The best SSD of 2023: top solid-state drives for your PC

PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
one of the best SSDs against a green TechRadar background
(Image credit: Future)

The best SSD you can afford will go a long way to improving the responsiveness of your computer, particularly as programs, games, and media files continue to balloon in size. 

Just as the best processor and the best graphics card can boost your productivity and gaming performance, the right SSD can help make your work fly with faster save operations or faster level loading for games.

And unlike the best hard drives around, even a cheap SSD can offer better data transfer rates than anything with a spinning disk in it, and you can even use an SSD in your PS5, dramatically reducing loading times in the best PS5 games like Gran Turismo 7 and Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla.

We’ve tested a boatload of SSDs over the years here at TechRadar, from the best M.2 SSDs to the best portable SSDs, and thanks to our extensive and rigorous process, we know which SSDs are worth your hard earned money and which you can safely leave in the bin. To help you find the SSD you want, we've pulled together best SSDs in a variety of categories to help you find the right SSD for you needs and budget.

Written by
John Loeffler
Written by
John Loeffler

John has been working with computers since he was a teenager, long before he ever started writing about computer hardware or working on his Master's degree in Computer Science. Needless to say, he knows computers inside and out, and he has personally tested (and retested) all of the SSDs on this page, regardless of whether he wrote our original review, and has validated the results you'll find here. 

The quick list

The best SSD of 2023

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Here, we've pulled together our top picks for the best SSD is several categories based on use case, price, and interface so you can get the right SSD, regardless of your circumstance.

The Best SSD overall

The best SSD overall

Specifications

Capacity: 1TB, 2TB
Memory type: Samsung V-NAND 3-bit MLC
Interface: PCIe 4.0 x4
Max seq. read speed: Up to 7,450MB/s
Max seq. write speed: Up to 6,900MB/s
Sequential Read as Tested: 7,449MB/s
Sequential Write as Tested: 6,826MB/s
Heatsink: Optional
Mean time between failures: 1,500,000 hours
Terabytes written: 600

Reasons to buy

+
Fastest PCIe 4.0 read/write speeds we've tested
+
PS5 compatible

Reasons to avoid

-
Lower MTBW and TBW than predecessor
-
More Expensive

Samsung's 990 Pro SSD garnered plenty of attention when it was announced, primarily due to its sticking with the existing PCIe 4.0 standard instead of the anticipated PCIe 5.0. However, its performance—nearly maxing out the PCIe 4.0’s potential—silenced many of the naysayers. For gamers, it boasts unparalleled read speeds, while for creative professionals, its write speeds shine, especially during intensive tasks.

A standout feature: the 990 Pro's sequential writes significantly outpace both its predecessor and competitors. Additionally, it showcases impressive read speeds, nearing PCIe 4.0's maximum of 8,000MB/s. It's 7,449MB/s recorded sequential read speed in our testing is right at Samsung's promised read speed, while it's sequential write speed of 6,826MB/s in our tests is not quite at the promised 6,900MB/s, but it's damned close.

Our tests also found that the 990 Pro surpassing the 980 Pro, transferring a 10GB file about 9% quicker and copying a large folder roughly 32% faster. Such prowess translates to quicker game loads and swift app startups. This includes PS5 performance as well, where we were able to copy a 123GB game roughly 84% faster using the Samsung 990 Pro compared to the console's storage drive.

However, the 990 Pro comes with its caveats. Its current limited capacity options might deter some, though we anticipate more choices soon. Additionally, while its price matches high-performance PS5 SSDs, it sits higher than more budget-friendly SSDs like the PNY XLR8 CS3140. Those strictly budget-focused might consider a more affordable Samsung 980 or 970 Evo, though those will come with slower, but still respectable, data read, write, and transfer speeds.

In essence, the Samsung 990 Pro caters to a niche demanding peak performance. Until PCIe 5.0 SSDs really hit the scene, it remains a top-tier choice for enthusiasts and professionals alike.

Read the full Samsung 990 Pro review

The best budget PCIe 4.0 SSD

2. PNY XLR8 CS3140

The best high-performance SSD on a budget

Specifications

Capacity: 1TB/2TB/4TB
Memory type: 3D NAND
Interface: PCIe 4.0 x4
Max rated seq. read speed: Up to 7,500MB/s
Max rated seq. write speed: Up to 6,850MB/s
Sequential read speed as tested: 7,256MB/s
Sequential write speed as tested: 6,082MB/s
Heatsink: Optional
Mean time between failures: 2,000,000 Hours
Terabytes written (1TB/2TB/4TB): 700/1400/3000

Reasons to buy

+
Exceptional sequential and random speeds
+
Great price

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the absolute fastest SSD
-
Optional heat sink costs extra

The PNY XLR8 CS3140 SSD is one of the best M.2 SSDs around, both for gamers and PC enthusiasts alike. Available in three capacities—1TB, 2TB, and 4TB—this SSD is a great swan song for the PCIe 4.0 era as PCIe 5.0 SSDs start to roll out. 

While PCIe 4.0 SSDs have a theoretical maximum speed of 8,000MB/s, the PNY XLR8 CS3140 pushes right up to that line with a rated sequential read speed of 7,500MB/s, along with a 6,850MB/s sequential write rating for its 2TB and 4TB capacities (5,650MB/s for 1TB). 

Our tests reflect this for the most part, recording a sequential read speed of 7,256MB/s in CrystalDiskMark 8, with a somewhat lower than expected sequential write speed of 6,082MB/s in the same test. Interestingly though, it had the highest random write performance of any drive we tested (4,938MB/s), including the vaunted Samsung Pro 990, which had a roughly 17% slower random write rate (4,105MB/s). It also had the best average data copy rate of all the drives we tested recently with 1,733MB/s, so this is not only a great gaming SSD, it’s a fantastic all around performer at a great price.

Fortunately, PNY offers an optional heatsink that can be added to the drive to help keep temperatures in check, which is a must for a drive this fast. It also has a PS5-specific heatsink you can buy, making it an ideal pick for gamers aiming for optimized thermal performance on Sony's latest console.

So while there might be faster M.2 SSDs than the PNY XLR8 CS3140, its price-to-performance ratio makes it the best high-performance SSD for gamers and enthusiasts who don’t have the stacks to throw at Samsung or Corsair’s best SSD offerings.

The best PCIe 3.0 SSD

A Samsung 970 Evo Plus SSD on a table

(Image credit: Future)
The reigning speed demon of the PCIe 3.0s

Specifications

Capacity: 250GB to 2TB
Memory type: 3D MLC NAND
Interface: PCIe 3.0 x4
Max rated seq. read speed: Up to 3,500MB/s
Max rated seq. write speed: Up to 3,300MB/s
Sequential read speed as tested: 3461.6MB/s
Sequential write speed as tested: 2,999.1MB/s
Heatsink: No
Mean time between failures: 1,500,000 hours
Terabytes written (250GB/2TB): 150/1200

Reasons to buy

+
Fastest speeds for a PCIe 3.0 M.2 on the list
+
In-house memory and controller hardware

Reasons to avoid

-
Bit more expensive than competition
-
Lowest durability for a PCIe 3.0 M.2 on the list

The Samsung 970 EVO Plus has some of the fastest sequential read and write speeds of any PCIe 3.0 SSD out there, making it an obvious contender for the best SDD on the list with this interface. Its random access performance is also the fastest of the PCIe 3.0s, easily making it the winner in the PCIe 3.0 bracket in terms of raw power.

The downside is its durability. The 970 EVO Plus has the lowest durability as measured by MTBF, rating only 1,500,000 hours, and its TBW rating at 2TB is 1200, matching the SN750, but lagging the XPG SX8200. At 256GB, it scores a rather low 150, the lowest of the three PCIe 3.0 contenders. 

It doesn't come with an option for a built-in heat sink, so any heat it generates needs to be bled off with additional cooling solutions. It does use Dynamic Thermal Guard technology to help regulate its core temperature as well as a hardware heat spreader and nickel-coated controller. It's not a heatsink, but it's something.

Of all the M.2 SSD's on this list, the Samsung EVO Plus is the most expensive, in some cases (against XPG SX8200, for example) by a good margin. If you have the money to spend and you want the fastest SSD your PCIe 3.0 board can handle, then you can't go wrong with the Samsung EVO Plus.

Read the full Samsung 970 EVO Plus review

The Best Gaming SSD

The Best M.2 SSD for gaming overall

Specifications

Capacity: 500GB to 4TB
Memory type: 3D TLC NAND
Interface: PCIe 4.0 x4
Max rated seq. read speed (4TB): Up to 7,100MB/s
Max rated seq. write speed (4TB): Up to 6,800MB/s
Sequential read speed as tested (2TB): 7,364MB/s
Sequential write speed as tested (2TB): 6,871MB/s
Heatsink: Yes
Mean time between failures (500GB/4TB): 1,700,000/1,800,000 hours
Terabytes written (500GB/4TB): 350/3000

Reasons to buy

+
Top-tier sequential access speeds
+
Works with PS5

Reasons to avoid

-
Low-profile heatsink costs more
-
Underwhelming random speeds

The Corsair MP600 Pro LPX made waves in the SSD market when it launched with competitive pricing and unparalleled speeds, and that remains the case today. Its PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 SSD credentials deliver lightning-fast speeds, outshining cheaper, slower PCIe 3.0 alternatives, and keeping up with the very best SSDs on the market. Some PCIe Gen 4 drives might appear similar in value but fall short in maximizing the bandwidth that the MP600 Pro LPX exploits.

Our tests on the 2TB capacity drive revealed remarkable speeds: sequential read and write speeds of 7,364MB/s and 6,870MB/s, respectively. This outpaces both the WD_Black SN850 and Samsung 980 Pro SSDs, even surpassing Corsair’s own advertised rates. 

Its random read/write operations aren’t the best among PCIe 4.0 SSDS, so this SSD is best suited for loading very large files like video games, large media files, or as a boot drive.

Corsair offers various cooling options for this drive, with the MP600 Pro LPX tailored with a low-profile heatsink fit for the PS5.

Read the full Corsair MP600 Pro LPX review

The best SSD for PS5

Kingston Fury Renegade

(Image credit: Future)
The best SSD for PS5

Specifications

Capacity: 500GB - 4TB
Memory type: 3D TLC NAND
Interface: PCIe 4.0 x4
Max rated seq. read speed (4TB): Up to 7,300MB/s
Max rated seq. write speed (4TB): Up to 7,000MB/s
PS5 read speed as tested: 6,500MB/s
Heatsink: Yes
Mean time between failures: 2,000,000 hours
Terabytes written (500GB - 4TB): 500 - 4000

Reasons to buy

+
Leading sequential performance
+
Excellently designed heatsink
+
Competitive price point

Reasons to avoid

-
Higher configurations get expensive
-
Lower capacities are somewhat slower

Sometimes, it's nice to have options, and most PC gamers aren't just tied to their PC anymore, so that makes the Kingston Fury Renegade a very appealing option for those who might be looking for something for either their PC or PS5. 

This PCIe 4.0 SSD features blazing fast load times whether it's an open-world PS5 game like God of War: Ragnarok or you're looking to have Windows 11 be ready to go almost as soon as you touch the power button.

On PC, you can expect the Kingston Fury Renegade SSD to get sequential read speeds of up to 7,300MB/s and sequential write speeds of about 7,000MB/s, with lower write speeds generally for smaller capacities. Where the Renegade really shines though is its PS5 performance, with Sony's official SSD benchmark tool recording a 6,500MB/s read speed, the fastest we've seen in a PS5 system.

What's more, the Fury Renegade can come housed in a phenomenal, rugged heatsink to help the SSD hardware safe, or without a heatsink if your motherboard already has a heat management solution for your SSDs. If you're looking to buy one for your PS5 though, definitely go for the heatsink since the PS5 doesn't have a built in way to really manage an SSD's heat and the drive can get damaged as a result if you push it too hard.

Read the full Kingston Fury Renegade SSD review

The best high-endurance SSD

6. Patriot Viper VP4300

The best high-endurance M.2 SSD

Specifications

Capacity: 1TB/2TB
Memory type: 3D TLC NAND
Interface: PCIe 4.0 x4
Max rated seq. read speed (1TB): Up to 7,400MB/s
Max rated seq. write speed (1TB): Up to 6,800MB/s
Sequential read speed as tested (1TB): 7,389MB/s
Sequential write speed as tested (1TB): 6,799MB/s
Heatsink: Yes
Terabytes written (1TB/2TB): 1000TBW/2000TBW

Reasons to buy

+
Phenomenal performance
+
Very high endurance ratings
+
Two included thermal solutions

Reasons to avoid

-
More expensive than rivals

The Patriot Viper VP4300 is a major contender for the best SSD crown with its impressive sequential and random speeds, fast copy operations, and low operating temperature. But most of all, this SSD is built for the long haul with a best-in-class 1000TBW endurance rating for a 1TB drive, and a 2000TBW rating for a 2TB one.

This SSD also doesn't skimp on features. It provides two cooling options for the drive: a 4mm thick aluminum heatsink and an ultra-thin graphene label, which is perfect for tight spaces in like the best thin and light laptops

Available in 1TB and 2TB capacities, the VP4300 offers rated speeds of up to 7,400MB/s read and 6,800MB/s write, which are pretty much spot on in our testing (where we recorded 7,389MB/s and 6,799MB/s sequential read and write speeds, respectively). 

It's slightly more expensive than similar capacity SSDs, but it definitely compensates for this with its performance and durability, as well as the included "heatshield" options. These work exceptionally well, and this SSD has the lowest recorded max temperature (about 57℃) of any of the high-end PCIe 4.0 SSDs we've tested recently, including those on this list.

Tech-wise, the VP4300 is comparable to Samsung 980 Pro and WD Black SN850, as it employs a high-end PCIe 4.0 x4 SSD controller and premium NAND flash, the latter of which ensures robustness and efficiency, but it's performance is considerably outperforms those two SSDs, and really only struggles to keep up with the Samsung 990 Pro in terms of random data operations, blowing past most of its other competitors in that regard.

Ultimately, this SSD is about delivering fast, consistent performance for the entirety of its very long life, so if you're looking for an SSD to perform constant data operations rather than just load up the best PC games that you'll never actually uninstall, than the Patriot Viper VP4300 is the M.2 SSD you've been looking for.

The best SATA SSD

Samsung 870 Evo SSD

(Image credit: Future)
The best SATA SSD

Specifications

Capacity: 250GB/500GB/1TB/2TB/4TB
Memory Type: V-NAND MLC
Interface: SATA
Max rated seq. read speed: 560MB/s
Max rated seq. write speed: 530MB/s
Sequential Read as Tested: 564MB/s
Sequential Write as Tested: 535MB/s
Mean time between failures: 1,500,000 hours
Terabytes written (250GB to 4TB): 150TB/300TB/600TB/1,200TB/2,400TB

Reasons to buy

+
Available 4TB model
+
Cheap

Reasons to avoid

-
SATA interface limits performance
-
PCIe SSDs just as cheap

We're definitely entering the twilight of the SATA SSDs, given how even the cheapest M.2 SSD will dramatically outperform a SATA drive with just about any workload, but they still have a place in a lot of people's machines, especially as more medium-term storage for large libraries of media files like photos and video when there aren't any PCIe slots available on the motherboard for another M.2 SSD.

While you might be able to score a SATA SSD for pennies on the dollar right now, that's not always a good thing, since you still want quality to protect your files, and the Samsung 870 Evo is a great SSD for the job. It's not too expensive at higher capacities, and the 870 Evo can go as large as 4TB, which is great. 

Its endurance definitely makes it a cheap, long-term investment into your system's file storage, just don't expect too much speed out of this one. In our tests, it only managed a sequential read of 564.07MB/s and sequential write of 535.34MB/s in our tests, which is a fraction of what a PCIe SSD's random speeds are. Worse still, you can often find better PCIe SSDs at a lower price.

So don't expect blazing fast program load times off this SSD, but for holding onto some family videos to show off during the holidays, especially if you don't have a free PCIe SSD slot available, you can't go wrong.

Read the full Samsung 870 Evo SSD review

The best Portable SSD Overall

(Image credit: Future)
Best portable SSD overall

Specifications

Capacity: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB
Interface: USB 3.2 Gen2 (PCIe NVMe internal)
Max rated seq. read speed: 1050MB/s
Max rated seq. write speed: 1000MB/s
Sequential read speed as tested: 1032MB/s
Sequential write speed as tested: 924MB/s
Warranty: 3 years

Reasons to buy

+
Built-in security with fingerprint access
+
Incredibly fast
+
Compact

Reasons to avoid

-
Not cheap
-
No rugged case

The Samsung T7 is ideal if you’re looking for the best portable SSD with lots of features. This external storage is not only fast – with sequential read and write speeds of up to 1,050 and 1,000 MB/s, respectively – but it also boasts quite a few great features in the palm-sized package.

In our tests, the Samsung T7 came right up to the max rated speed given by Samsung, with CrystalDiskMark 8 reporting 1,032MB/s and 924MB/s sequential read and write speeds compared with the promised 1,050MB/s and 1,000MB/s, respectively.

The most important of those features is its built-in security options. This uses AES 256-bit encryption and gives you the option to use fingerprint sign-in, which you can set up through the device’s own management software.

On testing the kit, we found this drive offers the perfect balance between security, speed, portability and pricing. While it lacks IP68 and the security certifications of more expensive rivals, the price point makes it an attractive choice. 

The Samsung T7 SSD could do with a rugged case, but it remains our pick for best portable SSD on the market, and well worth your consideration.

Read our full Samsung T7 SSD review 

The best budget portable SSD

Lexar SL200

Lexar SL200 (Image credit: Future)
Cheapest branded portable SSD by capacity

Specifications

Capacity: 512GB, 1TB, 2TB
Interface: Type-C, USB 3.2 Gen 1
Max rated seq. read speed: 550MB/s
Max rated seq. write speed: 400MB/s
Sequential read as tested: 464MB/s
Sequential write as tested: 357MB/s
Warranty: 3 years

Reasons to buy

+
Stunning value for money
+
Good looking
+
Solidly built

Reasons to avoid

-
Average performance
-
No software bundle

The Lexar SL200 didn't score expecially well back in 2020 when TechRadar Pro's Desire Athow first reviewed it, but Des has since recanted his harsh assessment of this portable SSD thanks to an aggressive price cut that has brought it in line with its performance.

Currently, it is the cheapest 2TB portable SSD you're going to find right now, and even though it is still far more expensive than a standard portable hard disk drive of similar capacity, an external SSD is a better long run solution for storing your data, files and folders, especially if you want to actually access them in a reasonably quick manner.

And while it is still fairly slow as far as portable SSDs go, its 464MB/s sequential read and 357MB/s sequential write speeds are much faster than anything you'll get with an external hard disk. It even manages to beat out Samsung's T5 SSD, which lagged behind with a 433MB/s and 323MB/s in sequential read and write tests, respectively.

It can even work with smartphones thanks to its native USB-C connector, letting you increase the storage of your mobile device or transfer files in a pinch.

Read the full Lexar SL200 1TB portable USB SSD review

How we tested the best SSDs

When looking at the performance of an SSD, we separate them by its interface, whether that's PCIe 5.0, PCIe 4.0, PCIe 3.0, or SATA III, since these will all have different maximum data transfer rates. 

From there, we will mount the SSD on our test bench running the hightest-end components we have available to support the SSD, and run a number of benchmarks on it using third-party tools as well as more simple file transfer tasks with a software timer to monitor how long it takes for files to be read from and be written to the drive, both sequentially and at random.

We also use the new SSDs as our main test drive for other component testing to see both how durable the drive is and how much or how little the drive's performance effects real life use cases like gaming, application loading, and operating system startup.   

How to choose the best SSD for you

It’s important to check if your setup is properly equipped to handle an SSD. Otherwise you might not be able to use it to its full potential. If you only have a SATA III port available, it’s capable of running a solid state drive, but it’s at a bit of a disadvantage to you. Running an SSD through a SATA III port actually creates a bottleneck effect and holds the drive back from its full performance.

You’ll want to check if you have a free PCIe connection that slots into the motherboard, letting the solid state drive reach its full performance power. If you have those slots occupied by graphics cards or sound cards, though, you may not want to free up space for an SSD. 

Some motherboards now also come with additional M.2 ports for SSDs, but if yours doesn’t, you might want to consider one of the best hard drives to get extra storage.

What’s the difference between an SSD and a hard drive?

 When it comes to the debate of SSD vs HDD it’s important to know they both have the same function - storage for files on your computer or laptop. SSDs have shown us the future of storage technology because, unlike a traditional hard drive, solid state drives run on NAND (Negative-AND) flash memory and can still have similar storage capacities compared to HDDs.

One prime difference between SSDs and HDDs is the price, as you can find hard drives that have more storage capacity for a lower price. However, if you’re looking for a storage drive with lightning fast speeds, getting an SSD is the way to go, as their tech and performance can’t really compare with traditional hard drives. There’s a time and place for both hard drives and solid state drives, but if you really want to upgrade your PC’s performance, an SSD is the best option.

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