Finding the best SSD for your PC

Want to build or upgrade a PC and you're looking for the best SSD? Read on.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Hard disk drives (HDDs) are old-school, so if you want the best performance possible you need to be looking at a solid state drive (SSD). But given that there are plethora of manufacturers out there all claiming to offer the best, it can be hard to find the best drive.

One way to find which is the best SSD is to wade through reams of online documentation from the manufacturers, and compile a list, and then pick what comes out top. Problem is, lab benchmarking is very different from real-world benchmarking, and they can give a better indication of how the hardware will perform.

Now it's not possible for someone who wants to buy an SSD to go out and benchmark dozens of drives, but fortunately that heavy lifting has been done by UserBenchmark. The site offers a freeware PC speed test tool and has collected data on over 600,000 different SSDs (the site also has information on PCs, CPUs, GPUs, RAM, HDDs, and external drives), and has compiled this data into easy-to-use charts.

The site allows you to sort out the SSDs by a number of categories, including read/write speeds, effective speed, and market share.

I'm interested in effective speed, which is a measure of how well an SSD performs when subjected to typical consumer workloads.

So which drives come out on top? Here's the current top 10 lineup:

  1. Samsung 850 Pro 512GB
  2. Samsung 850 Pro 256GB
  3. Samsung 850 Evo 500GB
  4. Samsung 850 Evo 120GB
  5. Samsung 850 Evo 250GB
  6. Plextor M6V 256GB
  7. Intel 730 Series 480GB
  8. OCZ Vector 256GB
  9. Samsung 850 Pro 128GB
  10. Crucial M550 256GB

It's pretty much a clean sweep for the Samsung 850, which isn't surprising given that it's a good drive that can be picked up at a decent price point.

Budget 1TB SSDs for data pack rats

Sorting the list out by value (which is calculated as (real speed / sqrt(price/capacity) * scale factor) to give a percentage), the top 10 looks as follows:

  1. Samsung 850 Evo 500GB
  2. OCZ Vertex 460 240GB
  3. Crucial BX100 250GB
  4. Plextor M6V 256GB
  5. SanDisk Ultra II 480GB
  6. OCZ AMD Radeon R7 480GB
  7. OCZ ARC 100 480GB
  8. Samsung 850 Evo 250GB
  9. Transcend SSD370 512GB
  10. OCZ ARC 100 240GB

Take a look and see which drive fits in best with your needs.

See also:

Build the ultimate $20,000 PC

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