So recently, the Samsung 990 Pro dropped and I found it to be the best SSD you could buy right now in my Samsung 990 Pro review owing to its pushing the absolute limit of what a PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSD could do, so naturally it has earned a place on this list. However, recently there have been some reports of rapid degradation of its performance in a very short amount of time, which would absolutely affect how we would consider this SSD, so I am performing additional testing to see if I can replicate the issue myself before including it here.
- John Loeffler, Components Editor
Getting the best SSD you can afford is one of the better investments you can make in your computer, especially as we consume and produce an ever expanding array of media with large file footprints.
Like having the best processor and the best graphics card you can afford, having a fast solid state drive will make your PC gaming performance absolutely soar, and now with the latest firmware updates from Sony, you can even get the best SSD for PS5 and dramatically reduce loading times in your games like God of War: Ragnarok and Gran Turismo 7.
In addition to speeding up the best PC games, content creators will also see huge performance gains from a speedy storage solution, especially if they are saving huge projects like digital video, professional photography, or large chunks of software code from GitHub.
But for a lot of people who want the performance of an SSD but don't always need the absolute fastest drive, the best M.2 SSD or SATA SSD for you just might be the perfect amount of storage for a reasonable data rate for the price. Many of the best cheap SSDs are just as good as the top-of-the-line products for most users, and the best cheap SSD deals are a great way to save even more money in the process.
We've tested an uncountable amount of SSDs over our many collective years here at TechRadar, and so we know a good solid state drive when we see one, whether you're looking for best performance, the best value, or something in between. To help you make your buying decision easier, we've pulled together the best solid state drives on the market right now for every need and budget.
Best SSDs 2022 - Chosen by our experts
If you can afford to spare no expense in getting a storage drive, then the Samsung 980 Pro may just be the best SSD for you. This is one of the fastest SSDs we've ever tested, and since it has been on the market for over a year, it's performance has been proven to be rock solid.
This has been the SSD that we use when testing desktop components since we first got our hands on it, and it's stellar performance is the reason why. It isn't as fast as the Samsung 990 Pro, but it very nearly is, and we've run this SSD into the ground during testing so we know it has the endurance to see you through years of service, making it ideal for future-proofing your rig.
And, while it's not the cheapest SSD on the market, it delivers that speed without substantially raising the price over its rivals, and as more PCIe 5.0 SSDs hit the market, the price on this one is sure to come down.
Read the full Samsung 980 Pro review
The Samsung 970 Evo Plus is a couple of generations behind the best SSDs out there, but most motherboards still have a PCIe 3.0 M.2 slot or two that might throttle the performance of a newer SSD if you're not careful about what you're installing into your machine.
Since the PCIe 3.0 interface itself is going to limit how fast the data transfer rate will be, it's a waste of performance potential and your hard earned dollars to put a faster PCIe 4.0 or 5.0 SSD into a slower lane, and considering how expensive those SSDs can be, getting the best PCIe 3.0 SSD in there is your smartest option, since these drives are still plenty fast, but are going to be a whole lot cheaper.
In our tests, the 970 Evo Plus 1TB capacity was sequentially reading data at 3,461.6MB/s and sequentially writing it at 2,999.1MB/s, which is pretty much the ceiling on PCIe 3.0. Its random read and random write speads (412.6MB/s and 397.4MB/s, respectively) were the fastest we tested for PCIe 3.0, as were our file transfer tests.
In short, if you have any PCIe 3.0 slots on your board that you're looking to fill, this is the SSD you need to put in there, hands down.
Read the full Samsung 970 Evo Plus review
The Corsair MP600 Pro LPX blazes out of the gate with some of the fastest performance we’ve seen from a consumer SSD.
In sequential benchmarks, it blows away the Samsung 980 Pro and WD Black SN850, hitting a peak data transfer rate of 7,364.87MB/s in sequential read and 6,870.93MB/s in sequential write speeds. It’s not leading the crowd for random operations, but it’s not lagging far behind with 3,021.02MB/s random read and 2,687.72MB/s random write.
It can copy a 10GB file in 4.89 seconds, with a 10GB folder taking a little bit longer at 5.11 seconds, which is about as fast as you're going to get on a PCIe 4.0 drive.
The fact that this drive is delivering so much performance while maintaining a reasonable 16-cents-per-gigabyte value and even including its own low-profile cooler that’s ready for PS5 installation just makes this drive that much harder to beat. The real kicker is that Corsair offers variants with bigger heatsinks that cost just a little bit less, even though overall this SSD is a more expensive. you're getting more for your money though, so we definitely wouldn't call it overpriced.
Read the full Corsair MP600 Pro LPX review
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
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
How we test
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.