As CPU performance hits new and unforeseen heights, processors increasingly spend time waiting on data from hard drives. This is what makes storage today's most glaring bottleneck, and overcoming it requires an SSD. Frankly, the real-world differences between SSDs in a desktop environment aren't altogether large. The most noticeable performance increase occurs when you go from a hard disk to just about any solid-state drive.
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.
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November 2016 Updates
Welcome to November. ‘Tis the start of the holiday shopping season, which is when consumer SSD prices typically drop 15%. This year you can reach for your AMEX, but don’t expect to see the annual price drop. We’ve warned readers about an impending industry-wide NAND flash shortage, but this is the first month where we’ve seen price increases across the board.
Not all is lost, though. Many high-performance products have shot up between $10 and $20 over the last two months, but some emerging products deliver exceptional value. Intel released its 600p, which is the first entry-level NVMe SSD. The drive made our Best Of list in September, but we replaced it this month with the new MyDigitalSSD BPX 240GB and 480GB.
The BPX may be the best overall SSD value on the market. We spoke with MyDigitalSSD and learned the series would arrive at Amazon and MyDigitalDiscount.com on November 14. The 480GB model delivers an impressive 1,400 TBW endurance rating, which is even higher than Samsung’s flagship 960 Pro 2TB.
Samsung seems to be the hardest hit from the NAND shortage. The company has the best flash available, and even its consumer products have taken on roles in large data centers. Samsung supplies many of the large all-flash array systems with off-the-shelf and custom form-factor products. That market continues to grow at a rapid pace. Samsung ran into yield issues during its transition to 48-layer 256Gbit flash. The stunted output and data center demand hurt the availability of consumer products transitioning to the new flash, resulting in a delay for new products like the 960 series. We recently reviewed the 960 EVO, and the 1TB model won the Editor Recommended award, but we haven't included it in our recommendations here because it will not be available until December.
Newegg and other retailers show the 960 Pro arriving on November 15, which is a full month past the expected delivery date. The 960 EVO shoppers that are searching for a better overall value will have to wait even longer. Some reports show a mid-December availability date. With low availability of many popular products, it wouldn’t surprise us if the schedule slips again. That hasn’t stopped some retailers from listing the 960 series for preorder, though.
The 960 series, as well as some other Samsung SSDs, ship with a code to download Watch Dogs 2. I haven’t played the game, but it looks exciting. Some stores like Newegg and Amazon allow third-party companies to sell products, but not all of them will have the free game offer, so shop carefully.
MyDigitalSSD and Samsung now dominate the NVMe SSD charts. The Samsung OEM SM961 is MIA. This line continues to suffer from poor availability, but it is still an exceptional value if you can find it for sale without a six-month wait.
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