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Best SSDs 2018: the top solid-state drives for your PC

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Here’s the thing: there’s a creeping tedium to even the best hard drives. You already know this, and obviously so do we, so we’ve got a bead on the best SSDs. These solid state drives are fast enough to finally free you from the sluggishness of the mechanical drives, with nearly instantaneous data transfers and boot times.

Don’t go thinking that you need one of the best PCs to access the ludicrous speeds that the best SSDs can offer. Ultrabook laptops and SSDs are a match made in heaven – the lightweight and compact design of the best Ultrabooks means that mechanical drives just don’t fit with their design or aesthetic. SSDs are even an extremely compelling upgrade for game consoles – just ask any PC gamer and they’ll likely talk at great length about the blazing fast loading times that only the best SSDs can offer. This flexibility is why we’ve taken the opportunity to create this list of the best SSDs you can buy today – each of which has earned the coveted TechRadar seal of approval.

Even if your budget isn’t as big as you’d like it to be, there are still plenty of great SSDs available. We’ve made an effort to cover a pretty wide variety of the best SSDs with this list, and we were sure to account for price on top of any technical features. There’s even some external drives in this list that you can use with devices other than your PC.

This is the top SSD on the market, and with good reason. It’s astonishingly fast, with up to 3200 MBps read and 1900 MBps write speeds. That’s due to the PCIe interface, which allows light-years faster speeds than the already extremely quick SATA interface. On top of that, it’s available with up to 1TB capacity. And it only requires 5.7 watts of power when active and a mere 1.2 watts when idle. 

Kingston’s HyperX line-up is aimed squarely at gamers. Its headsets are known for being much higher quality than their price might hint at, and HyperX customer support is excellent. Its line of SSDs for gaming computers come in an M.2 form factor, but are also available with a half-height adapter that plugs into your PCIe like any other expansion card.

The NVMe standard is designed to maximize the strengths of solid-state drives, and the Samsung 960 Pro takes full advantage. With an M.2 form factor and ridiculous read speeds of up to 3500 MBps, these SSDs are already enticing, but the fact it’s available as large as 2TB is incredible. All that storage doesn’t come cheap, but if you need lots (and LOTS) of fast storage, it’s definitely worth it.

If you’re looking for plenty of options, the Toshiba OCZ RD400 series of drives come in 4 sizes and three different form factors: M.2, M.2 2280, and add-in card (AIC). Not all sizes are in all form factors, so if you’re looking for a fast 1TB drive, make sure you have room in your computer case. 

  •  This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Samsung 960 Evo 

This M.2 SSD from WD comes with a 5-year warranty and boasts some pretty excellent read/write times, up to 2050 MBps read and 800 write on the 512GB model. Great for installation or OS purposes, but unfortunately the available sizes don’t leave a lot of flexibility as far as storage is concerned.

If you want to save a few bucks, but don’t want to sacrifice too much in the way of performance, the WD Blue SATA SSD is a great compromise. It nearly maxes out the bandwidth of the SATA 3 interface with its read/write speeds, and you can find the 1TB model in the wild for a pittance. 

The U.2 standard allows for bigger SSD capacities and uses your computer’s PCIe x4 slot to send all that data back and forth. The Intel 750 series includes a cable so you can mount the drive in the bay on your case and still plug it into the PCIe slot on your motherboard.

The Crucial BX300 isn’t the fastest SSD you can buy, but it is affordable and chiefly reliable to boot. Sold in three different sizes, this SATA drive is aimed at users still hanging onto older desktops and laptops that might want their PCs to boot up at a rate more analogous to their phones. Plus, it’s a better performer than the pricier MX300, thanks to MLC NAND.

  •  This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the WD Blue SSD 

If you need an SSD that will last into your next computer, the HP S700 Pro has just what you need. Its life will far exceed its warranty, offering up 2 million hours of use and up to 650 terabytes written. This is one SSD that’s in it for the long haul, but the SATA interface will slow things down somewhat in the read/write department, which technically helps it last even longer.

Booting from an SSD is a life changer. Seriously, if you’re loading your OS from a hard drive, you’re doing it wrong. The difference is night and day. This PCIe SSD from MyDigitalSSD is an excellent choice for booting up, with a good price and solid performance. It only goes up to 480GB, but if you’re just using it to run your OS, that’s way more than enough.

Unless you have a laptop or desktop computer that employs the USB Type-C Gen 2 interface, you might want to reconsider your interest in the Samsung Portable SSD T5. Otherwise, with read/write speeds of up to 540/515MBps, respectively, this external storage device does its best to keep up with some of the more modest PCIe players, and the result is superb.

Read the full review: Samsung Portable SSD T5

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article