Best SSDs 2017

by Alex - first posted February 22, 2017

If you’re looking for an improvement to your desktop, and your operating system (OS) is still running on a hard disk drive (HDD), then getting a solid state drive (SSD) is a great place to start. Ever since SSDs hit the consumer market, they’ve been blowing HDDs out of the water.

A top end consumer HDD will get you maximum data transfer rates just past 200 MB/s and average read access times of 16 ms. Compare this to your average SSD at 400 MB/s and 0.08 ms, and it’s hard to make a wrong choice. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best SSDs in 2017 (unless otherwise stated, they come with a 3-year warranty):

Why You Should Buy an SSD

These higher speeds greatly improve performance all around. Every time you launch an application, or start up your computer, numerous read and write requests send your HDD’s read heads buzzing to the sound of long access times and slow random read/write speeds. These sorts of operations play right into an SSD’s wheelhouse.

In terms of reliability, SSDs did not start on the right foot, but that was a long time ago. These days, you can consider an SSD to be just as reliable as your consumer HDD, and the 3-, 5- and even 10-year warranties should really put your mind at ease.

These improvements in performance do come at a premium. While you can get a high-end HDD for $0.10/GB or less, an average SSD is going to be closer to $0.40/GB. The good news, however, is that you probably don’t need a 2 TB SSD to replace that 2 TB HDD. Movies, music, and applications that are not a priority can stay on your HDD, while you migrate your OS and any other application that you want loading lightning fast to your SSD, thus still getting all the relevant benefits.

The Best SSDs 2017 Has To Offer

Mushkin Reactor 500GB – $134.99

I had never heard of the Mushkin Reactor before doing a bit of research for this post, but it seems to be highly regarded. Though it lags in performance behind field leaders by about 10%, it’s priced around $0.25/GB. That makes it one of the cheapest per GB, which is pretty great if you really, really want that 2 TB model for some reason.

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Samsung 850 Evo 500GB – $167.99

This is the SSD that I purchased 4 months ago. I bought it because I asked a friend if he could recommend something—he said that he doesn’t know much, but they use the 850 Evos in every dektop at his office, and they’ve had 0 failures. It has written 4 TB for me since I installed it and continues to work flawlessly. It also has a 5-year warranty over the Mushkin Reactor’s 3.

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Crucial MX300 525GB – $149.99

This is a decent mid-range SSD that you can grab for an often very reasonable price. Don’t expect any fancy features, such as the ability to customize overprovisioning, or top end performance, but it is a workable drive for any moderate user.

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Samsung 850 Pro 256GB – $129.99

If you’re willing to break the bank, the 850 Pro comes with all the bells and whistles, and is right at the top of performance metrics. Besides all that, it comes with an impressive 10-year warranty.

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SanDisk Extreme Pro 480GB – $189.99

When I first put this list together, I really thought that SanDisk SSDs would be some of the best—as it turns out, not so much. In terms of performance, it’s a hefty improvement over something like the Crucial MX300, but falls short of the Mushkin Reactor or Samsung 850 Evo. It does come with a worry alleviating 10-year warranty, though.

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Kingston HyperX Savage 480GB – $179.00

With the HyperX Savage, Kingston moved away from the Sandforce 2881 controller, making it into a competitor. Even so, it lags a bit behind the 850 Evo and the Mushkin Reactor. The first SSD that I bought and still use is a Kingston V300—the older model with the older controller. Considering that I’ve been nothing but happy with it, I can’t imagine the HyperX Savage to be a disappointment.

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OCZ Vertex 460a 480GB – $164.96

An update to the 3-year-old Vertex 460, the 2-year-old Vertex 460a uses a newer 19nm MLC, which leads to essentially no change in performance. Still, it is a fairly major step up over the Crucial MX300 for a fairly minor amount of cash.

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Intel 535 480GB – $416

Intel’s consumer SSDs are not as big of a priority for them as their enterprise line, but they do tend to raise the bar with each new release before being surpassed by the market. Regardless, they’ve gained some recognition for their reliability, and come with a 5-year warranty. If you’re willing to pay a premium for a reputation in reliability over performance, you should consider one of their products.

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Western Digital Blue 500GB – $139.99

After their purchase of SanDisk in May 2016, Western Digital came out with their own line of SSDs In October. Come to think of it, maybe that’s why the last time SanDisk released an SSD was almost 3 years ago… Regardless, Western Digital SSDs are priced very aggressively. They do not provide top of the line performance, and their reliability isn’t established, but there’s no reason to completely gloss over them.

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