The Best SSDs of 2017 for Gaming & Workstations (Sales Guide)

By Published November 25, 2017 at 1:54 am
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As we continue our year-end awards and sales guides, we’ve come to SSDs. Thus far, our others guides have covered RAM, various Black Friday picks, monitors, 1080 Tis, and laptops. Below, we’ll look at the best SSDs of 2017, and any resultant sales for Black Friday/Cyber Monday/Holidays. We use the word “sale” loosely: much like DRAM, NAND has spent much of the year suffering from undersupply and insatiable demand, and thus the ensuing price hike. Most manufacturers are transitioning to 64-layer 3D-NAND, and it is progressing slowly. So, new product releases have been few and far between, supply on other NAND types have been constricted, and prices have remained high. It’s likely CES in January will bring news or announcements.

That said, storage is still a glaring bottleneck for many, and there’s not a more tangible difference in response than upgrading to a modern SSD from a mechanical drive. This holiday season should be a good time to pick up an SSD on sale—or at least at a slightly less rapacious price.

 

The Best SSDs of 2017

SSD

NAND Type

Capacity

Price

Crucial BX300

Micron 32-layer 3D MLC

240GB

(36¢/GB)

Adata SU800

Micron 32-layer 3D TLC

256GB

(31¢/GB)

Samsung 850 EVO

Samsung 32-layer V-NAND TLC

500GB

(28¢/GB)

Plextor M8Pe

Toshiba 15nm MLC

512GB

(29¢/GB)

WD Blue 3D NAND

SanDisk 64-layer TLC

1TB

(29¢/GB)

Intel Optane SSD 900P

Intel 3D XPoint

280GB

($1.39/GB)

Samsung 960 Pro

Samsung 48-layer MLC

512GB

(56¢/GB)

A couple things: most of the drives offer different capacity configurations, be it more or less. We’ve selected what we feel strikes the best balance between price, performance, and value. Secondly, we upped the capacity on our budget picks for two reasons; first, the small capacities make compromises in performance and endurance. Secondly, the 120-128GB capacity is becoming obsolete, as 240-256GB becomes the new low-end.

Best Budget SSD

Crucial BX300 240GB: For users looking at a quick and affordable option, the Crucial BX300 offers a modern SATA drive that doesn’t compromise too much on performance, and has a present list price of $88. The SSD also uses MLC over TLC, which is a plus. The BX300 does come in a 120GB configuration, but the price difference really isn’t noteworthy. Moreover, as these drives typically run alongside HDD storage and host the OS, 240GB will give the end user more cushion and help stave off performance reduction from operating at a near full-state. The Crucial BX300 is limited in higher capacity, topping out at 480GB; however, for the $140 price tag, that money is better spent on the Samsung 850 EVO.

We’ve also listed a TLC-based alternative, that is slightly cheaper.

Honorable mention: Adata SU800 240GB

Best Consumer/Everyday SSD

Samsung 850 EVO 500GB: Really no surprise, here. The 850 EVO is priced at $140 for 500GB right now, with a list price of $160. So far as SATA-based client SSDs are concerned, Samsung’s 850 EVO has been the gold standard—GamersNexus has three of them actively deployed in the test benches. Now, there are plenty of modern SSDs that challenge the 850 EVO, but Samsung certainly set the precedent. Furthermore, the 850 EVO still offers a nice blend of price, performance, and value; Samsung’s proprietary V-NAND TLC backed by a 5-year warranty, with performance that approaches the wall of SATA III limits is hard to beat.

Honorable mention: WD Blue 3D NAND 1TB

Best NVMe SSD

Samsung 960 Pro 512GB: At this point, there is little to behold of SATA SSDs; the SATA interface has become antiquated, and many and more SSDs can test its bounds. PCIe and NVMe based storage has further permeated the consumer market as a result. The Samsung 960 Pro is good prosumer choice, and the 512GB option sits reasonably in relation to price/ performance when compared against the 1TB and 2TB options—which cost $623 and $1,213 respectively. The 512GB model is currently priced at $290, with an alleged list price of $543.81 – oddly specific, and also not representative of the reality of this SSD’s price for the past months. The 960 Pro comes with Samsung’s 5-year warranty, 400TBW endurance rating, and a 1.5M hour MTBF rating.

Honorable mention: Plextor M8Pe 512GB

Best Innovation

Intel Optane SSD 900P 280GB (List Price: $389): Sitting on the bleeding edge is Intel’s first client-oriented Optane SSD. Using Intel’s 3D XPoint memory, the Intel Optane SSD 900P demonstrates exceedingly high performance, especially at low queue depths, and offers 8.76 PBW endurance rating. Intel certainly was the most visible innovator in the SSD space in 2017, but the price for the Intel Optane SSD 900P is out of reach for any bargain minded user; at well over $1/GB, such a drive is firmly in the interest of the enthusiast and professional crowd.      

More content to come this weekend, as always.

- Eric Hamilton

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