In this piece, we are going to discuss the complete shopping guide to select the best NVMe SSD available in the market.
If you wish to unlock the full potential of your PC, enhance its responsiveness, as well as be the first to load in-game, then the most crucial part is SSDs.
We are fortunate to live in a time when those components’ costs are gradually becoming more affordable for the average Joe gamer.
Solid State Drives have slightly faster mechanical drives than their older and slower little sibling. They have no moving parts-you might think of them as large flash drives for your PC.
Even SSD technology has grown over the years.
Even SSD technology has grown over the years. Since its inception, there have been three generations of SATA produced, and now computer engineers have rolled out NVMe SSDs using the PCI express port of your motherboard as opposed to a SATA cable.
Since PCI connections are significantly faster than standard SATA, NVMe SSDs of the third generation are flashing fast, even when compared to conventional SATA drives (SATA III).
Having a good SSD for your machine is vital since combining it with slow storage is the best way to slow down a PC with a fast CPU. Your processor can handle billions of cycles a second, but it also spends a lot of time waiting for data to be fed to your drive. Hard drives are particularly slow as they have spin-up platters and a read/write arm that has to find its way physically to the data sectors you are searching for. You need a strong solid-state drive (SSD) to get the optimum efficiency.
For much more on the differences between hard drives and SSDs, you can check out our section.
A perfect alternative to the more conventional SATA SSDs is the best NVMe SSDs. The NVMe (Non-Volatile-Memory) drives slots directly on your motherboard as well as boasting faster loading times, so you don’t have to think about extra cable clutter either. If you are looking for extra storage to house a few more games or just want to cut down on the tangle of SATA cables that clutter the inside of your high-end gaming Laptop, you may need one of the best NVMe SSDs.
The M.2 form factor is the most common of the two forms of NVMe SSD on the market today. They will plug directly into an M.2 slot and sit with your motherboard almost flat, and they will take up practically no room in your case. Before making your purchase, it’s worth testing if your motherboard has an M.2 connector, but most newer models do so if you’ve updated in the last few years, you shouldn’t have a problem.
The second form of NVMe SSD is the A / C (Add-in Card) drive. These are much less popular than their M.2 counterparts, but they sport far higher speeds — and a big price tag as well. They also take up much more room, using a rear plate that slots into your PC’s back, much like the I / O of your GPU. We would not usually recommend these as the cost per GB is very high, but we’ve included one in our list, just in case you’ve got the $1000 spare or more to throw around. The price is likely to decline over time, of course, but for now, you’re probably better off saving your cash by sticking to an M.2 NVMe SSD.
List Of The Best NVMe SSD
So, if you’re looking for a storage solution that delivers fast load times and doesn’t take up a SATA SSD space, check out our favorites below. While they are more costly than even the best conventional SSDs, we believe they’re worth it for the benefits.
1. Samsung SSD 970 EVO | Best NVME SSD
The Samsung 970 EVO is, to our eyes at least, the best NVMe SSD on the market.
The EVO SSD sits comfortably in terms of affordability relative to other NVMe drives at a little under 40 cents-per-gigabyte (it varies from capacity to capability).
The Samsung 970 EVO SSD is sure to surpass your standards overall. It is an excellent gaming storage choice, as you will be loading extremely fast. If your Computer takes up loading now forever, adding a solid-state drive will significantly improve your gaming Computer speed.
The lack of magnetic tape and other mechanical components makes such high-responsiveness possible thanks to the SSD’s NAND flash memory. Some SSDs also use the memory form of TLC (triple-level cell flash) to achieve a more powerful storage capability as memory cells are stacked on the chip vertically.
If you’re not familiar with the term, NAND is a form of non-volatile storage tech that even without power can still retain data.
Combine affordability and excellent performance to make the Samsung 970 EVO first on our list.
2. WD Black NVMe SSD
If you run high-end programs or load only the most demanding AAA titles, the WD Black NVMe SSD from Western Digital is always a clutch.
The best part of this storage drive is, of course, the many size choices you have. The high capacity of the drive is more than adequate to store your favorite games, files, drivers and even your Windows OS.
The WD Black NVMe SSD is a game-changer when it comes to fast boot speeds and responsiveness. While on this list the fastest NVMe, its sheer efficiency, ample storage options, and fair price make this SSD one of the best on the market.
3. Intel Optane SSD 800P, Best NVME SSD
The storage dimensions are very low for this strip and yeah, that’s kind of expensive too. It’s a horrible value in fact; both versions cost more than $1 per gigabyte, which is very bad. It is also worth noting that this uses a PCIe x2 slot instead of the more traditional x4 slot on the other SSDs on this series.
The summary of this on Amazon says it’s best “The Intel Optane SSD 800p is an ideal OS drive that provides quick booting, application loading, and smooth multitasking.” I can’t guarantee it helps a lot of multitasking, but the first part about it being perfect for your OS is pretty spot-on because frankly, you won’t fit too much.
Okay, that’s dramatic, you might be able to put a few pieces of software on it, but don’t plan to fit a lot of games there. Also, if you’re using this exclusively for your OS and drivers, and then you’re using an HDD or a separate SSD for your other apps, that’s great.
4. Intel Optane SSD 905P
When it comes to finding the best NVMe SSD, this drive is one of the nicest ones available on the market. If you want a smooth, full of storage space and reliable lightning drive, then the Optane 950P is a strong contender. Sadly, it has a pretty hefty price tag, so it’s better with a big budget for enthusiastic builders. If you’re gaming, loading, editing, or making video files, this drive can handle these tasks with ease. When you are for real success in the marketplace, this is your push.
5. Samsung SSD 970 Pro | The Famous NVMe SSD
Known to be one of the fastest drives on the market, the 970 Pro is a favorite among Computer gaming enthusiasts, thanks to its lightning-fast read and write speeds.
While one of today’s fastest available drives, its speed advantage over other SSDs is negligible when compared to its high price tag. In other words, you pay a great deal more for just a little extra value.
Having said that, if efficiency is what you are seeking-and money is not a concern you should consider buying this solid-state drive.
On the other hand, if you are on a small budget, you’d better buy a cheaper drive with identical output scores. You get the biggest bang for your Computer gaming dollar, that way.
Overall, the Samsung 970 Pro is a driven beast, offering 1 TB of storage space –more than enough to play at a peak capacity of all the games you want.
It may be a bit expensive, but this powerful but successful drive is reliable and fit for any role related to gaming or workstation.
6. Plextor M8Pe M.2 NVMe SSD
The Plextor M8Pe NVMe SSD is unquestionably a fantastic move, given its high price tag. The M8Pe is the top-of-the-line product from Plextor, boasting the highest performance scores around the board from the business.
Games load up quickly, and my Computer remains attentive even while gaming when performing another function on the side. It’s safe to say this drive has been built with gamers in mind, especially those who like multitasking.
This storage system offers a beautifully smooth gaming experience, particularly when it comes to face-to-face games that require challenging read / write and processing operations. Although the Plextor M8Pe 512 GB SSD is the last one on our list, it is not the last one in our hearts!
7. Corsair Force MP600 1TB PCIe Gen4
One of the Gen4 SSDs that all use identical components is the Corsair Force MP600, and even more significantly, it doesn’t cost more than the other top M.2 drives like the 970 Evo Plus. NVMe drives smash the SATA interface’s limitations, but even PCIe x4 has its limitations. Correctly, SSDs with PCIe x4 Gen3 top out in real-world performance at about 3,500MB / s. PCIe Gen4 doubles the theoretical speed with the new AMD Ryzen 3000 CPUs, such as the Ryzen 7 3700X and Ryzen 9 3900X, combined with a motherboard X570.
The new design can not be overwhelmed by the current Gen4 SSDs, but they end up with transfer speeds of up to 5,000MB / s (give or take). Under intense workloads, the drives can also get very warm, which is why Corsair equips the MP600 with a full heatsink that can prevent the use of overlapping PCIe slots on specific motherboards. It’s not strictly necessary, and motherboards support some heatsinks, so keep that in mind.
However, I installed Gears of War 5 (from an Appx file) and saw combined read / write speeds of over 3,100MB / s for the 40 seconds or so it took to complete the process.
Buyer’s Guide: How To Find The Best NVMe SSDs For You
Looking to the future of storage technology, we see drives that are smaller, quicker and more powerful than ever. Computer engineers built M.2 drives, which are both smaller and faster than standard SATA SSDs after SATA cables exceeded their capacity ceiling.
Believe it or not, today’s SSDs can hold up to 4 TB of storage space on a single disk, despite their smaller form factor. Also, it’s trickier to find the right NVMe SSD than it may seem. We’ll be explaining what you need to look out for in this section of the guide before you purchase.
Compatibility of the NVMe SSD
There are three main factors which while discussing SSD compatibility with your desktop or laptop should be kept in mind: the form factor, Interface, and bus type.
The most important to learn when making a purchase is the shape factor, or in other words, the scale. Most generally, you can find type factors labeled with 2.5-inch and M.2.
2.5-inch drives are very popular today, as most SATA SSDs are 2.5-inch drives placed in a hard drive bay case. It is the same form factor as a hard-drive laptop. They can be used on both laptops (if they have the bay for them) and desktops (if they have space for it and the right SATA interface).
M.2 drives are very small SSDs that can be used, if compatible, on both laptops and desktop. Typically they are placed in the PCIe slot of your motherboard while some M.2 drives do use SATA connectors.
It is important to remember because it will have a significant effect on the pace of your drive.
Almost every NVMe SSD sold today uses the M.2 form factor although some exceptions to this rule exist. Before you buy, make sure your motherboard is SSD compatible!
First, we’ve got the GUI, separate from the form factor. It is the component used to attach your SSD to your notebook or desktop. PCIe SSD interfaces, for example, work only on your laptop.
The Interface of the SSD is the tool it uses to connect to other components in the device (SATA, PCIe, SATAExpress, etc.) as opposed to the form factor, which can be described as the drive’s size and shape.
SSDs come through several interfaces, mostly focused on the performance specifications for that specific SSD and the device.
The Serial ATA (SATA) interface is used with 2.5 “SSDs (and also HDDs) which uses something called a blade-connector and requires a SATA cable. There is a single-bladed connector in the M.2 drives.
Finally, the sort of bus is in there. The bus is essentially the SSD-to-system data route. To buy an SSD that is compatible with your motherboard, you need to know the type of bus your machine has. That’s where things get sort of complicated, but hold on to us.
For example, any SATA SSD drive you buy would require a SATA bus, regardless of its form factor. It is a scenario where the Serial ATA is the same as the Train.
Much M.2s use a SATA bus and some use the PCIe bus–the NVMe drives–. Furthermore, the SATA M.2’s do not use SATA cables, like the 2.5 “SSDs, hence the specific design. NVMe fits in the PCIe slot of your motherboard, where it gets its high speed.
It means you need to be mindful of what supports your motherboard, and what supports your engine. But, this is kind of a rundown of a condensed edition. If you’re still confused then a great visualization could help, so check this infographic from the subreddit r / PCMasterRace. You might also consider the video from Science Studio helpful on the subject.
How Much Storage Do You Need?
You will need to weigh how much room you currently have, and how much storage space you think you will need in the future.
The types of games you play–after all, AAA games are far more significant than indie titles–and the number of games you want to have installed at once would be the most crucial factor to consider when choosing a storage space. You will want your Windows OS, drivers and favorite games to be at least 250 GB. If you want to play more than 6 or 7 games at once, then you should probably pick up a 500 GB drive instead.
You will eventually take through the drive that you are considering and compare the cost per gigabyte. The cost per gigabyte can be calculated by dividing the drive price by drive size.
Let us take, for example, the Samsung 970 EVO 500 GB.
The Amazon EVO SSD price is $149 and includes 500 GB of storage. 149 $0.298, divided by 500. That is about 30 cents a gigabyte.
Using this method to consider how much you spend when opposed to how much room you get. SSD output is always very similar, so it’s best to go for the cheapest drive that fits your storage needs.
We agree it can be very overwhelming to find the right SSD for your PC, to say the least, if you are an inexperienced PC builder or an accomplished one. It’s not always easy to hunt for the right SSD.
Note what to look for, to make your life a little easier:
- Form Factor
- Bus Type
Storage Space You Need
- Current SSD or hard drive space
- Accommodate storage for the future
- Determine price per gigabyte
Types of NVMe SSDs You Must Know Before Selecting The Best NVMe SSD
- PCI Express SSDs
- M.2 SSDs
Our SSD testbed includes a Ryzen 7 2700X, 2×8 GB G.Skill DDR4-3200 CL14, motherboard Gigabyte X470 Aorus Gaming 7 WiFi, as well as 64-bit Windows 10 Pro. We retested all of the SSDs updated with the new Windows 10 May 2019 update and found that the Meltdown and Spectre exploit patches have impacted random IO on Intel systems. The good news is that in most cases our latest tests match or surpass our earlier Z370 testbed tests with a dedicated x4 PCIe interface for M.2 NVMe drives.
Our test suite for SSDs consists of simulated simulations, manipulation of real-world data, and numerous trace checks that reach the playback disks as quickly as possible. We assess the drives by looking at results in all the tests, but we appear to put a higher weight on real-world output (e.g., file copy tests) because this is more likely to reflect what normal users will do.
The Intel Optane 905p and other Optane drives make a bold performance argument, but that is not the only consideration when it comes to buying an SSD. We have taken into account current market prices and these days we appear to prefer SSDs in the 1 TB class in combination with the drives’ size.
Budget NVMe drives have become much more interesting late particularly with the Intel 660p and Crucial P1 and similar drives driving prices down to SATA rates. Unless your PC supports NVMe storage, then there is a good argument for SATA ditching, at least for your boot drive. Plus, you can always add a massive yet inexpensive SATA SSD for secondary storage and games (or maybe even an HDD).
The old model for storage was based on the concept of spinning disks. Starting in 2007, when SSDs entered the mainstream consumer market, they reset our storage standards. Changing from the mechanical world of hard drives to the silicon world of SSDs has brought rapid performance, technology, functionality and reliability improvements. SSDs usually have no trouble saturating the different SATA connections. It took faster alternatives, but the Interface was only part of the problem.
NVMe drives are becoming ever more popular, and costs are continuing to fall. I’ve checked much more NVMe drives in the past year than SATA drives, mostly because SATA drives all start looking the same. Many hit the same SATA interface cap of ~550MB / s for sequential IO, but on some models, random IOs can still be a bit troublesome. For budget NVMe prices now approaching the SATA drives, most new builds will be considered seriously if SATA’s extra power and data cables are required.
In addition to the SSDs that we suggested, we have also looked at several other NVMe drives.
We have also overhauled our guide to include more value-added choices.