In our series of Solid State Drive guides, here’s the latest update to our list of recommended SSDs. All numbers in the text are updated to reflect pricing at the time of writing.

Best SSDs: Holiday 2019

A solid state drive is often the most important component for making a PC feel fast and responsive; any PC still using a mechanical hard drive as its primary storage is long overdue for an upgrade. The SSD market is broader than ever, with a wide range prices, performance and form factors.

SSD prices have started to creep up a bit in some corners of the market, but the holiday sales are interrupting that trend. The industry is still slowly migrating from 64-layer to 96-layer 3D NAND, but that doesn't have much impact on end-user price, performance or endurance. At the very high end, PCIe 4.0 SSDs have arrived but are still far more expensive than PCIe 3.0-based high-end drives, without offering much in the way of real-world performance improvements. The sweet spot for pricing is usually with 1TB models, but anything from 480GB up to 2TB can come close on a $/GB basis. There are now several 4TB consumer SSDs to choose from, but they're all more than twice the price of their 2TB counterparts.

Cyber Monday 2019 SSD Recommendations
Market Segment Recommendations
Entry-level NVMe Intel SSD 660p 1TB $82.99 (8¢/GB)
High-end NVMe Silicon Power P34A80 1TB $109.99 (11¢/GB)
Mainstream 2.5" SATA WD Blue 3D 2TB $189.99 (9¢/GB)
M.2 SATA Crucial MX500 1TB $99.99 (10¢/GB)

Above are some recommendations of good deals in each market segment. Some 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.

Cyber Monday 2019 SSD Recommendations: Price to Beat, ¢/GB
Market Segment 256GB 512GB 1TB 2TB 4 TB
Budget 2.5" SATA 12 ¢/GB 9 ¢/GB 9 ¢/GB 9 ¢/GB 12 ¢/GB
Mainstream 2.5" SATA 16 ¢/GB 11 ¢/GB 10 ¢/GB 9 ¢/GB 12 ¢/GB
Entry-level NVMe 14 ¢/GB 11 ¢/GB 10 ¢/GB 10 ¢/GB  
High-end NVMe 16 ¢/GB 12 ¢/GB 11 ¢/GB 12 ¢/GB 16 ¢/GB
M.2 SATA 15 ¢/GB 11 ¢/GB 10 ¢/GB 12 ¢/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. Most 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, or have tested just one of the several brands selling the same turnkey solution. For older drives not mentioned in this guide, our SSD Bench database can provide performance information and comparisons.

NVMe SSDs

The price gap between mainstream SATA SSDs and the more affordable NVMe options has all but disappeared, so going with NVMe should now be the default choice for almost everyone. As usual, most of the NVMe SSDs that were designed to be cheaper entry-level models are barely cheaper than many last-generation high-end models, so we only recommend getting an entry-level model when a system with no SATA support needs the cheapest possible capacity upgrade.

High-end NVMe: Silicon Power P34A80 and other Phison E12 drives

The consumer SSDs that are capable of using PCIe 4.0 speeds are so far all based on the Phison E16 controller. Only a few of Phison's partners have started shipping their E16-based drives, and more competitors are on the way. These PCIe 4.0-capable drives still carry a steep premium, but they are starting to get down to the price levels of the fastest PCIe 3.0-based drives like the WD Black SN750 and Samsung 970 EVO Plus. For most consumers, the cheaper high-end drives that only support PCIe 3.0 speeds are still a far better deal. The cheapest options in this product segment are mostly drives based on the earlier Phison E12 controller. Depending on the capacity and daily price fluctuations, the best buy might be from Addlink, Sabrent, Silicon Power, Team, or one of several other vendors.

One recent arrival deserves a special mention: the Sabrent Rocket is now available in a 4TB model for $656.72 (16¢/GB). That's much more than twice the price of the 2TB model, but it's the only consumer 4TB M.2 SSD currently available.

  240-280GB 480-512GB 960GB-1TB 2TB
HP EX950   $72.99
(14¢/GB)
$129.99
(13¢/GB)
$254.99
(13¢/GB)
Addlink S70 $39.99
(16¢/GB)
$63.88
(12¢/GB)
$124.99
(12¢/GB)
$259.99
(13¢/GB)
Sabrent Rocket $44.98
(18¢/GB)
$69.98
(14¢/GB)
$119.98
(12¢/GB)
$249.98
(12¢/GB)
Silicon Power P34A80 $41.99
(16¢/GB)
$59.99
(12¢/GB)
$109.99
(11¢/GB)
$244.99
(12¢/GB)
Team MP34 $41.99
(16¢/GB)
$59.99
(12¢/GB)
   
Corsair Force MP600   $139.99
(28¢/GB)
  $359.99
(18¢/GB)
Sabrent Rocket 4.0   $98.98
(19¢/GB)
$167.99
(16¢/GB)
$339.99
(17¢/GB)
WD Black SN750 $62.99
(25¢/GB)
$71.99
(14¢/GB)
$220.00
(22¢/GB)
$359.99
(18¢/GB)
Samsung 970 EVO Plus $69.99
(28¢/GB)
$99.99
(20¢/GB)
$198.48
(20¢/GB)
$399.99
(20¢/GB)

 

Entry-level NVMe: Intel SSD 660p

Silicon Motion's SM2263 is currently the most successful entry-level NVMe controller. Intel uses it with 64L QLC NAND for the 660p, one of the only QLC-based SSDs we can currently recommend (except for the 500GB model). Kingston pairs it with 96L TLC NAND for their A2000, which offers some of the best performance and endurance currently available from entry-level NVMe drives. There are a few even cheaper drives using the DRAMless SM2263XT controller variant; these drives make more considerable performance sacrifices but still outperform SATA SSDs. However, everything in this segment is still liable to be undercut by good sales on high-end NVMe drives.

  240-256GB 480-512GB 1TB 2TB
Mushkin Helix-L $36.99
(15¢/GB)
  $105.99
(11¢/GB)
 
HP EX900 $36.99
(15¢/GB)
  $134.99
(13¢/GB)
 
WD Blue SN500 $43.99
(18¢/GB)
     
Kingston A2000 $34.99
(14¢/GB)
$54.99
(11¢/GB)
$168.63
(17¢/GB)
 
Intel 660p   $54.99
(11¢/GB)
$82.99
(8¢/GB)
$204.99
(10¢/GB)
Intel 665p     $124.99
(12¢/GB)
 


SATA SSDs

SATA drives haven't started to disappear from the market yet, but there's not much reason left for consumers to be buying them. They are still useful for upgrading older systems that don't support NVMe, or to add more capacity to a system that doesn't have room for another NVMe drive. Entry-level SATA SSDs using DRAMless controllers or QLC NAND still generally offer the cheapest price per GB, but we recommend spending a little bit extra to get a mainstream drive with TLC NAND, a DRAM cache and higher endurance rating.

Mainstream 2.5" SATA: WD Blue 3D NAND, Crucial MX500

The big vertically-integrated NAND manufacturers still set the standard for price and performance in this product segment. Western Digital and Micron are the most competitive with their respective consumer brands (WD, SanDisk, Crucial) while Samsung still charges a bit of a premium. Third-party drive manufacturers offer some cheaper options by using older or lower-grade flash memory, and are still able to hit the performance limits of the SATA interface. Some current-generation models are starting to drop below 10¢/GB on sale, especially at higher capacities.

  240-256GB 480-512GB 1 TB 2 TB 4 TB
Samsung 860 EVO $54.99
(22¢/GB)
$57.99
(12¢/GB)
$109.99
(11¢/GB)
$229.99
(11¢/GB)
$497.99
(12¢/GB)
WD Blue 3D NAND $39.99
(16¢/GB)
$59.99
(12¢/GB)
$99.99
(10¢/GB)
$189.99
(9¢/GB)
$516.88
(13¢/GB)
SanDisk Ultra 3D $44.99
(18¢/GB)
$64.99
(13¢/GB)
$107.99
(11¢/GB)
$199.99
(10¢/GB)
 
Crucial MX500 $38.99
(16¢/GB)
$56.99
(11¢/GB)
$99.50
(10¢/GB)
$219.99
(11¢/GB)
 
ADATA SU800 $33.99
(13¢/GB)
$57.99
(11¢/GB)
$85.99
(8¢/GB)
$209.99
(10¢/GB)
 
SK Hynix Gold S31 $29.99
(12¢/GB)
$53.99
(11¢/GB)
$105.99
(11¢/GB)
   
Team L5 LITE 3D $33.99
(14¢/GB)
$42.99
(9¢/GB)
     

M.2 SATA: Crucial MX500 and WD Blue 3D

There are far fewer options for M.2 SATA drives than for 2.5" SATA drives, but the best models come in both form factors and with similar pricing for either. M.2 SATA SSDs should only be used in M.2 slots that don't also support PCIe NVMe SSDs, because NVMe drives are faster and plenty of them aren't any more expensive. The older ADATA SU800 is a bit cheaper at low capacities, but most consumers looking to buy a M.2 SATA drive are probably in need of a capacity upgrade. At 1TB or 2TB, the Crucial and WD drives are usually the best choices.

  250GB 500GB 1TB 2TB
Samsung 860 EVO M.2 $69.62
(28¢/GB)
$95.83
(19¢/GB)
$166.99
(17¢/GB)
$343.44
(17¢/GB)
Crucial MX500 M.2 $39.99
(16¢/GB)
$54.99
(11¢/GB)
$99.99
(10¢/GB)
 
WD Blue 3D M.2 $39.99
(16¢/GB)
$59.99
(12¢/GB)
$99.99
(10¢/GB)
$237.00
(12¢/GB)
ADATA SU800 M.2 $37.99
(15¢/GB)
$57.99
(11¢/GB)
$107.99
(11¢/GB)
 

 

POST A COMMENT

35 Comments

View All Comments

  • Death666Angel - Friday, November 08, 2019 - link

    I only buy M.2, either SATA or NVME and if I have a use case that only have SATA ports, I get a 3€ case for the M.2 drive. Much more versatile that way, a 250GB SSD that is getting too small for something can be turned into a high performance USB stick like that. Reply
  • kobblestown - Saturday, November 09, 2019 - link

    Well, sharing is exactly the problem, because you cannot share PCIe lanes. You need a PCIe switch chip which are damn expensive for no good reason. That is why I got myself a Threadripper on the cheap - I can bifurcate to 4x4(quadfurcate?) a PCIe x16 slot and use the appropriate adapter card to have 7 NVMe drives in total (plus the 3 dedicated). If that is not enough, the other x16 slot can also be bifurcated but then the GPU will be on a x8 slot. Reply
  • Samus - Sunday, November 10, 2019 - link

    I mean even if you ran them at PCIe 3.0/2x you're more than double that of SATA. Reply
  • Dribble - Monday, December 02, 2019 - link

    Those 16 lanes on coffee lake are not for io - there's a separate io chip with 20 or 24 lanes (can't remember the exact number) attached to the cpu by a 4* connection. Those 24 lanes are for SATA, USB, NVME, etc. Reply
  • Jorgp2 - Friday, November 08, 2019 - link

    Thats why I'm moving to an HEDT platform.

    You can have 4x M.2 per PCI-E 16x slot
    Reply
  • xenol - Friday, November 08, 2019 - link

    I would say that the performance offerings by NVMe not being realized in most consumer use-cases don't make it worthwhile to get anyway. However, seeing budget NVMe drives inching closer to SATA prices, that may be a moot point.

    Though one could argue a case of "I'd rather get a quality SATA SSD over a cheaply made NVMe SSD"
    Reply
  • TheinsanegamerN - Monday, December 02, 2019 - link

    Capacity, price, AND usage. For normal consumers, yes even for gamers, there is 0 benefit from a NVMe drive. I say this owning a 950 pro. Despite being a first gen drive, it is 3 times faster in benchmarks then any sata drive. And yet, there is 0 difference in, say, game loading times. Boot times are a whole 1 second faster, WOOOOAH!

    It simply isnt worth the added cost or the more complicated installation. Most consumers see 0 benefit, so they go based on price, which logically leads to SATA drives.
    Reply
  • romrunning - Friday, November 08, 2019 - link

    That Intel 660p is a bad recommendation for NVMe even as an "Entry Level" drive. It's a terrible performer, even worse than some SATA drives. The Team MP34 is only $7 more, with the avg/GB price the same at $0.10. When you buy NVMe, you should rightly expect a good performer, and the Intel 660p is NOT what you are expecting from a NVMe drive.

    Friends don't let friends buy the 660p. :)
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Friday, November 08, 2019 - link

    Only if you regularly exceed the SLC cache and then sure, why are you buying it. If you have normal consumer tasks, it's fine and faster than a SATA SSD. Reply
  • eastcoast_pete - Sunday, November 10, 2019 - link

    Partially agree. If the price for the 660 is significantly below the Team card, the 660 can be a good deal. With the current prices (at least for one TB in the US), the price/value ratio argues against the Intel 660. Ten percent or less (about $10) is nowhere near enough of a difference. Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now