The Best SSDs

The Best SSDs

Our pick

Seagate BarraCuda 510 (512 GB)

Seagate BarraCuda 510 (512 GB)

The best SSD

If you’re building a new computer or upgrading one you recently bought, the BarraCuda 510 drive offers the best combination of performance, capacity, extra features, and cost.

Buying Options

$93* from Amazon

*At the time of publishing, the price was $80.

The Seagate BarraCuda 510 is an NVMe SSD, which means it might not work in computers that are four or more years old (if you’re upgrading something older, buy the Crucial MX500 instead). But if you’re building a new desktop computer or upgrading a laptop or desktop you bought recently, the BarraCuda 510 is a speedy drive with a five-year warranty, and it costs much less than only slightly faster high-end drives like Samsung’s 970 Evo Plus.

Seagate’s lineup is confusing, though. You can find multiple BarraCuda 510 models at similar capacities, and some support hardware encryption acceleration (the 256 GB and 512 GB versions) while others don’t (the 250 GB, 500 GB, and 1 TB versions). We prefer the versions with encryption support, but you should focus on buying the amount of space you need.

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Runner-up

Addlink S70 (512 GB)

Addlink S70 (512 GB)

Almost as good

Almost as fast, occasionally cheaper, and with a higher endurance rating, the S70 is a good option if you’re not worried about buying from a lesser-known company and you don’t need data-migration software.

Buying Options

Buy from Amazon

*At the time of publishing, the price was $80.

The Addlink S70 is from a lesser-known company than the BarraCuda 510, but its performance is almost as good as the Seagate drive’s, and the 1 TB version of the S70 is usually a little cheaper (the 512 GB version costs about the same). This NVMe SSD comes with a five-year warranty and has an endurance rating almost twice as high as that of our top pick, and all versions of the drive support hardware encryption acceleration. But because Addlink isn’t as established as the storage companies that make our other picks, you may have a harder time getting support if something goes wrong. And the S70 is the only one of our picks that doesn’t offer any kind of software for migrating data from your old drive, so you’ll either need to get your own or start fresh.

Budget pick

Western Digital WD Blue SN550 (500 GB)

Western Digital WD Blue SN550 (500 GB)

Cheaper and fast enough

The SN550 costs the same as much-slower SATA SSDs, so it’s the best option if you want to upgrade a newer computer for cheap.

Buying Options

$70 from Western Digital

Up until a year or so ago, getting an SSD on a budget meant settling for the slower speeds of a drive that used the SATA interface, even if you had a newer computer. But budget NVMe SSDs now offer much better performance than SATA models at no extra cost, and the Western Digital WD Blue SN550 is the best of them. It can be as much as three or four times faster than the Crucial MX500 for the same price, and it comes with a five-year warranty and about the same endurance rating as the Seagate BarraCuda 510 has. But Western Digital offers no hardware encryption support, and both the BarraCuda 510 and the Addlink S70 are even faster.

Also great

Crucial MX500 (500 GB)

Crucial MX500 (500 GB)

For older computers

The Crucial MX500 offers great performance for a SATA SSD and a five-year warranty. It’s still a great choice to replace a spinning hard drive in a four- or five-year-old computer.

Buying Options

$80 from Staples

The Crucial MX500 uses the older SATA interface, which means it’s slower than the other drives we recommend but also more universally compatible. Whereas NVMe SSDs work in most two- or three-year-old computers, a SATA SSD works in computers well over a decade old. The MX500 is inexpensive and considerably faster than any spinning hard disk, it has a five-year warranty, and it supports full-disk encryption. It also comes in both 2.5-inch and M.2 SATA versions, so it can fit in almost any desktop or laptop computer. But if you own a newer computer, the WD Blue SN550 offers better performance for the same price, and the BarraCuda 510 offers even better speeds for just a little more money.

Everything we recommend

Our pick

Seagate BarraCuda 510 (512 GB)

Seagate BarraCuda 510 (512 GB)

The best SSD

If you’re building a new computer or upgrading one you recently bought, the BarraCuda 510 drive offers the best combination of performance, capacity, extra features, and cost.

Buying Options

$93* from Amazon

*At the time of publishing, the price was $80.

Runner-up

Addlink S70 (512 GB)

Addlink S70 (512 GB)

Almost as good

Almost as fast, occasionally cheaper, and with a higher endurance rating, the S70 is a good option if you’re not worried about buying from a lesser-known company and you don’t need data-migration software.

Buying Options

Buy from Amazon

*At the time of publishing, the price was $80.

Budget pick

Western Digital WD Blue SN550 (500 GB)

Western Digital WD Blue SN550 (500 GB)

Cheaper and fast enough

The SN550 costs the same as much-slower SATA SSDs, so it’s the best option if you want to upgrade a newer computer for cheap.

Buying Options

$70 from Western Digital

Also great

Crucial MX500 (500 GB)

Crucial MX500 (500 GB)

For older computers

The Crucial MX500 offers great performance for a SATA SSD and a five-year warranty. It’s still a great choice to replace a spinning hard drive in a four- or five-year-old computer.

Buying Options

$80 from Staples

Source: NY Times – Wirecutter

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