Migrating your computer from a hard drive to a solid-state drive (SSD) is by far the most gratifying upgrade. So, getting the right drive is naturally an important task. This post includes the best SSDs I’ve reviewed.
Dong’s note: This is a frequently updated post.
Best SSDs of 2021: The lists
You’ll find here standard SATA and NVMe drives, divided into two lists in reviewed order with the latest on top.
NVMe and SATA are two different internal storage types — more about them in this post on SSD basics.
Best NVMe SSDs of 2021: A must for a top performing computer
Newer and much faster NVMe SSDs require a host that has an M.2 slot. Most computers released in the past five years have this slot built-in, but you can upgrade to one on almost all desktop computers via a PCIe adapter.
7. SK hynix Gold P31: Arguably the PCIe 3.0 NVMe drive of the best value
The Gold P31 is SK hynix’s first retail NVMe SSD and it proved that the out-going PCIe 3.0 standard still has a lot to offer. The new drive delivered a stellar performance in my testing and even edged out the PCIe 4.0-based drive below in certain tests.
That plus the higher endurance and much more affordable pricing mean this is an excellent NVMe deal, if not the best to date.
6. Samsung 980 PRO: First PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD
Samsung 980 PRO NVMe SSD
- PCIe 4.0 support, excellent performance
- Reasonably priced
- Backward compatible with PCIe Gen 3
- Helpful Samsung Magician software with lots of useful settings and features
- 5-year warranty
- Half the endurance rating of the 970 PRO
- No larger capacities than 2TB
5. Seagate IronWolf 510: A NAS NVMe that works well as a super-fast PC SSD
4. Silicon Power A80: A generic NVMe that rocks
3. WD Blue SN550: A Fast and affordable NVMe SSD
2. WD Blue SN500 SSD: The easy low-capacity, modest NVMe upgrade
1. Samsung 970 EVO Plus: The ultimate PCIe 3.0 NVMe solid-state drive
Best SATA SSD of 2021: An easy upgrade
The SATA standard is much slower than the NVMe above but still significantly faster than any traditional hard drive.
A SATA SSD will fit in the place of any regular hard drive and therefore, will make an easy and satisfying upgrade in any computer that still runs on a hard drive.
6. Samsung SSD 870 EVO: Arguable the best SATA drive to date
5. Samsung SSD 870 QVO: A sizable and excellent SATA upgrade for a budget computer
4. WD Red SA500: A versatile SATA NAS SSD that’s also great for PCs
WD Red SA500 NAS SATA SSD
3. SK hynix Gold S31: The nice new kid on the block
2. Seagate IronWolf 110: A standard SATA SSD with extreme endurance
1. Micron Crucial BX500: The low-cost replacement SSD for a budget computer
Best SSDs of 2021: SATA vs. NVMe performance
When reviewing solid-state drives, I generally only stack drives of the same type (SATA or MVMe) against one another. Since this list includes both types, however, you’ll find below performance charts of all drives. So, you’ll see here how SATA drives stack up against NVMe counterparts.
Sequential (copy) performance
This chart shows how fast solid-state drives perform when copying a large amount of data from one place to another. It applies general data transferring tasks, such as when you want to backup your data or, recovering data from a backup
Random access performance
Random access performance shows how a solid-state drive affects the host computer’s overall performance. It represents tasks like launching an application or editing a large data file.