Summer has come and gone, and over the past few months, there have been quite a few SSDs released into the market, and the question of, “Which SSD should I buy?” seems to still come up a lot around forums. Usually, there are some predetermined recommended favorite in each.
Today we feel we should provide our own answer to the question. Since the answer can cover such a large audience, from those who want a cheap value drive to those who want high-end enterprise grade drives, we will separate our answers for multiple categories.
ENTHUSIAST SATA SSD
To start, we shall go over the best Enthusiast SATA based SSD. When you are looking for the best of the best, there are no compromises. Price is not a concern and high performance is a must. In this category, we chose the Samsung 850 Pro as our winner.
The Samsung 850 Pro is quite a drive. It is the first consumer drive to have 3D NAND, allowing for greater endurance and performance. Capacities range from 128GB-1TB. It has the latest hardware encryption support, DevSleep support, and an industry leading 10-year warranty!
Furthermore, Samsung’s toolbox, Magician, is one of the best SSD toolboxes out. It offers secure erase support, RAPID RAM caching, performance monitoring, and system optimization, all built into an easy-to-navigate GUI.
If you are looking for the best drive out, look no further than the Samsung 850 Pro.
VALUE SATA SSD
Looking for a faster computing experience that won’t hurt your wallet? The value SSD market is quite cluttered. Finding the best bang for your buck SSD can become a daunting task at best these days. For us, features and price point are king. The Crucial MX100 beats out all the competition up to 512GB.
The MX100 prices are currently some of the lowest out. The 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB drives come in at $79.99, $109.99, $224.99 respectively. The MX100 offers a plethora of features for what you pay, many of which are enterprise grade. For instance, it offers power loss protection, full hardware encryption support, adaptive thermal protection, data path protection, DevSleep support, and migration software. For the price point there isn’t anything else I would rather recommend, except for capacities over 512GB.
Beyond the 512GB barrier, the Samsung 840 EVO takes the crown at 1TB. It doesn’t have power loss protection, but it does have full drive encryption support, and some of the best 4k reads on the market along with Samsung’s RAPID support.
mSATA, short for mini-SATA, is simply a smaller form factor SATA based SSD solution mainly built for laptops and mobile products. In this category, we chose the Samsung 840 EVO mSATA as the clear winner.
As with the 2.5″ form factor, the Samsung 840 EVO mSATA comes in capacities ranging from 120GB-1TB. Most other mSATA drives cap out at the 512GB capacity. The 840 EVO features DevSleep, RAPID, and dynamic thermal guard, as well as providing TCG/Opal and eDrive security features.
M.2 is the up and coming new form factor for SSDs. It replaces mSATA as the design is more flexible by allowing drives to be manufactured in multiple lengths and higher capacity. It also allows for much faster speeds than SATA…much, much faster. Capable of supporting up to four PCIe 3.0 lanes, M.2 devices can be designed to reach speeds of up to 4GB/s! However, to use M.2 devices you need a supporting motherboard or adapter.
Currently, the Samsung XP941 is the top contender in the M.2 marketplace. It offers support for 4 PCIe lanes, however only at PCIe 2.0 speeds. In our tests speeds just broke the 1GB/s barrier and when in RAID 0, broke 2GB/s. It comes in 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB capacities. Its NAND is MLC based rather than TLC as their EVO is, and it comes with a 3 year warranty.