Best SSDs: Q2 2018

 

Since the Holiday 2017 sales, SSD prices in general have declined a small amount. New models using 64-layer 3D TLC NAND flash memory are trickling in, with companies beyond the major NAND manufacturers now offering drives using the latest flash. The most interesting market shifts have been in the growing entry-level NVMe segment, where a new generation of low-cost NVMe controllers has arrived to bring prices even closer to SATA levels while still offering a clear performance advantage.

March 2018 SSD Recommendations
Market Segment Recommendations
Mainstream 2.5″ SATA Crucial MX500 500GB $129.99 (26¢/GB)
Entry-level NVMe MyDigitalSSD SBX 512GB $159.99 (31¢/GB)
High-end NVMe Samsung 960 EVO 1TB $449.99 (45¢/GB)
M.2 SATA WD Blue 3D NAND 2TB $471.41 (24¢/GB)

Above are some recommendations of good deals in each market segment. Several of these aren’t the cheapest option in their segment and instead are quality products worth paying a little extra for.

The next table is a rough summary of what constitutes a good deal on a current model in today’s market. Sales that don’t beat these prices are only worth a second glance if the drive is nicer than average for its product segment.

March 2018 SSD Recommendations: Price to Beat, ¢/GB
Market Segment 128GB 256GB 512GB 1TB 2TB
Mainstream 2.5″ SATA 50 ¢/GB 32 ¢/GB 26 ¢/GB 25 ¢/GB 25 ¢/GB
Entry-level NVMe 47 ¢/GB 37 ¢/GB 31 ¢/GB 33 ¢/GB
High-end NVMe 48 ¢/GB 45 ¢/GB 61 ¢/GB
M.2 SATA 37 ¢/GB 30 ¢/GB 29 ¢/GB 27 ¢/GB 24 ¢/GB

As always, the prices shown are merely a snapshot at the time of writing. We make no attempt to predict when or where the best discounts will be. Instead, this guide should be treated as a baseline against which deals can be compared. All of the drives recommended here are models we have tested in at least one capacity or form factor, but in many cases we have not tested every capacity and form factor. For drives not mentioned in this guide, our SSD Bench database can provide performance information and comparisons.

Mainstream 2.5″ SATA: Crucial MX500WD Blue 3D/SanDisk Ultra 3D

The largest segment of the consumer SSD market is 2.5″ SATA drives intended for use as either the only storage device in the system, or as the primary drive holding the OS and most programs and data. This market segment has by far the widest range of choices, and virtually every SSD brand has at least one model for this segment.

These days, the best options for a mainstream SATA drive are all at least 240GB. This is large enough for the operating system and all your everyday applications and data, but not necessarily enough for a large library of games, movies or photos. Our recommendations in this segment now all use 3D NAND flash. Older models using planar NAND tend to be much slower if they use TLC, and either more expensive or hard to find if they use MLC.

240-256GB 480-525GB 1TB 2TB
Samsung 860 EVO $94.99 (38¢/GB) $149.99 (30¢/GB) $289.99 (29¢/GB) $607.91 (30¢/GB)
Samsung 850 EVO $84.99 (34¢/GB) $162.71 (33¢/GB) $349.99 (35¢/GB) $629.99 (31¢/GB)
WD Blue 3D NAND $79.99 (32¢/GB) $134.99 (27¢/GB) $259.99 (26¢/GB) $499.99 (25¢/GB)
SanDisk Ultra 3D $74.99 (30¢/GB) $129.99 (26¢/GB) $249.99 (25¢/GB) $699.99 (35¢/GB)
Crucial MX500 $79.99 (32¢/GB) $129.99 (26¢/GB) $249.99 (25¢/GB) $499.99 (25¢/GB)
Crucial MX300 $89.99 (33¢/GB) $139.89 (27¢/GB) $264.99 (25¢/GB) $519.99 (25¢/GB)
Crucial BX300 $87.99 (37¢/GB) $144.99 (30¢/GB)
Intel 545s $69.99 (27¢/GB) $137.99 (27¢/GB)

There’s a great sale price on the 256GB Intel 545s today, but otherwise the Crucial MX500 offers the best value with great performance and some of the lowest prices from a mainstream 2.5″ SSD. Anything significantly cheaper than the MX500 is either a short-lived clearance sale or a much slower drive.

NVMe SSDs

The market for consumer NVMe SSDs has broadened enough to be split into entry-level and high-end segments. Drives with low-end PCIe 3 x2 SSD controllers are becoming more common, and some drives with four-lane controllers are competitively priced for that segment.

Almost all consumer NVMe SSDs use the M.2 2280 form factor, but a handful are PCIe add-in cards. The heatsinks on many of the add-in cards tend to increase the price while making no meaningful difference to real-world performance, so our recommendation for NVMe SSDs are all M.2 form factor SSDs.

Samsung’s replacements for the 960 PRO and 960 EVO have not been announced, and while Toshiba’s XG5 offers a preview of what they can offer, a retail version has not been announced. Western Digital/SanDisk have announced their first client NVMe SSDs, but they haven’t started shipping. Most of the recent action in the NVMe market has been in the low-end segment, with the launch of the Intel 760p and the arrival of drives based on the Phison E8 controller.

High-end NVMe: Samsung 960 EVO and Samsung 960 PRO

The Intel Optane SSD 900P raises the bar for high-end SSD performance, but that speed comes at a steep cost. The price per GB of the 900P is more than twice that of the fastest flash-based SSD. The Optane SSD 800P offers slightly lower performance in an M.2 SSD, but at very low capacities and with even higher price per GB. Almost everyone would be better served by a much larger Samsung 960 drive that usually feels just as fast. The 960 PRO’s performance advantage over a 960 EVO of the same capacity can look impressive in benchmark charts, but is not noticeable enough during real-world use to justify the price premium.

High-End NVMe - ATSB - The Destroyer (Data Rate)

This high-end level of performance is currently hard to obtain from a 256GB-class drive: the 250GB 960 EVO is much slower than its larger siblings, and there isn’t a 256GB 960 PRO. Most new competitors in the high-end space will face similar challenges to hitting premium performance levels at this capacity point when using 256Gb or 512Gb 3D TLC NAND.

Above 250GB, the Samsung 960 EVO is plenty fast even for a high-end system, and the extra expense of the 960 PRO is unnecessary.

Samsung 960 EVO 500GB
On Amazon
250GB 500-512GB 1TB 2TB
Samsung 960 EVO $119.99 (48¢/GB) $238.65 (48¢/GB) $449.99 (45¢/GB);
Samsung 960 PRO $302.45 (59¢/GB) $608.99 (59¢/GB) $1253.97 (61¢/GB)
Intel Optane SSD 900P $349.99 (125¢/GB) 529.99 (110¢/GB)

Entry-level NVMe: Intel 760p and MyDigitalSSD SBX

Low-end NVMe controllers from Phison and Silicon Motion have arrived, but so has the Intel 760p with a much nicer SM2262 four-lane, eight-channel controller. The 760p was very competitively priced when it launched, but prices have since climbed up to the level of the Samsung 960 EVO. This may be a short-term effect of the initial supplies being mostly sold out, in which case the 760p should soon return to its launch prices. In the meantime, the MyDigitalSSD SBX uses the Phison E8 controller and Toshiba 3D TLC to hit very low prices for an NVMe SSD. We will have our full review of the SBX ready soon, but for now we can say that its performance is lower than the Intel 760p but still better than SATA drives.

120-128GB 240-256GB 480-512GB 1TB
MyDigitalSSD SBX $59.99 (47¢/GB) $94.99 (37¢/GB) $159.99 (31¢/GB) $339.99 (33¢/GB)
Samsung 960 EVO $119.99 (48¢/GB) $238.65 (48¢/GB) $449.99 (45¢/GB)
Intel SSD 760p $82.74 (65¢/GB) $122.25 (48¢/GB) $224.10 (44¢/GB)

 

M.2 SATA: Crucial MX300 and WD Blue 3D

For notebooks, M.2 SATA has almost completely replaced mSATA. A few notebooks are using the shorter M.2 2242 or 2260 sizes, but most support up to the 80mm length. There are far fewer M.2 SATA options than 2.5″ SATA options, but most of the current top SATA SSDs come in M.2 versions. The Samsung 860 EVO is in the process of replacing the 850 EVO as the fastest drive in this category, and the Crucial MX500’s M.2 variants will be arriving soon.

WD Blue 3D
On Amazon
250-275GB 500-525GB 1TB 2TB
Samsung 860 EVO M.2 $94.99 (38¢/GB) $169.99 (34¢/GB) $289.99 (29¢/GB) $745.87 (37¢/GB)
Crucial MX300 M.2 $89.99 (33¢/GB) $139.99 (27¢/GB) $276.66 (26¢/GB)
WD Blue 3D M.2 $73.99 (30¢/GB) $129.99 (26¢/GB) $270.00 (27¢/GB) $471.41 (24¢/GB)
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SSD 2017 SSD 2017 Benchmarks

Bench Results

ATSB — The Destroyer (Data Rate)
Average Data Rate in MB/s — Higher is Better

Product Ratings & Comparisons

Samsung 960 PRO 2TB
Samsung Polaris — Samsung 256Gb 48L MLC V-NAND     1139.34
Samsung 950 PRO 512GB
Samsung UBX — Samsung 128Gb 32L MLC V-NAND     980.79
Samsung 960 EVO 1TB
Samsung Polaris — Samsung 256Gb 48L TLC V-NAND     904.31
Intel SSD 750 1.2TB
Intel CH29AE41AB0 — Intel 128Gb 20nm MLC     878.48
OCZ RD400 1TB
Toshiba TC58NCP070 — Toshiba 15nm MLC     764.49
OCZ RD400A 512GB
Toshiba TC58NCP070 — Toshiba 15nm MLC     703.63
Toshiba XG5 1TB
Toshiba TC58NCP090 — Toshiba 512Gb 64L 3D TLC     657.79
Plextor M8PeY 512GB
Marvell 88SS1093 — Toshiba 15nm MLC     647.54
Samsung 950 PRO 256GB
Samsung UBX — Samsung 128Gb 32L MLC V-NAND     634.56
OCZ RD400 256GB
Toshiba TC58NCP070 — Toshiba 15nm MLC     539.69
Corsair Neutron NX500 400GB
Phison PS5007-E7 — Toshiba 15nm MLC     464.27
Zotac SONIX 480GB
Phison PS5007-E7 — Toshiba 15nm MLC     418.45
Patriot Hellfire 480GB
Phison PS5007-E7 — Toshiba 15nm MLC     379.57
Western Digital WD Black 512GB
Marvell 88SS1093 — SanDisk 15nm TLC     350.2
Samsung 850 PRO 1TB
Samsung MEX — Samsung 86Gb 32L MLC V-NAND     330.34
Samsung 850 PRO 512GB
Samsung MEX — Samsung 86Gb 32L MLC V-NAND     326.42
Samsung 850 EVO 1TB
Samsung MEX — Samsung 128Gb 32L TLC V-NAND     317.33
Patriot Ignite 960GB
Phison PS3110-S10-X — Toshiba 15nm MLC     317.07
Team T-Force Cardea 240GB
Phison PS5007-E7 — Toshiba 15nm MLC     314.55
Crucial BX300 480GB
Silicon Motion SM2258 — Micron 256Gb 32L 3D MLC     302.74
PNY CS2211 480GB
Phison PS3110-S10-X — Toshiba 15nm MLC     302.29
Intel SSD 545s 512GB
Silicon Motion SM2259 — Intel 256Gb 64L 3D TLC     301.32
SanDisk Ultra 3D 1TB
Marvell 88SS1074 — SanDisk 64L 3D TLC     298.03
WD Blue 1TB 3D NAND
Marvell 88SS1074 — SanDisk 64L 3D TLC     297.45
Western Digital WD Blue 1TB
Marvell 88SS1074 — SanDisk 15nm TLC     295.87
OCZ VX500 1024GB
Toshiba TC358790XBG — Toshiba 15nm MLC     294.51
SanDisk X400 1TB
Marvell 88SS1074 — SanDisk 15nm TLC     276.98
Samsung 850 EVO 500GB
Samsung MGX — Samsung 128Gb 32L TLC V-NAND     275.83
Crucial MX300 1050GB
Marvell 88SS1074 — Micron 348Gb 32L 3D TLC     271.61
Samsung 960 EVO 250GB
Samsung Polaris — Samsung 128Gb 48L TLC V-NAND     269.45
OCZ VX500 512GB
Toshiba TC358790XBG — Toshiba 15nm MLC     264.15
PNY CS2211 240GB
Phison PS3110-S10C-12 — Toshiba 15nm MLC     252.56
OCZ Trion 150 960GB
Toshiba TC58NC1000 — Toshiba 256Gb 15nm TLC     252.48
Intel SSD 600p 512GB
Silicon Motion SM2260 — Intel 384Gb 32L 3D TLC     248.21
Crucial MX200 500GB
Marvell 88SS9189 — Micron 128Gb 16nm MLC     234.98
ADATA XPG SX950 480GB
Silicon Motion SM2258 — Micron 256Gb 32L 3D MLC     234.2
OCZ Trion 150 480GB
Toshiba TC58NC1000 — Toshiba 128Gb 15nm TLC     222.95
PNY CS1311 480GB
Phison PS3110-S10-X — Toshiba 15nm TLC     217.9
Crucial MX300 525GB
Marvell 88SS1074 — Micron 348Gb 32L 3D TLC     214.59
Intel SSD 540s 480GB
Silicon Motion SM2258 — Hynix 16nm TLC     214.49
OCZ VX500 256GB
Toshiba TC358790XBG — Toshiba 15nm MLC     204.96
HP S700 Pro 512GB
Silicon Motion SM2258 — Micron 384Gb 32L 3D TLC     190.51
ADATA Ultimate SU800 512GB
Silicon Motion SM2258 — Micron 384Gb 32L 3D TLC     189.12
Toshiba TR200 960GB
Toshiba TC58NC1010 — Toshiba 512Gb 64L 3D TLC     176.73
OCZ Trion 150 240GB
Toshiba TC58NC1000 — Toshiba 128Gb 15nm TLC     176.66
Crucial BX200 480GB
Silicon Motion SM2256 — Micron 128Gb 16nm TLC     160.36
Samsung 850 PRO 256GB
Samsung MEX — Samsung 86Gb 32L MLC V-NAND     160.05
Samsung 850 EVO 250GB
Samsung MGX — Samsung 128Gb 32L TLC V-NAND     155.3
HP S700 500GB
Silicon Motion SM2258XT — Micron 384Gb 32L 3D TLC     136.72
Toshiba TR200 480GB
Toshiba TC58NC1010 — Toshiba 256Gb 64L 3D TLC     123.74
HP S700 Pro 256GB
Silicon Motion SM2258 — Micron 384Gb 32L 3D TLC     122.76
ADATA Ultimate SU800 256GB
Silicon Motion SM2258 — Micron 384Gb 32L 3D TLC     116.84
HP S700 250GB
Silicon Motion SM2258XT — Micron 384Gb 32L 3D TLC     100.16
Toshiba TR200 240GB
Toshiba TC58NC1010 — Toshiba 256Gb 64L 3D TLC     91.54
ADATA Ultimate SU800 128GB
Silicon Motion SM2258 — Micron 384Gb 32L 3D TLC     60.87
HP S700 Pro 128GB
Silicon Motion SM2258 — Micron 384Gb 32L 3D TLC     54.04
HP S700 120GB
Silicon Motion SM2258XT — Micron 384Gb 32L 3D TLC     45.76