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Best SSD 2022: Top NVME, NAS, and SATA options

Samsung 980 Pro
Samsung 980 Pro (Image credit: Windows Central)

The best SSDs all offer the excellent performance at a reasonable price. Whether you're looking for PCIe 4.0 or PCIe 3.0, M.2 or SATA, we've collected a bunch of the best storage options for your custom PC or laptop. As it stands now, the Samsung 980 Pro is our top pick. It offers excellent speeds, modest power consumption, and it comes in four different sizes. If it's not quite what you're looking for, there are plenty of other storage options available that we've rounded up right here.

Best overall: Samsung 980 Pro

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Samsung 980 Pro

Reasons to buy

+
Insane performance
+
Great warranty and TBW rating
+
Four sizes available
+
Hardware-level 256-bit AES encryption
+
Modest power consumption

Reasons to avoid

-
No included heatsink
-
Can get similar performance for less

Samsung is easily near the top of the pile when it comes to fast and reliable storage, and its 980 Pro M.2 PCIe 4.0 drive lives up to expectations. In his Samsung 980 Pro review, former editor Richard Devine said it has "all the trademarks of other Samsung SSDs, like incredible quality, intuitive software, and a great warranty." It might cost more than our other top pick — the Crucial P5 Plus — but the 980 Pro does offer faster read speeds and modest power consumption.

The 980 Pro comes in four sizes: 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB. It doesn't come standard with a heatsink, though at some retailers you can choose to bundle one in. And if your motherboard has one included, it should work fine with the drive. You get a five-year warranty and a decent Terabytes Written (TBW) rating, meaning you can write hundreds of gigabytes of data per day and still not hit the theoretical warranty threshold.

As a bonus, the Samsung Elpis controller allows for hardware-level 256-bit AES encryption. This boosts security and doesn't sap performance as much as having another layer of software running on top of everything else. This is a nice feature to have, especially if you work with sensitive data.

This is a PCIe 4.0 drive, so you'll want to be sure that your PC supports the latest standard. The PCIe versions are backwards compatible, though you'll be overpaying if all you need is a PCIe 3.0 drive. Check out something like the Samsung 970 EVO Plus or the SK hynix Gold P31 if this is your case.

Affordable PCIe 4.0: Crucial P5 Plus

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Crucial P5 Plus

Reasons to buy

+
Nimble read and write speeds
+
Five-year warranty and good TBW rating
+
More affordable than our top pick
+
Acronis True Image and Crucial Executive Storage included
+
Work with PS5 as well

Reasons to avoid

-
No heatsink included
-
Top pick has faster read speeds
-
Only three capacities

Crucial's P5 Plus sits in a close second place compared to the Samsung 980 Pro. When I compared the P5 Plus against the 980 Pro, it became clear that either drive would make a great addition to a PC with PCIe 4.0. The 980 Pro can hit faster read speeds, but it also costs quite a bit more than the P5 Plus. For those trying to build a new PC or do an upgrade on the cheap, this will likely be a major factor.

In my Crucial P5 Plus review, I noted the SSD "handles gaming and general productivity with ease thanks to fast read and write speeds and low access latency." It has the same TBW rating and five-year warranty period as the Samsung 980 Pro, plus it comes with similar hardware-based 256-bit AES encryption. It's unfortunately only available in 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB sizes; if you want something smaller, you'll want to turn to Samsung.

As has come to be expected from Crucial, you can get reliable, fast storage for less money if you don't mind making some small concessions when it comes to overall performance.

Best for PCIe 3.0: Samsung 970 EVO Plus

Samsung 970 EVO Plus

Samsung 970 EVO Plus (Image credit: Windows Central)

Samsung 970 EVO Plus

Reasons to buy

+
Amazing performance
+
Good value
+
Solid endurance
+
Five-year warranty
+
Four sizes available

Reasons to avoid

-
Not as future-proof as PCIe 4.0

Samsung did something incredible with the 970 EVO Plus, offering performance that matches (even supersedes) the Samsung 980. The 970 EVO Plus is based on Samsung's 96-layer V-NAND memory, and with the series starting at an affordable price for the 256GB storage capacity, this is an extremely enticing SSD.

Read and write speeds are 3,500MB/s and 3,300MB/s, respectively. It's fast, but not quite as fast as PCIe 4.0 SSDs. That's OK if you have an older PC. Numerous 970 EVO Plus features match other Samsung NVMe SSDs, including the five-year warranty and overall endurance of the drive.

In our Samsung 970 EVO Plus review, editor Richard Devine stated that buying this SSD is a no-brainer. That still mostly holds true three years later, especially if you're buying for a PC with PCIe 3.0. Grab it in 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB sizes.

Best performance: XPG Gammix S70

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

XPG Gammix S70

Reasons to buy

+
Ridiculous speeds with PCIe 4.0
+
Multi-tiered heat spreader included
+
Five-year warranty
+
Solid TBW rating

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Only two sizes available

ADATA has been in the storage game for quite a while, and its consumer XPG brand has begun to branch out into everything from extremely fast PC storage to Windows laptops. The Gammix S70 only comes in two sizes — 1TB and 2TB — but it has incredible read and write capabilities well above what the likes of the P5 Plus or 980 Pro can offer.

In my XPG Gammix S70 review, testing revealed that this is the drive you want if you absolutely hate waiting around for your files to transfer. These drives don't come cheap, but the transfer speeds well make up for the cost.

The drive comes with a multi-tiered heatspreader to better handle heat, so it's best suited for a full PC build than inside of a laptop. It's PCIe 4.0, so you also want to be sure your PC can support it. Each drive comes with a respectable TBW rating and a five-year warranty, adding some peace of mind to your investment.

Up to 4TB capacity: Kingston KC3000

Kingston Kc3000 Review

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Kingston KC3000

Reasons to buy

+
Incredible performance
+
Generous TBW rating
+
Up to 4TB size available
+
Acronis True Image HD included
+
Five-year warranty

Reasons to avoid

-
No true heatsink included
-
No built-in AES encryption
-
Not the most affordable

The Kingston KC3000 is another PCIe 4.0 SSD that I recently put to the test. As you can see in my Kingston KC3000 review, it's one of the fastest, most durable drives I've ever used. It lacks the same hardware-level encryption and it costs more than the likes of the 980 Pro or P5 Plus, but it was far faster than both drives.

Not only is it fast but it also comes with a very generous TBW rating and a five-year warranty. The SSD doesn't come with a true heatsink, but its graphene sticker does no doubt help dispel some heat. It's better than the regular sticker that's attached to most SSDs. And if you love to load up on storage, the KC3000 comes in up to a 4TB capacity. It's expensive but it's worth it if you're short on M.2 slots and want to maximize your return.

Up to 8TB capacity: Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus

Source: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central)

Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus

Reasons to buy

+
Ridiculous data speeds
+
Up to 8TB
+
Reliable TBW rating
+
Gorgeous design

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Not quite as fast as the Gammix S70

Sabrent's Rocket 4 Plus was one of the earlier PCIe 4.0 drives available, and it still holds up today. It comes in only below the XPG Gammix S70 for sequential read and write speeds that we've tested, and it uses the same controller as the Kingston KC3000. It has a slightly lower TBW rating than Kingston's drive, but its performance is superior. And if you need the absolute most storage space attached to one M.2 slot, you can get the Rocket 4 Plus in up to a whopping 8TB capacity. It's going to cost you a pretty penny, but those who need it will shell out.

In his Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus review, Senior Editor Rich Edmonds mentions that he hates to keep the drive covered up due to how good it looks. Luckily, he also found that the drive doesn't suffer from significant performance penalties if you don't add a full heatsink. The copper sticker that comes included does a decent job of dissipating heat.

Also great for PCIe 3.0: SK hynix Gold P31

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

SK hynix Gold P31

Reasons to buy

+
A lot of value for your money
+
Biodegradable packaging
+
Awesome PCIe 3.0 performance
+
Sturdy warranty and TBW rating
+
Power-efficient

Reasons to avoid

-
No PCIe 4.0 support
-
Only three sizes available

The SK hynix Gold P31 is an SSD that I've been using in my main PC ever since I first tested it in 2020. It's a PCIe 3.0 drive that offers an attractive price-to-performance ratio, solid TBW rating, and five-year warranty. While it's only available in 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB sizes, many people who haven't yet upgraded to PCIe 4.0 will be able to take advantage.

In my SK hynix Gold P31 review I mentioned that the SSD is easy to recommend for anyone who needs a laptop or desktop PC upgrade. Its performance beats out plenty of more expensive PCIe 3.0 drives, and it also won't drain your wallet. In my testing, the Gold P31 topped 3,500 MB/s read speeds and nearly 3,300 MB/s write speeds, putting it ahead of the Samsung 970 EVO Plus.

Best 2.5-inch SSD: Samsung 870 EVO

Samsung 870 EVO

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Samsung 870 EVO

Reasons to buy

+
Great performance
+
Solid endurance
+
Five-year warranty
+
Choice of capacity
+
Useful companion software

Reasons to avoid

-
Is outpaced by M.2 PCIe drives

You can do much worse than Samsung memory, as we've previously discussed. The company's storage solutions are viewed as some of the best in the business. It's also why we selected a Samsung SSD as our best overall option in this category. There's a five-year warranty on each Samsung 870 EVO, and new owners will be able to enjoy up to 560MB/s read and 530MB/s write speeds.

That's not too bad for a SATA SSD. It comes in 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB capacities as well. While Samsung's SSDs may be slightly pricier than competitor's alternatives, you've got to remember the company states you'll be able to use these drives for far beyond five years. And that's backed with the extended warranty from the factory for each drive.

Best NAS SSD: Western Digital Red SA500

Western Digital Red SA500

Reasons to buy

+
560MB/s transfer speed
+
Up to 4TB capacity
+
Optimized for better readability
+
Designed for 24/7 operation
+
Five-year warranty

Reasons to avoid

-
Can get very expensive

If you happen to be running a server on your Windows PC or need an SSD that's designed for 24/7 operation, the Western Digital Red SSD range is just what you need. The best NAS are typically made up of NAS-specific mechanical HDDs that are designed for continuous operation, but now enclosure manufacturers are looking at SSDs, too.

This option from WD is optimized specifically for caching inside of your NAS enclosure, with extra endurance to handle the above-average read and write workloads. The Red SA500 is built to have reduced latency ideal for video and media work. You can get them in up to a 4TB size. These are great little storage devices and one of the best storage drives for NAS.

Bottom line

The best SSDs are now moving into M.2 PCIe 4.0 territory, offering speeds that blow away anything PCIe 3.0 or SATA could even dream of. That doesn't mean you absolutely need to invest in PCIe 4.0; many PCs are still using PCIe 3.0 and SATA still has its uses, especially if you're looking for inexpensive bulk storage. Do note that PCIe 4.0 is backwards compatible, so you could buy a PCIe 4.0 drive now and upgrade your PC somewhere in the near future. Drives using PCIe 4.0 do cost more, so that's something you need to consider.

As it stands now, the Samsung 980 Pro is tough to beat. The Crucial P5 Plus is also right up there, but its lack of a 250GB option and its slightly slower read speeds will turn many people toward the Samsung drive. The 980 Pro comes with a five-year warranty and comfy TBW rating, plus its hardware-based 256-bit AES encryption is ideal for anyone working with sensitive data.

If you're looking at PCIe 3.0 drives, the SK hynix Gold P31 or the Samsung EVO Plus will be a great addition to your PC. And if you're looking to set up a NAS with SSDs instead of HDDs, you can't go wrong with the Western Digital Red SA500.

Cale Hunt
Cale Hunt

Cale Hunt is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.