Ssd cost: The Best Cheap SSDs for 2023

The Best Cheap SSDs for 2023

Our Experts Have Tested 17 Products in the SSDs Category This Year

Since 1982, PCMag has tested and rated thousands of products to help you make better buying decisions. See how we test.(Opens in a new window)

Today, you’d be forgiven for thinking that “SSD” stood for “seriously speedy drive.” Indeed, we’d lobby for that change.

Why? Over the last five years, solid-state drives (SSDs) have changed their shapes, speeds, and storage stripes with such agility that now, they are the biggest real-world difference-makers when it comes to computer upgrades. More than any other kind of core component, you can feel the presence of an SSD.

A dozen-plus makers are churning out SSDs for the U.S. market, among them storage heavyweights Samsung, Micron, Seagate, and Western Digital. And over the past decade, SSDs have morphed from exorbitantly priced luxury items into commodities whose quality is almost uniformly high. An example? A 32GB SSD we tested in 2008 sold then for a whopping $800, which is $600 to $700 more than a modern one that packs 60 times the data. Plus, even today’s humblest new SSDs are about five times faster than that ’08 model.

We’ve outlined our top tested budget SSDs below. Read on for our picks; following them is a guide to how to buy the right budget SSD for your specific system’s needs.

Deeper Dive: Our Top Tested Picks


Best-Value Cheap M.2 PCI Express 4.0 SSD

4.5 Outstanding

Bottom Line:

The ADATA XPG Atom 50, which can be used in a laptop, desktop, or PlayStation 5, delivers stellar performance for a budget PCI Express 4.0 internal SSD.


  • Inexpensive for a PCIe 4.0 SSD
  • Superb benchmark results with high scores for OS booting and game loading
  • Compatible with Sony PlayStation 5
  • AES 256-bit hardware-based encryption


  • Currently available only in 1TB capacity
  • Relatively low scores in some file-copy tests


Learn More

ADATA XPG Atom 50 Review

HP FX900 PCIe 4.

0 M.2 SSD

A Solid Alternative to the ADATA XPG Atom 50

4.0 Excellent

Bottom Line:

The HP FX900 isn’t the fastest PCI Express 4.0 solid-state drive on the block, but this M.2 model puts up solid (and, in some cases, excellent) numbers at a surprisingly moderate price.


  • Competitively priced
  • Solid benchmark performance, with a few top-tier scores


  • Lacks a full heatsink
  • Relatively low write-durability (TBW) rating
  • No AES 256-bit hardware-based encryption


Learn More

HP FX900 PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSD Review

Crucial P3

Best-Value Cheap M.2 PCI Express 3.0 Drive

4.5 Outstanding

Bottom Line:

The Crucial P3 provides good performance in a PCI Express 3.0 NVMe SSD. Its QLC NAND flash memory keeps the P3’s price down while allowing capacities up to 4TB. It’s a spot-on pick for upgrading older PCs that don’t support PCIe 4. 0.


  • Available in capacities up to 4TB
  • Low cost per gigabyte for all models
  • Includes link for Acronis True Image cloning software
  • Good benchmark results for a PCI Express 3.0 drive


  • Relatively low write-durability (TBW) ratings
  • Lacks 256-bit AES hardware-based encryption


Learn More

Crucial P3 Review

Samsung SSD 980

Best-Performing Cheap M.2 PCI Express 3.0 SSD

4.5 Outstanding

Bottom Line:

Samsung’s SSD 980 M.2 drive provides a stellar mid-tier option for new or returning fans of the company’s SSDs, squeaking the most performance possible out of PCI Express 3.0 in 2021.


  • Edges out the Intel SSD 670p in 4K random reads
  • Competitive pricing for its performance class
  • Field-leading SSD software suite
  • Good durability rating for MLC
  • Five-year warranty


  • Still capped at PCI Express 3. 0’s natural ceiling


Learn More

Samsung SSD 980 Review

WD Blue SN570

A Solid Alternative to the Samsung SSD 980

4.0 Excellent

Bottom Line:

The WD Blue SN570, the third iteration of Western Digital’s popular budget SSD, is faster than ever and proved a solid performer in our benchmark tests.


  • Affordable
  • Decent speed for a PCIe 3.0 SSD


  • Low write durability rating for a TLC-based drive
  • Low AS-SSD program load benchmark score


Learn More

WD Blue SN570 Review

Addlink S70

Best Cheap M.2 SSD for Extreme Budget Upgraders

4.0 Excellent

Bottom Line:

If you’re on a budget but still want blisteringly quick sequential read and write speeds from your new SSD, look no further than what the new Addlink S70 has to offer.


  • Great value.
  • Fast sequential speeds.
  • High durability rating.
  • Five-year warranty.


  • 4K speeds proved lacking in our tests.
  • No software management tools.


Learn More

Addlink S70 Review

ADATA Elite SE880 External SSD

Best Cheap External SSD

4.0 Excellent

Bottom Line:

The handsome little ADATA Elite SE880 is an external SSD that offers blistering speeds over a USB interface that’ll likely require a PC upgrade to leverage fully.


  • Extremely compact and lightweight
  • Low cost per gigabyte
  • Zippy sequential read and write speeds (and high PCMark 10 Storage score)


  • Capacity maxes out at 1TB
  • Requires a USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 port to hit peak speeds
  • Lacks the attached port cover of ADATA’s SE800


Learn More

ADATA Elite SE880 External SSD Review

Samsung SSD 870 EVO

Best-Performing Cheap 2.


4.5 Outstanding

Bottom Line:

The Samsung SSD 870 EVO offers the peak of Serial ATA SSD performance, and moves so fast in 4K random read and write operations you’d almost be forgiven for confusing it with PCI Express 3.0.


  • Record-setting 4K results for SATA drives
  • Strong write-durability rating
  • Samsung Magician is the gold standard of SSD management software


  • SATA drives still have a lower ceiling than PCI Express for large file transfers


Learn More

Samsung SSD 870 EVO Review

Samsung SSD 870 QVO

Best Cheap 2.5-Inch SATA SSD for Maximum Possible Capacity

4.0 Excellent

Bottom Line:

If you’re looking for one of the best 2.5-inch SATA SSDs in terms of value and performance for the money, search no further than Samsung’s SSD 870 QVO, a stellar followup to its first QLC-based outing.


  • Excellent price-to-performance ratio for a SATA-based SSD
  • Very fast 4K read and write speeds
  • Feature-rich Magician management software
  • 8TB version coming soon


  • Warranty is only three years
  • QLC’s modest durability ratings make it less suited to heavy write duty


Learn More

Samsung SSD 870 QVO Review

SK Hynix Gold S31

Best Cheap 2.

5-Inch SATA SSD for Gamers

3.5 Good

Bottom Line:

SK Hynix, best known as a supplier of storage and DRAM chips to system makers, lands a solid base hit with its Gold S31. Its debut retail SSD delivers on-point speed and good value per gigabyte for a new SATA drive.


  • Aggressive pricing, at our 1TB tested capacity.
  • On-point in most speed tests for a SATA drive in 2019.


  • Short company history in consumer market.
  • Lower terabytes written (TBW) rating than competing drives.
  • Minimal supporting software.


Learn More

SK Hynix Gold S31 Review

Buying Guide: The Best Cheap SSDs for 2023

Interface changes and manufacturing advances aren’t the only forces at work these days making SSDs super bargains. Other factors, such as NAND manufacturing efficiencies, have caused prices per gigabyte to fall lower than ever. At times, oversupply has been a factor in recent years, too.

No doubt: SSD pricing has shifted into a buyer’s market. Parts of the price spectrum that were previously reserved for lesser-known budget brands have been penetrated by larger players such as ADATA, Samsung, and Western Digital. Indeed, every launch is something of a street-pricing war among some of the biggest players in the game.

(Credit: Molly Flores)

On the whole, changes in how SSDs are made are likely to turn this into a permanent condition. The industry is moving away from 32-layer and 64-layer NAND manufacturing into 96-, 128-, and even 176-layer production processes. These higher-numbered process technologies, among other efficiencies, allow companies to fit more storage in a smaller space, decreasing the cost of materials and passing on savings to consumers.

(Credit: Molly Flores)

In other words, SSD performance and capacity have rocketed, while relative prices have plummeted. That makes an SSD the best bang-for-the-buck upgrade any upgrade-eligible user can make. The only downside to this explosion of SSDs: The number of choices, especially among budget models, can be overwhelming.

Buying Basics: How to Buy the Best Value SSD

Are you a buyer with basic needs, looking to upgrade a traditional platter hard drive in a laptop or desktop with something faster? It’s a safe strategy, these days, to check pricing on recent SSD models and pick the most affordable drive with the capacity you need, from a name-brand maker you are willing to trust with your data. Simple as that. Disappointment will be rare, assuming you are going from one Serial ATA (SATA) drive to another. (Also, see our primer SSD Versus HDD: What’s the Difference?)

If you want to go deeper, though, to make sure you’re getting the fastest, potentially longest-lasting drive for your budget dollar, we’ll detail many of these considerations below, to help you make the smartest choice. (The first item below is essential, regardless.)

What Form Factor of SSD Should I Get?

SSDs are no longer only traditional 2. 5-inch drives, the same size and shape as the 2.5-inch hard drives found in many mainstream laptops. These drives are still common, but SSDs have been changing shape for some years now.

If you have a recent slim laptop or 2-in-1, it may use a gumstick-shaped M.2 drive (that is, if you can upgrade the drive in the laptop at all). For deep details about those drives and the best models we’ve tested, check out our more specific SSD buying guide, The Best M.2 Solid-State Drives, for a great deal of background and advice on this kind of SSD.

M.2 is not only a laptop thing: The last few generations of desktop PCs and their motherboards usually have a slot or slots for M.2 drives, as well. We have included in our product picks here some of our favorite budget-minded M.2 SSDs to give some “quick pick” guidance for this kind of drive. But M.2 drives have a lot of subtleties around them, so if you’re not up to speed, hit the link above for a lot more about M.2.

(Credit: Molly Flores)

For example, just because your laptop or desktop may have an M. 2 slot doesn’t meant that a given M.2 drive will work in that slot. You have make sure that the host system will accept a drive of that physical size (M.2 drives come in different lengths, and even thicknesses) and that the bus type (Serial ATA versus PCI Express) of the SSD is supported by the system slot into which you’re installing it. Furthermore, different systems support different generations of PCI Express (PCIe 3.0 versus PCIe 4.0, and PCIe 5.0 is soon becoming a thing), and that can have an effect on the peak speeds you’ll see. Again, hit the link above for much more detail.

MLC, TLC, and QLC Memory: What’s the Difference?

The biggest technical consideration that shoppers will face when opting for a budget SSD is what type of solid-state memory it uses. If you’re not familiar with the terms “MLC,” “TLC,” and “QLC,” you can get up to speed with our primer Buying a Solid-State Drive: 20 Terms You Need to Know. But we’ll give you the short version here.

The first letter in both flash types refers to the number of bits each memory cell on the drive can store. The “M” in MLC stands for “multi,” meaning (in this case) that the memory can host two bits per cell. The “T” in TLC stands for “triple,” or three bits per cell, and the “Q” is “quad”/four bits per cell. In a drive with many millions of cells, having an extra bit in each cell to store stuff adds up quickly, allowing TLC or QLC drives (in the simplest sense) to hold more data than MLC drives using the same amount of silicon. This also lowers production costs, since fewer physical modules are needed to store the same amount of data.

Though TLC tech was originally much slower—specifically, when writing data to the SSD—and considered a less reliable option than MLC if deployed in heavy data-writing scenarios, those concerns have waned over time, in ways we’ll touch on below. TLC drives are now the mainstream choice for general computing use. Plus, the emergence of “3D” versions of TLC NANDs (the chips upon which SSDs are built) has allowed SSD makers to deliver more capacity in less space by building memory modules in a vertical as well as horizontal (“planar”) manner.

(Credit: Zlata Ivleva)

Because TLC module manufacturing reduces overall costs, and TLC provides decent performance, most manufacturers have jumped aboard the TLC NAND bandwagon, making this type of SSD the de facto kind for those looking for a low-cost SSD. And for most users, TLC drives’ performance is perfectly acceptable. MLC is not a factor in cheap or even mainstream SSDs these days.

We mentioned above that TLC-memory-based SSDs can suffer from slower write speeds compared to MLC SSDs. The basic reason is that TLC flash (and likewise, the newer QLC) simply has more bits to deal with on a per-cell level. Manufacturers have been able sidestep this limitation, however, with clever caching technology that basically treats a portion of the drive as if it were a much faster type of flash memory (SLC, or “single-layer cell”). Under this approach, write operations are initially cached to this speedier buffer. Then, when the system is idle, the buffer transfers the data to the slower NAND.

The limitation of this approach is that the buffer is small (usually between 6GB and 10GB), as it has to be small enough to not reduce overall drive capacity by much, or increase costs. So, on TLC or QLC drives, if you try to copy a chunk of data that is larger than the buffer, you may see a big temporary drop-off in write performance.

Most mainstream users won’t do this kind of thing often, so it’s not really a problem. But be mindful of this issue when considering a TLC or QLC drive, particularly if you’re a content creator or other power user who deals with massive files, or if you move big hunks of data on and off your drive all the time. For these specific situations, it could be worth paying extra for a costlier MLC drive.

Also, to keep costs low, some manufacturers of SSDs with TLC and QLC NAND make drives whose controllers eschew the usual DRAM cache, enlisting instead your PC’s own memory as a host memory buffer (HMB). DRAM-less drives that we have reviewed have generally perform well for everyday tasks, though sustained movement of very large files tends to expose the weakness of their DRAM-less nature. Also, while they are fine for mainstream use in desktops and laptops, we don’t recommend them for use with the Sony PS5 in its SSD slot.

What Do SSD Longevity Numbers Mean?

The other knock against TLC and QLC NAND flash is that it generally has a shorter lifespan than more traditional MLC-based flash memory. This is a trait backed up by SSD makers’ own specifications, not just conjecture. The relevant spec is the terabytes written, or TBW, rating, expressed as the total number of terabytes the drive should be able to write over its lifetime before the drive electronics have to start decommissioning cells. The TBW rating also correlates to the warranty that a manufacturer offers, but we’ll get into that a bit more in another section below.

Every time your PC triggers a new write operation for a memory cell that already contains data, that data must be erased first; only then can new data be written to the cell. Because this erase/write process slows down overall operation, the SSD controller strives to write to “fresh” cells (that is, ones that don’t need pre-erasing) when it can. But at some point, it has to start erasing previously used cells and writing to them.

(Credit: Molly Flores)

An SSD can repeat this routine of erasing, then writing to, a cell only so many times before a given cell weakens and no longer can hold data. In MLC drives, a typical cell can take roughly 5,000 write/erase cycles before it’s likely no longer functional. On a TLC drive, this falls to around 1,000 cycles. This seems like a dramatic difference between the two memory types, but this problem is mitigated by a process called “over-provisioning.” In it, a chunk of the drive is kept hidden and unused, only to be brought online when other cells begin to wear out.

In the real world, tech professionals and consumers will seldom be in danger of writing a drive to death, unless they were using it to run a server, or some other task where the system is powered up and being accessed almost constantly. In fact, a while back The Tech Report ran a long-term experiment(Opens in a new window), writing to a batch of SSDs until they died to see how long they would last. Samsung’s TLC-based SSD 840 drive wrote over 800 terabytes before giving up the digital ghost. In the real world, it would take the average user many years (more likely a decade) to write that much data to an SSD. So, unless you plan on using your SSD as your primary drive for 10 years or more (which would make little sense, given how much cheaper and better SSDs get every year), drive endurance is only a secondary issue for most folks.

Still, that shouldn’t be used an excuse not to back up your important data. SSDs are not spinning hard drives, but any SSD can still fail randomly due to a defect, a power surge, or some other unforeseen event. You may be able to get a drive replaced if it’s under warranty, but the new drive that gets mailed to you won’t have your old data on it, of course.

How Should I Evaluate an SSD’s Supporting Software?

Though many seasoned enthusiasts and SSD vets don’t find bundled storage software or utilities a necessity, some manufacturers offer a software package with their SSDs that can be surprisingly useful. Samsung and Intel kicked off this trend years ago by pairing their drives with robust utilities that let you examine every facet of the drive, including its overall health level, the amount of data written to it, and whether or not your system is set up to extract maximum performance from the SSD. The software sophistication has grown from there.

The usefulness of these free tools can vary, from slick and feature-rich, to garish and only marginally useful. Some drives include a simple utility that just lets you update the drive’s firmware, and little or nothing else. Generally, a firmware update shouldn’t be necessary unless there’s a problem with performance.

(Credit: Samsung)

Our advice, if you’re the type to tinker, is to purchase a drive that includes robust utility software, but read up on the included software first. To our eyes, Samsung provides among the best software packages with its drives, though Crucial/Micron, SanDisk/Western Digital, and ADATA/XPG are all good bets on the software front, too.

Likewise, you may want to look for a drive that includes a drive-cloning utility (such as a version of Acronis TrueImage) if you’re upgrading from a drive in an existing PC, rather than installing a new OS from scratch. The lowest-priced drives lack these niceties, but free programs can get the job done, too. We’ve had luck using the free Home version of EaseUS’s Disk Copy(Opens in a new window).

What’s a Good SSD Warranty?

Check the warranty terms before purchase. Many budget SSDs we’ve tested feature a three-year warranty, rather than the longer plans of pricier premium models. Samsung, with its watershed SSD 850 EVO model, was an early leader in setting the warranty bar higher for budget-minded SSDs, opting for a five-year plan. Samsung was able to make advancements with its TLC flash, combining it with the company’s vertically stacked V-NAND, to make drives that are low in cost but similar in endurance to pricier MLC drives. Consider a five-year coverage plan a gold star for any budget SSD, though a lot of drives still settle at three years, or when you reach the TBW limit of the drive, whichever happens first.

The Key Metric: Evaluating Cost per Gigabyte

Without doing a little math, it’s tricky to figure the bottom-line cost of one SSD versus another when capacities vary, or when you’re looking at SSDs on sale versus regular price. The four main capacity classes you will see, from drive to drive, are:

  • 120GB or 128GB

  • 240GB, 250GB, or 256GB

  • 480GB, 500GB, or 512GB

  • 960GB or 1TB

SSDs bigger than 1TB aren’t completely “budget”-class drives these days, although you can find a handful of PCI Express 3.0 SSDs and quite a few SATA drives retailing at $100 or less for their 2TB models. It’s fine, as a rough measure, to compare prices from drive to drive within the same capacity class.

However, the best way to judge what you are paying, at a more precise level, is to divide the price by the number of gigabytes in the SSD. So, for example, a $50 240GB drive yields a cost per gigabyte of 20.8 cents. A $50 256GB drive, in contrast, comes in at 19. 5 cents per gig. The least-expensive budget drives you’ll see these days hover around 9 to 10 cents per gigabyte. Use this math to calculate your bottom-line price when comparing a host of drives.

So, What Is the Best Budget SSD to Buy?

So, onward to our top drive picks. We’ve chosen our favorite tested 2.5-inch Serial ATA SSDs and PCI Express M.2 drives alike; the system you are upgrading will dictate what you can actually install.

Important to note: All of these drives are also available in capacities different than the ones we tested, so dig into each review for the details on alternate capacities, if you want a drive that’s bigger or smaller than what you see below. For more storage picks, you can also check out our roundups of the best external SSDs and the best SSDs for upgrading your laptop, as well as the best external hard drives.

This story has been produced in partnership with our sister site, Computer Shopper.

How to Buy the Best SSD for Your PC Build in 2022

Buying storage for your PC can be a challenging proposition. First, there’s the question of how much storage you need. Then, there’s the question of which kind of storage is best for your needs. Even narrowing down between the two choices, a spinning hard disk drive (HDD) or solid-state drive (SSD), requires careful consideration.

In fact, the title of this article makes a major assumption, that is, that you’ll want to buy an SSD for your PC build. Why not an HDD? We provide an extensive guide on deciding between an HDD and an SSD that answers the question in detail. For our purposes here, suffice it to say that SSDs are faster and more reliable than HDDs, but they’re also more expensive.

You’ll want an SSD for your PC, that’s the one thing we can say for certain. But there are a number of factors that you’ll want to consider before making your final decision.

SSDs are less expensive than ever

The great thing is that SSDs are less expensive than ever. There was a time when SSDs were considerably more expensive than HDDs, so much so that they were only considered for the most high-performance applications. It may be a surprise to many, but SSDs have been around since the late 1970s, used in mainframe and minicomputers and costing $400,000 for 45MB (yes, megabytes) of storage.

In 2003, the first terabyte SSD was sold, costing $2 million. By 2005, companies like Samsung were investing heavily in the technology, and in 2006 the first SSDs for laptops became available. According to one source, SSDs cost $40 per GB in 2008, and by 2012 the cost had dropped to $1 per GB by 2012, compared to $0.054 per GB for HDDs.

SSD prices continued to fall, and by 2018 the price gap compared to HDDs had fallen dramatically. In 2018, an SSD cost an average of $0.25 to $0.27 per GB compared to an HDD at an average of $0.2 to $0.03 per GB. Today, in 2022, a high-performance HDD, the SATA 4TB Western Digital Black, costs $145, compared to Western Digital’s Black SN750 4TB NVMe M.2 (more on that later) SSD that costs $750.

The SSD is clearly more expensive, but in this example the cost per GB is $0. 04 per GB for the HDD and $.19 per GB for the SSD. This is an extreme example – most people don’t need 4TB of SSD storage. Looking at the 1TB size, the Western Digital Black 1TB HDD costs $45, or $0.045 per GB, versus the Western Digital Black NVMe 1TB SSD at $150, or $.15 per GB.

So, while SSDs remain more expensive than HDDs, the cost difference doesn’t contribute that much to the cost of building a new PC. And, there’s a strategy for mixing SSDs and HDDs that can make a great deal of sense.

Using both SSDs and HDDs

There are two primary purposes for a PC storage device. There’s a place to install the operating system and applications, and there’s a place to store data. PC performance is most impacted by the speed of storage devices when booting the PC, paging memory to disk when RAM fills up, opening applications, and other system-level tasks.

A good strategy, then, is to use an SSD as a system drive and an HDD as a data drive. This is also a more economical approach, leveraging the low cost per GB of an HDD for large files like images and video. The Western Digital Black NVMe 1TB SSD mentioned above would be a great system drive, providing plenty of fast storage for the operating system and applications, and then the Western Digital Black 4TB HDD would provide a fast HDD for plenty of data storage.

Saving and accessing data also can impact a PC’s performance, especially in gaming where loading levels, textures, and other gaming data can involve massive files, but speed is typically less important here. It comes down to a price to performance calculation. Certainly, if you can afford a larger SSD for storing data, then you’ll get the ultimate in storage performance.

Types of SSDs

Since we’re focusing exclusively on internal PC storage in this article, we’re talking about four different SSD form factors. Which of these makes sense for you depends entirely on your budget and what kind of SSDs are supported by the motherboard in your PC.

2.5” drives

The 2.5” drive form factor looks like a smaller HDD, only it’s filled with silicone instead of spinning disks. It connects via the SATA (Serial ATA) connector, along with a separate power supply, and it installs into a storage slot in the PC case. You’ll need an adapter to fit the 2.5” drive into the larger 3.5” drive bay.

We’re at SATA III, which provides a 600 megabytes per second (MBps) data transfer speed. SATA III HDDs also support the same theoretical speed, but of course they cannot serve up data as quickly as SSDs.


The mSATA standard uses a slot in the motherboard that a smaller mSATA SSD connects to. mSATA uses the same connection as SATA III and provides the same 600 MBps transfer speed. mSATA connections aren’t as common in newer motherboards, and so if you choose this form factor make sure it’s supported on your PC’s motherboard.


PCIe, or Peripheral Component Interconnect Express, is a high-speed expansion bus standard used for several different PC components. GPUs and SSDs are just two of the components that can utilize PCIe slots. PCIe 4.0 x4 (the x4 refers to four circuit lanes, meaning the slot can transfer four bits per cycle) slots can transfer up to 8 gigabytes per second (GBps), making them significantly faster than SATA connections. PCIe 5.0 is on its way, which will offer up to 16GBps in the x4 configuration.


M.2 slots are the latest connection built into modern motherboards and can support PCIe 4.0, SATA III, and USB 3.0 interfaces. The fastest SSDs use M.2 NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) connections, supporting up to four PCIe lanes and a transfer rate of up to 8.0 GBps. That’s more than ten times as fast as SATA III, along with NVMe better supporting the overall data transfer rates that SSDs can achieve.

M.2 has evolved since it was first released, with the M.2 2242, M.2 2260, and the most recent M.2 2280 standards. When choosing an M.2 SSD, you need to be careful to select the right connection for your motherboard.

NAND types

The last consideration in what kind of SSD to choose involves the type of NAND flash memory that’s used in an SSD. There are several different types of NAND in terms of how data Is stored on the flash chips, of which four are the most important.

  • Single-Level Cell (SLC): stores one bit per cell, the fastest, most durable, and most expensive.
  • Multiple-Level Cell (MLC): stores two bits per cell, the second fastest, moderately endurable, and less expensive.
  • Triple-Level Cell (TLC): stores three bits per cell, the slowest, least durable, and least expensive.
  • 3D NAND (also called V NAND): stores data vertically, provides superior data density and performance compared to 2D NAND.

Most consumer-level SSDs use MLC NAND, while most enterprise SSDs use SLC NAND. However, you can find consumer SSDs with SLC NAND, and those will provide the best performance. SSDs using TLC NAND will be less expensive and they’ll also be slower than the other two types.

Top SSD Brands & Deals on Newegg

  • See Best Sellers in Internal SSDs
  • See Top Deals in Internal SSDs
  • See Lowest Prices in Internal SSDs
  • Samsung
  • Crucial
  • Intel
  • Western Digital
  • Kingston
  • Team Group
  • Seagate
  • SanDisk

How long will my SSD last?

That’s a challenging question, and we delved into the details in our article about how long HDDs and SSDs last. Simply put, SSDs have a limited lifespan that’s longer than HDDs but not forever, measured in terms of Terabytes Written (TBW).

The typical consumer SSD has a TBW of 600, but some more robust drives have higher TBW ratings. The Corsair Force MP600 2TB SSD, for example, has a TBW rating of 3,600. The challenge is that not all manufacturers list the TBW rating, but instead use their own measurement. The Western Digital Black SSD referred to above lists a mean time to failure (MTTF) of 1.75M hours, for example.

Which SSD should I purchase?

How large an SSD you purchase will be determined by your storage strategy. If you decide to install an SSD for your system files and an HDD for your data, then you don’t need to purchase as large (or expensive) an SSD. A 512GB SSD would likely be plenty, and then you can choose an HDD based on how much data you expect to store.

If your motherboard supports it, then you’ll want to select an M.2 NVMe 2280 SSD. That will provide the fastest performance. If you’re upgrading an older PC, then you might be stuck with a SATA III SSD.

Finally, if you can locate an SSD with 3D or SLC NAND in your price range, then you’ll want to grab it. This, too, will help optimize your PCs performance. You’ll want to look for MLC NAND at a minimum, and avoid TLC NAND unless your budget is very tight.

Once you’ve chosen your SSD form factor and size, then you’ll want to shop Newegg’s SSD section for the best combination of features.

Choosing an SSD seems daunting, but don’t fret too much

It’s true that there are many different factors to consider in choosing an SSD. However, many of these distinctions won’t be noticed by the typical PC user. Even gamers will benefit from an inexpensive SSD compared to an HDD, with more expensive SSDs offering only incremental increases in performance.

Therefore, choose an SSD that fits your budget, but don’t worry too much about the nuances. Unless you’re building a PC for mission-critical applications, you’ll get solid performance and a long enough lifespan from any average-priced SSD.

Types of SSD drives – how to choose

The IES Spetspostavka company offers customers from Moscow, St. Petersburg and with delivery to other regions of Russia different types of SSD drives with guarantees and certificates of conformity. Among the range of products from the catalog, you can choose a disk for a computer or laptop for the upcoming operating conditions and within the allocated purchase budget.

There are significant differences in the performance of SSD drives of different “grades” depending on the ambient temperature, power conditions, load, etc. For example, an industrial “class” SSD can have 300 times (300 times, not 300%) more write cycles per physical data block compared to a commercial one. Therefore, a designer must carefully choose which “class” of flash drive is appropriate for their application if they want a system that will last the life of the product. How to make a choice? Let’s figure it out.

The most common mistake some engineers make is believing that all SSDs are equally reliable and therefore only consider cost, performance and capacity. An SSD with a shorter lifespan and high performance can work great in a lab. But as soon as the SSD is in the field, failures begin, increasing due to prolonged operation at extreme temperatures, a significant increase in the number of read / write operations and other factors.

A little about SSD drives

Solid state drives (SSD drives) are a technology that has become the basis of a new standard for the speed and responsiveness of personal computers and laptops. Their speed, quiet operation, small size contributed to mass distribution. To choose the right model, you need to navigate in many nuances:

  1. Volume . The larger the volume of the disk, the higher its price will be. Therefore, it is necessary to find a balance between cost and capacity. If a disk is selected to accommodate the operating system, then a 250-500 GB model will be enough. In this case, the OS itself will take 100-150 GB, and the rest of the space will go to files in downloads, etc. If you have to work with large volumes of files and need quick access to them, then select a larger disk. But in games, the SSD will not give an increase in FPS, although the levels will load faster.
  2. Resource . This parameter is calculated by the formula. But there is also an easier solution. If you need a drive for home use, then a model with 80-120 TBW is enough. For stable work in the office, for solving labor-intensive work tasks, it is better to choose a drive with a resource from 130 to 200 TBW.
  3. Performance . Determines how fast the device will process information. For normal use, solid state drives with speeds over 500 MB/s are suitable.

Considering the question of how to choose an SSD drive, it is worth dwelling separately on possible form factors, memory type, controller and performance.

Common SSD Form Factors

The most widespread in practice are the following form factors of solid-state drives:

  • SATA . The most common solution with a 2.5-inch form factor. It has a low price, good compatibility with different motherboards. Presented in different sizes. The speed of work is not very high – up to 600 Mb / s per channel. It is recommended to pay attention to models of version 3 and above.
  • mSATA . The same SATA form factor with all its advantages, only in a more compact size. Most often used on laptops.
  • NVMe . An open standard designed for independent Express memory. It has a higher performance in comparison with SATA. Suitable for latest Linux, Windows, Chrome OS and Mac OS.
  • eMMC . This is a separate category of solid state drive along with HDD and SSD. Solution for laptops, smartphones. They have a simple controller combined with inexpensive flash memory. Priced below an SSD.
  • USB . Interface for connecting peripheral devices. In a PC, it is used to connect flash memory, keyboard, mouse, external drives, printers, etc.
  • M.2 . A more advanced version of mSATA. Available in several lengths: 42, 60 and 80 mm. But before you buy an SSD with this form factor, you need to study the specification and understand that your PC motherboard supports its size.
  • PCI-E . The fastest connection interface for today. Its speed in write mode reaches 1000 Mb / s, and in read mode – 2000 Mb / s. For ordinary users, this performance is not needed. It is more suitable for professional use. For the price, it will be much higher than analogues.

Memory types

NAND type – The first and most important one is the type of NAND flash memory being used. There are several types, the reliability of which varies greatly, which affects the cost. The diagram at the top of this article shows the SLC, pSLC, MLC, and TLC NAND types and their associated memory cell states, write cycles, overall reliability, life cycles, and cost. At the bottom of the diagram are the relative sizes and number of bits stored in different NAND cells.

As indicated in the diagram, the largest SLC NAND cell size corresponds to the greatest reliability. Not surprisingly, this is the case, since each cell requires only one bit, and the cell to store this single bit is large. In contrast, in MLC and TLC NAND, more bits per cell are stored in a smaller physical cell, which reduces the gap width between cells. Reducing the gap width results in increased sensitivity to extreme temperatures, write interruptions, flipped bits, data corruption, crosstalk between cells, and other problems. SLC NAND is still available and will be available for at least a few more years in 43nm, 32nm and 24/20nm. Although they are all SLC cell types, 43nm and 32nm have a huge reliability advantage over 24nm and 20nm SLC. If reliability is your priority, stick with 43nm and 32nm SLC NAND based SSDs.

When choosing an SSD, it is also important to consider the type of memory. It affects its performance. There are also several options here:

  1. SLC . It has a single-level cell, that is, one bit is stored in each cell. The most reliable type of memory. Differs in service life (withstands over 10,000 rewriting cycles), resistance to low and high temperatures, high performance. But at a price quite expensive and rarely used for home PCs. It is initially focused on solving problems of a professional level.
    Recently there have been marketing efforts to promote pSLC NAND as an industrial grade, but all is not as it seems at first glance. pSLC stands for Pseudo Single Level Cell and is a NAND MLC (Multi Level Cell) component that only uses the top and bottom states of the cell. At first glance, this seems to be equivalent to SLC, but due to this architecture, MLC has many more issues with random power loss, cell crosstalk, read violation, data corruption, and data retention to consider. It’s about like a tank on a subcompact chassis – you can’t achieve reliability.
  2. MLC . Multilevel cell memory is a product that stores 2 bits per cell. This requires 4 voltage states to represent 00, 01, 10, and 11. MLC NAND components have 25 to 30 times less durability than industrial grade SLC NAND and are not as reliable due to more random loss issues. power, cell crosstalk, read corruption, data corruption and data retention. Supports up to 3000-5000 overwrites. Good for PCs that are used for gaming.
  3. SuperMLC . Removes the main limitations of SSDs in terms of capacity and write speed. Focused on industrial use: automation systems, engineering machines, fanless PCs. Compared with MLC, the sequential write speed is increased by 4 times. The service life is 30,000 erase/write cycles.
  4. TLC . Three-level cell memory – voltage storage occurs at 8 different levels per cell, representing 3 bits (000, 001, 010, 011, 100, 101, 110, 111). The speed of operation is somewhat lower than that of MLC, but the number of write / erase cycles is similar. But it will cost the buyer much cheaper. The performance is about 10 times faster than built-in hard drives. Suitable for home use.

Relatively recently, Samsung introduced a fundamentally new type of SSD drive – V (3D-NAND) to the market. This is the company’s own ultra-high-speed development. Its main difference from analogues is the vertical placement of cells (by default, all disks have horizontal cells).

Controller for SSD

In addition to volume, performance, interface for connecting solid state drives, also pay attention to the controller. This is an intelligent device component that communicates with the computer’s motherboard. It is he who controls the operation of the disk, decides in which cells to write this or that information, corrects the speed, controls idle points, manages the cache, data encryption, corrects data transfer errors, etc. The speed of the disk directly depends on it.

When choosing it, it is important to consider:

  1. version. They are constantly evolving, adjusting to the ever-growing demands of consumers. The more modern the controller is installed on the drive, the better.
  2. Producer. Most companies that manufacture SSD drives buy controllers from third-party manufacturers. And here it is worth giving preference to reliable brands. And even better – those who produce both controllers and disks. Then they will be maximally compatible.
  3. Actual drive speed. Choose a price niche and compare the performance of the available options.

SSD manufacturers

Today, there are only a few companies on the market that produce SSD drives. In practice, the products of such brands as Apacer, Innodisk, Cactus Technologies, Intel, Samsung, ADATA, Kingston, Transcend, etc. have well proved their effectiveness and reliability. All of them produce disks in a wide range of modifications and characteristics.

If you are not sure that you can choose an SSD drive yourself, our experts will help you choose the best option for your PC or laptop. You can get advice and professional help by phone or through the feedback form.

Copy and Replace vs. Predictability: The Importance of SSDs with Predictable Latency

July 2020

  • Server SSDs

  • SSD drives for enterprises and corporations

  • Data security

  • Servers / data centers

  • Cloud technologies

  • Enterprise systems

Blog Home

Most people have heard stories about people who “start small”. But the same can be said for many of today’s applications and data centers. Many of the most successful applications in the world today were originally in-house products that ran on small private servers.

More companies and services are starting by prototyping on internal servers built using off-the-shelf components to lower startup costs, providing a low-cost way to expand from prototype to production. This often means using consumer-facing, low-cost SSDs that are easy to purchase and replace.

This is a good model when applications are meant to be used intermittently, but what happens when an application becomes popular enough that there is constant demand for it? In fact, unless you are using a third-party dedicated Tier 1 (Tier-1) data center, the original project specifications must be modified to accommodate increased demand.

This is especially true when dealing with sensitive or confidential information that you want to store on a network that is not accessible to the public. This is called “on-premise”: companies constantly use a set of internal servers that run many internal applications (wikis, Sharepoint, contact center scripts) that cannot be placed in the cloud due to regulatory requirements (Accessibility and Accountability in Medical (HIPAA), Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS), etc.) or for other commercial reasons. Thus, copying and replacing internal resources becomes commonplace as drives age or fail, or when their performance is no longer sufficient to meet the growing needs of employees.

While the internal architecture of applications appears to be the main reason for replacing drives, we still hear of major application and service providers that continue to use consumer drives in data centers at a significant scale. In the event of a problem, they simply copy and replace the old drives.

The number of data centers using this model is declining as the cost of enterprise-class SSDs declines, making them more affordable and attractive for operations where low cost is critical, as well as for customers who want to provide predictable and stable performance on their servers.

Predictability is key

For high-performance data centers, performance predictability is a key feature for which they are designed. Many data center owners are now realizing the importance of purchasing SSDs that are grade appropriate for the application. Cloud hosting companies need to know that their enterprise-class SSDs will deliver consistent performance with minimal lag.

Imagine an e-commerce site where customers add items to their cart, but there is a delay in order processing and payment at checkout. Both the seller and the buyer know that this is unacceptable, unsatisfactory, and over time can have a real negative impact on the business. If delays continue on an e-commerce site and customers complain about the checkout process, the site will most likely start looking for another host, CDN, or other application platform.

In addition to delays, the lifetime of the SSD should also be considered. In general, data center SSDs have a longer lifespan than client SSDs, making them safer to use in terms of reliability and meet data center product lifecycle requirements.

Today, many consumer-grade drives use specific write caching techniques to reduce cost by eliminating high speed DRAM. Many consumer SSDs use a small write buffer dedicated from the onboard NAND flash. The buffer of a typical client drive will probably never fill up completely during the lifetime of the system, so the user will not notice any change. But use that same drive for a data center application that has a 100 percent load cycle (reads and writes are running 24/7) and performance will start to degrade.

Predictable uptime is more than just IOPS

You also need to consider what happens when problems occur. If there is a technical issue with a consumer-grade SSD installed in a server, it is unlikely that you will receive good support or a fix from the manufacturer because the drive is not used for its intended use case. For SLA operations that require five nines uptime, the risk associated with consumer-grade products simply isn’t worth it.

Enterprise SSDs are provided with support and services not available for consumer products. Enterprise SSDs are more than just off-the-shelf products, they are specifically tuned for read-intensive and mixed-use applications. In many cases, each product has specific features based on a specific use case, which also includes support for those use cases to ensure a seamless experience. If there is an issue with the enterprise SSD cache, your support team only needs one call to replace or reconfigure the product to meet operational requirements.

Optimal SSD performance

The best advice you can give before starting a server is to purchase SSDs from reputable companies and buy SSDs designed for server workloads, not client workloads. When you install a client SSD on a server, you create an unverified hardware configuration and connect to host controllers (RAID controllers) that behave differently than client host controllers.

You can start with enterprise-grade products and still have the flexibility to scale operations without sacrificing performance or scalability in the long run. In addition, the introduction of enterprise SSDs brings greater stability and reliability to the entire server architecture.

A humble beginning should not be detrimental to the work.



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