmark performance
  • 256-bit AES hardware-based encryption
  • Includes free cloning-software download
  • PlayStation 5 compatible


  • Ships with graphene-embedded foam heat spreader rather than aluminum heatsink

Read Our Acer Predator GM7000 Review


4.5 Outstanding

Best Budget M.2 Drive for PCI Express 4.0 Upgrades

Bottom Line:

The ADATA XPG Atom 50, which can be used in a laptop, desktop, or PlayStation 5, delivers stellar performance for a budget PCI Express 4. 0 internal SSD.


  • Inexpensive for a PCIe 4.0 SSD
  • Superb benchmark results with high scores for OS booting and game loading
  • Compatible with Sony PlayStation 5
  • AES 256-bit hardware-based encryption


  • Currently available only in 1TB capacity
  • Relatively low scores in some file-copy tests

Read Our ADATA XPG Atom 50 Review

Samsung SSD 980

4.5 Outstanding

Best High-Performance M.2 Drive for PCI Express 3.0 Upgrades

Bottom Line:

Samsung’s SSD 980 M.2 drive provides a stellar mid-tier option for new or returning fans of the company’s SSDs, squeaking the most performance possible out of PCI Express 3.0 in 2021.


  • Edges out the Intel SSD 670p in 4K random reads
  • Competitive pricing for its performance class
  • Field-leading SSD software suite
  • Good durability rating for MLC
  • Five-year warranty


  • Still capped at PCI Express 3. 0’s natural ceiling

Read Our Samsung SSD 980 Review

WD Black SN850 NVMe SSD (with heatsink)

4.0 Excellent

Best High-Performance M.2 Drive for PCI Express 4.0 Upgrades

Bottom Line:

The WD Black SN850 NVMe SSD comes with a heatsink thin enough that the drive will fit a PlayStation 5, and proved to be a whiz at tasks such as launching programs and copying files.


  • Dominant results in PCMark 10 testing
  • Matched its rated read/write speeds
  • Available with or without heatsink
  • WD Black Dashboard software
  • RGB lighting


  • A touch pricey
  • Requires PCIe 4 compatible computer for best results
  • Some low AS-SSD benchmark scores

Read Our WD Black SN850 NVMe SSD (with heatsink) Review

Sabrent Rocket Q

3.5 Good

Best M.2 Drive for Maximum Capacity

Bottom Line:

If you need the maximum single-drive capacity for a PCI Express NVMe M. 2 drive, Sabrent’s Rocket Q 8TB is a solid option, but we’d keep an eye on Samsung’s coming SATA-drive QLC moves, too.


  • Rocket Q line includes rare 8TB option
  • Fast 4K read and write scores in Crystal DiskMark
  • Five-year warranty


  • 8TB and 4TB models have high costs per gigabyte
  • Low write-durability ratings at each capacity versus Samsung’s QLC-based QVO SATA SSDs

Read Our Sabrent Rocket Q Review

MSI Spatium M480 HS

4.0 Excellent

Best M.2 Drive for PC Modders

Bottom Line:

The MSI Spatium M480 HS lives up to its high sequential speed ratings in our testing, and its aluminum heatsink is a great addition for rigs in which it will fit. The drive is on the pricey side, however.


  • Blistering sequential read and write scores
  • Strong 4K read and write performance
  • Includes finned aluminum heatsink
  • AES 256-bit encryption


  • Expensive
  • Lacks SSD management software suite

Read Our MSI Spatium M480 HS Review

TeamGroup T-Force Delta Max White RGB SSD

3. 5 Good

Best SATA Drive for PC Modders

Bottom Line:

As a SATA drive, TeamGroup’s Delta Max White won’t set any speed records, but it will add 1TB of storage and some nifty RGB lighting to your rig.


  • Programmable RGB lighting
  • Relatively large lighting area for an internal SSD


  • Short (three-year) warranty
  • Requires motherboard with ARGB connector for full lighting effects
  • Typically slow SATA performance in most benchmarks

Read Our TeamGroup T-Force Delta Max White RGB SSD Review

This guide will help you sort through the different (and often confusing) terminologies associated with SSDs, as well as learn what you need to know when it comes to pricing, speeds, durability, warranty durations, and more.

Are You Upgrading a Laptop or a Desktop?

First, some context on the difference between internal and external SSDs. Most of what you need to know is obvious from the name. «Internal» means the drive goes inside a desktop PC’s or laptop’s chassis, while «external» means it connects to a computer via a cable. But it’s good to know some nuances regarding how fast each kind can be.

External SSDs are drives with their own standalone enclosures, which plug into your laptop or desktop via a USB cable or (less commonly) a Thunderbolt 3 cable. Most are built for portability, with some small enough to fit on a keychain. On average (because of the limitations of current bus technology), the higher end of the sequential speed spectrum you should expect to see over the fastest current interfaces (Thunderbolt 3 or USB 3.2 Gen 2×2) is in the range of 2,500 megabytes per second (MBps) for reads and 2,000MBps for writes.

(Photo: Molly Flores)

Internal SSDs are more complicated. You’ll see them in three main physical forms: (1) 2.5-inch drives, (2) M.2 drives, and (3) add-in-board (AIB) SSDs. Within those three physical forms are some crucial variations, though. M.2 drives and AIB SSDs transfer data between the drive and computer via one of two bus types: the same Serial ATA bus used by 2.5-inch drives, or the PCI Express bus, the lanes and pathways of which can also be used by other hardware, such as graphics cards. (If you’d like a deep overview of all the SSD terms shoppers should know, check out our SSD dejargonizer for a full breakdown.)

When buying an internal SSD to upgrade or augment a system you own, you need to start by figuring out what your system can actually accept: a 2.5-inch SATA drive only? Does it have an M.2 slot? What length of M.2 drive can it take, and using which bus type? If you’re upgrading a laptop, in most cases you’ll have the option only to swap out the internal drive, not to add another. If you can’t get the info off the web beforehand, or from the manufacturer, you’ll need (in most cases) to open up your laptop to see whether you have upgradable storage in the first place. (That is, if you can open it at all.) With laptop upgrades, you typically have much less flexibility than upgrading a desktop; your only option might be buying a drive in a higher capacity than the existing one, since you’ll likely have only one M.2 slot or 2.5-inch bay to work with. (See our favorite SSDs for laptop upgrades.)

For a desktop, the right SSD to buy depends much more on what you are doing with your computer, and what your aim is. If you’re building a new PC from scratch, you definitely want an internal M.2 or 2.5-inch SATA SSD as your boot drive nowadays. A 2.5-inch SATA drive might make sense only if you’re upgrading or building from older hardware, because almost all new motherboards now have at least one M.2 slot of some kind, and these drives save lots of space in compact PC builds.

If you’re installing an SSD as a secondary drive, and your PC’s case has the spare room, you can probably choose between 2.5-inch or M.2, especially if it’s a drive you will use for gaming or just backing up. At capacities of 4TB or above, 2.5-inch SATA drives are often much cheaper than their M.2 counterparts. Take the SATA-based Samsung SSD 870 EVO, for example, which retails for $479 for the 4TB version, while the M.2 Sabrent Rocket Q 4TB goes for a whopping $829.99. In these scenarios, choosing a SATA-based option that still keeps up in 4K random read and writes is the value move, and will give you more budget to play with when upgrading the rest of your system.

And if you’re simply replacing a hard drive as your boot drive, you’ll love the speed boost whichever kind you go with. We guarantee it.

What Form Factor of SSD Do You Need?

We’ve introduced you to M.2 drives and 2.5-inch drives above, but let’s get into them in a bit more detail.

2.5-Inch SSDs: The Basic Drive

The 2.5-inch Serial ATA SSD is the most common type of internal solid-state drive you’ll encounter. It was one of the earliest consumer-facing implementations of SSD technology and remains wildly popular, especially for upgrading older PCs. While the drive electronics are much smaller than 2.5 inches, its enclosure will measure a bit wider (actually 2.75 inches wide, despite the name), so it will fit into the same mounting brackets in your desktop or laptop used by 2.5-inch hard drives. That makes them your most likely choice for upgrading a platter-based boot drive in an older laptop. And almost any desktop PC nowadays will have 2.5-inch bays, or let you install a 2.5-inch drive in a 3.5-inch hard drive bay.

(Photo: Zlata Ivleva)

If you’re upgrading an older laptop, you’ll also want to account for the thickness of a 2.5-inch SSD. Almost all SSDs nowadays conform to a 7mm thickness, but older laptops with SATA hard drives may have drive bays with as much as 9.5mm clearance. Some SSD makers bundle a space-filling frame with their drives to keep a thinner 7mm drive from rattling around in a roomier bay. That’s less common today than in years past, though.

M.2 Drives: Stick-of-Gum Speedsters

M. 2 slots are now common in new desktop motherboards and practically universal in late-model laptops. M.2 solid-state drives are the 2.5-inch drive distilled to its essence, extremely minimal in their design and implementation. But they’re also the most complicated to understand before you buy.

(Photo: Molly Flores)

First, consider the bus type. M.2 drives come in SATA bus and PCI Express bus flavors, and the drive requires a compatible slot to work. Some M.2 slots support both buses on a single slot, but drives support just one or the either, so make sure the SSD you buy matches the bus type available on the slot in question.

M.2 drives also come in different lengths. Physically, the most common of five M.2 SSD sizes is what’s known as Type-2280, shorthand for 22 millimeters wide and 80mm long. (All SSDs you’ll see for consumer PC upgrades are 22mm wide; lengths range from 30mm to 110mm.) Most are merely circuit boards with flash memory and controller chips on them, but some M. 2 drives (especially those of the PCI Express 4.0 variety) now ship with relatively large heatsinks mounted on top to keep them cool, or in the box as accessories.

(Photo: Zlata Ivleva)

If an M.2 drive you’re looking at has one of these special, big heatsinks on it, make sure your desktop’s motherboard has the clearance above and around it to accommodate its bulk. Some desktop motherboards situate an M.2 slot right alongside the ideal expansion slot you’d use for your graphics card, for example, and the hardware can collide. Laptop designs typically can’t stomach a special, tall heat sink at all.

What Bus Type of SSD Should You Buy?

Let’s get into the issue of bus type in a little more depth. Oftentimes, you won’t have a choice of what bus variety you need. But you need to know some background to figure out what you have and what you should buy.

SATA: The Old Standard

Serial ATA is both a bus type and a physical interface. SATA was the first interface that consumer SSDs used to connect to motherboards, like the hard drives that preceded them. It’s still the primary cable-based interface you’ll see for 2.5-inch solid-state drives.

(Photo: Zlata Ivleva)

The SATA interface is capable of sequentially reading and writing a theoretical maximum of 600MBps in an ideal scenario, minus a bit for overhead processes. Most of our testing has shown that the average drive tops out at roughly 500MBps to 550MBps; in sequential tasks, the real-world difference between the best SATA drive and a merely average one is pretty small.

However, there’s also the matter of 4K random read and write performance speeds to consider. These speeds reflect how quickly the drive performs in day-to-day tasks. (Think booting Windows 10, launching games, loading levels in those games, or working in applications like Adobe Photoshop.)

For most gamers and general users, 4K random read/write speeds are going to determine how much you actually feel the «speed» of a drive. They should be the most important spec to keep in mind if you plan on turning your next SATA-based SSD into a boot drive or backup storage for your trove of games or creative projects.

SATA-based SSDs like the Samsung SSD 870 EVO have shown that in 4K random read and write, specifically, SATA isn’t quite out of the game yet, offering performance in loading games or applications that’s on par with…

PCI Express: Where Speed Is Going

The original implementation of the PCI Express interface for SSDs took the form of cards that occupied one of the PCIe slots on a desktop motherboard, and you can still find carrier cards that let you plug M.2 drives into a standard PCIe slot. Nowadays, though, the most popular PCI Express SSDs mount into an M.2 slot, though as we said above, you should make sure that your M.2 slot (assuming you have one in the first place) supports PCIe drives before you make your purchase. Some support only the SATA bus; some support PCIe only; and some support both.

A further wrinkle around the PCIe bus: Some drives and some slots support a transfer protocol known as NVMe (for Non-Volatile Memory Express). NVMe is a standard designed with flash storage in mind (opposed to the older AHCI, which was created for platter-based hard drives). In short, if you want the fastest consumer-ready SSD, get one with NVMe in the name. You’ll also need to be sure that both the drive and the slot support NVMe. (That’s because some early M.2 PCIe implementations, and drives, supported PCIe but not NVMe.)

(Photo: Zlata Ivleva)

Then there’s the difference between PCI Express 3.0 and PCI Express 4.0. PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSDs have been the standard for a number of years, but PCIe 4.0 is setting new peak-sequential speed records for consumer storage. PCIe 4.0 requires support from the specific desktop or laptop platform. PCIe 4.0 has come to market with third- and fourth-generation Ryzen processors from AMD, and PCI Express 4.0 support is now available on the Intel side with Intel 500 Series chipset platforms with 11th Generation «Rocket Lake» CPUs on the desktop. (It’s also part of the company’s latest mobile chip platforms under the 11th Generation «Tiger Lake» umbrella.)

On the market, you will find three iterations of PCI Express drives in production right now: PCIe 3. 0 x2, PCIe 3.0 x4, and PCIe 4.0 x16. (The «x» in each of these naming schemes refers to how many lanes the drive has available to transfer data.) A mainstream choice is a PCIe 3.0 x4 drive; you’ll only want to consider a 4.0 model if you have a very new AMD Ryzen-based desktop based on the X570, B550, or TRX40 chipsets, or an Intel 11th Generation processor plus a motherboard that explicitly supports PCIe 4.0. (Check the specs for PCI Express 4.0 support, and on which slots, before you dive in.)

Even PCIe 3.0 is significantly faster than SATA in straight-up sequential tests, though, and the interface is set to get even faster over the coming years as PCIe 4.0 makes its way into the mainstream. But that’s just sequential speeds, and how fast a drive can copy a folder from one part of itself to another isn’t all that matters these days…there’s also the issue of capacity,

What Capacity Do You Need, and What’s the Cost per Gigabyte?

Okay, you’ve figured out the bus type, interface, and form factor of the drive you need. The next factor to look at in determining your next SSD purchase is the capacity of the drive. A lightly used Windows or macOS machine shouldn’t need a drive larger than 250GB or 500GB as the main boot drive, but gamers and content creators will need to get at least 1TB in order to store sufficient games and 4K video comfortably on their drives. On a desktop, they may also want to consider offloading their game library or video scratch disks onto cheaper, roomier traditional hard drives.

That said, with games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare requiring over 100GB of space just for one title, the drive could end up full again faster than you can line up a sniper shot. These days, if you’re looking to get just one drive (or maybe you have to, such as in a laptop), 2TB is the recommended size for gamers, while hardcore content creators who are dealing with 8K RAW footage will need far, far more. (A one-hour 8K RAW file will occupy 7.92 terabytes of space.)

(Photo: Zlata Ivleva)

But big drives don’t come cheap (especially when you’re talking about SSDs rather than hard drives), so knowing the value of an SSD and how much it costs per gigabyte is another important factor to weigh in your next upgrade. Whether it’s 128GB or 4TB (or any capacity, really), the cost per gigabyte will give you a baseline to compare one drive against another and whether or not it looks like a good value based on its features and durability rating.

On average, an internal SSD can cost anything from 9 or 10 cents per gigabyte (example: the 2.5-inch SATA-based Mushkin Source, with 1TB for just a bit more than $90) to 50-plus cents per gigabyte (say, for the pricey, specifically-for-filmmakers Sony SV-GS48). A general rule is that smaller drives (anything under 240GB) will cost more per gigabyte, getting cheaper as you go up to the 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB capacity tiers. Sometimes, though, a 2TB or 4TB drive will demand a price premium per gigabyte over the smaller-capacity models in a line (example: the Sabrent Rocket Q model mentioned earlier).

(Photo: Zlata Ivleva)

The number of «layers» in an SSD has been a driving force in bringing costs down in recent years. SSDs (and the NAND flash memory modules they’re made from) have seen a lot of innovation over the past half-decade, and one of those technologies is known as 3D NAND. The term refers to a fabrication process in which storage cells, rather than being laid exclusively on a horizontal plane, can be stacked atop one another in layers. The more layers, the more storage capacity fits in a smaller space, and thus the lower the materials cost.

Right now, the five main processes in 3D NAND are 32-layer, 64-layer, 96-layer, 128-layer, and 176-layer, with the last still being just an announcement, with no drives in circulation that put it to the test just yet. More layers don’t necessarily bring a performance bonus, but generally bring a lower price for drives of the same capacity.

Finally, the price of an SSD can also be affected by the memory element «method» used to store data. The four different types are single-level cell (SLC), multi-level cell (MLC), triple-level cell (TLC), and quad-level cell (QLC), respectively storing one to four bits per cell. SLC is both the fastest and most durable of the four types, but it’s also the most expensive and rarely seen outside enterprise drives. MLC is less durable and a bit slower, but more reasonably priced, while TLC and QLC have pretty much taken over the mainstream; they are the least «durable» but also the cheapest. (More on drive endurance in a moment.)

How Fast Is the SSD I’m Looking at?

When an SSD manufacturer advertises the speed of a particular drive, it will usually be shown in one of two ways: the maximum theoretical sequential read/write speeds (expressed in megabytes per second), or the maximum theoretical random—or «4K,» as in four-kilobyte blocks—read/write speeds (expressed in IOPS or input/output operations per second). In practical terms, however, 4K read/write results can be expressed just as easily in MBps.

Sequential write speeds are generally (though not always) tied to the results you can expect while transferring large singular files (think of a high-resolution movie or ISO optical disc image), while 4K read/write results are more reflective of things like game loading times or how quickly your operating system can fetch files.

(Photo: Molly Flores)

The maximum sequential read speed that’s theoretically possible for a SATA drive is 600MBps, though as we said above, we haven’t seen any drives reach that limit even in ideal testing conditions. The theoretical peak sequential read speed for PCI Express 3.0 x4 drives is much faster—3,940MBps, although the fastest one we’ve tested in-house at this writing is the Samsung SSD 870 EVO, which topped out at 3,372MBps read speed in the Crystal DiskMark 6 benchmark.

Finally, as mentioned earlier, there’s PCI Express 4.0, which currently requires (at the moment) an X570- or B550-chipset AMD Ryzen desktop motherboard (or a TRX40-based Ryzen Threadripper one), or a new Intel 500-Series motherboard with an 11th Generation «Rocket Lake» chip. PCIe 4.0 x16 solid-state drives have a theoretical max sequential read speed of 31,500MBps, though the only people who might actually notice (or even be able to hit) that kind of sky-high throughput on a sustained basis are those transferring enormous files between two PCIe 4. 0 M.2 drives installed on the same motherboard. (Otherwise, the source or destination drive will be a bottleneck.) In reality, around 7,000MBps is the realistic ceiling, and that only in the latest-model drives like the Samsung SSD 980 Pro or the ADATA XPG Gammix S70.

Third-party reviews like PCMag’s, not vendor numbers, are the only true measures of SSD speed, though. In our testing of PCIe 4.0 drives (specifically via a deep-dive through the data of PCMark 10), we found the sky-high sequential numbers advertised by PCIe 4.0 drive manufacturers often don’t mean much for how a drive will perform when tasked with handling real-world scenarios like booting into Windows 10, launching games like Overwatch, or booting into programs like Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Premiere.

In those tests, drives of every bus type, from PCIe 4.0 down to SATA 3.0, can trade blows, and the best among them, like the SATA-based Samsung SSD 870 EVO (4TB and 1TB), can take top marks away from drives that are much more expensive per gigabyte. If you’re trying to get the most gaming, application, or operating system performance for the lowest cost per gig, there are still SATA-based options out there that will either match or beat the proposition of M.2 competitors where it counts.

That said, if you have an M.2 slot and are shopping in capacities of 2TB or below, the price per gig starts to even out between most SATA options and M.2 PCI Express. The PCIe drives are still faster in sequential read/write operations by a lot, which is important for moving large amounts of stuff around (backing up your PC each day, for example), and if you can find one that matches the price of a competing SATA option, the M.2 PCIe should take the front of the line. Often, though, especially with updating a laptop, you’ll have only one choice of interface.

What’s the SSD’s Warranty and Endurance Rating?

An SSD metric called terabytes written (TBW) refers to the point where, after a certain amount of data being written to the drive, its cells will begin to fail, meaning the available space on the drive will shrink as the drive electronics compensate and decommission the failing cells. The TBW rating of a drive is usually anywhere between 100TBW and 3,500TBW, depending on the manufacturer, the capacity, and the use case, but for the most part this isn’t a figure that will affect daily users.

That said, those buying an SSD for professional applications such as filmmaking, server hosting, or anything else that involves large file transfers of the magnitude of hundreds of gigabytes daily will want to choose a drive that can withstand that kind of punishment for months, even years on end.

(Photo: Zlata Ivleva)

This figure also folds into the warranty period for a drive, which (aside from a few fringe cases) will almost always be for three to five years or until you hit the TBW spec. Manufacturers have ways of reading a drive to determine how many terabytes have been written to it over its lifetime, so make sure before you submit any warranty requests that you haven’t already gone over your TBW before the warranty period has expired.

Are the Controller Type and Bundled Software Important?

Controllers are a factor of SSD buying that only ultra-geeks will care about, but they’re still important. The controller is a module on the SSD that essentially acts as the processor and traffic cop for the drive, translating the firmware instructions into features like error code correction (ECC) and SMART diagnostic tools, as well as modulating how well the SSD performs in general.

(Photo: Zlata Ivleva)

It’s possible to detect some commonality among drives using similar controllers (such as the Phison controllers used by many drive OEMs). Some SSD makers use third-party controllers, while others manufacture their own. You may see the controller model mentioned on drive spec sheets or in reviews, but know that for casual buyers, it’s totally inside baseball. In our testing of drives like the Samsung SSD 980 Pro, the Samsung SSD 870 EVO, and the Crucial P5, a trend has started to emerge that could suggest companies who use in-house controllers are able to make drives that are strong performers, while also offering better value. But you’ll want to look at testing numbers before making any assumptions based on a controller model.

Software is another shopping consideration that only the storage nerds out there might dig into, but regardless of which company you go with, any SSD software management dashboard should have at least a secure erase option, a firmware update module, and some kind of migration tool that will let you safely and securely move data from one drive to another. Most mainstream drives will have you covered there.

Internal SSD Outliers: U.2, mSATA, HHHL

If you’ve read through this whole buying guide and have a particular port or slot not covered yet, that’s because you probably have one of the two outlier ports installed in your system: U.2 or mSATA.

U.2 is rare in consumer PCs; it’s mostly made with enterprise customers in mind. A U.2 drive like the Intel SSD 750 Series connects to a U.2 port on the motherboard via a special cable, or to a PCI Express M.2 slot using a special adapter. These drives almost always come in the 2.5-inch form factor. Unless you have a U. 2 port on your desktop motherboard you want to use, you can ignore them. (And even if you do, you can still probably hook up an M.2 drive.)

mSATA, short for mini-SATA, is a predecessor to the M.2 form factor. It was primarily built into laptops, though some older desktop motherboards may have an mSATA slot aboard. With mSATA, the slots and drives use only the SATA bus, unlike M.2’s SATA and PCIe support. For all intents and purposes, mSATA is a dead end, though you might run into it if you have an older laptop or desktop.

(Photo: Zlata Ivleva)

Last of all is the SSD on a PCI Express expansion card, much like a small graphics card. Most use the HHHL (half-height, half-length) form factor, letting them fit into compact, low-slung PCs, and plug into the same PCIe ports you’d plug any other expansion card. You’d only want to opt for one of these, though, on a desktop PC that lacks an M.2 slot or a SATA port/drive bay you can use.

So, Which Internal SSD Should I Buy?

Solid-state drives come in all shapes and sizes and are built for almost every purpose. Whether you need a drive whose first priority is dollar-savings, or one that will load up a 4K movie in less than half a second, there’s an SSD made for the job.

Before we jump into the list of the best drives we’ve tested recently, we should mention that although this is a roundup of the best internal SSDs, these days just about any such drive can be turned into an external USB unit with the help of an SSD enclosure. These are often little more than durable housings of plastic or metal, and you can buy enclosures for almost any type of SSD: SATA 2.5-inch, SATA M.2, or PCIe M.2. Just make sure that the enclosure supports the form factor and bus type of the drive you want to «externalize.» Of course, you can also buy premade external SSDs; we’ve rounded up the best of them, as well.

With that, let’s get to our picks. Our choices span across 2.5-inch SATA drives, and M.2 drives of both bus types.

The 6 Best SSDs for 2022

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Photo: Andrew Cunningham


Our main NVMe SSD pick is the Samsung SSD 980 after Western Digital made hardware changes to the Blue SN550 that can sometimes negatively impact performance.

Whether you’re replacing an existing solid-state drive or upgrading from a traditional hard drive to get better performance, almost every SSD you can buy today is an excellent choice. But if you’re looking for the best value for your money, the Samsung SSD 980 is our recommendation for anyone who has a modern desktop or laptop computer. It isn’t the fastest NVMe SSD you can get, but it comes close, and it offers an outstanding combination of price, performance, endurance, and capacity.

In 2021, we’ve seen the prices on SSDs fluctuate a lot from month to month, and a simple price cut can turn a good SSD into a great one. If you need something faster or have an older computer, we’ve highlighted a few different options. Buy whichever SSD will serve your needs best—or whichever model happens to be cheapest at the time.

Our pick

Samsung SSD 980 (500 GB NVMe)

For most people, there’s little reason to spend more than the price of the Samsung 980. It is fast, comes with good software, and has a five-year warranty from a reputable brand.

The Samsung SSD 980 is Samsung’s first budget NVMe SSD, and it offers five to six times the performance of older SSDs that use the SATA interface, but it costs about the same. It’s more than fast enough to boot your computer and launch all of your apps and games quickly, and it can easily handle photo and video editing and other kinds of professional apps. You can find faster drives, but the SSD 980 does well enough in just about every use case that most people wouldn’t notice the difference. It supports hardware encryption, comes with a five-year warranty and a good endurance rating, and is paired with Samsung’s excellent SSD software.



SK Hynix Gold P31 (500 GB NVMe)

The Gold P31 is from a lesser-known manufacturer, but reviewers praise its good performance and low power consumption, both qualities that make it a better fit for laptops.

Buying Options

$62* from Amazon

*At the time of publishing, the price was $75.

Crucial P5 (500 GB NVMe)

Recent price drops have made Crucial’s P5 a decent choice if you want solid all-around performance, encryption support, and good software tools, and it’s faster than our other picks when working with large multi-gigabyte files.

If you’re regularly working with huge files (exporting multi-gigabyte videos, for instance) or loading up gigantic games, you can spend a little more to get an SSD that performs better. The SK Hynix Gold P31 and the Crucial P5 both represent, to varying degrees, a step up in speed from the Samsung SSD 980, though they differ somewhat in the features they offer. The Gold P31 is made by SK Hynix, a lesser-known manufacturer, and comes with barebones software but has great power efficiency that makes it a better choice for a laptop. And the Crucial P5 performs better than the other drives when you’re exporting or copying dozens or hundreds of gigabytes worth of files at a time, making it a solid choice for frequent exports or copying large video files. Buy whichever of them is cheapest, or whichever model has the specific features you’re looking for.

Also great

Crucial MX500 (500 GB SATA)

A great choice for an older computer, the Crucial MX500 offers good performance, useful software, a five-year warranty, and hardware encryption support for a decent price.

Western Digital WD Blue 3D NAND (500 GB SATA)

Suitable for an older computer, the WD Blue 3D NAND performs well and comes with useful software and a five-year warranty, but it lacks hardware encryption support.

If your computer is more than four or five years old, or if it’s a budget desktop or laptop that came with a traditional hard drive, you might be limited to a SATA SSD. These drives are still significantly faster than regular hard drives, but they’re becoming less popular in new computers because the SATA interface limits their speeds. The Crucial MX500 and Western Digital WD Blue 3D NAND are great SATA SSDs with five-year warranties and good software support, and generally you should buy whichever model is cheapest at the time. In day-to-day use, most people won’t notice any difference.

Also great

Samsung 980 Pro (1 TB NVMe)

PlayStation 5 owners who want to upgrade their system’s storage need to buy a fast, expensive PCI Express 4.0 SSD to meet Sony’s storage requirements. The 980 Pro is a speedy drive that doesn’t run as hot as some competitors.

We don’t recommend faster, more-expensive PCI Express 4. 0 SSDs for most people buying an SSD for their PC, because you’ll pay a lot more for the same amount of storage and you won’t usually notice much of a speed increase. But if you’re adding an SSD to Sony’s PlayStation 5, these are the only kinds of drives that meet Sony’s performance requirements. We haven’t tested it with a PS5 specifically, but the 1 TB version of the Samsung 980 Pro is the drive we’d recommend, because it runs faster and cooler than similarly priced drives. Sony has also stated that whatever drive you use should have a heatsink. If the drive you buy doesn’t come with one pre-installed, you’ll need to attach a separate heatsink (like either of these simple, easy-to-install models from icepc) to further reduce temperatures inside the toasty confines of the PS5. This should ensure that the SSD is working at its peak performance and extend its lifetime without overheating the drive or your PS5.

Readers also like

Everything we recommend

Our pick

Samsung SSD 980 (500 GB NVMe)

For most people, there’s little reason to spend more than the price of the Samsung 980. It is fast, comes with good software, and has a five-year warranty from a reputable brand.


SK Hynix Gold P31 (500 GB NVMe)

The Gold P31 is from a lesser-known manufacturer, but reviewers praise its good performance and low power consumption, both qualities that make it a better fit for laptops.

Buying Options

$62* from Amazon

*At the time of publishing, the price was $75.

Crucial P5 (500 GB NVMe)

Recent price drops have made Crucial’s P5 a decent choice if you want solid all-around performance, encryption support, and good software tools, and it’s faster than our other picks when working with large multi-gigabyte files.

Also great

Crucial MX500 (500 GB SATA)

A great choice for an older computer, the Crucial MX500 offers good performance, useful software, a five-year warranty, and hardware encryption support for a decent price.

Western Digital WD Blue 3D NAND (500 GB SATA)

Suitable for an older computer, the WD Blue 3D NAND performs well and comes with useful software and a five-year warranty, but it lacks hardware encryption support.

Also great

Samsung 980 Pro (1 TB NVMe)

PlayStation 5 owners who want to upgrade their system’s storage need to buy a fast, expensive PCI Express 4.0 SSD to meet Sony’s storage requirements. The 980 Pro is a speedy drive that doesn’t run as hot as some competitors.

The research

  • Why you should trust us
  • Who this is for
  • What kind of SSD do you need?
  • How many gigabytes do you need?
  • How we picked and tested
  • Our pick: Samsung SSD 980
  • Faster but still affordable options
  • Some of the best SATA SSDs for older computers
  • A faster drive for the PlayStation 5
  • Installation
  • If you have a Mac
  • What to look forward to
  • The competition
  • Footnotes
  • Sources

Why you should trust us

I’ve been testing, reviewing, and otherwise writing about PCs and other gadgets for AnandTech, Ars Technica, and Wirecutter since 2012. I’ve been building, upgrading, and fixing PCs for two decades, and I spent five of those years in IT departments buying and repairing business laptops and desktops as well as helping people buy the best tech for their needs.

Since 2013, when Wirecutter began recommending SSDs, we’ve been in contact with storage experts, learning all there is to know about SSD technology and gathering insights from the professionals who benchmark these drives for a living. There’s nothing we could learn by running our own benchmarks that we can’t get from the experts’ numbers, so our testing is mostly limited to putting these SSDs in our own computers and using them in day-to-day work. We consider experts’ benchmarks in the context of our knowledge of what most people actually need in an SSD, and we recommend the best drives for each type of person.

Who this is for

Buying and installing a good SSD is the single most important thing you can do to make a desktop or laptop PC feel speedy and responsive. Whether you’re building a new computer, upgrading an old SSD to get more space, or replacing a traditional hard drive, today’s SSDs are faster and cheaper than they’ve ever been, and you can find plenty of great options to choose from.

If you have a PC that’s one to five years old and still relies on a traditional hard drive, replacing that drive with an SSD will speed up everything from booting your PC to loading games to opening and switching between apps. Traditional hard drives have small moving parts that need to shift around to read and write data from and to different places on the drive, which takes time. Because SSDs have no moving parts, they dramatically reduce the amount of time you spend sitting around and waiting for things to happen. If you’ve bought a used computer that contains a hard drive, installing an SSD is an affordable way to make it run like new.

If you’re upgrading a desktop or laptop that already uses an SSD, you likely won’t notice a big difference in speed after you replace the older drive, so you generally shouldn’t upgrade unless you’re running out of space. But it’s cheaper than ever to buy a big, 500 GB or 1 TB SSD with more room for games, movies, photos, and anything else you need to store. The amount of storage you can buy for $100 has shifted dramatically in the past few years—a 1 TB SSD purchased today, for example, costs about the same as a 240 GB SSD that I bought in 2015.

If you’ve bought a used computer that contains a hard drive, installing an SSD is an affordable way to make it run like new.

Upgrading to an SSD can make a huge difference if you’re coming from a mechanical hard drive, and to maximize that advantage you should also upgrade your RAM if your computer has 4 GB or less. For most people, 8 GB of RAM is plenty and should provide a noticeable speed boost in day-to-day use; Crucial has a handy page that can help you find what sort of memory your computer needs. And if you’re playing high-end games or using powerful apps such as Photoshop or Premiere to edit photos or video files, it’s not a bad idea to upgrade to 16 GB if you can afford it.

Mac owners should think twice about an SSD upgrade. Though you can upgrade some older (mostly pre-2013) MacBooks with standard SATA drives, you can’t do the same with the newest MacBooks and MacBook Pros. Apple laptops from 2013, 2014, or 2015 often support such upgrades, but only with specialized, expensive drives from just a couple of manufacturers. As such, we’ve aimed this guide mostly at non-Mac owners.

This guide also isn’t for people looking for the speediest cutting-edge storage you can get. For people who need the fastest possible performance or drives with the best possible endurance ratings, pricey SSDs like those in Samsung’s Pro series and drives that support the PCI Express 4.0 specification do offer some benefits over the picks in this guide. But most people don’t need and wouldn’t notice these benefits and are better off saving that money (or putting it toward a higher-capacity SSD).

What kind of SSD do you need?

From left: a 2. 5-inch SATA SSD, an mSATA SSD, an M.2 SATA SSD, and an M.2 NVMe SSD. You can tell most SATA and M.2 NVMe drives apart by looking at their connectors. Photo: Andrew Cunningham

Before you buy, it’s important to figure out what kind of SSD fits your computer. Crucial has a comprehensive upgrade advisor page that can help you locate your computer or motherboard model and can tell you what sort of drive you need. The four most common options are M.2 NVMe drives, 2.5-inch SATA drives, M.2 SATA drives, and mSATA drives.

  • M.2 NVMe SSDs (referred to throughout this guide as “NVMe SSDs”) are gumstick-shaped drives that fit in newer laptop or desktop computers and on most motherboards you can buy to build your own desktop PC. M.2 refers to the type of connector they use, and NVMe is the interface protocol they use. Because NVMe drives (as explained in this video) use the PCI Express (PCIe) interface to communicate with the rest of your computer, a typical NVMe SSD can be as much as six or seven times faster than SATA drives (depending on the drive you get, and what you’re doing).
  • 2.5-inch SATA SSDs are made to fit into older or cheaper laptops that use a 2.5-inch spinning hard drive, or older desktops that lack a slot for M.2 drives. SATA (which refers to both the connector type and the interface protocol, in this case) is older and slower than NVMe, but SATA SSDs are still noticeably faster than SATA hard drives, and they’re a worthwhile upgrade for most computers built after 2011 or 2012.
  • M.2 SATA SSDs use the same connector as M.2 NVMe SSDs, and some computers that can use NVMe drives can also use M.2 SATA drives. M.2 SATA SSDs used to be good budget options for any computer with an M.2 slot, but modern NVMe drives cost roughly the same and perform much better—use an M.2 SATA SSD only if you have to.
  • mSATA SSDs look a bit like shorter, wider M.2 drives. If you have a laptop made between approximately 2012 and 2014 and it doesn’t contain a 2.5-inch hard drive, you may need an mSATA drive. (These drives are relatively rare, and none of our picks come in an mSATA variety, but right now we’d recommend the Kingston KC600 to people who need one.)

SSDs are still more expensive than mechanical drives for the same amount of storage, and the biggest hard drives can still hold more data than the most capacious SSDs. But that price gap has narrowed in the past few years: As of early 2021, you can buy a 1 TB SSD for roughly $100, an amount that would have bought you a 250 GB SSD in 2015 and a 500 GB SSD in 2018. It used to make sense to buy a smaller, cheaper SSD to run your operating system and your most important apps and to buy a large, cheap hard drive for storing large files, but these days it’s relatively affordable to buy a single large SSD for everything.

How many gigabytes do you need?

Right now, most people should get a 500 GB SSD, which should be more than enough for your operating system, all your apps, a couple of games, and a good-sized photo, video, and music collection. If you’re buying a drive for a gaming PC, you should buy a 1 TB SSD instead, since game sizes are only going to get larger as games designed for the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 are released on the PC. If at all possible, avoid choosing an SSD with 250 GB or less of storage; both 128 GB and 250 GB drives are slower and significantly less cost-effective than larger drives. If you know you’ll be installing a ton of games or working with lots of large video or photo files, or if you already have a 500 GB SSD that’s more than 70% full, consider a 1 TB drive instead.

If you’re buying a new computer from a company like Dell, HP, or Lenovo, you can sometimes save money by ordering a computer with a smaller SSD or a mechanical hard drive and replacing that with a larger SSD yourself. Be careful, though: Some laptop manufacturers make it very difficult to upgrade the drive, either soldering the included storage to the motherboard or requiring complicated and potentially warranty-voiding disassembly to gain access to the SSD. Before going this route, confirm that your new laptop is easily upgradable.

Right now, most people should get a 500 GB SSD. If you know you’ll be installing a ton of games or working with lots of large video or photo files, consider a 1 TB drive instead.

Drives with larger capacities also tend to be faster. That’s because much of an SSD’s speed advantage comes from parallelization—a drive with multiple flash-memory chips can read from and write to them at the same time, boosting speeds. If your drive has fewer memory chips than your controller can write to at once (that is, if it has a lower capacity), it isn’t as fast as it could be. Although a 500 GB SSD isn’t bad in this regard, you will get the best speeds from a 1 TB or 2 TB drive.

How we picked and tested

Photo: Andrew Cunningham

For the latest update to this guide, we checked SSD review sites and retailers such as Amazon and Newegg to find drives that had been released since our last major update. We then consulted trusted third-party reviews and manufacturer product pages to compare the drives based on the following criteria:

  • A good price: More-expensive SSDs are often better SSDs, but you shouldn’t overpay to get extra performance or other features you likely wouldn’t notice or use.
  • Performance: Speed is the main reason to buy an SSD, after all. We checked reviews to make sure that the drives hit their advertised performance figures and that they would continue to feel speedy over time.
  • Capacity at or above 500 GB: For most people, 500 GB offers the best mix of value, capacity, and speed. Although 1 TB drives usually offer better performance and cost a little less per gigabyte than 500 GB drives, they’re still overkill for most people unless you’re routinely installing lots of huge games at once or working with large photo and video files.
  • A decent warranty: Most SSDs come with five-year warranties, and there’s no good reason to settle for anything shorter.
  • Durability: You can write to flash-memory cells only so many times before they wear out—manufacturers express this as TBW, or the minimum number of terabytes that can be written before the drive will fail. This rating is higher for larger drives since they have more flash-memory cells to write to; for 500 GB drives, a rating of 300 TBW is fairly common. Although most people will never get anywhere near that limit during the normal lifetime of a drive, higher endurance is a plus.
  • Software: The best SSDs come with free data-migration software that can help you transfer your operating system and apps to a new drive without having to start fresh. They should also offer software that can handle firmware updates and show you detailed information about the drive’s status and monitor its health.
  • Native support for drive-encryption acceleration: This feature is primarily important for businesses with specific data-privacy requirements, and we didn’t disqualify SSDs that didn’t include it, but it’s a nice bonus for the privacy-minded. Your operating system can still encrypt drives without such support, but that results in a slightly greater hit to performance.

We then read reviews from the sites that we know do great SSD testing—primarily AnandTech, but also CNET, Tom’s Hardware, The SSD Review, StorageReview, The Tech Report, and a few others—and pored over benchmarks. We also ran some benchmarks of our own, and we installed any software included with the SSDs to evaluate the features and ease of use.

Our pick: Samsung SSD 980

Photo: Samsung

Our pick

Samsung SSD 980 (500 GB NVMe)

For most people, there’s little reason to spend more than the price of the Samsung 980. It is fast, comes with good software, and has a five-year warranty from a reputable brand.

Samsung’s SSD 980 is an NVMe SSD that’s five to six times faster than the best SATA drives, even though the drives usually cost the same. This makes it a great, affordable option whether you’re building a new computer or upgrading the storage in one that’s two or three years old. The 980’s peak speeds are close in most circumstances to those of more expensive drives like the the SK Hynix Gold P31 and Crucial P5, but the 980 is more than fast enough for almost every task that people do most often on their computers.

We generally recommend the 500 GB version, but the 980 also comes in 1 TB and 2 TB variants if you need more space; the larger versions of the drive are also much faster, which is true for most SSDs. Samsung covers all versions with a five-year warranty, and the 500 GB version has a 300 TBW durability rating, in line with more expensive drives.

Reviewers acknowledge that the 980 isn’t the fastest PCI Express SSD you can buy. It slows down if you’re moving big files around; few people will encounter this in day-to-day use, but it might not be the best choice for professionals working with large video files. 1

The Samsung SSD 980 comes with Samsung’s excellent Magician software for monitoring drive health or installing firmware updates, and you can also find Samsung’s Data Migration Software on the Samsung SSD support site to move your files or clone your existing drive if you don’t want to move things manually or start over with a new installation of Windows.

Faster but still affordable options


SK Hynix Gold P31 (500 GB NVMe)

The Gold P31 is from a lesser-known manufacturer, but reviewers praise its good performance and low power consumption, both qualities that make it a better fit for laptops.

Buying Options

$62* from Amazon

*At the time of publishing, the price was $75.

Crucial P5 (500 GB NVMe)

Recent price drops have made Crucial’s P5 a decent choice if you want solid all-around performance, encryption support, and good software tools, and it’s faster than our other picks when working with large multi-gigabyte files.

The Samsung SSD 980 is a fast enough SSD for just about anyone. But if you regularly export large video files or move around large multi-gigabyte folders, or if you’re frustrated with the amount of time you spend waiting on your games’ load screens, you can get faster SSD performance without stepping all the way up to an expensive professional-level drive. The SK Hynix Gold P31, and the Crucial P5 both perform a bit better than the 980 and also come with decent software, five-year warranties, and other benefits.

WD Blue SN550 2,400 MB/s 1,750 MB/s 300 TBW No 250 GB, 500 GB, 1 TB, 2 TB
Samsung SSD 980 3,100 MB/s 2600 MB/s 300 TBW Yes 250 GB, 500 GB, 1 TB
SK Hynix Gold P31 3,500 MB/s 3,100 MB/s 500 TBW No 500 GB, 1 TB
Crucial P5 3,400 MB/s 3,000 MB/s 300 TBW Yes 250 GB, 500 GB, 1 TB, 2 TB

Manufacturer-provided performance numbers like these don’t always give you a full picture of how fast each drive actually is, but reviews confirm that our upgrade picks are all faster than the WD Blue SN550. Performance and endurance figures are for the 500 GB version of each drive.

According to reviewers, both of these drives generally outperform the Samsung SSD 980 in loading games, copying large file folders, decompressing files, and running a variety of storage benchmarks. If you don’t want to just buy whichever of them is cheapest at the time, consider the following pros and cons for each drive:

  • According to Tom’s Hardware, the SK Hynix Gold P31 has exceptionally low power consumption, which might make it a better choice for a laptop. (You can expect to gain only minutes, rather than hours, of battery life, though; a laptop’s processor and screen both have more to do with how long its battery lasts.) This drive also surpasses the others in endurance rating, but it doesn’t come in a 256 GB or 2 TB capacity, and its software isn’t as good as Samsung’s, Crucial’s, or WD’s.
  • Recent price drops have made the Crucial P5 a better deal than it was at launch—it rarely tops the performance charts, but it’s a good all-rounder with useful software and hardware encryption support. But reviewers note that it can run hot, so it might not be the best fit for a laptop.

Some of the best SATA SSDs for older computers

Also great

Crucial MX500 (500 GB SATA)

A great choice for an older computer, the Crucial MX500 offers good performance, useful software, a five-year warranty, and hardware encryption support for a decent price.

Western Digital WD Blue 3D NAND (500 GB SATA)

Suitable for an older computer, the WD Blue 3D NAND performs well and comes with useful software and a five-year warranty, but it lacks hardware encryption support.

If you’re upgrading an older laptop or desktop that can’t use an M.2 NVMe SSD as we recommend above—a group that includes most computers made before 2016 or so—buy the 500 GB Crucial MX500 or the Western Digital WD Blue 3D NAND, whichever model is priced the lowest. Each of these drives maxes out the older SATA interface, so you wouldn’t really be able to tell the difference between them in daily use. Both are available in both 2.5-inch and M.2 SATA versions, come with useful data-migration and drive-management software, and have five-year warranties. None of these SSDs come in an mSATA version, so if you’re using an older ultrabook that needs such a drive, your best option as of this writing is Kingston’s KC600.

Read speed Write speed Endurance
Crucial MX500 560 MB/s 510 MB/s 180 TBW Yes 250 GB, 500 GB, 1 TB, 2 TB
WD Blue 3D NAND 560 MB/s 530 MB/s 200 TBW No 250 GB, 500 GB, 1 TB, 2 TB, 4 TB

The performance of SATA SSDs is often restricted by the aging SATA interface rather than anything unique to each drive.

Of the two SSDs we recommend for older computers, the WD Blue has marginally better speed and endurance ratings, but the MX500 includes hardware encryption support. For the kinds of older and more lightly used computers that need SATA drives, you won’t notice a speed difference, and you’re unlikely to run up against either drive’s relatively low endurance rating inside of the five-year warranty period.

A faster drive for the PlayStation 5


If you want to copy your existing hard drive over to your SSD before you install it, you need cloning software and sometimes additional hardware. Most of our recommended SSDs come with access to Windows-only cloning software: Western Digital and Crucial offer versions of Acronis True Image, and Samsung and SK Hynix offer their own data-migration software. Otherwise, you can use the free MiniTool Partition Wizard.

You also need a way to connect your new drive to your computer while you’re cloning the old one. If you’re buying an M.2 SSD, you should get an M.2 SATA–to–USB 3.0 adapter or enclosure; this enclosure will work for M.2 SATA SSDs, while this enclosure should work for M.2 NVMe SSDs.

If your desktop has room and you’re using a 2.5-inch SATA SSD, you need only to hook up the SSD to spare power and data cables in your PC. But laptop owners with 2.5-inch SATA drives need a SATA-to-USB enclosure or adapter. Some SSDs come with upgrade kits that include a SATA-to-USB adapter, but getting the drive-only version and buying an enclosure separately is usually less expensive.

After you’ve swapped drives, you can put your old laptop drive in a USB enclosure (such as the one you may have used for the new SSD while cloning) and use it for backup, if you’d like. Just be careful about doing this with spinning hard drives that are more than a few years old—it’s risky to store your backups on a drive that might fail.

If you have a Mac

Modern Macs—anything introduced in or after 2016—are not built to have their SSDs upgraded. Either they’re difficult to open up, they use proprietary drives that you can’t replace with the standard M.2 or SATA SSDs we recommend, or they don’t have removable storage at all. That’s doubly frustrating because Apple’s SSD upgrade prices are much higher than even the most expensive drives for PCs. Whether you’re buying a new Mac or trying to add storage to an existing one, your best and most economical option is probably a portable SSD.

Old MacBook Air and Pro models built between 2012 and 2015 can still be upgraded, with caveats (though it’s generally not worth the effort to upgrade anything much older, since those Macs can’t run currently supported versions of macOS). The 2012 non-Retina MacBook Pro can use standard 2.5-inch SATA SSDs like the Crucial MX500. And OWC sells SATA and PCI Express SSDs compatible with the proprietary connectors used in MacBook Airs and Pros—on the OWC website, you can choose your Mac to see the available options. If you don’t know which Mac you have, Apple has a page that can help you out.

What to look forward to

The most common version of the PCI Express protocol is still version 3.0, but version 4.0 offers twice as much theoretical bandwidth. Aside from brand-new desktop PCs using the latest Intel and AMD processors, most computers still can’t take advantage of PCIe 4.0 SSDs; the best ones also tend to be expensive, and the cheaper ones don’t take full advantage of the additional speed. But we’ll continue to monitor these drives as prices come down and PCIe 4.0 becomes more widely available.

Western Digital’s WD Black SN750 SE (which despite the name has essentially nothing in common with the standard SN750) is a budget PCIe 4. 0 SSD that’s priced closer to PCIe 3.0 drives like the Samsung SSD 980. According to its spec sheet, it’s definitely competitive with the SSD 980, but it may not be fast enough to take full advantage of the PCIe 4.0 interface—we’ll need to wait for more reviews to assess its real-world performance.

Crucial’s P5 Plus is a version of the P5 that has been upgraded to take advantage of the PCIe 4.0 interface, with listed read and write speeds nearly twice as fast as the regular P5. The drive hasn’t been released (or even officially announced) yet, but leaked retail listings suggest it will arrive soon.

The competition


The Western Digital SN550 was previously our main SSD pick. However, Western Digital recently changed the NAND flash used in the drive (one of two kinds of storage in an SSD that make up the bulk of a drive’s capacity, but is slower than the faster flash memory most drives write to when you’re actively using a drive). This change has led to major performance reductions when copying larger files or many files at once. While many users won’t experience these speed reductions, there’s little reason to purchase the SN550 when more consistent drives are available at similar prices.

We don’t recommend PCI Express 4.0 SSDs like the Samsung 980 Pro or Western Digital WD Black SN850 for most people buying a drive for a PC, at least not yet. The only PCs that can take advantage of the extra speed are AMD desktops built within the past year or so and brand-new laptops with 11th-generation Intel Core processors—very new and relatively uncommon computers, in other words. And although these drives can work just fine in older computers that use PCI Express 3.0, in that situation they would perform only about as well as significantly cheaper previous-generation drives like the Samsung 970 Evo Plus.

Samsung’s 970 Evo Plus used to be an upgrade pick in this guide, and if you can find it for around the same price as a Samsung SSD 980 or a Crucial P5, you should buy the 970 Evo Plus instead—it’s a great performer, and includes the excellent SSD software and five-year warranty common to most Samsung drives. But at its typical pricing (around $95 for 500 GB), the cheaper SSDs offer a much better value.

Intel’s 670p SSD generally performs better than the WD SN550, our previous pick, but it’s also more expensive. Our upgrade picks offer more consistent speeds for about the same price, so you can skip the 670p unless you see it on sale for closer to what the SN550 costs.

We recommended the Seagate Barracuda 510 in a previous version of this guide. It performs well and has a five-year warranty and decent software support, but our upgrade picks provide better performance for the price, and the Barracuda 510 has gotten a bit harder to find since our original recommendation. We also recommended the Addlink S70 in a previous version of this guide, but it’s no longer as good a deal as it was in early 2020—our upgrade picks all offer as-good or better performance plus much better software support.

The Western Digital WD Black SN750 is an older SSD. It’s not a bad option, but our main picks all perform better for roughly the same cost.

The Seagate FireCuda 510 is similar in price and performance to the Samsung 970 Evo Plus. It also has a five-year warranty and a high, 650 TBW endurance rating (for the 500 GB version). But we think Samsung’s software package is better, and the FireCuda 510 doesn’t offer hardware encryption support like the 970 Evo Plus does.

A solid midrange SSD, the HP EX950 typically costs about the same as our upgrade picks, and it’s a perfectly fine option especially if you find it on sale for less money. But it’s not as fast as our upgrade picks, and HP doesn’t provide software for its SSDs.

The Crucial P1 is an older drive that’s much slower than the Samsung SSD 980. Its lack of drive-encryption support and its relatively low 100 TBW endurance rating are other reasons not to buy it. Crucial’s P2 is a budget-focused follow-up that costs about the same as the Samsung SSD 980 but doesn’t perform nearly as well.

Samsung’s 970 Pro is usually overkill even for pros, and we recommend it only if you need the fastest drive money can buy. The 970 Pro uses multilevel cell (MLC) flash and doesn’t rely on TurboWrite or Dynamic Write Acceleration caches for speed, so it offers faster and more consistent performance if you’re writing tons of data at a time, and its endurance rating is twice has high as that of the 970 Evo Plus (though both Samsung drives have the same five-year warranty). But you pay more for an MLC drive: The 970 Pro regularly costs more than twice as much as the already relatively pricey 970 Evo Plus does at the same capacities.

The Inland Premium, Seagate Barracuda Q5, Mushkin Pilot-E, Kingston NV1, Patriot P300, and Patriot Viper VPN100 all have three-year warranties. SSDs with five-year warranties are much more common and don’t cost more, so avoid these.

The Corsair Force MP510, HP EX920, Intel 600p, Plextor M8Pe, Samsung 960 Pro, Samsung 970 Evo (not the Evo Plus), and SanDisk Extreme Pro M.2 NVMe 3D SSD are all older models that are still available. They’re usually either pricier or slower than our current picks (sometimes both), and generally you should avoid them in favor of more recent drives.


Gobs and gobs of 2.5-inch SATA SSDs are out there, and most of them have a hard time standing out from the crowd. Most are fine, and if you encounter a great deal on one, you won’t be unhappy. But at current prices, there’s little reason to consider them over our main picks.

If you do need an mSATA SSD, your options are limited, but Kingston’s SSDNOW UV500 has a five-year warranty, supports hardware encryption acceleration, and comes from an established company with a good reputation (most mSATA SSDs currently available at retailers are from no-name manufacturers). But because mSATA drives are more expensive than 2.5-inch SATA SSDs, you should buy an mSATA drive only if you have to.

We used to recommend Samsung’s 860 Evo alongside the Crucial MX500 and WD Blue 3D NAND, but both it (and its newer, ever-so-slightly faster replacement, the 870 Evo) are consistently more expensive than either of those drives, and most people won’t notice the marginally better performance or endurance ratings. They’re not worth the extra money, given the limits of the aging SATA interface.

SanDisk’s Ultra 3D is actually identical to the Western Digital WD Blue 3D NAND we recommend; Western Digital bought SanDisk in 2016. But the WD Blue has an M.2 version whereas the SanDisk comes in only a 2.5-inch SATA version, and the WD Blue tends to be a few dollars cheaper.

Although Samsung’s 860 Pro is a top-of-the-line SATA drive with high endurance and a five-year warranty, at this point people who want a faster, better SSD than our main picks should be looking at NVMe SSDs, not SATA models. Drives like the Crucial MX500 are significantly cheaper but not all that much slower.

Compared with the MX500, Crucial’s BX500 has slower performance, a shorter (three-year) warranty, and no hardware encryption support. It might be a good choice if you need an extremely inexpensive low-capacity drive—a 120 GB version costs less than $40—but the 480 GB version isn’t much cheaper than our top picks.

Samsung’s 860 QVO and 870 QVO are meant to be relatively affordable drives for people who need lots of space—both are available in 1 TB, 2 TB, and 4 TB capacities, and the 870 QVO goes all the way up to 8 TB. They perform well for SATA drives. But they have only a three-year warranty and aren’t any cheaper than the 1 TB versions of our SATA drive picks. There’s no reason to buy either of them unless you need something bigger than 1 TB but don’t want a spinning hard drive.

Adata’s Ultimate SU800 is good enough and readily available, but it runs slower than our main picks, has a shorter three-year warranty, and lacks encryption support.



  1. Kingston Technology, NVMe Storage Explained for 2019, YouTube, June 14, 2019

  2. Dong Ngo, WD Blue SN550 Review: A Fast and Affordable NVMe SSD, Dong Knows Tech, December 17, 2019

  3. Sean Webster, WD Blue SN550 M. 2 NVMe SSD Review: Best DRAMless SSD Yet, Tom’s Hardware, August 17, 2020

  4. Sean Webster, Samsung 980 M.2 NVMe SSD Review: Going DRAMless with V6 V-NAND, Tom’s Hardware, May 10, 2021

  5. Billy Tallis, The Samsung SSD 980 (500GB & 1TB) Review: Samsung’s Entry NVMe, AnandTech, March 9, 2021

  6. Sean Webster, Crucial P5 M.2 NVMe SSD Review: Premium Design Runs Hot, Tom’s Hardware, September 28, 2020

  7. Chris Stobing, Crucial P5 Review, PCMag, August 14, 2020

  8. Sean Webster, SK hynix Gold P31 M.2 NVMe SSD Review: High-Performance, Unprecedented Efficiency, Tom’s Hardware, October 3, 2020

  9. Billy Tallis, The Crucial MX500 500GB SSD Review: A Second Look, AnandTech, February 2, 2018

  10. Chris Ramseyer, Crucial MX500 SSD Review: Challenging Samsung on SATA, Tom’s Hardware, November 18, 2019

  11. How to add an M. 2 SSD to a PS5 console, Sony, July 29, 2021

  12. Weak Cooler Design: PlayStation 5 Thermals, Power, & Noise Testing, Gamers Nexus, November 23, 2020

About your guides

Andrew Cunningham

Andrew Cunningham is a former senior staff writer on Wirecutter’s tech team. He has been writing about laptops, phones, routers, and other tech since 2011. Before that he spent five years in IT fixing computers and helping people buy the best tech for their needs. He also co-hosts the book podcast Overdue and the TV podcast Appointment Television.

Wirecutter Staff

Further reading

  • How to Shop for a Used Laptop or Desktop PC

    by Andrew Cunningham

    Major stores and manufacturers sell refurbished, refreshed, and used laptops and desktops that sometimes perform as well as new ones, but for much lower prices.

  • A Practical Guide to Securing Your Windows PC

    by Thorin Klosowski

    The thought of making your Windows PC as secure as possible might be intimidating, but we’re here to help make it as painless as possible.

  • The Best Portable SSD

    by Joel Santo Domingo

    A great portable SSD is much smaller and more durable than a hard drive and will generally transfer files much faster.

  • The Cheap Desktop Computers We’d Buy, and How to Shop for One

    by Andrew Cunningham and Kimber Streams

    A cheap desktop PC is a great option for family needs, distance learning, or working from home, and our straightforward advice will help you find the best one.

Wirecutter is the product recommendation service from The New York Times. Our journalists combine independent research with (occasionally) over-the-top testing to save people time, energy and money when making buying decisions. Whether it’s finding great products or discovering helpful advice, we’ll help you get it right (the first time). Subscribe now for unlimited access.

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Practical tips for using SSD


Practical tips for using SSD

Egor Morozov

An SSD, or solid state drive, is very different from classic hard drives in terms of internal structure and operation, so some operations that can be done on an HDD on an SSD can lead to performance degradation and unnecessary waste of drive resource. We will talk about such operations in this article.

Do not use SATA 2 or SATA 1 interface to connect SSD

This feature applies mainly to older computers and laptops. The fact is that modern solid-state drives have read and write speeds of 500-600 MB / s, which is close to the SATA 3 limit of 6 Gb / s (750 MB / s), but still less than it — therefore, SSDs connected using this interface, they will be able to work at maximum speeds. In the case of SATA 2 and 1, their bandwidths are only 3 and 1.5 Gb / s (375 and 187.5 MB / s, respectively), so SSDs connected via them will not be able to work at full speeds, although the speed increase compared to conventional hard drives is all it will be the same (since the SSD has much less latency, and the speeds of user HDDs are at the level of only 100 MB / s). In the case of old motherboards, you can’t do anything — you have to connect the SSD to the old SATA revisions. But in the case of laptops, you can do it more tricky: often, to add an SSD to the system, they use Optibay — a box in which the drive is placed and installed in place of the drive:0014
At the same time, the drive usually works via the SATA 2 interface, when the hard drive in the laptop is connected via SATA 3. Therefore, it makes sense to put the SSD in place of the HDD so that it can work at maximum speed, and put the hard drive in Optibay, because SATA 2 speeds it more than enough.

SSD should not be defragmented

When a file is written to the drive, the system tries to write it to successive clusters. However, if this fails, the system looks for free clusters and writes parts of the file to them. As a result, it turns out that one file can be written in several places on the disk at once, and therefore, in the case of a hard disk, to read such a file, you have to transfer and position the read head several times, which takes a lot of time. The defragmentation process allows, as far as possible, to bring the disparate parts of the file together to reduce its reading time.

In the case of an SSD, there is no need to perform any mechanical actions to read a part of a file in another cluster, so the access time to any cell, whether it is at least the next one, at least in another place on the drive, is exactly the same — which means defragmentation loses its meaning. Moreover, during defragmentation, the files are overwritten so that they are eventually written in one piece, and since the SSD has a limited number of rewrite cycles, it turns out that they are wasted.

SSD should not be used in Windows XP, Vista and other systems that do not support TRIM

TRIM is an ATA interface command that allows the operating system to notify the SSD of which blocks of data are no longer in the file system and can be used by the drive for physical deletion. If the system doesn’t support TRIM, then you basically just won’t be able to delete the file from the SSD. Therefore, when you need to write something to the SSD, you will not have to write the data, but overwrite it, which will greatly reduce the speed of the drive. In addition, the inability to delete data provides a potential opportunity to read it, which can be unsafe if the data is confidential.

SSD should not be completely filled

Any SSD always has filled blocks, partially filled blocks, and empty blocks. In an empty block, the write speed is maximum — no additional operations are required. But if the block is partially full, then to write to it, you first have to transfer the information originally written to it to the cache, change it, supplementing it with a new one, and only then write from the cache back to the block — all this takes time and, as a result, greatly reduces the speed of work with storage. Accordingly, as long as there are free blocks on the SSD, the system writes information to them and the write speed is high. When they run out, recording begins in partially filled blocks and the speed drops dramatically. Practice shows that the SSD slightly loses speed if it is occupied by no more than 80% — that is, on a 240 GB drive, you should leave about 50 GB free.

Do not full format SSD

Due to the fact that the TRIM command is used to work with SSDs, full formatting is meaningless — you can read more about this in the article Quick and full formatting — what are the differences.

SSD should not be used for mass storage

Of course, you can store all the files on the SSD as on the HDD. But there are types of data, the speed of working with which depends little on the type of drive: for example, it makes no sense to store your collection of music or movies on an SSD, because they will play just as fast on a hard drive, but without wasting solid-state drive rewrite cycles . For the same reason, you should not download files from the Internet to an SSD (with the exception, perhaps, of software installers) — the Internet speed is still much less than the HDD write speed, so the download time will be the same, but the life of the SSD can be extended.


  • It became known how to avoid the horse commission in Tinkoff-Bank. Difficult but possible

  • The Russians will be refunded payment by smartphone. Even on iPhone

  • Tinkoff introduced a new commission. Hurry up to save money — there are only a few days for this

  • «Google Photos» cool pumped. The service received a completely new design


It became known how to avoid the horse commission in Tinkoff-Bank. Difficult but possible

The Russians will be refunded payment by smartphone. Even on iPhone

Tinkoff introduced a new commission. Hurry up to save money — there are only a few days for this

«Google Photos» cool pumped. The service received a completely new design

See also

Apple Watch

Elon Musk has released a humanoid Tesla Optimus.

What can he do and how much does it cost?

Elon Musk

The legendary iPhone is recognized as junk. What does this mean for its owners?


Choosing an SSD: an overview of options on the market and expert advice (2022)

In recent years, a modern PC without a solid state drive is hard to imagine. The advantages of an SSD as a system drive are too great compared to classic hard drives. But if you choose an SSD for a computer, you will have to deal with many technical subtleties: the specifications indicate the controller, interface, type of flash memory, reliability characteristics, and much more. Therefore, inexperienced users can easily get confused in such information. In our article, we will look at the most important characteristics and differences, talk about current technologies, interfaces and form factors.

Today’s SSDs are reliable, fast and cheap: there is no longer any reason to avoid the new storage format. The first solid state drives, which were still produced in 3.5 «format, often failed, and the first generations of 2.5» SSDs remained the lot of enthusiasts. I had to constantly install firmware updates, integration into the system was very laborious. Today we get not only wide support from operating systems, but also the high quality of the drives themselves on the market.

Subscribe to the Hardwareluxx VKontakte and Facebook groups, as well as to our Telegram channel (@hardwareluxxrussia).

From the very beginning of the SSD, the main arguments were the advantages compared to traditional hard drives: fast access time, high throughput and quiet operation (which is especially noticeable compared to high-end hard drives with a spindle speed of 10,000 rpm) , less power consumption and shock resistance. Which is very important, say, for laptops. Unless the capacity remained the main drawback. Or rather, the price of a gigabyte.

But many problems are in the past. Of course, HDDs still provide a good price/capacity ratio, but the continued advancement in the SSD market and the advent of new technologies has caused the price of SSDs to drop dramatically. Therefore, even if you store large amounts of data, SSDs become quite an attractive option.

But which type of SSD to choose? There are several factors to consider here. Sometimes the limiting criterion is available space. And here we will just talk about form factors of modern SSD below. In addition to the form factor, you must also consider the interface, SATA or NVMe . We will also talk about this. We’ll also take a look inside the SSD and take a look at the controller and types of flash available on the market. Finally, we will give recommendations for different categories of users, including reliability.

2.5″ drive or M.2 module?

At the moment, the market will have to choose between two formats: 2.5″ SSD or M. 2 module. PCI Express expansion cards also occupy their niche.

SSD in 2.5″ format

2.5″ remains the most common format today, and laptop hard drives are also produced in this format. With the exception of the thinnest laptops and tablets, a 2.5″ drive is installed almost everywhere. The format is very convenient, since it is familiar to most users from hard drives. And there are no connection problems. In the case of a 2.5″ SSD, you should connect standard power connectors and SATA data, there are no problems with this in modern cases.

Another advantage of 2.5″ drives is that they are usually made in an aluminum case, which effectively dissipates the heat of the components through heat transfer pads. Therefore, the controllers inside usually do not overheat.

However, 2.5″ drives have their drawbacks. The main one is the SATA interface, which limits the throughput of about 550 MB / s for reading and writing. Few server SSDs connect through the faster U. 2 port.

SSDs in M.2 format

2.5″ SSDs take up a certain amount of space even with today’s 7mm thickness. SATA cables should also be added to the form factor. There is simply no free space for 2.5″ SSDs in compact devices, so M.2 modules have become increasingly popular in recent years. Initially, they spread in the laptop segment, but then moved to desktop PCs.

These slim memory modules mount directly to the motherboard and do not require additional cables. 2280 remains the most popular format, and it is shown in the illustration as WD_BLACK SN850 NVMe SSD (test). The first two digits indicate the width (22 mm), the last two — the length. Almost all motherboards support 2280 mm modules today, so you can safely buy a similar format. 110mm SSDs have never caught on. But the smaller 2230 or 2242 formats are also quite popular as they save extra space in a compact laptop.

The advantage of M.2 SSD lies in the interface: modern models no longer use SATA, but rely on the faster PCI Express. However, older motherboards and laptops can only support M.2 SSDs in SATA format, while newer motherboards can only support PCIe NVMe. Although support for «M2 SSD» may be mentioned everywhere. Therefore, when upgrading old motherboards or laptops, you should pay attention to the supported interface. You should also be careful if the motherboard has multiple M.2 slots.

SSD in the form of a PCI Express card

Finally, SSDs can also be purchased on the market in the format of expansion cards. They are installed in the PC case like traditional PCIe cards, while such SSDs are focused on workstations or servers. Unlike M.2 drives, expansion cards have a larger footprint, so they can dissipate more heat or fit more memory chips. Also, such SSDs can use eight PCI Express lanes, which also increases throughput. For example, the Western Digital WD_BLACK AN1500 NVMe SSD AIC (test) is connected via 8 PCIe 3.0 lanes. As we will show below, choosing the right interface is even more important than the form factor.

<>Choosing an SSD: An overview of market options and expert advice (2022)
Interfaces: SATA or NVMe?

Subtlements of SSD drive drives: 5 common errors

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  • Subtlements SSD: 5 common errors

Authority: Sergey Koval
([email protected])

Published: 18 May 2021

It is quite common to find disappointed reviews from users on the network who are dissatisfied with the speed of work or the fragility of solid state drives. However, in most cases, the reason lies not in the disk itself, but in its improper operation.

Therefore, today we will talk about the most common user mistakes that can overshadow the first impression of high-speed solid-state drives.


Computer blogs and forums abound with tips for optimizing SSD performance. The most common tips are: using tweaks and manually interfering with the work of registries, transferring the browser cache to the hard drive, disabling paging files and many other life hacks.

And what is the surprise of users when the efforts to implement such advice lead to opposite results: write and read speeds fall, errors and failures appear in the disk.

In fact, Windows OS version 7 and above already provides all the necessary tools to ensure the efficient operation of the drive. The operating system, when connecting a new device and identifying it as an SSD, independently enables the TRIM command, cancels defragmentation, and disables SuperFetch services. For older versions of the OS, all these actions can be performed manually. No additional optimization is needed for the solid state drive.

Disk 9 Overfilled0131

Very often, having bought and installed a brand new desktop SSD into the system, the user loads it to the maximum: clones the operating system and the entire package of necessary programs, installs games, transfers archives and working documentation. All this leads to a noticeable decrease in write and read speeds.

To work effectively, an SSD should always have a free space of about 10% of the disk’s capacity. Many manufacturers, but not all, reserve some drive space by default. The user can also independently control the occupancy of the disk. This can be done using the Windows Disk Management service, the manufacturer’s proprietary applications, or simply monitor the degree of filling of the drive.

Disable data indexing and system search service

This is another common user error that is performed to save operating system resources, but often leads to the opposite results. It is widely believed on the net that a high-speed solid-state drive does not need indexing of the information being written. Allegedly, the disk already quickly issues the necessary data at the request of the system.

In fact, indexing allows the system to instantly access the desired file. When it is disabled, the system will have to scan the entire volume of the drive in search of information. This process will require not only time, but also CPU resources. As a result, the reading speed is significantly reduced.

SSD no firmware or driver needed

This is a common misconception with good reason. In fact, manufacturers of solid state drives from the factory equip their products with everything necessary for stable operation, including firmware. SSDs do not need regular driver updates like motherboards or graphics cards.

But work on software in companies is still underway, firmware updates are not frequent, but they appear. They allow you to fix system errors, make adjustments to disk compatibility, improve performance and reduce energy consumption.

To maintain solid state drives, manufacturers produce proprietary utilities. For example, Kingston drives have their own Kingston SSD Manager application. Among other disk health and security features, it allows you to check for an update in a couple of clicks and install it without any risks.

Out of specification

A mistake that very often overshadows the impression of installing a high-speed NVMe SSD. Certification of these drives involves data exchange over four PCI-Express lanes through an M.2 slot. But on older models of motherboards, only two PCI-Express lanes can be used to transfer data through this slot. As a result, the user sees a throughput not higher than 1 GB / s, while manufacturers promise up to 7.8 GB / s for the PCI-Express version 4.0 interface, and from 3.5 to 3.8 GB / s for version 3.0 with four lines.

Therefore, before you invest in an expensive custom NVMe-spec drive, evaluate your system’s capabilities in advance.

If we talk about desktop SSDs with a SATA interface, then only ports with a SATA III interface can realize the speed potential.

Thus, if you follow simple rules and do not interfere with the work of sufficiently smart technology, you can avoid problems and enjoy high system boot speeds and the operational operation of games and applications.

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SSD drives — reviews & comparisons, buying advice0005

Crucial MX500

  • 2. 5″ SATA SSD
  • 250 GB to 2 TB (2.000 GB)
  • read up to 560 MB/s
  • write up to 510 MB/s
  • 5 year warranty
  • Find

on AliExpress

  • 250 GB to 2 TB (2.000 GB)
  • reading up to 3.500 MB/s
  • write up to 3.300 MB/s
  • 5 years warranty
  • Samsung Portable SSD T7

    • External SSD Drive
    • 500 GB to 2 TB (2.000 GB)
    • reading up to 1.050 MB/s
    • write up to 1.000 MB/s
    • 3 year warranty

    find on

    buy the best SSD worldwide | | | |

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    SSD 9 FAQ0005

    What is an SSD?

    SSD, short for Solid State Drive, is an electronic storage medium for computers based on flash memory. An SSD, also called an SSD hard drive or solid state drive, stores data permanently, just like a conventional hard disk drive (HDD). On the one hand, an SSD is significantly faster than a magnetic hard drive, but on the other hand, the price per gigabyte is higher.

    How does an SSD work?

    SSDs store data as electrical charges 0 and 1 in NAND flash memory cells. The controller chip is responsible for data management. The software required for operation — the firmware — is stored on a chip, called the controller for short.

    What is the difference between SLC, MLC and TLC memories?

    The difference between the different types of memory cells is the number of electrical states that can be stored: Single-level cells (SLC) have one bit per cell, multi-level cells (MLC) have two bits, and triple-level cells (TLC) have three bits. SLC has better write speeds than MLC and TLC, but is significantly more expensive to manufacture. On the other hand, MLC and TLC provide higher storage density, which also makes higher capacity SSD hard drives possible. On the other hand, the life of MLC and TLC memory cells is shorter compared to SLC.

    What is the difference between an SSD and a conventional magnetic hard disk drive (HDD)?

    The biggest difference between the two types of drives is how they work: Whereas in a hard drive data is stored magnetically on one or more spinning discs (platters), in a solid state drive it is stored electrically in a large number of flash memory cells. Compared to a conventional hard disk drive, the solid state drive principle can significantly increase the read and write data transfer speed, as well as reduce the access time. In addition, SSDs have no moving HDD components, allowing the drives to operate without noise or vibration.

    What are the advantages of SSD over HDD?

    With faster data transfer rates and faster access times, SSDs offer several advantages over HDDs. First of all, the boot time of desktop PCs and laptops is greatly reduced. Programs and applications installed on the SSD run noticeably faster. In addition, locally stored data such as photos, videos, and other documents become available faster. With no mechanical components, SSD hard drives are quiet and vibration-free. Due to their lower power consumption, they also generate less heat, which is especially advantageous for use in mobile devices.

    What are the disadvantages of SSD compared to HDD?

    For the buyer, the higher price per gigabyte is the most noticeable disadvantage of SSDs compared to HDDs. In addition, SSD hard drives do not have the high storage capacity of more than a few terabytes like today’s magnetic hard drives, at a price that end users can afford.

    Should a new PC or laptop be equipped with an SSD?

    With undeniable advantages, an SSD hard drive is a must-have in every new desktop PC or new laptop. The only reasons against this are a very limited budget or the need for a particularly large amount of memory at the lowest possible price. In these cases, when buying a new desktop or laptop, consider installing an SSD in the future. Or, you should consider achieving the more memory you need with an optional external drive.

    What should I look for when buying a solid state drive?

    Since the budget for new purchases is usually limited, price plays an important role when choosing a new SSD. Even particularly inexpensive models from well-known manufacturers have significant performance advantages over conventional HHDs. In addition, the potential buyer must be clear about a reasonable amount of memory or capacity. Available ports and possible form factor further limit the choice. In addition, when making a purchase decision, the features offered and the manufacturer’s warranty should be taken into account.

    How do I choose the correct size or capacity for my new SSD?

    An especially good guideline when choosing the size of a new SSD hard drive is your current storage needs. You can check this by simply looking at the current media. By adding the necessary space to store the operating system, frequently used programs and applications, as well as games that will be placed on the SSD, you will get the minimum size / capacity of the future drive. It should be noted that in the best case, 20-30% of the SSD should be left free to ensure smooth operation without a performance drop. Less frequently used data, as well as photo, music and video archives, can be transferred to slower but less expensive internal or external magnetic hard drives.

    What connectors and interfaces are available with SSD hard drives?

    Most SSDs are available with a SATA interface, also called Serial ATA. There is also its more compact counterpart, the mSATA (mini-SATA) connection, which is mainly used in mobile devices. As modern SSDs are already reaching the speed limits of the SATA interface, the M.2 standard has recently begun to show interest in them. In addition, SSDs are available with the Universal PCIe (PCI Express) slot found on every modern desktop motherboard.

    What is the difference between SATA, mSATA, M.2 and PCI Express SSDs?

    The decisive difference for the buyer here is, as the name already suggests, the connection used and the form factor of the SSD hard drive that depends on it. The SATA serial interface, now in its third generation with data transfer rates up to 6 gigabytes per second (SATA 6Gb/s or SATA III), was originally designed for data exchange between hard drives and other storage media. The format used in SATA SSDs is the 2.5″ (2.5″) form factor, also known from laptop hard drives and external hard drives. The mSATA connection is a compact version of the SATA interface designed for mobile devices. An M.2 SSD is integrated into the system using the newly introduced M.2 slot. The PCI Express SSD can only be used in the PCIe slot on the motherboard.

    What are the benefits of a SATA, mSATA, M.2 or PCIe SSD?

    A big advantage of SATA SSDs is the widespread adoption of the corresponding interface. All common desktop motherboards, whether ATX, µATX, or Mini-ITX form factor, usually have several of these slots. Also in many laptops you can find a 2.5-inch slot and a Serial ATA connector. Compact mSATA, on the other hand, is more common in older laptops or ultrabooks and some older motherboards. The decisive disadvantage of the common SATA and mSATA specification is the achievable speed. In the third generation, SATA 6 Gb/s, the maximum net data transfer rate is limited to approximately 600 MB/s (megabytes per second), which means modern SSDs cannot be pushed any further.

    The M.2 port, on the other hand, allows the use of SSD hard drives with transfer rates greater than one gigabyte per second. In addition, one of the advantages of the new interface is a particularly compact and space-saving design, which makes it possible to use M.2 SSDs even in extremely thin ultrabooks and laptops. The PCI Express slot also promises to provide the highest performance for future SSDs and can already be found on all desktop and HTPC motherboards.

    How do I find the right connection for my SSD?

    What kind of free connection for a new SSD your computer or laptop offers can often be found by looking at the manual for the corresponding device or on the installed motherboard. Relevant Internet forums, trade magazines, or the manufacturer’s website can also help. If your budget allows, choose an SSD with an interface that provides the best performance, such as M.2 or PCIe. But SATA SSDs also offer significant performance gains over HDDs.

    Can I connect an SSD with a SATA 6Gb/s port to an old SATA port?

    The SATA interface is mostly downstream compatible, so you can use a SATA III (SATA 6Gb/s) SSD in a SATA II or SATA I port. However, you will inevitably get by with slower speeds and limited performance. However, a modern SSD on a SATA II port is faster than an HDD. Also, backwards compatibility works both ways, so an old SATA II SSD can still work in a modern SATA III slot.

    What is the difference or advantage of an expensive SSD compared to a cheap SSD?

    An expensive SSD doesn’t have to be better than a cheap SSD. While the theoretical read and write speeds of a more expensive SSD are typically faster than those of a cheaper drive, the additional benefits for the average user are often limited. However, for professional users, even a small difference in performance can have a positive impact when performing read-and-write intensive tasks such as copying large amounts of data or rendering videos. In addition, more expensive SSDs often offer longer warranties and more extensive hardware in the form of adapters, mounts, and software. Ultimately, each potential buyer must decide for themselves, based on their requirements and available budget, whether the extra cost is really worth it.

    What are the advantages of new generations of SSDs compared to older ones?

    SATA 6Gb/s SSD performance has stagnated for some time, so upgrading to the latest generation is not absolutely necessary unless the SSD currently being used is too old. If your own SSD has been in use for several years, it is worth paying attention to the knowledgeable Internet portals and trade press. Compared to SATA SSDs, the latest generations of M.2 or PCIe SSDs provide a significant performance boost. Modernization depends on the established budget and own requirements. However, a potential buyer should always choose the most up-to-date SSDs when making a new purchase.

    What should I consider when installing an SSD in a desktop PC?

    Before installing a new SSD in a desktop PC, you need to check which ports on the motherboard are free and not busy. If you are interested in a SATA SSD, be sure to connect it to a SATA 6 Gb / s connector to avoid performance losses. The SSD hard drive itself can be installed in the free space for hard drives. A 3.5″ to 2.5″ adapter may be required depending on the chassis. Since the SSD operates without vibration, decoupling is not needed to suppress noise. With no moving mechanical parts, the SSD can be used in any position, vertical or horizontal. If you have higher requirements for SSD performance, and the motherboard is equipped with an M.2 slot, you can pay attention to the related products. Alternatively, you can use M.2 SSDs with PCI Express adapters or PCIe SSDs if your budget is not too tight.

    What is important when installing an SSD in a laptop or ultrabook?

    Due to the compact design of notebooks and ultrabooks, the choice of connection and installation location is always more limited than in a desktop PC. If necessary, the already installed 2.5″ hard drive should be given up and the SATA interface freed up for a faster SSD. Before deciding to buy a 2.5-inch SSD, you should pay attention to the height offered in the laptop and the dimensions of the drive. When choosing an M. 2 SSD, the correct size is also important, for example, the «M.2 2280 SSD» measures 22 millimeters wide and 80 millimeters long. You can usually find out how much space your laptop or ultrabook takes up in the manual or on the manufacturer’s website.

    What is important when installing an SSD in an HTPC or media center?

    Although an HTPC case usually has more space for an SSD than a flat ultrabook, you still need to be careful not to block or disturb the airflow during installation. In the worst case, reliable cooling is no longer guaranteed, which means that the built-in fans must turn on too quickly and therefore loudly, or components may be damaged. Also, in an HTPC, just like in a desktop or laptop computer, choosing the right connection is important.

    Should the SSD be actively cooled?

    In principle, an SSD does not need active cooling because it has low power consumption and therefore generates little heat. However, it doesn’t hurt to let the SSD drive in a desktop PC be exposed to airflow from a case fan, as higher temperatures can negatively impact the life of the electronics.

    Can an SSD be used as an external drive?

    In general, the SSD can also be used as an external drive, for example in a 2.5″ HDD enclosure with USB 3.0 port. However, due to the relatively high price per gigabyte, it does not make sense to use an SSD as an external and infrequently used data archive. In addition, the performance capabilities of an SSD are not fully utilized even when using the USB 3.0 interface. However, if you want to regularly back up large amounts of data to an external drive, the performance advantage of an SSD can save you a lot of time. Accordingly, an external SSD can be recommended as a drive for data backup.

    Should SSD defragmentation and indexing be disabled?

    Defragmentation is used to store related data as close together as possible on the magnetic disk of a conventional hard disk to minimize frequent read/write arm alignment. However, defragmenting an SSD is not necessary as it works in a completely different way than an HDD. What is beneficial for HDDs is not beneficial for SSD hard drives, since it is unnecessary to call additional read and write processes. In addition to defragmentation, indexing should be disabled on the SSD.

    Do I need additional drivers for SSD under Windows?

    Starting with Windows Vista, AHCI SATA SSDs do not require additional drivers. Before a new installation, the user must ensure that the AHCI mode is enabled in the BIOS or UEFI settings in the SATA configuration section. Subsequent change requires intervention in the Windows registry. The NVME protocol has been natively supported by the operating system since Windows 8, so an additional driver is not actually needed here. However, if the M.2 or PCIe SSD does not deliver the promised performance, we recommend that you install the driver provided by the manufacturer.

    What is AHCI and NVME?

    AHCI and NVME are protocols that enable SSDs to interact with the environment in software. AHCI was developed as a standard for SATA controllers. Because SSD hard drives have already reached the performance limits of a SATA connection, a new NVME protocol has been developed. NVME allows you to connect an SSD through the PCI Express interface and therefore improve read and write speeds.

    Can an SSD work in a RAID array and what are the advantages of SSD hard drives in a RAID?

    If the motherboard has the appropriate functions, two SSD hard drives can be combined into a RAID array, just like ordinary magnetic hard drives. With RAID 0 (stripping), the full capacity of the two drives is available, and data throughput is nearly doubled because both SSDs can be written to simultaneously. RAID 1 (mirroring) allows data to be mirrored on attached drives for increased reliability. However, you can use the maximum capacity of an attached smaller SSD for data storage.

    How to properly use an SSD drive? Councils and recommendations.

    Hello dear friends!
    In today’s blog post, we’ll talk with you about how to properly use an SSD drive. Many users have spoken about the advantages of SSD drives (from English solid state drive ) and repeatedly. If anyone does not know what an SSD drive is, then you can read article “SSD drive: what is this device and why is it needed?” . Replacing one classic hard disk drive (HDD) using magnetic platters with a similar device can significantly speed up the entire system, but there is a little catch.

    How to properly use an SSD drive?

    The operation of an SSD drive includes some very specific features that distinguish it from the use of a typical hard drive. And in this article I will try to tell you how to use the SSD drive correctly.

    If you decide to replace your conventional hard drive with a fast and new SSD, and you want to get the most out of a solid investment (and you will, because SSDs are still relatively expensive), you first need to optimize your entire system.

    If you need to migrate your system from a conventional hard drive to an SSD drive, then read the article «How to transfer the system from HDD to SSD drive?» .

    So, how to properly use an SSD drive?

    Store system on SSD, not data.

    As a rule, in order to decide how to properly use the SSD drive, and for the SSD drive to be as efficient as possible, it should be assigned a certain role, which is called «System disk» . In other words, this is a partition on which only the operating system (for example, Windows) and a handful of very important applications (office suite, video programs, photo editors, and others) are installed.

    Any other files — movies, music, digital images, games — do not belong on it! Because they will quickly fill the meager (by modern standards) volume of SSD disk , and constant access to them will lead to unnecessary loads on the disk, which will shorten its life.

    Let’s assume that you have configured the disk storage subsystem in the optimal way — using an SSD as a system disk, and a classic hard disk for storing large amounts of data. When installing new programs (for example, games), you can easily select a folder on the HDD as a place to install them.

    But how do you transfer an application that is already installed on an SSD drive?

    If you are using Steam , the System Service Agent has for some time offered a convenient option to do this with a few clicks. Just copy system folder Steam to another drive and then run Steam.exe from the new location.

    However, many other installed applications will continue to look for system files where they were originally installed, and as a result they will give errors if they are moved to another drive.

    In this case, you have two options: either delete the program(s) and reinstall it on another drive, or use the so-called symlinks (symlinks). With their help, you can change the directory in which the corresponding application was originally installed, forcing Windows to accept it as the original location.

    The creation of symlinks is a very simple process, which, however, involves the use of a single written command. First, move all files from the original program folder (say C:\Program Files) to a new location (eg D:\Program Files).

    Then run command line with administrator rights and use the command mklink in the following format:

    mklink /d «C:\Program Files» «D:\Program Files»

    After that, all possible links, registry entries and shortcuts will be point to a new location.

    Move system folders.

    Moving all the folders grouped under the name «Libraries» is extremely simple. Let’s say you want to move «Video» to a new location. Open the system partition with Windows (C:\) and in the folder «Users» find the subdirectory with your username. In it you will see a folder named «Video» . Right click on it and select «Properties» and then go to tab «Location» .

    Below the original location field, you will see a button «Move» . Just click on it and choose a new location for all files in folder «Video» . After that, it will still be part of the libraries, but will be physically moved to another disk.

    With the same simple operation, you can move other folders: Music , Documents , Pictures , Downloads .

    Pay attention to the occupied space

    Do not overfill the SSD drive. The more information you store on it, the slower it will work. Ideally, you can fill 75 percent of its capacity so that it will work at optimal speed.

    This, however, requires you to be careful about everything you write to the SSD. Many driver packages (from NVIDIA, for example) extract their contents to a folder in the root directory of the drive (C:\NVIDIA) and then «forget» to remove the already installed files, so it’s good if you remove them manually from time to time.

    When deciding how to properly use your SSD drive, make it a habit to use disk cleanup software (such as CCleaner ) to get rid of junk files, browser cache, and other unnecessary files that underestimate the capacity of your SSD drive.

    Minimize the number of

    It’s no secret that even the new generation of SSD drives can perform a limited number of write/rewrite operations. However, you can limit such calls to it to a minimum.

    For example, programs such as Photoshop are not recommended to be allowed to save temporary files that are used in the process of working on the system (SSD) disk. You can change the recording location of such files through the options menu of the respective application.

    Do not defragment the SSD.

    Defragmentation is contraindicated for SSD drives. It does not affect the speed of the disks in any way, but due to the additional write cycles, you will reduce the lifetime of the SSD disk. In addition, the access time to memory cells does not depend on how they are scattered (HDDs depend on this to a greater extent).

    Therefore, defragmenting is not only unnecessary when it comes to solid state drives, but also harmful, because it unnecessarily depreciates the device.

    Do not format the SSD.

    Also, you do not need to format the SSD drive or use special utilities to completely delete information. Modern operating systems and SSD drives use the TRIM feature, which allows information to be written over the deleted one. Otherwise, cells with deleted data must first be cleared and only then new information must be written there — and these are two different operations that reduce the speed and lifetime of the SSD.

    Use modern
    operating systems.

    Avoid using a new SSD drive with older or incompatible operating system versions. For example, Windows XP and Windows Vista do not support TRIM technology, so it’s best not to use them.

    The best choice would be operating systems such as Windows 7 , Windows 8 , Windows 10 , Mac OS. Otherwise, there is a risk that the SSD drive will not work correctly or its working life will be drastically reduced.

    If you want to learn more about all the secrets of SSD drives, then I strongly recommend that you read the book “SSD drive. Jet engine for your system» .

    These simple tips and tricks on how to properly use your SSD drive, if followed regularly, will help you increase not only the life of your SSD drive, but also the performance of your entire system.

    That’s all for now! I hope you found something useful and interesting for yourself in this note. If you have any thoughts or considerations about this, then please express them in your comments. See you in the next posts! Good luck!

    12 SSD optimization myths that will never die — Vadim Sterkin

    So, you’ve got a brand new SSD. You installed a system on it, armed yourself with an optimization guide found on the net, and after a couple of hours you did everything possible to … slow down your work in the system!

    Don’t believe me? Think about what constitutes high performance. The advantages of SSD speed you can feel in three categories:

    • system , for example, the speed of its loading and operation
    • programs , including surfing the web and working with documents, images and media files
    • your actions , including disk navigation and copying/moving files

    How Myths Are Born

    I’m pretty sure that at least one of these components was negatively affected by your SSD setup. You will learn why this happened next, but first about the reasons for this optimization.

    If you read the inscription «buffalo» on an elephant’s cage…

    There are tons of guides and even tweaks on the net to optimize your SSD. In fact, the same information is used everywhere, moreover:

    • outdated , since it is aimed at saving disk space and reducing the number of rewrite cycles, which is irrelevant for modern SSDs in home PCs
    • useless because Windows itself takes care of what they offer to configure
    • harmful , because it leads to a decrease in the speed of your work, programs and system

    Look at critically on your manual or tweaker and think about which items fit into one of those categories!

    There is another problem — unsuccessful submission of information , including incorrectly placed accents.

    Here is an example of an SSD optimization guide in Russian THG. If we analyze the graphs and conclusions of the authors, it becomes clear that the only result of the described «optimization» was the freed up disk space. But why bother thinking when you can just apply all the tweaks in bulk, especially since they are so detailed :)0003

    After reading the comments on the previous entry, I was once again convinced that many blog readers fell victim to «optimization» revolving around saving disk space and extending the life of the SSD. In doing so, they forgot that fine-tuning should speed up work, not slow it down!

    Who is faster — a turtle or a tiger?

    This question serves as one of the captcha options in the blog feedback form. And it perfectly fits the topic of our conversation today! My powerful laptop came with a 5400 rpm hard drive. Here’s how it looks against the background of the Kingston Hyper-X 3K SSD.

    Enlarge image

    If you have an HDD along with an SSD, measure the speeds of both drives and keep the picture in mind. I will return to her, and more than once!

    Special notes for those who disagree

    Already after the publication of the material, I decided to specifically clarify a few points so as not to repeat them regularly in the comments when answering opponents.

    In this article:

    1. All myths are considered solely in terms of speeding up the system, programs and user . If a measure is declared useless or harmful, it means that it does nothing to speed up the work.
    2. Reducing disk write size is not considered as an optimization measure due to the irrelevance of this approach . If this is your goal, myths 3 — 11 are for you, as well as storing an SSD in a sideboard.
    3. RAM disk usage is not considered as it is not directly related to SSD optimization . If you have an excess of RAM, you can use the RAM disk regardless of the type of drives installed in your PC.
    4. All recommendations are made with a broad audience in mind, ie. most users . When analyzing tips, keep in mind that they may not match your tasks, work skills, and ideas about the optimal and competent use of the operating system.

    Now let’s go! 🙂

    1. Disabling SuperFetch, ReadyBoot and Prefetch
    2. Disabling the Windows Defragmenter
    3. Disabling or migrating paging file
    4. Disable hibernation
    5. System security disable
    6. Disabling Windows search and/or disk indexing
    7. Moving user folders to another drive
    8. Installing programs on another drive
    9. Moving the AppData and ProgramData folders to another drive
    10. Move browser cache to another drive
    11. Moving temporary files to another drive
    12. Application of ancient registry tweaks


    Disable SuperFetch, ReadyBoot and Prefetch

    This advice: debatable, can slow down programs, and also in Windows 10 — increase the amount of writing to the disk and reduce the overall performance of the OS when there is not enough RAM

    There are two aspects here, with the second I added to the article later.

    Hard drive startup speed

    I won’t repeat the link between these three technologies, but I’ll reiterate that SuperFetch’s ReadyBoot feature is not used to speed up the boot of a system installed on a solid state drive. Here you can read about how Windows distinguishes an HDD from an SSD.

    In the comments to the previous entry, I was asked to «fix» the CheckBootSpeed ​​utility so that it does not cancel «valuable» SSD tweaks.

    The utility has already been updated and takes into account the type of drive, but you need to understand that disabling the SuperFetch service can reduce the speed of launching programs from the hard drive !

    If there are hard drives in the system (even when Windows is installed on an SSD), the logical prefetcher that appeared in XP continues to work as part of the SuperFetch service. It tracks approximately the first 10 seconds of program startup. You can easily verify this by setting Process Monitor on the %windir%\prefetch folder.

    Enlarge image

    When each program is started, the prefetcher checks for a trace (.pf file). If one is found, the prefetcher uses links to the file system’s MFT metadata to open all necessary files. It then calls a special memory manager function to asynchronously read data and code from the trace that is not currently in memory. When the program is started for the first time or the startup script has changed, the prefetcher writes a new trace file (highlighted in the figure).

    It is unlikely that SuperFetch can speed up the launch of programs from an SSD, but Microsoft does not disable the feature, given the presence of hard drives in the system. If the SSD manufacturer’s proprietary utility (such as Intel SSD Toolbox) recommends disabling SuperFetch, follow its advice. However, in this case, it is more than logical to keep all programs on the SSD, which will be discussed below.

    Memory compression in Windows 10

    This aspect is covered in a separate article, Nuances of disabling the SysMain service in Windows 10. Earlier on this page there was an excerpt from it, published impromptu.

    2. Disabling the Windows defragmenter

    This tip: useless or harmful, can slow down disk performance

    One of the functions of the CheckBootSpeed ​​utility is to check the status of a scheduled defragmentation job and the task scheduler service. Let’s see how these parameters are relevant for the latest Microsoft OS installed on the SSD.

    Windows 7

    Windows 7 does not defragment the SSD, which is confirmed by the words of the developers in the blog.

    Windows 7 will disable defragmentation for SSD drives. Because SSDs excel at random reads, defragmenting won’t provide the same benefits that it does on a regular drive.

    If you don’t believe the developers, take a look at the event log. You won’t find any entries there about defragmenting an SSD volume.

    Thus, when the SSD is the only disk, the scheduled task simply does not run. And when the PC also has a HDD, disabling a task or scheduler deprives the hard drive of decent optimization with a standard defragmenter.

    Windows 8 and newer

    Don’t miss Why Windows 8+ defragments your SSD and how to avoid it

    In Windows 8, the Disk Optimizer took the place of the defragmenter!

    Enlarge image

    Optimization of hard drives, as before, comes down to defragmentation. Windows no longer ignores solid state drives, but helps them by sending an additional set of TRIM commands to the controller for the entire volume at once. This happens according to a schedule as part of automatic maintenance, i.e. when you’re not working on a PC.

    Depending on the SSD controller, garbage collection can be performed immediately upon receipt of a TRIM command, or delayed until a period of inactivity. By disabling the disk optimizer or task scheduler, you reduce the performance of the drive.

    3. Disabling or moving the paging file

    This advice: useless or harmful, slows down the system when there is not enough memory

    The hardware configuration must be balanced. If you don’t have much RAM installed, you should add more, as an SSD only makes up for some of the lack of RAM by speeding up swapping compared to a hard drive.

    When you have enough memory, the swap file is hardly used, ie. This will not affect the life of the disk in any way. But many people still turn off paging — they say, let the system keep everything in memory, I said! As a result, the Windows memory manager does not work in the most optimal mode (see #4 here).

    As a last resort, the paging file is transferred to the hard drive. But if suddenly there is not enough memory, you will only benefit in performance if you have pagefile.sys on the SSD!

    Windows developers write about this in their blog.

    Q : Do I need to put the swap file on the SSD?

    O : Yes. The main operations with the swap file are random writes of small volumes or sequential writes of large data arrays. Both types of operations work great on an SSD.

    Analyzing telemetry focused on page file write and read evaluation, we found that:0062

  • Read blocks for Pagefile.sys are usually quite small, 67% are less than or equal to 4 KB, and 88% are less than 16 KB,
  • Write blocks in Pagefile.sys are quite large, 62% of them are greater than or equal to 128 KB and 45% are almost exactly 1 MB
  • Generally speaking, the typical swap file usage patterns and SSD performance characteristics are well matched and it is highly recommended to place this file on an SSD.

    But in practice, the desire to extend the life of an SSD at any cost is indestructible. Here is a blog reader shaking over his SSD, transferring pagefile. sys to the hard drive, although he himself even sees with the naked eye that this reduces performance. By the way, my netbook cannot install more than 2 GB of memory, and with a solid state drive it became much more comfortable than with a standard 5400 rpm HDD.

    Finally, keep in mind that completely disabling the paging file will prevent you from diagnosing critical errors. The paging file size can be flexibly adjusted, so you always have a choice between disk space and performance.

    Tricky Question : What was the size of my swap file when I took the task manager screenshot?

    Special note

    On the Internet (including in the comments to this entry) you can often find the statement: “The paging file is not needed if you have N GB RAM». Depending on the fantasy, N takes the value 8, 16, 32 or 64. This statement does not make sense, because it does not take into account the tasks that are solved on a PC with a given amount of memory.

    If you installed 64GB for yourself, but 4-8GB is used, then yes, you don’t need FP (but then it’s not clear why you bought 64GB RAM :). If you have purchased such an amount of memory in order to use it as much as possible in your tasks, then the FP will come in handy for you. In addition, the memory is not used by you, but by applications whose appetites may not be obvious to you. See my post in the Telegram channel with a good example of a person turning off the FP with 64GB RAM.

    4. Turn off hibernation

    This advice: vague and harmful to mobile PCs, can reduce battery life and speed of your work

    I would formulate advice like this: . with the same success, you can use sleep, incl. hybrid.

  • mobile PCs — turning off is not always advisable, especially with high battery consumption during sleep
  • In mobile applications, it is important to get started quickly and conserve battery life. If you always have a power outlet nearby, hibernation is unnecessary. However, it is she who will provide you with the maximum duration of work if over a certain period of time you need to use the PC several times without recharging.

    In the picture you can see the settings for the power saving plan in my tablet, which tends to consume high power during sleep.

    Yes, the hiberfil.sys file is 75% of the RAM. For example, with 8 GB of RAM, hibernating your PC will be a significant contribution to your daily disk write volume. But this is loosely within the scope of your SSD’s warranty.

    In the end, the size of the hibernation file can be reduced up to 50% of the amount of RAM:

     powercfg -h -size 50 

    On mobile PCs, disabling hibernation only makes sense if there is no free disk space. Tablets and ultrabooks are really not immune from this, whether because of the modest size of the drive or because of the needs of the owner.

    5. Disabling system protection

    This advice: useless and harmful, reduces the ability to recover Windows and files

    Of course, creating restore points increases the amount of data written to disk. But you already know that your SSD will not die from this!

    Why cut off your path to roll back the system to a point before the problem occurred and quickly retrieve deleted files from shadow copies?

    However, people have disabled, disable and will disable system protection regardless of the type of disk, it’s already in the blood! And no, I don’t want to discuss this topic in the comments for the hundredth time 🙂

    6. Disabling Windows Search and/or Disk Indexing

    This tip: useless, slows you down

    Sometimes it’s argued that SSDs are so fast that an index won’t speed up searches much. These people just never really used real Windows search!

    I think it’s pointless to deprive yourself of a useful tool that speeds up the performance of everyday tasks.

    Nothing prevents you from moving the index to another disk! But if you still haven’t made friends with Windows search and don’t have the slightest desire to master it, then yes, you can disable indexing. However, if you also have all your personal files transferred …

    7. Transferring user folders to another drive

    This advice: harmful, slows down programs and your actions

    Imagine that you have copied 420 photos from a memory card to a drive and want to quickly see their thumbnails. You liked everything, and now you decided to massively reduce the scale of these photos to 75%.

    Which drive, HDD or SSD, will quickly create photo thumbnails and read their metadata? What about reading all the files and writing their smaller copies?

    Solid State Drives outperform HDDs in navigation, file operations, and programs. Of course, not in all cases, the difference in speed between HDD and SSD is noticeable by eye. But you believed that it was there when you bought a solid state drive 🙂 Why don’t you take advantage of it then?

    Returning to the search, in the absence of an index (and at least a third-party one), everything depends on the speed of reading from the disk. If all your personal files are transferred from SSD to HDD, that means… you guessed it?

    8. Installing programs on a different drive

    This advice: harmful, slows down the speed of launching programs

    After installing the system on a solid state drive, the speed of loading Windows and launching programs is immediately evident. However, some people do not really see the second one, because they keep the programs on another disk. The main argument is portability — they say that after reinstalling Windows, the programs work immediately. In principle, large packages will still not work correctly after reinstallation, but that’s not even the point.

    You just need to learn how to set up Windows so that you don’t have to reinstall it as often as possible. You can also configure the creation of incremental copies of the system partition using Windows or third-party programs.

    And then your programs will always run as quickly as possible from the hard drive! The speed of their work depends on where the program data is located. However, the most thorough «optimizers» do not forget to transfer them to the HDD …

    9. Transferring the AppData and ProgramData folders to another drive

    This advice: harmful, reduces the speed of programs

    Modern programs no longer store files in their folders. I have already explained the purpose of the ProgramData and AppData folders. The second folder is more interesting because it stores data that programs work with all the time.

    By moving these folders from a fast drive to a slow drive, you reduce the performance of programs. Next, I will give one simple example.

    10. Transferring the browser cache to another drive

    This advice: harmful, reduces the speed of the browser

    This is a special case of transferring the AppData folder. Do you think the browser will write data to the cache and read it from there faster when placing the cache on an SSD or HDD? You could find out the answer at the beginning of the article by following my advice to measure the read and write speeds of your disks.

    Did you buy an SSD to make all work faster? Then keep the browser cache on the SSD!

    11. Moving temporary files to another drive

    This advice: harmful, slows down the installation and operation of programs

    The system and programs create temporary files in the course of work. The simplest example is installing a program. Look at the picture and say what is happening now!

    The Firefox installer unpacks the contents of the package into a temporary folder and then starts installing the program from there. In other words, first the disk is written to, and then the unpacked files are read and written to another folder.

    I still have the same question — will the installation of the program be faster if the temporary files are located on a solid state drive or hard drive?

    This question also applies to the case when the program uses temporary files in the course of its work.

    The easiest way to control the size of temporary folders is to clean them up on a schedule. Thus, the advice about moving temporary files is worth heeding only if you have programs that tend to regularly write tens of gigabytes of files to a temporary folder.

    12. Applying Ancient Registry Tweaks

    The four tweaks listed below are standard Windows optimizations, and not just for SSDs. In popular mythology, it’s recommended to set them to 1.

    Let’s see if the tweaks speed anything up.


    In the early 2000s, Microsoft actually recommended disabling the NTFS attribute that stores the last access time for a file or folder. But even then, this advice was aimed at server configurations that access a large number of folders and files in a short period of time (file servers are a good example). On client systems, there is simply no such load.


    In theory, disabling names in MS-DOS (8.3) format can improve the speed of opening file folders. In reality, this does not happen on solid-state drives.


    This setting controls whether Windows is allowed to flush drivers and kernel mode system code from memory to the paging file. Allegedly, on the one hand, the prohibition reduces the amount of writing to disk, and on the other hand, it improves network performance on systems with a large amount of memory.

    In practice, the first is irrelevant for modern SSDs, and the second does not bring significant dividends to them. And with a small amount of RAM, such “optimization” can lead to unstable system operation.


    In Windows XP, the increase in file system cache size could be set in the performance settings. Even a cursory glance at the picture suggests that the mode intended for server systems reduces the performance of programs.

    Microsoft put a rake in KB895392, removed the ability to configure from the graphical interface of the following operating systems, but this does not stop the «optimizers» to this day.

    By applying the tweak, you reduce the performance of programs, since the priority of the memory manager is shifted from processes to the system working set.

    The result of applying tweaks

    The first three tweaks were aimed at use in server systems of the era of Windows Server 2003 . And at the beginning of the MSDN articles (1, 2) it is said that in Windows Server 2008 tests did not reveal a significant increase in performance after applying these and other optimization measures given there.

    In other words, even if it was at least somehow relevant to performance in the days of XP, it does not matter since Vista. And in terms of disk write volume, pennies are saved compared to other system and user activity.

    Thus, the use of the first three tweaks, although it does not harm, does not in any way increase system performance and the life of the solid state drive. The fourth tweak slows down the programs.


    I’ve rounded up 12 popular SSD optimization tips. I emphasize that tweaks were considered solely in the context of the speed of the OS, programs and the user , but not in terms of extending the life of the drive. If you want it to live forever, do not write anything on it, but just put it in a sideboard! In reality, none of the tweaks improves performance . To speed up work, they are at least useless, and often harmful.

    By applying the mythical optimization, you only reduce the overall speed of , which is the sum of the speed of your daily activities, the responsiveness of programs and the overall performance of Windows.

    If you just install Windows on the SSD and use it the way Microsoft intended, this speed will be higher than after all these optimizations. Agree that you do not need to be an expert to see the negative effect of most of these myths.

    Discussion and poll

    I think that almost all the optimization methods that you use, judging by the comments, fell under the microscope.