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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  • Ghan - Friday, November 08, 2019 - link

    "SATA drives haven't started to disappear from the market yet, but there's not much reason left for consumers to be buying them."

    I would say the main reason to keep buying these is capacity. For some reason it is very difficult to add more than 2-3 NVMe M.2 drives to a desktop. It's kind of ironic given how small they are, but no one seems to have standardized on a case-based mounting and wiring solution for larger numbers of M.2 drives. A NAS solution for M.2 drives just doesn't exist as far as I know. Seems like a slam dunk, but... still waiting.
    Reply
  • PeachNCream - Friday, November 08, 2019 - link

    Older systems as well. All of my laptops still have 2.5 inch form factor drives and since they are sufficient for the things I want to do with a computer, I probably won't upgrade in the near term. Reply
  • cfenton - Friday, November 08, 2019 - link

    I imagine it's because the PCIe lanes are very limited on most consumer grade platforms. If I recall correctly, Zen 2 has 20 lanes and Coffee Lake has 16 lanes. That's a max of five 4x drives for AMD and four for Intel. That's assuming you don't need any other PCIe cards like a GPU. Adding an 8x GPU brings you down to three drives for AMD and two for Intel, which is about what you see on higher end motherboards. Reply
  • jabber - Friday, November 08, 2019 - link

    Ugh the whole PCIe lanes is the modern day equivalent of "oh not my graphics card, Ethernet card and soundcard are all on the same IRQ!"

    I had to do some mental juggling to work out how to add a optane module (just messing around) to my X99 setup that already has one NVMe on the board and another slotted in an adapter card. In the end I had to shutdown the USB3.1 controller to make it work. The rub is I have a 5820K with 28 lanes!!! How do you mere mortals cope???
    Reply
  • eastcoast_pete - Sunday, November 10, 2019 - link

    With slower SATA drives. That's how I cope. They are fine for a basic browse and type setup. For a nice gaming setup, not so much. Reply
  • Lolimaster - Sunday, November 10, 2019 - link

    0 differrnce between sata and nvme for gaming. nvme only makes sense when you actually need the huge bw performance such as editing 4k+ video. Reply
  • TheinsanegamerN - Monday, December 02, 2019 - link

    There is no difference between NVMe and SATA loading times for games. Short of moving massive files, they are indistinguishable.

    --A user with both NVMe and Sata SSDs.
    Reply
  • deil - Monday, December 02, 2019 - link

    with game alone, its not. BUT if you download games, while playing, listening to spotify, and propably keeping a lot of tabs (ryzens 3x still would have cpu cores to spare) it might affect you, not by the sequential speed but @4x IOPS that NVME can have Reply
  • deil - Monday, December 02, 2019 - link

    you tell me you need more than 2x4TB m.2 drives and you cannot cope with having next 6x20TB 3.5 HDD's or 6x4TB 2.5 SSD/HDD drives ?
    what monstrous load you have to keep using more than 8TB continuously at high speed ?
    Reply
  • Ghan - Friday, November 08, 2019 - link

    Sharing lanes isn't a problem for this use case.. Again, the capacity is the issue, not the bandwidth in most cases. Reply

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