SOLVED: What Type of SSD Should I Buy?

m2 sata ssd which to buyIn our article A Brief Explanation of the History and Differences in SSD Memory With a Focus On the Crucial P1 we explained the different types of modern day SSD’s and how they came to be.  That leaves most people with the simple question of ‘what type of Solid State Drive should I buy?’ and we wanted to answer that in the most direct fashion.  However, like every other tech question there, it depends on what you are doing with the drive:

SSD’s FOR THE AVERAGE USER:

If you are an average user, just buy:

  • the cheapest SSD that works with your computer – SATA is fine – M.2 PCIe/NVMe is better but don’t spend too much extra money on them
  • that is 250GB or larger  – Yes, smaller SSD’s cost less, but if the world of 2019 / 2020 there is almost no price difference between a 256GB SSD and a 128GB SSD so just buy the 256GB.

SLC MLC TLC QLC Quad Bit 2007 2018Don’t pay more for expensive brands.  The cheapest SSD you can find will perform significantly below the the best SSD’s on the market but if you are reading this you are changing from a spinning disk and even the worst SSD will be many times faster than what you are used to.

To save money on a new computer, if you have technical skills you can likely buy a new PC, laptop or even Apple Mac with a crappy cheap spinning disk in it and then swap in an cheap SSD yourself.

 

SLC MLC TLC QLC Quad Bit graphicSSD’s FOR THE POWER USER:

A power user will surf the web and check email like everyone else but they might also edit the odd video file or play high end games periodically.  These users will likely need more space and more performance so we recommend buying an

  • M.2 PCIe/NVMe drive – Don’t consider SATA drives
  • with more than 500GB of space
  • QLC “Quad Level Cell” drives are ideal for most power users who need space but want to keep the price down

In the summer of 2019 we have been using the Crucial P1 1TB drive in many systems and are very happy with it.  The only time you should not use this disk is if you are going to fill it up beyond 90% or if you are going to constantly be working very large files.  As there are problems with QLC drives like the P1 in those situations.

As technology improves, relative SSD performance will change so before you buy anything you should find a few you like and then compare them using websites like SSD.UserBenchmark.com .  In that link they compare the Crucial P1 to the Samsung 970 EVO.

Make sure you are comparing EXACTLY the drive you are purchasing as there are major performance differences between minor model differences.  For instance the Crucial P1 1TB has drastically improved performance over the .5TB version.

In THIS video we swap out a 256 GB Dell SK Hynix SSD from a brand new Dell Optiplex 5070 desktop and replace it with a Crucial P1 1TB drive then benchmark it to show the write performance nearly doubles!

 

Crucial P1 vs Samsung 970 EVO vs WD Black 3D vs Samsung EVO 860 BenchmarkSSD’s FOR THE SUPER USER:

If you are a heavy gamer, video editor or high end corporate user that has disk intensive tasks running for days/weeks on end you will need the fastest and most reliable SSD’s.  We recommend you source an:

  • M.2 PCIe/NVMe drive – Don’t even consider SATA drives
  • with at least 1TB of space (which is not that much more expensive than a .5TB drive anymore)
  • TLC – ‘Triple Level Cell’ – avoid the QLC “Quad Level Cell” drives like the Crucial P1

In the summer of 2019 we have used the Samsung 970 EVO for such users with great success.  However, the best performing drives will change over time so you should find a few you like and then compare them using websites like SSD.UserBenchmark.com .  In that link they compare the Crucial P1 to the Samsung 970 EVO.

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