11 votes

What SSD should I buy?

Right now I have this SSD and apparently it's pretty outdated. I wanted to get a 500GB one that's quite a bit faster without being too expensive (so less than $100 at the least.) Any suggestions?

31 comments

  1. [9]
    TheJorro (edited ) Link
    What will you be using this for? It's really important to state what the purpose is as I found that the vast, vast majority of SSD advice out there is absolutely not for regular consumer use. The...

    What will you be using this for? It's really important to state what the purpose is as I found that the vast, vast majority of SSD advice out there is absolutely not for regular consumer use. The differences between NVME and m2 SATA, m2 PCI-E, and regular 2.5" SATA will not matter to most people. They're very important for drives that constantly have activity but if you're, say, just playing a bunch of games, then any SSD will do.

    I just bought myself a 1TB SSD the other day. It's the Western Digital Blue 3D NAND drive. It's a middle-of-the-road sort of SSD, nothing fancy. However, all I use it for is to store large games. Video games don't need anything beyond some basic end SSD hardware, unless you really care about a tiny few seconds worth of extra loading times in some games. I would not have received any real advantage to getting an NVME m2 PCI-E drive for this purpose.

    The two most popular models right now are the Samsung 860 EVO and the Crucial MX500. If either of those are in your budget and size preferences, then go for it. SSD prices are at an all-time low.

    Keep in mind that your motherboard is m2 SATA only, so it will not support m2 PCI-E. You won't experience any significant real world benefits going with an m2 over a regular 2.5" version. NVME drives are quite a bit pricier than regular SATA drives right now, both in m2 and PCI board format. The prices will probably drop more and more over the next year, and then some. I've still got my m2 slot empty while I wait until my current system OS SSD gets too long in the tooth, and then I will transfer that into a video game console.

    16 votes
    1. Akir Link Parent
      This is the most pragmatic advice so far. Normal people really don't need nvme speeds. Without knowing much about how good or bad OPs ssd is, I wouldn't even particularly recommend upgrading it...

      This is the most pragmatic advice so far. Normal people really don't need nvme speeds.

      Without knowing much about how good or bad OPs ssd is, I wouldn't even particularly recommend upgrading it unless they were looking for more space.

      5 votes
    2. PopeRigby Link Parent
      I'll just be using it to install games on and have Windows be a little quicker. I mostly wanted to install Skyrim SE on it to really get it running fast.

      I'll just be using it to install games on and have Windows be a little quicker. I mostly wanted to install Skyrim SE on it to really get it running fast.

      3 votes
    3. [4]
      brighteyes720 Link Parent
      Tangential question. I am a SSD noob. I have a laptop with a free m.2 slot and a standard 2.5" 1 TB HDD. Is it worth it getting a m.2 256 GB drive just for the OS. I don't play games at all...

      Tangential question. I am a SSD noob.

      I have a laptop with a free m.2 slot and a standard 2.5" 1 TB HDD. Is it worth it getting a m.2 256 GB drive just for the OS. I don't play games at all really. But a speedy OS would be wonderful.

      And would the benefits be only for the OS startup speed or the OS use in general? Btw I have no idea wtf is NVME. But I'll google it.

      1 vote
      1. Greg (edited ) Link Parent
        I'd say definitely worthwhile. HD -> SSD is widely regarded as the most significant single upgrade you can do. It's not just boot speed, it's anything that touches the drive (opening software,...

        I'd say definitely worthwhile. HD -> SSD is widely regarded as the most significant single upgrade you can do. It's not just boot speed, it's anything that touches the drive (opening software, searching files, and all the background paging in/out of RAM) that happens dramatically faster.

        In very subjective terms, it makes the whole system feel much faster and more responsive.

        Depending on price, and how much space you actually use, you can either add the m.2 for OS and software installs (and then use the existing HDD for file storage), or you can just pull the existing drive and replace it with a 2.5" SATA SSD.

        [Edit] Just to add, I'm in full agreement with TheJorro that for most normal use cases, more or less any SSD is as good as any other.

        An analogy I liked is that HDD speed is like a bicycle and then SSD is like a modern car. Moving from one to the other is big, but for most people on the commuter run a mid range Toyota does the job just as well as a Ferrari.

        3 votes
      2. poopfeast6969 (edited ) Link Parent
        It can be a bit confusing when talking about ssd connection standards. Because people mix physical connector standards and information transfer protocols in the same sentence. M.2 is a connector...

        It can be a bit confusing when talking about ssd connection standards. Because people mix physical connector standards and information transfer protocols in the same sentence.

        M.2 is a connector and form factor for drives. An m.2 drive can use a sata protocol or nvme protocol to communicate with the motherboard.

        It gets more confusing because sata used to be used when referring to both the sata connector and sata protocol. Because there was no other protocols to be confused about before nvme.

        Sata (the protocol) was made for spinning disks. Where as nvme has optimisations for ssds. Many motherboards may physically have m.2 slots. But only support sata (protocol) drives in them.

        3 votes
      3. TheJorro Link Parent
        Hell yeah, the speed of an SSD versus an HDD is night and day.

        Is it worth it getting a m.2 256 GB drive just for the OS.

        Hell yeah, the speed of an SSD versus an HDD is night and day.

    4. [2]
      NeoTheFox Link Parent
      You can still use an NVME drive via PCIe adapter, especially since this motherboard has second x16 slot. Considering the chipset it may as well support booting directly from it, or if it doesn't...

      You can still use an NVME drive via PCIe adapter, especially since this motherboard has second x16 slot. Considering the chipset it may as well support booting directly from it, or if it doesn't you just have to place a EFI partition elsewhere, it's a bit of tinkering but nothing really hard to do. To OS this would be no different than having a native NVME slot. IDK about other people experience, but to me upgrading from an old Kingston Hyper-X to NVME Plextor drive was quite noticeable, especially on random access. Granted it's not as big as going from HDD to SSD it's still noticeable.

      1. TheJorro Link Parent
        I'm just not sure the difference getting an NVME versus a modern regular SSD is worth the price difference unless you're an enthusiast or you get a really good deal. Realistically, I don't even...

        I'm just not sure the difference getting an NVME versus a modern regular SSD is worth the price difference unless you're an enthusiast or you get a really good deal. Realistically, I don't even take full advantage of how fast my PC boots up with this MX300. SSDs are just so fast in general that even at their slowest, they can feel like you're cruising in a supercar.

        6 votes
  2. [14]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. Wes (edited ) Link Parent
      Check it against Ebay with their 15% coupon. I just ordered this from Canada. https://www.reddit.com/r/bapcsalescanada/comments/aadp5i/ssd_samsung_860_evo_series_1tb_1649915/ Edit: Just to...

      Check it against Ebay with their 15% coupon. I just ordered this from Canada.

      https://www.reddit.com/r/bapcsalescanada/comments/aadp5i/ssd_samsung_860_evo_series_1tb_1649915/

      Edit: Just to clarify, this is still through Newegg/Ebay. Not a third-party seller.

      2 votes
    2. sqew Link Parent
      Just got one of these for Christmas, loving it so far. Read and write speeds are great.

      Just got one of these for Christmas, loving it so far. Read and write speeds are great.

      1 vote
    3. piedpiper Link Parent
      I am currently in the process of backing up my old drive and installing one of these on my ThinkPad. Got it for $99 Canadian on cyber Monday. I'm super pumped to see the speed difference.

      I am currently in the process of backing up my old drive and installing one of these on my ThinkPad. Got it for $99 Canadian on cyber Monday. I'm super pumped to see the speed difference.

      1 vote
    4. [10]
      PopeRigby Link Parent
      So is that one faster than my current one? I'm realizing that I'm very inexperienced with SSDs.

      So is that one faster than my current one? I'm realizing that I'm very inexperienced with SSDs.

      1 vote
      1. [10]
        Comment deleted by author
        Link Parent
        1. [9]
          PopeRigby Link Parent
          I'm in way over my head here. I'm so confused.

          I'm in way over my head here. I'm so confused.

          2 votes
          1. [8]
            spit-evil-olive-tips Link Parent
            SATA is the standard used by more or less every hard drive on the market right now (excepting drives used in servers which tend to be a different-but-related standard called SAS). When SSDs first...

            SATA is the standard used by more or less every hard drive on the market right now (excepting drives used in servers which tend to be a different-but-related standard called SAS). When SSDs first appeared, they used SATA as well, which means that under the covers your current SSD is essentially pretending to be a hard drive. A very fast hard drive to be sure, but still a hard drive.

            There's a newer interface, called NVMe, which is built from the ground up to be used for SSDs, and not for hard drives. That makes it faster in certain scenarios, but often ones that aren't very useful to the average consumer. An NVMe SSD will handle "I'd like to open these 10,000 files all at once" much better than a SATA SSD - but you probably don't need to do that very often.

            From the link you provided in a separate post, your motherboard has an M.2 slot, which can fit an SSD, but that slot only operates in SATA mode, not NVMe mode - in other words, it plugs directly into your motherboard instead of using cables, but once plugged in it still acts like an SSD-pretending-to-be-a-hard-drive. That means you won't see much if any speed benefit of using an M.2 SATA SSD vs. a 2.5 inch SATA SSD like the one you've currently got.

            So, short version, right now you should buy a 2.5" SATA SSD (which will look physically identical to the one you have now) such as this one. The next time you do a major upgrade to your computer (replacing motherboard/CPU/RAM/etc) you should look for a motherboard that supports NVMe SSDs (which is almost all of them by now) and that will give you the option of upgrading to an NVMe-based SSD.

            1 vote
            1. [7]
              PopeRigby Link Parent
              Alright. I'll probably do an upgrade to my case, GPU, RAM and motherboard at one point but I sure as hell don't have enough money for that right now. Will there be a noticeable speed difference...

              Alright. I'll probably do an upgrade to my case, GPU, RAM and motherboard at one point but I sure as hell don't have enough money for that right now. Will there be a noticeable speed difference for the SSD you linked vs. my current one?

              1. [6]
                spit-evil-olive-tips Link Parent
                How much space are you using on your current SSD, and what's taking up that space? ie, is it mostly games/apps or mostly audio/video files? If you're not sure, you can use something like...

                How much space are you using on your current SSD, and what's taking up that space? ie, is it mostly games/apps or mostly audio/video files? If you're not sure, you can use something like WinDirStat to see what's taking up the most space.

                For large apps/games (such as Skyrim, GTA V, etc, that need to load a lot of different map data) you're likely to notice a significant difference. That Sandisk model is apparently a grab bag of low-end components. A modern drive like the Samsung one I linked will have much better components.

                On the other hand, if most of what's taking up space is audio/video files, you're unlikely to notice any real difference in speed (unless you're editing those media files, in which case a better SSD would absolutely be noticeable). In that case your money would be better spent getting a separate storage drive. For example, you can get a 2TB WD Blue for $60. Blue is WD's slowest product line, so it'd be a terrible drive to boot your OS from, but it'd work great if you just need somewhere to store your collection of cough Linux ISOs and Project Gutenberg audiobooks.

                1. [5]
                  PopeRigby Link Parent
                  You know I have honestly know idea what's taking up so much space on my SSD. There's basically only windows and a few other things but it's got about 30GB left. Certainly very annoying.

                  You know I have honestly know idea what's taking up so much space on my SSD. There's basically only windows and a few other things but it's got about 30GB left. Certainly very annoying.

                  1. [3]
                    teaearlgraycold Link Parent
                    This will help you track down what files are tacking up your disk space.

                    This will help you track down what files are tacking up your disk space.

                    1 vote
                    1. [2]
                      PopeRigby Link Parent
                      It's frustrating for me because it just shows me a bunch of small things and I have no idea what to delete.

                      It's frustrating for me because it just shows me a bunch of small things and I have no idea what to delete.

                      1. teaearlgraycold Link Parent
                        What folders are the biggest clusters of small files in? They could be pieces to forgotten games, software updates, etc.

                        What folders are the biggest clusters of small files in? They could be pieces to forgotten games, software updates, etc.

                  2. Akir Link Parent
                    SSDs, much like HDDs, get slower the more you fill them up, so if you aren't getting good performance with your existing SSD that might actually be your problem. It's actually somewhat worse to...

                    SSDs, much like HDDs, get slower the more you fill them up, so if you aren't getting good performance with your existing SSD that might actually be your problem.

                    It's actually somewhat worse to overfill an SSD than it is an HDD because it causes more wear on the flash memories. I am having a hard time explaining it right now but I found an article that did a pretty good job: https://pureinfotech.com/why-solid-state-drive-ssd-performance-slows-down/

  3. [4]
    teaearlgraycold Link
    Does your motherboard have an m.2 slot?

    Does your motherboard have an m.2 slot?

    3 votes
    1. [3]
      PopeRigby Link Parent
      Uhh. I'm not sure how to tell. This is it.

      Uhh. I'm not sure how to tell. This is it.

      2 votes
      1. TheJorro Link Parent
        Fourth bullet point there:

        Fourth bullet point there:

        M.2 6Gb/s (SATA mode only)

        7 votes
      2. teaearlgraycold Link Parent
        I would recommend against an m.2 SSD unless you can get an NVME adapter like this one. If you go for an NVME drive then this 500GB 970 Evo is a fine option. You could go for a 1TB model depending...

        I would recommend against an m.2 SSD unless you can get an NVME adapter like this one.

        If you go for an NVME drive then this 500GB 970 Evo is a fine option. You could go for a 1TB model depending on your needs.

        1 vote
  4. [5]
    NeoTheFox Link
    I would strongly advice against getting a SATA SSD right now, you would be much better off getting a NVME capable drive, pair it with an adapter if you have to - it's much more future-proof and it...

    I would strongly advice against getting a SATA SSD right now, you would be much better off getting a NVME capable drive, pair it with an adapter if you have to - it's much more future-proof and it gives you better performance, This is an HP drive right in your price range. If you would have to use an adapter then look for NVME to PCIe adapter, it would be about 10 bucks, also make sure to make it either an x1 PCIe slot or a full slot, since most adapters are for x4 PCIe, and they wouldn't fit if your motherboard only has x1 to spare.
    This all goes out of the window if you have a laptop without an m2 slot since you can't use an adapter.

    1 vote
    1. [2]
      Silbern Link Parent
      The problem with an NVME adapter though is, can the BIOS boot from it? If it can't, then the whole point of getting a super fast NVME drive isn't there. And tbh, a SATA SSD should last for many...

      The problem with an NVME adapter though is, can the BIOS boot from it? If it can't, then the whole point of getting a super fast NVME drive isn't there. And tbh, a SATA SSD should last for many years, most people won't notice the difference in daily use. The latencies are both very good, it's mostly the bandwidth that's different iirc.

      4 votes
      1. NeoTheFox Link Parent
        If your BIOS can't boot from a random PCIe slot all you have to do is place your bootloader elsewhere, that's not too hard to do - at OS level it's just a PCIe device, so you can have your root on...

        If your BIOS can't boot from a random PCIe slot all you have to do is place your bootloader elsewhere, that's not too hard to do - at OS level it's just a PCIe device, so you can have your root on it. OP already has a SATA SSD that he wantes to upgrade from, and if an upgrade should feel like a proper upgrade IMO it's better to get something good and more future-proof than to get another SATA SSD.

    2. [2]
      PopeRigby Link Parent
      What's wrong with getting an SSD right now?

      What's wrong with getting an SSD right now?

      1 vote
      1. NeoTheFox Link Parent
        Not an SSD, a SATA SSD. SATA is an older interface that had been made for rotating discs, and NVME is a new and shiny interface for SSDs, which has better speed and parallelism for SSDs, not to...

        Not an SSD, a SATA SSD. SATA is an older interface that had been made for rotating discs, and NVME is a new and shiny interface for SSDs, which has better speed and parallelism for SSDs, not to mention it's smaller and the NVMe SSD is a PCIe device, which opens some extra doors like VFIO passthrough and all other kinds of fancy stuff. IMO if you are getting a new part that would last you a long time it's better to get the most modern one.

        3 votes