Upgrading your PC or device to run on a solid-state drive (SSD) has become essential, especially with the pricing of them being as affordable as ever and hard drives are now recommended only for long-term storage. The PlayStation 5 now supports additional SSDs, and Windows 11 introduces Direct Storage, enabling speedy loading times similar to the Xbox Series X when using a supported drive. Modern PCs leverage PCI Express 4.0 and 5.0 for cutting-edge performance, and devices like the Steam Deck benefit from larger SSDs to accommodate extensive game libraries.
Whether you’re considering an internal drive upgrade or need an external storage solution, opting for an SSD ensures fast and reliable read and write speeds. SSDs utilise flash memory for data storage, surpassing traditional mechanical hard drives in speed. However, not all SSDs are created equal. For the fastest transfers, it’s crucial to choose from the best SSDs available. Below is a list of some of the best SSD cards that you may need based on the various needs that you may have.
Samsung 990 Pro
- Extremely fast sequential read & write speeds
- Great for gaming
- Not as durable as some of the larger models
The Samsung 990 Pro represents the latest addition to Samsung’s premium consumer drive lineup, and it is notably impressive. Building upon the strengths of its predecessor, the 980 Pro, this drive boasts high sequential read and write speeds of 7,450 MBps and 6,900 MBps, respectively. While these speeds are constrained by PCIe 4 limitations, they still mark a significant improvement over the 980 Pro, ensuring swift file transfers and game installation times.
In terms of general use and gaming, the drive excels with impressive random read and write IOPS ratings of 1,550,000. These figures surpass those of the 980 Pro by over 50%, showcasing the drive’s exceptional performance even without the benefits of a new PCIe generation. The Samsung 990 Pro is an ideal choice for users preparing their PC for DirectStorage games or seeking to upgrade the storage in their PS5 to a larger and faster option.
The 2TB model, priced around $200, offers excellent performance within an affordable range. For those prioritising greater durability, the 4TB model is available, albeit at a higher cost of $310.
Teamgroup T-Force Z540 2TB
- Cutting-edge SSD performance
- High capacity with great durability
The TeamGroup T-Force Z540 2TB stands out as the ultimate choice for users seeking the fastest modern SSD available. Boasting an unprecedented sustained read/write rating of 12,400 MBps and 11,800 MBps, respectively, this drive sets itself apart. Additionally, its random read/write rating is highly impressive, reaching 1,400,000 and 1,500,000 IOPS, respectively.
While the practical applications for such extreme performance may be limited in current scenarios, this feature serves as a valuable investment for future-proofing against advancements in DirectStorage-supporting games over the coming years.
It’s crucial to note that the TeamGroup T-Force Z540 2TB requires a PCIe 5 interface to operate at its full speed. Therefore, users should ensure their motherboard supports PCIe 5 before opting for this high-speed SSD.
Samsung 980 Pro 500GB
- Great all-around features
- PCIe 4.0 support
- Good Value
- Not as fast as newer models
- More expensive than most other SSDs
The Samsung 980 Pro, while no longer Samsung’s flagship SSD, remains a top-tier NVMe SSD, showcasing impressive performance in the PCIe 4.0 realm. With sequential read speeds reaching up to 7,000 MBps and sequential write speeds up to 5,000 MBps, this SSD fully harnesses the potential of PCIe 4.0. While backward compatible with PCIe 3.0, the drive doubles the data transfer rate on PCIe 4.0.
Although priced higher than some competitors, Samsung SSDs are known for delivering a compelling blend of high-performance functionality and durability, ensuring extended longevity. While the 500GB model offers a more budget-friendly option, the 1TB model presents better value for money. The 2TB model commands a higher price but compensates with additional durability, featuring an expanded Terabytes Written (TBW) rating.
Crucial MX500 SATA 2TB
- AES 256 bit encryption
- Slower than competitors
The Crucial MX500 SATA SSD may not boast the rapid speeds of newer PCIe interfaces, but its affordability makes it an appealing option for those seeking substantial storage without compromising the benefits of an SSD. Offering an impressive 2TB capacity at a budget-friendly price, this drive caters to users with extensive storage needs.
While its sequential read and write speeds of 560 MBps and 510 MBps, respectively, may not set records in the SATA category, they deliver commendable performance. The drive incorporates safeguards against power loss issues and enhances security with AES 256-bit encryption.
In terms of specifications, the Crucial MX500 SATA doesn’t lead the charts, but it excels at providing ample storage without straining your budget.
Western Digital Black AN1500 1TB
- Dual SSD card for RAID 0 support
- Great for upgrading a PCIe 3.0 interface
- It’s a unique SSD that won’t work for everyone
The Western Digital Black AN1500 stands out as a unique storage solution. Presented as an add-in PCIe card, it incorporates two Western Digital Black SSDs on board. Unlike accessing them individually, Western Digital employs a RAID 0 configuration, strategically stripping data across both drives to distribute the workload and achieve higher speeds.
This configuration is especially crucial considering the drive utilises a PCIe 3.0 interface. For users with older machines, the AN1500 offers an excellent opportunity to enhance performance without the need for a complete system upgrade. With impressive sequential read speeds of up to 6,500 MBps and sequential write speeds of up to 4,100 MBps, it surpasses the performance of even the swiftest PCIe 3.0 SSDs.
Seagate Storage Expansion Card For Xbox
- Best way to upgrade Xbox Series S/X storage
- No installation required
- For Xbox only
The Seagate Storage Expansion Card offers a unique solution for the Xbox Series X and Series S, providing an additional terabyte of ultra-fast storage that seamlessly integrates into the console. Designed exclusively for Xbox, this SSD simplifies the upgrading process by allowing users to slot it into the back of the console, much like inserting a memory card.
Beyond its ease of installation, the Seagate Storage Expansion Card unlocks various Xbox features, including faster loading times compared to external hard drives, support for Direct Storage in compatible games, and the convenience of Quick Resume, allowing users to switch between games without losing progress. While not quite matching the speed of internal storage, it comes remarkably close, making it the best SSD for enhancing Xbox console storage.
In summary, upgrading to an SSD is crucial for optimal performance in modern devices and gaming consoles. The diverse options outlined cater to various needs, ensuring a suitable choice for everyone. Whether you prioritise speed for gaming, cutting-edge performance, affordability, or console-specific enhancements, there’s an SSD that aligns with your requirements. Make the most of affordable pricing and technological advancements by choosing the best SSD that elevates your storage experience.