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Switching from a standard hard drive to an SSD is the best single upgrade you can make to a PC. Your OS and applications load quicker, and your computer feels fast. However, choosing a new SSD is never easy. To help you make a decision, we’ve chosen 10 of what we consider the best SSDs in the 500GB range available to buy in 2018.
SATA vs M.2 vs NVMe
There are three main types of SSD on the market – SATA, M.2 SATA and M.2 NVMe.
While SATA SSDs will work in any PC with standard SATA ports, M.2 SSDs will only work in PCs which have an M.2 slot on the motherboard. So if you’re thinking of upgrading to an M.2 SSD, you’ll need to check that your PC motherboard actually has an M.2 slot first. If not, stick to SATA SSDs.
The biggest growth in the SSD market over the last year has been the NVMe sector. NVMe drives do away with the bottleneck that is SATA, thereby increasing the transfer speed several times over.
- SATA SSDs connect to your computer’s motherboard via the SATA interface, just like a traditional hard drive, and the speed of the SSD is limited by the SATA standard, maxing out at around 550MB/s.
- M.2 SATA SSDs connect to an M.2 slot on your computer’s motherboard, but use the same SATA standard and therefore have the same maximum speed of around 550MB/s.
- M.2 NVMe SSDs use the NVMe standard, which connects via an M.2 slot directly to the PCI Express bus in your PC and is therefore several times faster – up to a theoretical maximum of almost 4GB/s.
In summary: A SATA SSD is around 5 times faster than a traditional hard drive. An NVMe SSD is around 6 times faster than a SATA SSD, or around 30 times faster than a hard drive.
With the explanation out of the way, let’s take a look at our 10 top picks for the best SSD of 2018.
|Samsung 970 PRO NVMe 512GB||M.2 NVMe||3500MB/s||2300MB/s|
|Samsung 960 PRO NVMe 512GB||M.2 NVMe||3500MB/s||2100MB/s|
|Samsung 970 EVO NVMe 500GB||M.2 NVMe||3400MB/s||2300MB/s|
|WD Black NVMe 500GB|
Best NVMe SSD
|Samsung 960 EVO NVMe 500GB||M.2 NVMe||3200MB/s||1800MB/s|
|ADATA XPG SX8000 NVMe 512GB|
Best Budget NVMe SSD
|WD Blue 3D NAND M.2 SATA 500GB|
Best M.2 SATA SSD
|WD Blue 3D NAND 2.5″ SATA 500GB||2.5″ SATA||560MB/s||530MB/s|
|Crucial MX500 3D NAND 2.5″ SATA 500GB||2.5″ SATA||560MB/s||510MB/s|
|ADATA SU800 3D NAND 2.5″ SATA 512GB|
Best Budget SATA SSD
Samsung 960 EVO NVMe 500GB
Samsung has consistently produced some of the best SSDs on the market, and the EVO series in particular has found widespread market success. The 960 EVO is no exception. Offering performance close to its more expensive brother, the 960 PRO, but at a far more reasonable cost, the 960 EVO NVMe represents excellent value for money. Although it has now been superseded by the 970 EVO, the 960 remains a strong contender. The only negative point is the 3-year warranty. All of the other drives in this list offer a 5 year limited warranty.
Samsung 960 PRO 512GB NVMe
Samsung’s high-end 960 PRO NVMe SSD is one of the fastest on the market. However, while the 300MB/second speed increase offered over the cheaper 960 EVO is impressive, in real-World use it’s barely noticeable. It does, however, include a 5 year warranty as opposed to the EVO’s 3 years. Our advice: unless you really need the extra 300MB/s, save some money and buy the EVO instead.
Samsung 970 EVO NVMe 500GB
Just launched in 2018, the Samsung 970 EVO takes the already excellent 960 EVO and bumps the transfer speeds up even more. In fact, the 970 EVO now bests even the previous high-end 960 Pro in tests. There is something of a price premium to pay over the 960 EVO, but that’s to be expected as the drive is so new.
Samsung 970 PRO NVMe 512GB
Samsung’s new high-end NVMe SSD for 2018, the 970 PRO, has slightly increased sequential read speeds as their more consumer-oriented 970 EVO, but the write speed remains the same. As with the EVO, in a real-world scenario it’s unlikely that the speed difference would be noticeable. Unless you absolutely must have the fastest read speed available, the cheaper WD Black or the 970 EVO are a better choice.
WD Black 500GB NVMe
Best NVMe SSD
The WD Black 500GB NVMe is our choice for the best NVMe drive of 2018. As one of the first drives to challenge Samsung’s dominance of the SSD market, the 2018 WD Black is the first to utilise WD’s new SSD controller. This results in outstanding performance, even faster than the 970 EVO and almost as fast as the 970 PRO, but at a more attractive price.
ADATA XPG SX8000 512GB NVMe
An excellent value budget 500GB range NVMe SSD. Several times faster than even the fastest SATA SSD, yet only a little more expensive. An excellent alternative if you want an NVMe drive but you’re on a tight budget.
WD Blue 3D NAND 500GB M.2 SATA
Best M.2 SATA SSD
Utilising the same SATA interface as the M.2 SATA SSD.
WD Blue 3D NAND 500GB 2.5″ SATA
Best SATA SSD
The WD Blue has the best transfer speeds of any 2.5″ SATA SSD tested. It’s only limited by the capacity of the SATA interface itself. The excellent transfer speeds make this drive our choice for the best 2.5″ SATA SSD of 2018.
Crucial MX500 3D NAND 2.5″ SATA
A very capable 2.5″ SATA SSD, with strong performance. Only beaten by the ADATA SU800 in terms of price.