Solid state drives are the successor to traditional mechanical hard disks — faster, more reliable, and faster! By upgrading your old hard drive to an SSD, you'll give your computer and its accompanying Windows 10 installation a new lease of life. Here are some of the best options available — and why you should definitely get one.
The most important reason for upgrading your Windows system disk to an SSD is speed. After upgrading to an SSD, it's typical to experience boot times of under 10 seconds — your computer will be faster, your apps will be faster, everything faster. Unlike an old-school traditional hard drive, there aren't any moving parts with an SSD, which helps with power efficiency, transfer speeds and durability.
This is especially important for laptop owners who may carry their PC while it's turned on and active. With no motor or spinning disks, it's less likely to experience problems through movement or vibrations. And better yet, you won't have to leave the PC for a few hours for your favorite disk defragmenter tool to get to work — there's no need to ever defrag an SSD.
Samsung 850 EVO
The 850 EVO series is Samsung's best-selling SSD family and rightfully so. While slightly more costly than competing offerings, Samsung's EVO series offers solid read and write speeds, advanced energy efficiency and reliability and affordability when one considers what's on offer.
There's a 5-year warranty on each 850 EVO, and new owners will be able to enjoy up to 540MB/s read and 520MB/s write speeds. Unfortunately, as is the case with many SSD listings, a 2.5-inch to 3.5-inch bracket isn't included, so if your case only accommodates full-size hard disks you'll need to fork out a few more dollars for a bracket. (You can temporarily leave your SSD sat in an awkward position within the chassis, but we'd recommend securing it in a bay in the long term.)
Kicking things off at 120GB, there are also 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB and 4TB options available. Pricing starts from $84.50 for the 120GB, though we'd recommend spending $5 more for the 250GB, which should be considered the absolute minimum required for Windows, personal documents and media files, and any software you wish to install in future.
Corsair Force Series LE
Corsair utilizes the latest TLC NAND technology to provide SSDs that aren't just capable, but affordable. And since we're talking about Corsair, you'll be investing in a product from a highly rated and trusted brand when it comes to memory. Read and write speeds are 560MB/s read and 530MB/s.
Much like other options, the Corsair Force series offers increased speeds and power efficiency over traditional hard drives, and they won't break your budget like some competitor options. The company has also bundled its own SSD Toolbox software suite, which will help you get the most out of your newly storage drive.
Configurations for the Force Series LE include 240GB, 480GB and finally 960GB. Pricing for the SSDs are $64.99, $115 and $239.99, respectively.
Kingston Digital UV400
Kingston has been a personal favorite of mine when it comes to affordable SSDs, and with the UV400 series you'll have some new storage drives that also look the part. Should you be building a new gaming rig that shows off a few SSD bays, you'll be more than pleased to showcase these Kingston drives.
The UV400 family of drives offer read and write speeds of up to 550MB/s and 490MB/s. Kingston has two variants of each drive within this product line. One is for the drive itself and a secondary listing includes an upgrade bundle. This bundle comes with a SATA cable, USB cable, external container, MOLEX to SATA power convert, and a 2.5-inch to 3.5-inch bay bracket.
Prices start from $39.99 for the 120GB option and all drives come with a three-year warranty.
Samsung 850 PRO
Samsung is on our list for a second time, and this round we're looking at the company's more expensive PRO line of SSDs. So what's the difference between the EVO and PRO and why should you consider spending more on these? Simply put; Samsung's V-NAND technology. This advanced storage platform allows Samsung to offer increased read and write performance, reliability and power management. Read and write speeds are rated at up to 550MB/s and 520MB/s.
3D V-NAND makes it so 32 cell layers can be stacked on top of one another to create higher density using a smaller footprint. The company claims that the 850 PRO line delivers up to twice the speed of conventional flash storage. The drives themselves are rated for a minimum of 150TB of transferred data over the 10-year warranty. Oh, and yes there's a 10-year warranty.
Pricing commences at $89.49 for 129GB, though as we mentioned above we'd go for the 256GB, which would set you back $124.84.
SanDisk SSD Plus
SanDisk's SSD Plus range of solid state storage solutions offer improved reliability and increased transfer speeds over traditional hard drives, making them a great option for upgrades at an affordable price point. Each hard drive purchased from SanDisk also comes with a three-year warranty.
Read and write speeds for the SSD Plus family are 535MB/s and 445MB/s, respectively. Interestingly, SanDisk offers a concierge service that will unlock live support with video chat to aid you with installing your new SSD. Pricing starts from $42.99 for 120GB and tops out at $111.99 for 480GB.
Samsung 950 PRO M.2
What is this madness? Samsung again?! We've included the manufacturer a third time for its M.2 SSD, just in case you wish to take SSD performance even further with an internal card, should your motherboard support this expansion stick of course.
Utilizing the company's V-NAND technology, much like the 850 PRO series of SSDs, the 950 PRO M.2 offers up to 2,200MB/s and 900MB/s speeds for read and write, respectively. It's designed and built for those who desire components for intensive workloads. The 950 PRO is covered by a 5-year warranty.
The only downside to M.2 cards like these is the price. The 256GB 950 PRO will set you back $187.95. But for the increased performance on 2.5-inch SSDs, it'll be a worthy investment for those who require that boost. Note that you'll need to check your motherboard can support a M.2 SSD before purchasing.