Best SSD 2017 (SATA, mSATA, M.2)

In the world of hardware, if you want to improve your computer performance, everything goes through choosing a good solid state drive, characterized by a high speed data transfer (up to 10x more than mechanical drives) and minimum information accessing times.

What is an SSD?

SSD stands for Solid State Drive. These are devices that use memories such as flash drives or USB drives, but of a higher quality. They can come in different formats, from typical portable hard drives to small cards that plug into special ports (mSATA or PCIe).

The difference between a hard drive and an SSD is the time it takes to access information and data transfer. On hard drives, the discs are turning all the time and only read information when the head passes through the point where the information is. With SSD memories, it directly accesses the information at any time it wants. The transfer speed of the hard drive depends on the speed of the disc, but is something that can’t be increased lightly, especially in the case of hard drives destined for home users.

The transfer data speed of a hard drive is usually around 100-150 MB/s in a 7200 rpm, and a “domestic” SSD easily reaches 500 MB/s (both transferring large files between devices with the same speed, or higher) though there are others that can reach speeds of over 1,500 MB/s.

Things to keep in mind

If what you want is to have a gaming PC, it is best to always have a SSD for the operating system, because the operating system will boot in about 10 seconds. If not, that’s okay too, because the SSD don’t bring any significant advantage to your in-game experience. When installing it in a normal hard drive (preferably of 7,200 rpm) the games will allow you to play in a way that it doesn’t have to access different information simultaneously on the same disc, thus improving the response time of the computer.

It is also desirable to have a backup power supply unit (such as an UPS) for computers that use an SSD. There is great evidence that, for now, most SSDs have a high probability of losing data or getting damage if they suddenly shut down, as it might occur in a blackout. In the case of laptops obviously this problem does not exist unless the battery has come defective, and this is not uncommon.

Despite this problem, these data losses are not so common and even less today, since the technology has evolved and matured from quite a few years ago. Still, the recommendation is that you use the SSD for the OS and to not store important information on it, and rather in a hard drive. In many cases, if it is for a desktop PC, you will need an adapter of the standard size of a SSD (2.5 inches) for a 3.5-inch bay.

In my case I have it floating inside my PC as it has no moving parts, but there will be people who want to have everything placed on their PC. Also, make sure you also that your motherboard or laptop supports SATA 3, in order to takes advantage of up to 600 MB/s transfer that SSDs offer, instead of the 300 MB/s that SATA 2 allows.

The price will depend greatly on the reliability, capacity and speed that the SSD has due to the firmware that the manufacturer uses. In pre-2014 drives it was usually necessary to enable a OS feature called TRIM that just works as a garbage collector for the disk to free up unoccupied space, as unlike a hard disk, deleted files still occupy space on the disk until the TRIM is used.

Now many firmwares do it periodically, and in other operating systems, such as OS X, it does it by default if the SSD is provided by the series manufacturer. You can additionally activate the control that makes the SSD do it, but in practice this is not absolutely necessary anymore.

SSDs, to maintain their performance as high as possible, should have a part of their free space, so I usually recommend you to have at least 10-20 percent of the total free space. It is because of the way to save the information on the drive that I will not go into much more detail in this article. On some models the need for free space will be larger and in others much less, depending on their firmware. The newest models usually already include sufficient over-provisioning for possible defective sectors and prevent also slowdown when it’s almost full, though it is advisable to leave at least 10-20% of unused space.

How to choose your SSD

But choosing a suitable SSD is not always easy because it is a “new” technology that has been around the market only a few years, in fact, less than two years at reasonable prices, and their prices are still going down. So, in the end we will give you some indications for choosing the SSD with the best quality/price relation that is best suited to your needs, or if you only want to buy the least expensive one. They tend to be ideal for laptops as a way to improve performance in Macbook Pros and laptops in general, as the Macbook Air and Ultrabooks are sold with this type of storage (low power consumption and fast start as big advantages).

The drives from 240 to 256 GB are going to have the most attractive prices for most users. The parameter of read/write speed given is the sequential (that is, copying files of multiple gigabyte size from of one device to another). To see the Random 4K block measured in IOPS, you can consult the product sheet itself.

Note: If you see anything wrong in this article, you see something is not clear enough or if you disagree, please indicate it in the comments and help us to improve it. Try to maintain a positive and collaborative attitude, as the world is already filled with people with negative and destructive attitudes. It is through talking that people understand each other, and it is always possible that you may get conclusions that are far from what we want to convey in the article.

The pro version:

In each category, we also provide the Pro Version to choose. The Pro Version of SSDs are more expensive and in general they have great read and write consistency, that is to say, they maintain the highest possible speed at all times. There are some lower priced models that also have less consistency, and therefore, in prolonged hard disk activities (eg film ripping or graphic design), poor transfer consistency directly affects the maximum performance that can be obtained with them. They also have better error protection and longer durability.

120-128 GB

This amount is usually ideal to have a SSD for faster OS boot and benefit from lower application load times. It’s usually sufficient for a Windows operating system, and in the case of the Mac is often preferable to opt for 240 or 256 GB.

250 GB

This price range usually offers enough capacity for the operating system, regular applications and user data, but it is also the minimum I recommend for a Mac. In the case of Windows a 120 GB disk is sufficient for the operating system and frequent applications, however, opting for 250 GB also allows you to install a game, improving performance in loading textures, levels and scenography.

Our recommendation:

  Crucial MX200 Samsung SSD 850 EVO SanDisk Ultra II Transcend SSD370 Crucial MX100
Capacity 250 GB 250 GB 240 GB 256 GB 256 GB
Reading Speed 550 MB/s 540 MB/s 550 MB/s 560 MB/s 550 MB/s
Writing Speed 500 MB/s 520 MB/s 500 MB/s 320 MB/s 330 MB/s
Durability 80 TB 75 TB 100 TB 280 TB 72 TB
4K random read speed 100000 IOPS 97000 IOPS 91000 IOPS 70000 IOPS 85000 IOPS
4k random write speed 87000 IOPS 88000 IOPS 83000 IOPS 70000 IOPS 70000 IOPS
Interface Type SATA3 SATA3 SATA 3 SATA 3 SATA 3
Consumption No data Inactive: 0,05W
In Use: 3.7
W
Inactive: 0,075W
In Use: 2.7
W
Inactive: 0,32W
In Use: 3.11
W
Inactive: 0,1W
In Use: 3.4
W
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The BEST (Pro version)

A high-end choice from Samsung, which is very fast and very consistent in speeds, is the SSD 850 Pro. It has the highest durability of all because it has been produced with a durability of 150TB, which means that you could record 40GB daily in the drive for 10 years before it begins to have read issues. The downside is that its price is high, but price / quality is fine as long as you consider drive reliability a priority, so that you never lose your data (I never recommend leaving important information in an SSD, except for these high-end models with high reliability, which are level with those sold for servers).

Samsung SSD 850 Pro
Capacity: 256 GB
Reading Speed: 550 MB/s
Writing Speed: 520 MB/s
Durability: 150 TB
4K random read speed:  100000 IOPS
4k random write speed: 90000 IOPS
Interface Type: SATA 3
Consumption0.1W (Inactivate) / 2.4 W (in use)
More information and User Reviews on Amazon

Then you have other high end models, fast and with read/write results that are highly consistent. The SanDisk Extreme Pro SSD has a much more attractive price, whereas the OCZ Vector 180 is a newcomer and its price has yet to stabilize.

Our recommendation:

  SanDisk Extreme Pro OCZ Vector 180 Corsair Neutron XT Kingston HyperX Savage
Capacity 240 GB 240 GB 240 GB 240 GB
Reading Speed 550 MB/s 550 MB/s 560 MB/s 560 MB/s
Writing Speed 520 MB/s 530 MB/s 540 MB/s 530 MB/s
Durability 80 TB 90 TB 124 TB 306 TB
4K random read speed 100000 IOPS 95000 IOPS 100000 IOPS 100000 IOPS
4k random write speed 90000 IOPS 90000 IOPS 90000 IOPS 89000 IOPS
Interface Type SATA 3 SATA 3 SATA 3 SATA 3
Consumption Inactive: 0,082W
In Use: 2.7
W
Inactive: 0,85W
In Use: 3.7
W
Inactive: 1W
In Use: 3.14
W
Inactive: 0.39W
In Use: 4.35
W
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500GB

This category is not really economic in terms of the price per giga of storage per dollars invested in the SSD, but for those who wish to have more available storage in addition to the fastest, most reliable disk on the market, this price range is ideal. It tends to be more than enough to have the operating system, day-to-day user applications, and several games installed on one disk. So, it is a good option if you want a device that has a single unit and will not limit you in the future.

Our recommendation:

  SanDisk Ultra II 480GB Crucial MX200 512GB Samsung SSD 850 EVO Transcend SSD370 512GB Crucial BX100 500GB
Capacity 480 GB 500 GB 500 GB 512 GB 500 GB
Reading Speed 550 MB/s 550 MB/s 540 MB/s 550 MB/s 535 MB/s
Writing Speed 500 MB/s 500 MB/s 520 MB/s 460 MB/s 450 MB/s
Durability 200 TB 160 TB 150 TB 550 TB 72 TB
4K random read speed 98000 IOPS 10000 IOPS 98000 IOPS 70000 IOPS 90000 IOPS
4k random write speed 83000 IOPS 87000 IOPS 90000 IOPS 40000 IOPS 70000 IOPS
Interface Type SATA3 SATA3 SATA 3 SATA 3 SATA 3
Consumption Inactive: 0,085W
In Use: 2.7
W
No data Inactive: 0,05W
In Use: 3.7
W
Inactive: 0,325W
In Use: 3.22
W
Inactive: 0,015W
In Use: 4
W
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The pro version:

Then we have the top range models, the fastest with read and write results that are highly consistent. They also have a 10 year warranty and good durability.

SanDisk Extreme Pro SSD 480GB
Capacity: 480 GB
Reading Speed: 550 MB/s
Writing Speed: 515 MB/s
Durability: 80 TB
4K random read speed:  100000 IOPS
4k random write speed: 90000 IOPS
Interface Type: SATA 3
Consumption0.1W (Inactivate) / 3.5 W (in use)
More information and User Reviews on Amazon

Another high-end option from Samsung, which is very fast and very consistent in speed is the SSD 850 Pro. It has the best stability of all because it was produced with a durability of 150TB, which means that you can record 40GB daily in the drive for 10 years before you begin to have read/write issues.

Samsung SSD 850 Pro 512GB
Capacity: 512 GB
Reading Speed: 550 MB/s
Writing Speed: 520 MB/s
Durability: 150 TB
4K random read speed:  100000 IOPS
4k random write speed: 90000 IOPS
Interface Type: SATA 3
Consumption0.1W (Inactivate) / 2.3 W (in use)
More information and User Reviews on Amazon

1TB

Due to SSD prices, it is possible, in certain offers, to acquire a cheap 1 TB SSD, but generally, this is not a worthwhile option. 1 TB is enough to have a considerable quantity of Steam games installed (30 space-occupying games), personal photos and videos, and more. Even so, in these cases it is better to install the operating system on a 120 or 250 GB disk, to be able to reinstall it at any time, and keep the 1 TB disk separate for storing other data.

Various 2 TB SSDs have started to come on the market, but their price per giga is usually quite high.

Our recommendation:

  Mushkin Reactor 1TB Kingston HyperX Savage OCZ Trion 100 SanDisk Ultra II Samsung SSD 850 EVO
Capacity 1024 GB 960 GB 960 GB 960 GB 1024 GB
Reading Speed 560 MB/s 550 MB/s 550 MB/s 550 MB/s 540 MB/s
Writing Speed 460 MB/s 530 MB/s 530 MB/s 500 MB/s 520 MB/s
Durability 144 TB 306 TB 240 TB 400 TB 150 TB
4K random read speed 74000 IOPS 100000 IOPS 90000 IOPS 99000 IOPS 99000 IOPS
4k random write speed 76000 IOPS 89000 IOPS 64000 IOPS 83000 IOPS 90000 IOPS
Interface Type SATA3 SATA3 SATA 3 SATA 3 SATA 3
Consumption Inactive: 0,1W
In Use: 4.2
W
Inactive: 0,39W
In Use: 4.35
W
Inactive: 0,83W
In Use: 4.8
W
Inactive: 0,085W
In Use: 2.9
W
Inactive: 0,05W
In Use: 3.7
W
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Other Great Choice:

  OCZ Vector 180 480GB Corsair Neutron XT 480GB Samsung SSD 850 Pro 1TB OCZ Vector 180 960GB Corsair Neutron XT 960GB
Capacity 480 GB 480 GB 1024 GB 480 GB 960 GB
Reading Speed 550 MB/s 560 MB/s 550 MB/s 550 MB/s 560 MB/s
Writing Speed 530 MB/s 540 MB/s 520 MB/s 530 MB/s 540 MB/s
Durability 90 TB 124 TB 150 TB 90 TB 124 TB
4K random read speed 100000 IOPS 100000 IOPS 100000 IOPS 100000 IOPS 100000 IOPS
4k random write speed 95000 IOPS 90000 IOPS 90000 IOPS 90000 IOPS 90000 IOPS
Interface Type SATA3 SATA3 SATA 3 SATA 3 SATA 3
Consumption Inactive: 0,85W
In Use: 3.7
W
Inactive: 1 W
In Use: 3.3
W
Inactive: 0,1W
In Use: 2.5
W
Inactive: 0,085W
In Use: 3.7
W
Inactive: 1 W
In Use: 3.3
W
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Form factor M.2 with PCIe connection

M.2 is a specification that describes a number of possible different form factors for SSDs. Each may have different interfaces, being common to all the PCIe. This gives them greater speed, which can overcome by far the usual 550 MB / s of SATA SSDs (such as the 2.5 inches and mSATA models).

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Right now there are few SSDs options that use any of the sizes M.2, since they have come with the Z97 Intel chipset, but in the coming weeks and months it will increase as the sale of motherboards with this chipset accelerates. M.2 technically substitutes the mSATA format, but it has backwards compatibility with SATA 3 in two of four form factors that M.2 has.

The main advantage of this Samsung SSD is a really high transfer rate of up to 1,200 MB / s, and they can be put in RAID 0 for even greater speed. Most motherboards of ATX and Micro-ATX size (if not all) have a connection to this type of plate.

Our recommendation:

Samsung SSD 960 EVO (M.2)
Capacity: 250 GB
Reading Speed: 3200 MB/s
Writing Speed: 1900 MB/s
Durability: 400 TB
4K random read speed:  330000 IOPS
4k random write speed: 330000 IOPS
Interface Type: SATA 3
Consumption:  ?W (Inactivate) / 5.1W (in use)
More information and User Reviews on Amazon
Samsung SSD 850 EVO 250GB (M.2)
Capacity: 250 GB
Reading Speed: 540 MB/s
Writing Speed: 500 MB/s
Durability: 100 TB
4K random read speed:  97000 IOPS
4k random write speed: 89000 IOPS
Interface Type: SATA 3
Consumption0.05W (Inactivate) / 3.5 W (in use)

More information and User Reviews on Amazon

Crucial MX300 M.2, 275 GB
Capacity: 250 GB
Reading Speed: 530 MB/s
Writing Speed: 510 MB/s
Durability: 80 TB
4K random read speed:  92000 IOPS
4k random write speed: 83000 IOPS
Interface Type: SATA 3
Consumption0.075W (Inactivate) / 5.2 W (in use)

More information and User Reviews on Amazon

WD Blue M.2 250GB
Capacity: 250 GB
Reading Speed: 545 MB/s
Writing Speed: 525 MB/s
Durability: 100 TB
4K random read speed:  100000 IOPS
4k random write speed: 80000 IOPS
Interface Type: SATA 3

More information and User Reviews on Amazon

Kingston HyperX Predator 240GB
Capacity: 240 GB
Reading Speed: 1400 MB/s
Writing Speed: 600 MB/s
Durability: 415 TB
4K random read speed:  120000 IOPS
4k random write speed: 78000 IOPS
Interface Type: SATA 3
More information and User Reviews on Amazon

PCIe card format

SSDs are also sold as PCIe cards, such as the Zotac Sonix, which reaches speeds of up to 2.600 MB/s and 300.000 read IOPS.

The Plextor M8Pe is a SSD in PCIe card format with PCie 3.0 x4 connection which allows it to reach speeds of up to 2500 MB/s, which makes it one of the fastest SSDs on the market, and without the problem of heat limitations which usually occur with other SSDs of this type, or, at least, it prevents from reaching these limits more than others thanks to its dissipator.

Adapters

Since SSDs can come in different form factors (mSATA, M.2, 2.5”), you may find yourself at some point in the situation to of reusing one mSATA from a laptop for your PC in which you don’t have the right connection. You will need an adapter, as you see below.

2.5-Inch SATA to mSATA SSD Adapter

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