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)
 

 

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  • Death666Angel - Friday, November 08, 2019 - link

    Oh, and at least here (Germany) the price difference at the 2 TB level is at least 20% from 660p to the next non-QLC drive (SX8200 Pro). That can start to add up, especially if you know your use case won't be hindered by the QLC shortcomings. Reply
  • boozed - Friday, November 08, 2019 - link

    Sure, if those friends are running "AnandTech Storage Bench - The Destroyer".

    But it's in the "entry level" category for a reason...
    Reply
  • richough3 - Saturday, November 09, 2019 - link

    You also have to turn off Windows Protection or that tanks the 660p performance. Also, if you use any 3-D video card which caches shaders to disk (all of them by default), then performance of the 3-D performance suffers significantly. Overall, in my experience, the 660p is terrible for everything except maybe as storage only, but I wouldn't encourage anyone to buy it because Intel should be able to do better than this. I'd rather go SATA SSD than an NMVe 660p. Reply
  • DyneCorp - Wednesday, November 27, 2019 - link

    Source? Reply
  • Duncan Macdonald - Friday, November 08, 2019 - link

    Call me a cynic but I prefer to purchase a drive that has been on the market for a while and from a major manufacturer. The small extra cost for a Samsung 860 or 970 is worth it for peace of mind.
    (I do not want to find out the hard way that the drive that I am using has the same unreliability as some of the OCZ Sandforce based models.)
    Reply
  • PeachNCream - Friday, November 08, 2019 - link

    The MX500 has been around for quite some time and has not been of poor quality. Although, storage and reliability are important so if you feel more comfortable with a particular brand and paying the additional cost gives you peace of mind, go for it. Reply
  • Retycint - Saturday, November 09, 2019 - link

    Several drives listed here have been on the market for a while and have a proven NAND-controller pairing. E.g. Sabrent Rocket, Silicon Power P34A80 etc. At this point Samsung ssds have very few advantages, and you should really only go for Samsung if you need international warranty or you must have it single-sided (in certain laptops for example) Reply
  • eastcoast_pete - Sunday, November 10, 2019 - link

    Assuming the prices for the one TB NVMe drives don't change much, I wonder if the Intel 660 is really worth considering, since the faster and otherwise better Team card is within 10% of the 660's price (as the movie title says: for a few dollars more). I might just get me one of those, at 11 cents/GB they are tempting. What are people's experience with Team SSDs? Reply
  • Slash3 - Thursday, November 14, 2019 - link

    They're essentially a reference design, like the Inland Premium, Sabrent Rocket, MyDigitalSSD BPX Pro, Force MP510, etc.

    Having said that, warranties do vary and some models have recently been changed to include a smaller DRAM cache size (eg, Sabrent Rocket), while others such as the BPX Pro utilize "better" DRAM. Overall performance impact is low to negligible, but for some people that can be a turn off.

    Endurance also varies, with some drives delivering over 1 drive write per day of endurance (eg, 1.6PB write on the 1TB BPX Pro) while others, such as Intel's 660p 1TB, only deliver 0.11 drive writes per day (200TB write). The type of NAND used as well as the SLC cache (if applicable) can influence the endurance rating and subsequent spec guidance.

    As for Team as a brand, they've been around for quite a while, known primarily for their system memory modules. Recently, they've offered SATA SSDs, flash memory and now NVMe drives. As with any product, the component details help tell the story, but I wouldn't hesitate to buy the company's offerings at all.

    The Intel 660p is a lightweight use drive. If you want to slap a bunch of Steam games on it or use it as a general purpose boot drive, it'll do fine. Read rate is its specialty. I wouldn't use it for anything server related or for large file manipulation (eg, video editing), but it's often the least expensive option which makes it attractive for extra storage or for a budget build.
    Reply
  • masteraleph - Sunday, November 10, 2019 - link

    Inland Premium drives are also using the E12 controller. They've been consistently running at $99 from Microcenter and $100-110 from Amazon over the last few months. Reply

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