Ultimate speed

Samsung 970 EVO Plus

Mass storage

Samsung 860 EVO

Assuming your PC can accept this type of SSD, this is the absolute best one you can buy right now. It's perfect for running your Windows install and most of your software, and it's so fast you'll never hit any form of slowdowns.

$130 at Amazon (500GB)

Pros

  • Fastest consumer SSD
  • Proven reliability
  • Great warranty
  • Well priced

Cons

  • Not all PCs have m.2 slots
  • Not all PCs support NVMe SSDs

Most desktop PCs and some laptops can take a 2.5-inch SSD, making this choice very versatile. SATA drives like this are a lot slower than NVMe drives, but they're better than mechanical hard drives for use as mass storage.

$80 at Amazon (500GB)

Pros

  • Proven reliability
  • Great warranty
  • Well priced
  • Fast for SATA

Cons

  • 2.5-inch drives are larger
  • Slower than NVMe

Both of these are great solid-state drives (SSD), but they are also very different products. Which you should get ultimately depends on what you need it for.

Different strokes for different folks

Samsung 860 EVO

Deciding between these two SSDs isn't governed entirely by price or at all by performance. There is no performance comparison, the 970 EVO Plus with its top line of 3,500 MB/s read and 3,300 MB/s write speeds is around seven times faster than the EVO 860.

That's just down to technology. NVMe SSDs are capable of those kinds of speeds, while SATA drives like the 860 EVO are not. Usually, you'll pay more for an NVMe drive like the 970 EVO Plus, too, but the difference isn't that large anymore.

What you should consider are three main points:

  • What do you want to use the SSD for?
  • What size SSD slots do you have available?
  • Can your PC utilize NVMe?

To use the Samsung 970 EVO Plus you'll need both an m.2 SSD slot free as well as PCIe 3.0 capabilities for it. If you don't have the latter, you won't unlock the full performance, and without the former, you simply can't connect the drive to your PC.

NVMe SSDs like the 970 EVO Plus will always connect directly to the motherboard. In a desktop PC, check your available drive bays, as you'll be housing a 2.5-inch drive here.

Which should you choose?

Samsung 970 EVO Plus

If your PC fits the criteria above for using the 970 EVO Plus, and you're planning to use it as the main drive to boot Windows from as well as store your most used software, games and files on, then it's the one to go for. The performance is exceptional, it's reliable, backed up by a good warranty, and doesn't cost a lot more than the 860 EVO.

If, however, you can't use the 970 EVO in your PC or if you're looking for a mass storage option, the 860 EVO is the one to choose. Desktop PC cases will always have space for multiple 2.5-inch SSDs which makes them perfect for mass storage drives, and many older or larger laptops may also run a 2.5-inch drive inside them.

It's worth noting, too, that Samsung's excellent Magician PC application supports all current SSDs, making it easy to check in on performance, health, and update the firmware of your drives.

Our pick

Samsung 970 EVO Plus

The very best you can get

If you need a super fast SSD and your PC can accept this drive, then it's the very best you can currently buy.

Mass storage

Samsung 860 EVO

A superb drive for mass storage

If you're using a PC that doesn't support NVMe or you need great mass storage, then the 860 EVO is a top choice.

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