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Data Storage

Best SSD

There are so few reasons not to invest in a solid-state drive anymore. What's better about SSDs compared to traditional hard drives? No moving parts -- which means SSDs are smaller, cooler, more power-efficient, more stable and reliable, and generally just longer-lasting. They're also (nearly always) faster at most things -- boot times and launch times, especially. What's not better? Well, capacity (and especially cost per byte) is still not even close to satisfying most real-world needs, and you'll find cutting-edge HDD speeds to be more than enough for most users. While it makes perfect sense to install an SSD for your 'primary drive', it's still virtually necessary to stick with HDDs for media storage and backup.

Transcend 720 2.5" 512GB Internal Solid State Drive

Transcend is one of the leading names in flash memory, but unlike SanDisk or Kingston they won't make you burn your wallet in order to buy their top-notch hardware. When it comes to performance SSDs, Transcend's 720 2.5" 512GB SSD is the best. With read and write speeds up to 560MB/s and 540MB/s respectively, this is one of the fastest standard SSDs out there. Along with the high read and write speeds is an impressive capacity, rave reviews, and even included 256-bit encryption capabilities. While a bit pricier than most drives, the Transcend 720 is seriously worth its weight in gold, though you will need to buy a 3.5-inch bracket if you choose to use it in your run-of-the-mill desktop.

Intel 520 Series Cherryville SSDSC2CW240A3K5 240GB SATA III SSD

While more known for processors and motherboards than anything else, Intel still makes a mean SSD, and while their true performance SSD capable of read speeds nearing 1GB/s costs several thousand dollars, the 520 Series Cherryvill SSD is still a formidable performance drive. The 2.5-inch drive at a 240GB capacity offers a nice middle-of-the-road price and capacity for those who don't need extreme capacities. Still, the drive doesn't sacrifice in speed, offering read and write speeds up to 550MB/s and 520MB/s respectively at SATA III. To top it off, Intel includes an extended 5-year warranty, ensuring you plenty of peace-of-mind with this drive, and plenty of features to make it worth your time.

Seagate 600 Series ST240HM000 2.5" 480GB Internal Solid State Drive

You may be thinking a hard-drive manufacturer has no business being around SSDs, but Seagate's own innovation is the hybrid hard drive, which includes a miniature SSD as a special hard drive cache. Along with this knowledge of SSD technology is of course decades of experience with drive connectivity, making the company still a formidable choice in performance drives, and why their Seagate 600 series 480GB SSD is such a great choice. With read and write speeds up to 530 MB/s and 440 MB/s, this drive can handle great speeds many times faster than typical hard drives. With special shock resistance built into the drive, along with rave reviews and a fair 3-year warranty, this drive is a great option for those who need performance at 480GB but don't want to spend an absolute fortune either.

Mushkin Enhanced Chronos 1.8" 480GB SSD MKNSSDCG480GB

Mushkin is a bit of an oddity among the flash memory firms since it builds neither brand-name high-end flash memory, nor dirt-cheap and cheaply-designed memory either. Instead, Mushkin sort of meets in the middle with reasonable prices, but almost always performance-oriented hardware. In this case, The Chronos series of Mushkin's Enhanced line of SSDs does just this, offering a much more reasonably priced 480GB SSD with all the performance you want, and an extremely thin 1.8-inch form factor. Perfect for thin-PCs or even full-build computers, Mushkin's Enhanced Chronos 1.8" 480GB SSD features read and write speeds up to 540MB/s and 430MB/s respectively, and is an awesome little drive that packs a big speed and capacity punch. You will however need your own bracket for most computers for this drive, but it's still a great drive.

ADATA XPG SX900 2.5" 512GB SSD (ASX900S3-128GM-C)

At a little under $390, ADATA's XPG SX900 512GB SSD has a price that looks almost too good to be true, but believe it or not this SSD is not only the real deal, but offers a more-than-fair price in exchange for above-average SSD performance. ADATA isn't exactly a AAA name in flash memory, but the company is still nonetheless well respected for its memory cards, flash drives, and SSDs alike. With peak read and write speeds of 540MB/s and 465MB/s this SSD is not the fastest thing out there, but a great value for high-capacity performance SSDs. Plus, ADATA even throws in a 2.5-to-3.5-inch bracket to make things easier for you, making it all the more valuable to your high-performance PC.

Transcend 720 2.5" 512GB Internal Solid State Drive

Transcend is one of the leading names in flash memory, but unlike SanDisk or Kingston they won't make you burn your wallet in order to buy their top-notch hardware. When it comes to performance SSDs, Transcend's 720 2.5" 512GB SSD is the best. With read and write speeds up to 560MB/s and 540MB/s respectively, this is one of the fastest standard SSDs out there. Along with the high read and write speeds is an impressive capacity, rave reviews, and even included 256-bit encryption capabilities. While a bit pricier than most drives, the Transcend 720 is seriously worth its weight in gold, though you will need to buy a 3.5-inch bracket if you choose to use it in your run-of-the-mill desktop.

CORSAIR Neutron Series 2.5" 256GB SSD

CORSAIR is one of the leading names in flash memory, and is especially known for producing hardware that often ends up in gaming, multimedia production, or other high-performance, high-octane computers. While "a rose is a rose," and an SSD is an SSD, there are a few minor differences between drives that can seriously make the difference for your build, and the CORSAIR Neutron Series has many of these qualities. When you buy the CORSAIR Neutron 256GB SSD you buy not only the SSD, but also top-notch read & write speeds, e-boost technology for faster boot times, and even an extended 5-year warranty all for a pretty standard price. All of these factors make the CORSAIR Neutron Series an excellent performance SSD especially for those paranoid about warranty-length.

Samsung 840 Series 2.5 inch 120GB SATA III internal Solid State Drive (SSD) MZ-7TD120BW

SAMSUNG is a well-known brand associated with everything from smartphones to dishwashers, and their flash memory is often at the core of many of their products, including their SSDs. Their 840 series of SSDs are an amazing value in price, and while it doesn't offer many bells and whistles, it will certainly get the job done on a budget. With a 120GB capacity this drive doesn't have too much under the hood, but don't let that fool you - it offers so much more in value thanks to its low price but still plenty of room for an OS and a few pieces of software. The write speeds a little slower compared to most SSDs, but rest assured it's still leagues ahead of hard drives and other such drives. Topped off with a 3-year warranty, this drive has all you could wish for at such an amazing price.

Mushkin Enhanced Chronos 2.5" 240GB SSD MKNSSDCR240GB

Mushkin is a rather unique player in the world of flash memory, as it's a company that focuses on budget prices, but not budget hardware. Case in point, much of their flash memory often exceeds the quality and capabilities of similarly priced hardware from other budget manufacturers, and their Enhanced Chronos series of SSDs is no different. Their 240GB SSD in this case offers up tier 1 read and write speeds of 560MB/s and 552MB/s, which is impressive compared to the competition. Along with this is a standard 3-year warranty, a standard 2.5-inch drive size, and a decent 240GB capacity for the price of what you'd usually get only 200GB-worth of storage. These factors all make the Mushkin Enhanced Chronos series a great contender among SSDs.

ADATA XPG SX900 256 GB SATA III 6 GB/sec SandForce 2.5 Inch SSD (ASX900S3-256GM-C)

ADATA is one of those names associated with budget hardware and budget prices, but don't let that fool you with respect to the capabilities of this drive. The ADATA XPG SX900 SSD specifically is a drive with not just an excellent price, but also an excellent capacity of 256GB - perfect for most PCs in the present. Backing up the 256GB SSD is of course the great speeds that SSDs offer, and in this case SSD beats the average speed of most drives on the market. Another unique feature is a special firmware for these ADATA drives that increases the formatted capacity of your drive by up to 7 percent, which can equate to nearly 20GB of space! This makes the ADATA XPG SX900 an excellent SSD option for those with a budget in mind but want the higher capacity hardware.

LaCie 256GB External SSD with USB 3.0 & Thunderbolt

LaCie's rugged 256GB external SSD does one thing and one thing only: ensure safe storage of your precious files. While this also means LaCie throws the precious gigabyte-per-dollar ratio out the window, their rugged 256GB SSD truly is just that and more. First off, it's worth pointing out that SSDs have a much lower rate of failure compared to hard drives, so storing your precious files is safer on an SSD more than any rugged external or portable hard drive. Plus, this drive in particular is rated against things like a 4-foot drop, which is quite synonymous to the occasional, accidental drop you may experience. These features, plus its impressive 385MB/s transfer rate make this drive an impressive rugged member of your mobile arsenal.

Transcend 256GB 1.8" USB 3.0 Portable SSD

As much as we may love the truly impressive hardware, the gigabyte-per-dollar ratio of SSDs and flash memory is ever present and important in deciding with external SSD is the right purchase. When getting your money's worth is a serious priority but you need still a reliable name in storage, then there's no doubt other than to turn to Transcend's sleek 256GB 1.8-inch external and portable SSD. This tiny gadget can hold a ton of data while being smaller than any mainstream hard drive, while still not breaking the bank and actually sticking pretty close to the one dollar per gigabyte ratio. With top speeds of 260MB/s when reading and 226MB/s when writing, this drive is pretty much a best bet for your run-of-the-mill needs in portable SSD storage.

Verbatim Store n Go 128GB External SSD

If you like the idea of a portable SSD with a fair amount of storage and a standard warranty to back it up, Verbatim's 128GB Store-n-Go makes a perfect choice. Verbatim is more known for its optical storage options like CDs and DVDs, but the company still makes some amazing external SSDs and hard drives too. Now this drive certainly isn't the fastest one of the block with read and write speeds up to 190MB/s and 140MB/s, but this is still way more faster than hard drives and plenty-fast for the USB 3.0 connectivity of your PC. It's backed by a modest 2-year warranty which is longer than some comparable external SSDs, but what really matters for this drive is the Verbatim name in storage technology alongside a good price and plenty of flash storage too.

Aegis Padlock Hardware Encrypted 120GB External SSD

Aegis Padlock Hardware Encrypted 120GB External SSD

It looks like one of those USB number pads, but make no mistake of what the Aegis Padlock is and what it can do. This hardware encrypted 120GB (but up to 480GB) external SSD just hit the market and is meant for those in enterprise or those absolutely need to depend on security for their files but also need the reliability or speed of an SSD. As you may have guessed, the number pad on the Aegis Padlock is not for show, but rather is a way for you to enter your own PIN physically onto the drive to ensure safety. This prevents the drive to be tampered by more typical software hacking or other keylogging technology and assures you the safety of your device from a security standpoint. Plus once you throw in the included MIL-SPEC protection against drops and falls, 3 year warranty, and up to 205MB and 185MB read and write speeds, this drive has all you could want in security and more.

Oyen Digital MiniPro 480GB External SSD

Oyen Digital's MiniPro 480GB External SSD is pretty much your average, run-of-the-mill External SSD, though what matters more about this product is its wide compatibility and amazing customer service to match the products. While most products from most retailers have to fit the mold of whatever their bulk production teams design, the Oyen Digital team instead offers the interchangability of their many external SSD enclosures - including the MiniPro series - with a myriad of options including compatible port connections, SSD sizes and more. The Oyen Digital product is also backed by a 3 year warranty and unparalleled customer service because you buy DIRECTLY from Oyen Digital. If you want to skip the middleman and go straight to the manufacturer, it may be worth trying Oyen Digital's products.

SanDisk Ultra Plus 128GB SATA III 2.5 Inch SSD

SanDisk is a leading name in memory of all shapes and sizes, but they are one of the best known brands within flash memory specifically when it comes to SSDs. In this case, SanDisk wins out for not only having a high-quality brand, but also for the performance, capacity, and value behind the 128GB Ultra Plus SSD. The Ultra Plus adds two words to the name, but along with those two words you get about 10 percent faster read speeds and 20 percent write speeds compared to regular old SanDisk SSDs, and this is not at a higher price, but a lower price compared to other 128GB SSDs. The 128GB is that sort of sweet spot with more than enough space for an SSD, allowing you to allocate additional space for what you see fit. Topped off with a 3-year standard warranty, this drive sits in a cozy spot as perhaps one of the best budget SSDs out there.

Intel 335 Series SATA III 240GB 2.5" SSD

Intel is probably known more for its processors than its flash memory, but the major electronics firm, like many others, dabbles in other departments including motherboards, accessories, and SSDs. In this case the number-based series by Intel is confusing at first glance, but all you need to know is the Intel 335 Series is the best for those who need a bit more space but want a truly good deal. Considering just two years ago this drive cost twice or three times more in price, right off the bat the 240GB Intel 335 Series drive is a great value. Add in with this a reliable brand name, modest 3-year warranty, strong read & write speeds, and you have an excellent SSD for those on a budget but need really decent capacity SSDs. The Intel 335 Series finds the sweet spot in price and capacity all for you to take advantage of.

SanDisk 64GB SATA III 2.5" SSD

SanDisk is well known for being one of the best brands out there for SSDs, and while you may think you'd have to shell out more for this name in reliability, you'd be surprised when it comes to SSDs by SanDisk, which come in at a lower cost-per-gigabyte than most of the off-brand competitors. While the SanDisk with a 64GB capacity is modest in size and lacks the Ultra Plus speed boost, it comes in at a much lower cost compared to other 64GB drives and even some 32GB drives. Along with this you get a 2.5-inch drive with all you'd expect out of an SSD, plus a modest 3-year warranty to top it off. For all of these reasons, the SanDisk 64GB SSD is a great option for your budget PC.

Toshiba Q Series SATA III 128GB 2.5" SSD

Toshiba is perhaps better known for its TVs and laptops, but its Q Series of SSDs are not only a reliable brand of drives, but one that comes in at a great price and value for those on a budget, and can settle for something besides SanDisk or Kingston. The Toshiba Q Series comes at a great cost-per-gigabyte in its 128GB capacity, matching that value with enough space for not only your OS but many of the programs you'll want to run with it. Along with this price and capacity, the Toshiba Q 128GB 2.5" SSD is a great choice for those who want a slightly bigger SSD for about what you'd pay for a decent hard drive.

ADATA Premier Pro SATA III 64GB 2.5" SSD

ADATA is one of those off-beat names in the flash memory industry, known for being a bit lower in cost but still a fairly reliable provider of flash storage. In this case, Premier Pro is what ADATA considers a little better than its standard line of products, and as a result they're willing to offer faster speeds than most SSDs while still giving a decent capacity and great value when it comes to your wallet. The 65GB SSD claims speeds up to 500MB/s and up in both read and write, which reviews show to be pretty accurate. The SSD nonetheless has your standard 3-year warranty, plus a 3.5-inch bracket for those who don't have it already, saving a few bucks on top of everything too. This makes ADATA a modest, but still good choice at the 64GB capacity.

Josh Sherman
An all-around tech expert from the NYC area, Josh has played with computer devices & hardware since he was in diapers. Having built his own computers from scratch, written on tech & hardware for top sites like DigitalTrends & MakeUseOf, and extensive knowledge of all things PC, Mac, and computer related, Josh is a true expert of the world of computers, hardware, peripherals, and more.
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