Best SSDs

Best SATA SSDs

Here we list our current recommendations for SATA-based solid-state drives at each major capacity range. For the newer PCIe-based SSDs, see our top picks on the previous page.

June 2016 Updates

Three-bit per cell flash moving into the NVMe PCIe space signals the end of high-performance SATA SSDs. A few companies will release SATA-attached drives with MLC flash to satisfy the upgrade market, but they'll be few and far between. All of our upcoming reviews based on the SATA interface utilize TLC NAND and fall into the entry-level category.

The sole exception is Corsair's Neutron XTI with a Phison S10 controller, Toshiba 15nm MLC and two times more DRAM than any other S10-based SSD. The additional memory improves performance consistency under heavy workloads, but does not help the random read speed issues at low queue depths. The Neutron XTI is Corsair's new flagship featuring an attractive red chassis. Our review will go live later this month.

The biggest news for SATA users comes from Crucial. The company released a limited edition SSD designed to show off Micron's 3D TLC flash with 384Gb dies. The new memory configuration uses eight packages with two dies per package to yield 750GB of capacity. Crucial still calls this MX300 a mainstream SSD, but our performance results show only a slight increase over entry-level products. As Micron's 3D flash yields increase, we will see more capacities come to market. Crucial is still working out the MX300 family's details. Expect to see odd sizes like 1050GB, though.

Silicon Motion's SM2258 powers the new Intel SSD 540s, and the controller is paired up with SK hynix's 16nm TLC planar flash. Intel classifies the drive as a mainstream device armed with extras like full disk encryption. In reality, modest performance puts this one in the entry-level category. Still, we give it high praise for reliability.

SK hynix also released a new SSD that'll be reviewed soon. It features an in-house controller from the former Link A Media Devices team. The SL308 uses the same 16nm TLC flash we found in Intel's SSD 540s, but with much better performance. This is the first mainstream SSD we've tested that compares favorably to the Samsung 850 EVO. Pricing is comparable, too. The 500GB SL308 is currently available for the same $150.

Best SATA SSDs

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About Our Recommendations

  • We only recommend SSDs we've actually tested.
  • The list is based on US prices from online retailers. In other countries or at retail stores, your mileage will most certainly vary.
  • These are new SSD prices. No used or open-box offers are in the list.
  • Our picks should be valid throughout the month of publication, but SSD pricing is especially competitive, and a $15 difference can be the reason why one SSD makes the list, while another does not.
  • Prices and availability change on a daily basis, but the embedded green links provide real-time pricing.

Best 256GB SATA SSDs

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  • D4V3_G
    850 EVO's. Good performance, reliable, fast... can't go wrong.
    0
  • xelliz
    The Adata SP550 appears to be a 120GB drive which is why its listed for such a great price.
    0
  • xelliz
    Well I wish I could edit my comments, because what I meant is whatever is reading the price for your drives is showing the price for the 120GB model instead of the 480GB model.
    0