Upgrading to a solid-state drive is the ultimate PC upgrade. These devices improve boot times, program and game responsiveness, and overall performance. However, not all solid-state drives are created equal. You can splurge for read and write speeds that exceed standard levels, or opt for top-quality SSDs that offer solid performance at a lower cost.
Many SSDs come in a 2.5-inch form factor and connect to your PC via a SATA port. But, smaller NVMe “gumstick” SSDs and faster PCIe 4.0 drives are also gaining popularity, offering options for modern motherboards and compatible PCs.
As PCWorld, we pride ourselves on thorough and rigorous storage evaluations. We only highlight the best SSDs on the market. For those looking for an external drive, check out PCWorld’s guide to the best external drives.
Updated 11/13/2023: We recommend the Seagate Game Drive as the best PCIe 4.0 SSD for the PS5. Its DRAM caching and high TBW rating make it the top choice for console owners. Read below for more information on why we love this SSD.
Samsung 870 EVO – Top SATA SSD
Pros: Exceptional performance, particularly with small file operations.
Cons: Long writes do not slow down like the QVO.
If you prefer to add storage through a traditional SATA drive, Samsung’s 870 EVO is the fastest we’ve tested and an affordable option. It’s available in up to 4TB of capacity and comes with Samsung’s Magician SSD management software and a long warranty period.
Crucial BX500 – Best Budget SATA SSD
Pros: Good everyday performance, low price per gigabyte
Cons: Slows down when the secondary cache runs out
For those looking for capacity without breaking the bank, the Crucial BX500 is a great option. You can get a 1TB model for $41.99, a much cheaper alternative to Samsung’s EVO.
Crucial P3 – Top PCIe 3.0 SSD
Pros: Excellent everyday PCIe 3 performance, fantastic price per GB
Cons: Very low TBW rating. Non-cached QLC writes are extremely slow
The Crucial P3 is a good choice for users with older systems using PCIe 3.0. It offers great daily performance at an affordable price.
Solidigm P44 Pro SSD – Best PCIe 4.0 SSD
Pros: Fastest PCIe 4.0 SSD to date, DRAM facilitates excellent random performance
Cons: Inconsistent pricing
The Solidigm P44 Pro is the fastest PCIe 4.0 drive currently on the market. It provides top-notch performance at a competitive price.
WD Blue SN580 SSD – Best Budget PCIe 4.0 SSD
Pros: Affordable, super-fast transfers in real-world
Cons: Slows down when writing off secondary cache, slightly low endurance rating
For those looking for an affordable PCIe 4.0 SSD, the WD Blue SN580 is a great option. It offers stellar performance at a competitive price.
Crucial T700 – Top PCIe 5.0 SSD
Pros: Breathtaking performance, available with or without heatsink, up to 4TB in capacity
Cons: Extremely pricey
For those looking for the latest and greatest, the Crucial T700 is the fastest PCIe 5.0 SSD. While pricey, it boasts unbelievable speed and capacity.
In conclusion, upgrading to an SSD for your PC can enhance speed and performance, with options to fit every budget and requirement.