The Best SSD Drives of 2016 – Which One Stands Out?

SSD drives performance is much better than for HDD drives because of their high-speed in read/write data and they can effectively speed up your system’s performance (laptop or tablet). Here is list of the best SSD drives of 2016.

If you’re looking for a SSD drive, but are confused with all different models available in the market and don’t know which one to pick up, I’ve prepared a list of best SSD drives in the market according to some important factors such as price, lifetime, speed and reliability. So after reading this post, hopefully you’ll be able to choose the most suitable SSD drive for yourself. Continue reading!

Best SSD Drives

Important Notes in Buying SSD Drive

Unlike HHD drives which performance is similar, SSD drives (even if they’re two different models from one company) can be very different. Lifetime is one of the most important factors in purchasing a SSD drive because number of times for writing data on SSD cells is limited, that’s why there’re many SSD drives that are different in lifetime, performance and read/write speed.

Sequential Read/Write Speed

Sequential read/write speed is normally announced by manufactures, but please note that it’s only a written number and does not guarantee that you’ll have access to it.

MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures)

This number is also announced by manufacturer and it means mean time between failures in SSD drive. For example, a SSD drive with 1,500,000 hours MTBF is better than the one with 150,000. The higher this number, the lower the chance of SSD drive failure is.

Different SSD Drives based on Types of Cells

Currently SSD drives for everyday use are based on two memory cell technology: MLC and TLC

In summary, MLC is suitable for home users because of its high speed and long lifetime. The second type (TLC) is cheaper, but its speed and lifetime are also lower. So while choosing a SSD, pay attention to memory chips technology of SSD drives.

Although SSD drives with MLC technology are more expensive, their performance, speed and lifetime are better, so if you aim to use a SSD drive for a long time, I don’t recommend those with TLC technology. On the other hand, SSD with TLC technology are cheaper. For example, the price of a 120GB SSD drive with MLC technology is almost the same as a 240GB SSD drive with TLC technology. But keep in mind that there’s no big difference in lifetime and performance between these two drives.

As I’ve mentioned before, unlike HDD drives, speed, performance and lifetime of different SSD drive types are totally different, so we have three options for each capacity.

There’re some factors and technical parameters that should be considered while buying a SSD drive, but since explaining these technical issues can be too complex, I`ll keep it for now. Anyway, I’ve considered all those important factors and technical parameters in the list below so that you can make the best decision and pick the best SSD drive according to your budget and needs.

Benchmarks Aren’t Always Trustworthy

If you sort SSDs based on benchmark’s result, you’ll have a list totally different from reality, and it may confuse you when you see a SSD drive with much higher speed than another one according to the benchmark result. Although benchmark results aren’t useless, they’re not trustworthy too, and real difference in performance between two devices can be much less or even inconspicuous in reality.

Benchmarks only show the peak which does not mean real performance of a device. Also manufactures use some technics which increase device performance when it’s used in a short-time test what improves their benchmark results.

Some technics like SLS Caching have been used in many SSD drives, they increase read/write speed when small-size data is transferred, so benchmark result would not be real. For example, we may see high speed and excellent performance of a SSD drive when it transfers a 500mb file and that’s because of SLC, but performance of the same SSD drive will be very different for transferring a bigger size file. So if you saw an amazing benchmark results for a SSD drive, think twice and don’t be surprised if its performance is lower than stated in its benchmark results when you purchased it.

In my opinion, the best way to evaluate performance of a SSD drive is to test it in real world instead of relying on synthetic benchmarks.

Performance of Random Read/Write

Sometimes manufacturers focus on IOPS (Input/output operations per second) to show better performance of their devices, but the fact is that most of the times the impact of IOPS isn’t noticeable in its actual use. Of course, we accept that higher IOPS is better, but it’s not noticeable for most users who don`t use it to the extent when it becomes obvious.

Actually, IOPS time is only important if a SSD drive is used for very heavy and complex tasks like database maintenance or running programs that need really high read/write speed (not ordinary programs). So don’t pay attention to IOPS time so much while choosing a SSD drive and consider sequential read/write speed as a more important factor.

TLC NAND SSDs Are the Best Choice

Although performance and reliability of MLC NAND SSDs is better, TLC SSDs are good enough. The biggest advantage of TLC NAND SSDs is its lower price. Because of advertising and lack of buyers` technical knowledge about TLC SSDs, it’s been said that reliability of TLC models is too low while that’s not true and they’re reliable enough. Most of current TLC SSDs can read/write for about 70,000GB which is appropriate according to their low price.

However, if you’re willing to buy a TLC SSD, it’s recommended to buy new products which are equipped to a special controller for TLC NAND memory chips; and don’t look at 2-3-year-old models.

120GB or 128GB SSDs Aren’t Better

SSD manufactures try to increase capacity of NAND chips everyday which results in less memory chips used in SSDs. So the price will decrease if smaller number of chips is used what is beneficial for both manufactures and customers. But it has also some disadvantages.

When number of memory chips decreases (high-capacity chips will be used instead), number of communication channels with memory chips will decrease too and the controller connected to chips will be narrower what results in lower performance. Another disadvantage of using more dense chips is lower lifetime because the number of times each chip can be used will increase and it’ll burn out sooner.

Number of memory chips is related to random access performance directly. So I recommend you to buy SSDs with higher than 128GB capacity because of its better lifetime and performance; especially if you’re looking for TLC models.

Skip SSDs without DRAM-Less

One of the main components of SSD drives which is affects its final price is RAM memory. Actually, most cheap products in the market are not equipped to RAM and use alternative methods such as SLC Caching. Lack of RAM memory decreases overall performance of SSDs, and they act much weaker compared to SSDs equipped to RAM memory. So it’s recommended to skip SSDs without RAM memory (DRAM-Less).

M.2 SSDs Are Not Necessarily Faster Than SATA SSDs

Many think that M.2 SSDs are faster and better than SATA SSDs, but it must be said that it’s not always true and their performance quality can be the same.

According to M.2 SSDs connector, they’re divided into two types: SATA III 6.0Gb/s and PCI Express.

Performance of the first type (SATA III 6.0Gb) isn’t different from ordinary SSDs at all, but PCI Express models are faster and of course, more expensive than other types. Smaller size is the only advantage of M.2 SATA SSDs. They are even weaker than normal SSDs. So if you don’t have a logical reason for buying one, just go for a normal SSD.

Don’t Look at SSDs with Capacity Lower Than 120GB

Since the price of SSDs has decreased significantly during recent years, it does not pay and not recommended to buy SSDs with low capacity like 60GB. So only look for at least 120GB of capacity.

Now let’s take a look at best SSD Drives in the market which are sorted according to their capacity:

Best 120GB SSD Drive

Kingston 120GB SSDNow UV400 SATA III

Price: $49.99

Kingston SSDNow UV400 210GB SATA III

Kingston SSDNow UV400 series is affordable. They’re the perfect choice if you want to move from old mechanical hard disk drives to a fast and modern solid state drive with the lowest price. These SSD drives are equipped to a four-channel Marvell controller and TLC memory chips. The performance of UV400 series isn’t the best, but it’s good enough for everyday use.

Marvell 88SS1074 controller and TLC chips from different manufacturers have been used in UV400. DRAM memory is also embedded in this type of drives.

[table id=19 /]


Best 250GB SSD Drive

Samsung 850 EVO 250GB SATA III

Price: $98.00

 

Samsung 850 EVO 250 GB SATA III

This is one of the best-selling 250GB SSDs in the world. It`s based on 40-nm(nanometer) chips, TLCV NAND and has Samsung’s MGX dedicated controller. It also benefits from 512MB of cache which results in excellent performance as well as very good lifetime for such SSD what turned it into one of the best SSDs among all other 250GB SSDs.

EVO 850 with its long lifetime, very good performance and low power consumption can be an absolutely suitable choice for gaming and professional systems.

[table id=20 /]

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Best 480GB SSD Drive

Crucial BX200 480GB SATA III

Price: $158.99

Crucial BX200 480GB SATA III

Crucial BX200 is also very affordable as well as powerful. This SSD is based on Silicon Motion SM2256 controller and 16-nm Micron memory caches. The performance is good and appropriate for normal tasks and everyday use which would be a suitable choice for home users.

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> Click Here to read review of iPhone 7 which considered as the Apple’s courage! <<

Are You Looking for SSD Drives with More Capacity?


Current cost per gigabyte for SSD drives is much higher than cost per gigabyte for HDD drives; and it’s not cheap enough to let you replace HDD drives with new SSD drives completely. On the other hand, SSD drives are going to be cheaper in future what will let us get SSD drives with more capacity for cheaper price. Considering all these points and having some foresight, it’s not recommended to buy SSD drives with more than 512GB storage capacity at the moment.

Also it’s recommended to use the SSD drive only for installing an OS and running programs and games and keep your personal and important files on your HDD drive. Anyway, if you still need an SSD drive with more than 512GB storage capacity, high-capacity models of the brands introduced above are very good choices and you just need to pick the model with bigger storage capacity.

In the end, hope you enjoyed reading this post and now you can make the best decision and pick the most suitable SSD drive according to your needs. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in comments below and as always I would be more than happy to help you!

Images courtesy of: shahrsakhtafzar

Ali Monajemi Author

Comments

    Derek Marshall

    (March 20, 2017 - 4:29 am)

    Hi there,

    Excellent and absolutely highly informative overview and review of solid state drives. Thanks for creating and sharing this with us. It is appreciated.

    I never knew I there was so much to these SSD’s (and thanks for educating me about them).

    I noticed all the products mentioned are TLC, which MLC ones do you recommend?

      Ali Monajemi

      (March 20, 2017 - 6:39 am)

      Hi Derek, nice to see that you liked article ). Actually I don’t recommend MLC drives are the moment because of issues that I’ve mentioned in the article but if you want to know some good MLC ssd drive, PLEXTOR M8PE is the quality one.

      Best,
      Ali

    Mat

    (March 13, 2017 - 8:23 pm)

    I bought an ssd a couple of years ago when they were quite expensive still, and I have been looking at my upgrade options for a little while. With capacity a real issue for me, I need something above 250GB (I have 512GB currently), and that is good for a couple of years with medium to heavy usage.

    I really like the look of the Crucial Bx 200, so I may well go for that one.

      Ali Monajemi

      (March 14, 2017 - 3:05 am)

      Hi Mat, yes Crucial Bx 200 would be a nice choice. Just keep in mind that you don’t need a SSD with too large capacity. It’s better to get one with normal storage space and install OS and software on it which let them to be run faster then use a HDD for your personal files which provides storage space much more than SSD.

      Best,
      Ali

    Everton

    (March 12, 2017 - 12:10 am)

    I have never thought seriously about getting an ssd drive, but your post has opened my eyes to the possibilities in case i need one. However in the section about MTBF, the two numbers that you used for MTBF comparison are the same 1,500,000 and 1,500,00 could you clarify it.

      Ali Monajemi

      (March 12, 2017 - 5:19 am)

      Hi Everton, good to see that this articles was useful fro you. Yes it was a mistake by me for those numbers and it’s corrected now. Thanks for let me know.

      Best,
      Ali

    Derick

    (March 8, 2017 - 9:01 pm)

    SSD drives are amazing, I did exactly this when I was looking for a new computer.

    I purchased the least expensive Mac Mini, bought a USB external SSD drive, downloaded a program to copy all my hard drive contents to the SSD drive, and BAM!

    I now have a computer running as fast as those that run 1k more.

    Great article!

      Ali Monajemi

      (March 9, 2017 - 3:07 am)

      Great! That was a right decision Derick, congratulate you! ) But it’s better to keep your personal files such as videos, photos, etc. on your HDD driver if you don’t use them a lot and use your SSD only for installing Windows and running software. Because you can see your photos and watch your videos on both SSD and HDD with the same quality and speed.

      Best,
      Ali

    Gerlinde

    (March 5, 2017 - 2:03 pm)

    Hi Ali,

    I’ not so tech savvy… but I’ve heard about the fact that an SSD Drive increases the speed of the laptop very much, which would be very great for me, as my laptop sometimes is driving me crazy when I’m working on my website! 🙂 WordPress can be very slow… 🙂 Thanks for that article, it gives me an idea what’s important and what to look at when I want to buy one…

    Cheers, Gerlinde

      Ali Monajemi

      (March 6, 2017 - 3:14 am)

      Hi Gerlinde! You’re welcome ) I’m glad to see that it was useful for you. You can also see the list of the best current SSD drives in the market here.

      Best,
      Ali

    greg smyth

    (March 3, 2017 - 11:42 am)

    Hi Ali,

    Your review is very good with a wealth of information. I am just a blogger, and have no need for a large capacity drive, but anyone who downloads movies/software or is into gaming would get lots from this review.

    Technology has advanced greatly, I can still remember using floppy disk drives, but that is because I’m old.

    Keeping up with the latest technology is hard, but you seem to know all about it.

    Cheers

      Ali Monajemi

      (March 4, 2017 - 3:37 am)

      Hi Greg, Join my newsletter and you’ll be keeping up with the latest tech news! ) Actually SSD memories will be useful for people who want to experience two or three times faster speed than HDDs and normally their storage space is much less than HDDs. Of course you can find SSDs with even 1 TB but its price is too expensive so it’s recommended to get it only if you want to speed up your system.
      By the way, don’t think that you’re old because I remember Floppy Disk too. 🙂

      Best,
      Ali

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