Best SSDs 2018: the top solid-state drives for your PC

 techradar.com  10/31/2018 8:20:00 PM  10  Seth Macy

For the longest time, the best way to expand your computer’s storage was to buy one of the best hard drives. However, with their spinning disks and slow transfer speeds, they haven’t exactly aged well. However, these days, the best SSDs, or solid state drives, are fast enough to free you from the mechanical shackles of hard drives.

Even if you’re not rocking one of the best PCs, you can still take advantage of the best SSDs. The best Ultrabooks were practically made to take advantage of the best SSDs, due to their unrivaled durability and speed. 

But, what if you don’t have a computer at all though? Well, even if you’re a console gamer, you can use the best SSDs to practically eliminate loading times. As a bonus, the best SSDs keep getting bigger, faster and more affordable every day – just take a look at the Adata XPG SX8200 for proof.

When you set out to buy one of the best SSDs, you’ll probably notice that there’s a lot of solid state drives on the market. This is awesome for anyone on a budget, as this ubiquity leads to a wide spread in price points. However, the sheer variety on the market can make it hard to find the best SSD for your needs. Luckily, we took this opportunity to create a list of the best SSDs on the market.

And, if you’ve been waiting for a deal, you’re in luck. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are on the way, and there’s never been a better time to shop for one of the best SSDs. We’re expecting an onslaught of Black Friday PC component deals, with the best SSDs taking center stage – they’re the easiest and most price-effective PC upgrade, after all. So, be sure to stay tuned to TechRadar, as we’ll help you find all the best deals this holiday season.

Best SSD: Samsung 970 Evo

Capacity: 250GB/500GB/1TB/2TB | Interface: PCIe Gen 3 x4 M.2 | Warranty: 5-years

Blazing-fast speeds

Shorter file-transfer speeds than predecessor

Low capacities are pricey

Samsung’s Evo line of SSDs just continues to get better, and the Samsung 970 Evo is no exception. Building on the already-impressive performance of the 960 Evo and even out-powering the higher-end 960 Pro, this drive will make short work of any file transfer. And, now that it’s available with up to 2TB of storage, you’ll never have to worry about running out of space either.

Read the full review: Samsung 970 Evo

Best gaming SSD: WD Black NVMe SSD

Capacity: 250GB/500GB/1TB | Interface: PCIe Gen 3 x4 M.2 | Warranty: 5-years

Mind-blowing performance

Fastest sequential write speed

Disappointing random write speed

When you’re playing the best PC games, there’s nothing worse than having the action stop for a load screen (we’re looking at you, Half-Life 2). Luckily, with the WD Black NVMe SSD, you can basically say goodbye to long loading screens forever, as this drive absolutely blows the pants off of every other SSD in its price range. At just under $300 you won’t find a faster drive that will last as long as the WD Black NVMe SSD. We can say without a doubt that this is the best SSD for gaming. Trust us on this one.

Read the full review: WD Black NVMe SSD

Best NVMe SSD: Samsung 970 Pro

Capacity: 512GB/1TB | Interface: PCIe Gen 3 x4 M.2 | Warranty: 5-years

 Fastest SSD on the market 

 Reliable 

 Expensive 

For years, Samsung has been behind some of the best SSDs on the market, and even though other manufacturers like Western Digital and Adata are creeping up on its turf, the Samsung 970 Evo is still the best SSD you can buy if you’re after raw speed. And, while the read speeds haven’t improved over the previous generation’s 960 Pro, the write speeds see a significant bump – up to 2,700MB/s – which is how it retains its ‘fastest SSD’ crown. If you’re after the best SSD, with no compromises, you can’t go wrong with the Samsung 970 Pro. 

Read the full review: Samsung 970 Pro 

Best PCIe SSD: Toshiba OCZ RD400

Capacity: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB | Interface: PCIe Gen 3 x4 M.2 | Warranty: 3-years

Lots of sizes

Fast read/write

 Not all sizes available in all form factors 

If you're looking for plenty of options, the Toshiba OCZ RD400 series of drives come in 4 sizes and three different form factors: M.2, M.2 2280, and add-in card (AIC). Not all sizes are in all form factors, so if you're looking for a fast 1TB drive, make sure you have room in your computer case. 

Best M.2 SSD: Adata XPG SX8200 SSD

Capacity: 240GB/480GB/960GB | Interface: PCIe Gen 3 x4 M.2 | Warranty: 5-years

Stellar performance 

Affordable 

Write speeds fall behind 

If you’ve been waiting to jump on the M.2 train for an SSD that’s both fast and affordable, we have some good news for you. The Adata XPG SX8200 isn’t one of the best SSDs because it’s the fastest drive on the market, but because there isn’t a single drive out there that can match the raw price to performance ratio that the XPG SX8200 offers. Sure you can get any of the much faster, much more expensive SSDs on the market, but this is the drive we can recommend to anyone.to anyone.

Read the full review: Adata XPG SX8200 

Best SATA 3 SSD: Samsung 860 Pro

Capacity: 250GB/512GB/1TB/2TB/4TB | Interface: SATA 3 | Warranty: 5-years

Available 4TB model

Increased security

SATA 3 limits performance

SATA 3 might not be the hottest SSD tech in the world anymore, but with the Samsung 860 Pro, Samsung shows that there is life in the aging form-factor after all. Offering storage of up to 4TB and transfer speeds that approach the theoretical maximum of the SATA 3 connection and top-of-the-line reliability and security – the Samsung 860 Pro is the best SSD for anyone still clinging onto SATA 3. 

Read the full review: Samsung 860 Pro 

Best U.2 SSD: Intel 750 Series

Capacity: 400GB/800GB/1.2TB | Interface: PCIe Gen 3 x4 U.2 | Warranty: 5-years

Great warranty period

Huge capacities

 Not as fast as some other PCIe drives 

The U.2 standard allows for bigger SSD capacities and uses your computer's PCIe x4 slot to send all that data back and forth. The Intel 750 series includes a cable so you can mount the drive in the bay on your case and still plug it into the PCIe slot on your motherboard.

Best budget SSD: Samsung 860 Evo

Capacity: 250GB/500GB/1TB/2TB/4TB | Interface: 2.5 inch, mSATA, M.2 | Warranty: 5-years

Noticeable speed improvement

Impressive endurance

SATA3 limits potential

Samsung had a hard act to follow – the Samsung 850 Evo was beloved when it released in 2018, thanks to its stunning performance and affordability. And, the Samsung 860 Evo absolutely succeeded. Though limited by the SATA3 interface, the Samsung 860 Evo delivers performance that iterates on its predecessor with improved read/write speeds and an array of form factors, while still maintaining its budget price. The 860 Evo is the best SSD for anyone looking for an entry-level SSD without having to break open their piggy banks. 

Read the full review: Samsung 860 Evo 

Best endurance SSD: HP S700 Pro

Capacity: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB | Interface: SATA 3 | Warranty: 3-years

Runs forever

Variety of capacities

Relatively slow

If you need an SSD that will last through multiple computers, the HP S700 Pro is exactly what you want. Its life will far exceed its warranty, offering up to 2 million hours of use and up to 650 terabytes written. This is one of the best SSDs you can buy if you need something that’ll last, but the SATA interface may slow things down a bit in the read/write department, which technically helps it last even longer. 

  • This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Samsung 860 Evo 

Best SSD boot drive: Intel 760p Series SSD

Capacity: 128GB/256GB/512GB | Interface: PCIe Gen 3 x4 M.2 | Warranty: 5-years

Blazing quick read speeds

Affordably priced

Slightly sluggish write speeds

NVMe SSDs were considered too expensive for quite a long time. However, Intel, with its 760p SSDs, has changed everything. This SSD features fantastic performance that’s only slightly behind the beloved Samsung 960 evo, boasting speeds of 3,056 MB/s read and 1,606 MB/s write. But what makes the 760p stand out is the fantastic price to performance ratio. Sure, there are faster NVMe drives out there, but you’ll be paying a premium that, frankly, isn’t worth it. This is one of the best SSDs, because it gets us excited about the future.

Read the full review: Intel 760p Series SSD

Best External SSD: Samsung X5 Portable SSD

Capacity: 500GB/1TB/2TB | Interface: Thunderbolt 3 | Warranty: 3-years

 Extremely fast 

 Thunderbolt 3 

Expensive

If you’re a creative or a professional, and you need an external NVMe SSD that’s going to save you time rather than waste it, you might want to give the Samsung X5 Portable SSD a look. Thanks to its use of Thunderbolt 3, rugged magnesium build and AES 256-bit encryption, it’s fast, secure and durable – everything you want in an external SSD. However, this isn’t a cheap accessory, this is one of the best SSDs and it’s priced as such. Everyday users may want to look elsewhere, this is all about sheer speed.

Read the full review: Samsung X5 Portable SSD 

Bill Thomas and Gabe Carey have also contributed to this article

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