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Best M.2 SSD (Solid State Drive) For Gaming – 2019 Reviews and Top Picks

It looks like the large takeover from HDD to SSD has lastly happened; by lastly, I imply slowly however certainly, and by takeover, I imply the market proportion is beginning to lean in the SSD’s favour, naturally.

Anyway. What I’m making an attempt to say is, I like SSD’s. All of us do. That’s why we’ve determined to compile an inventory of the perfect M.2 SSD’s presently obtainable in at the moment’s market.

Nevertheless, this isn’t your standard column which outlines a ‘better of collection’ and nothing else. On this article, we’re going to teach you on; areas to think about when buying an SSD, what M.2 truly means, how to decide on which SSD is the suitable one for YOU, and the whole lot in-between that we feel is related to M.2 strong state drives.

So, whether or not you’re trying to buy that monster 2TB SSD in your gaming build, or an affordable and cheerful 250GB drive to get your desktop booting up faster, this article is going to cover the whole lot you might want to find out about M.2 SSD’s and hopefully, which one is the best choice for you.

Earlier than we do this although, let’s get a few of the primary info surrounding M.2 out of the best way.

M.2 is principally a type factor. A measurement and shape that each one M.2 branded hardware elements should adhere to. This being stated, not all M.2 are the identical. The market appears to have agreed on a width of 22mm for probably the most half; nevertheless, the size varies significantly as compared. The most typical lengths used in M.2 are 60mm or 80mm, they will stretch proper up to 120mm though.

It’s useful to know which measurement you’re shopping for as a result of some motherboards (and laptops) can only accommodate sure sizes. So, how do I tell?

The simplest method to explain it is via an instance, let’s take the Samsung 970 Evo:

Samsung SSD 970 EVO 2TB – NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 SSD

Lots of people will in all probability cease reading at 2TB. I know I’ve down the years. Nevertheless, that is the place you find out the dimensions, bus-interface & the whole lot else associated to compatibility. We’re going to stick with the dimensions; for now, nevertheless, the whole lot else will probably be defined as you retain studying.

So, after ‘M.2’ within the product identify, you will notice a collection of numbers, ‘2280’  in this state of affairs. Nicely, that is the sizing of the module. The 22 refers to the width, 22mm, and the 80 refers to the size, 80mm. If the length was 60mm, the quantity would read ‘2260’ and so on.

Earlier than we get caught on M.2 specifications though, I feel we should always touch upon the origins of the M.2 type issue…

M.2 Beginnings

The first movement in the direction of what we now know as M.2 was the release of mini-SATA or mSATA for brief. This was for all intents and purposes a stripped back, naked SSD with the casing removed. SATA SSD’s as we all know them, a 2.5inch drives which hook up with your motherboard by way of the SATA connection cable. Nevertheless, mSATA strips away the shell to reveal the 1×2 inch rectangular circuit board which might inevitably slot instantly into your motherboard.

This being stated, as the identify suggests, mSATA still makes use of the serial ATA bus regardless. The interface, nevertheless, has been changed to an edge connector on the PCB, in contrast to your normal SATA cabling. In addition, the mSATA drive draws all of its power immediately by way of the slot it’s related to.

The difficulty with mSATA was that it had all the restrictions of the SATA connection still, which means the one real advantage over other SSD’s was an area saving one. Even at mSATA’s peak, builders have been working on a alternative to offer greater speeds and great capacity drives. It was generally known as NGFF (Next-Era Type Issue) and can be renamed sooner or later to what we presently know as M.2

How Do M.2 SSD’s differ

So, you’re out there for an M.2 SSD and you could have a basic understanding of how they work, nevertheless, once you take a look at totally different products to buy, you still have queries on which of them are greatest and why.

On this section, we’re going to elucidate how SSD’s differ and finally, how the differences have an effect on you.


As we talked about above, not all M.2 SSD’s are equal; they range in many ways but most noticeable might be the dimensions. Once we speak about measurement, we reference two areas, storage capacity and physical measurement (primarily length).

Learning what storage capability your SSD has is crucial as a result of it’s worthwhile to realize it serves the purpose of what you employ it for. Figuring out the length is equally, if not more, necessary because some motherboards merely AREN’T suitable with certain sizes M.2 SSD’s.

First, let’s go over bodily Measurement:

M.2 Product Measurement CodeBodily Measurement223022mm x 30mm224222mm x 42mm226022mm x 60mm228022mm x 80mm2211022mm x 110mm

As you’ll be able to see from the chart above, M.2 SSD’s are available quite a lot of sizes. Now, understanding which sizes are suitable together with your motherboard ought to be a relatively easy activity that requires reading the consumer guide. You can too contact the motherboard manufacturer immediately as properly if that makes life slightly simpler.

Shifting on to storage capability, like all reminiscence whether it’s RAM, HDD or SSD, the capability varies quite significantly. The most typical sizes are:

  • 120/128GB
  • 240GB
  • 250/256GB
  • 480GB
  • 500GB
  • 960/1TB
  • 2TB

As with all different hardware element, measurement often has a direct correlation with worth. You may need seen 2TB of HDD for underneath $100, nevertheless, because of nature and know-how used within SSD’s, you’d be fortunate to seek out good quality drives for beneath $250.


Things get somewhat extra technical from here but I’ll attempt and maintain it so simple as attainable. The bus-interface is, for lack of a greater simile, the path that the info takes when travelling to and from the M.2 drive.

There are a selection of different interfaces used with M.2 and they make all of the distinction on the subject of how briskly your SSD shall be in real-world conditions.

A lot of the earlier M.2 drives made use of the SATA connection, which means they have been handcuffed by the restrictions of what that PCB might supply. They have been the exact same drives as the SATA SSD’s solely stripped back to the naked circuit board.

Nevertheless, in the quest for higher learn/write speeds, builders would have to make use of the PCIe lanes your motherboard has to offer. The PCI Categorical-bus M.2 SSD’s which have been to comply with had vital efficiency good points over the sooner SATA SSD’s and the unique mSATA drives respectively.

The first PCIe SSD’s needed to make use of the PCIe Gen 2.zero x2 interface that did have elevated efficiency over SATA, however solely marginally. That was all about to vary with PCIe Gen three.zero x4 though. A lot of the M.2 drives which you will discover in at this time’s market can be PCIe Gen 3.0 x4 suitable and when paired with what’s often known as NVME (Non-volatile Memory Categorical), performance is bolstered even further.

All this being stated, with the new Ryzen chips which are because of release July seventh, we can be seeing the newest PCIe Gen four.0 SSD’s released as properly.

How To Find The Best M.2

Now that you simply understand exactly what an M.2 SSD is, how do you discover one of the best one in your wants? It’s really quite easy, you could ask your self what kind of performance and necessities you need, then discover the SSD that is most suited to your requirements. The following is a short record of questions which I might advocate asking yourself before trying to purchase an SSD:

  • Is the SSD going to be used, solely, for my OS?
  • Am I going to be utilizing my SSD for video games, music and different entertainment purposes?
  • Do I want the quickest SSD I can afford, or is am I on the lookout for the sweet spot between worth/performance/measurement?
  • Does my motherboard help M.2 OS launch?
  • How much do you need to spend?

Asking yourself these easy questions will prevent a number of time in relation to choosing the SSD which is right for you. For instance, When you’ve got $150 to spend, and you need to use your M.2 on your O/S  and some main games, you in all probability need to find a 500GB SSD with NVME.

When you’ve got $500 to spend and you want your SSD to deal with your OS, all of your media information and games, and be as quick as attainable. I’d advocate opting for a 2TB SSD with NVME & speedy learn/write occasions.

The 5 Best Strong State Drives

Top EfficiencySamsung 970 EVO – 1TB

Samsung 970 EVO – 1TB

    Verify Current Worth
    Best All rounderAdata SX8200 NAND NVMe M.2

    Adata SX8200 NAND NVMe M.2

      Verify Current Worth
      A Worth DecideWD Black SN750 NVMe PCIe

      WD Black SN750 NVMe PCIe

        Examine Current Worth
        A Widespread DecideIntel Optane SSD 905P Series

        Intel Optane SSD 905P Collection

          Verify Present Worth
          Price range DecideXPG SX6000 Pro

          XPG SX6000 Professional

            Verify Current Worth


            Samsung 970 EVO – 1TB

            In case you’re in search of the very best of the perfect with regards to efficiency, then look no further than the Samsung 970 Evo collection.

            The 970 range from Samsung is their flagship SSD and is lightning quick. It at present boasts a number of the quickest sequential learn/write speeds out there in immediately’s market. You additionally get the arrogance that comes with buying from a reputable brand akin to Samsung as nicely.

            The one situation is the worth. If in case you have the finances though, the Samsung 970 Evo is unquestionably the choice for you.


            Adata SX8200 NAND NVMe M.2

            ADATA was sitting quietly beneath the radar for fairly some time, nevertheless, that’s not the case. The company recognized for price range hardware offerings has released a number of the greatest SSD storage cash should buy, with wonderful read/write speeds which rival Samsung’s Pro collection and a, comparatively, reasonably priced price tag in addition.

            The ADATA SX8200 will get our all-round spot because that’s precisely what it provides, all-round efficiency at a great worth.


            WD Black SN750 NVMe

            Western Digital are not any strangers to arduous drives and it’s completely no surprise to see them function in this best-of-guide with an outstanding SSD offering. As you will know, Western Digital has launched a number of the greatest, most reasonably priced exhausting drives now for so long as I can keep in mind. So it was only pure for them to delve into the strong state drive world.

            The SN750 is our worth decide as we feel is presents incredible worth for cash and respectable performance at the similar time. Read and write speeds are good and it is available in quite a lot of sizes at reasonably priced worth factors.

            As well as that, Western Digital is a wonderful model that gives great service if something have been to go improper together with your hardware.

            An awesome selection should you’re trying to maximize value.


            Intel Optane SSD 905P Collection

            Once we think of Intel we often think of their unimaginable range of CPU’s, nevertheless, that isn’t what we’re celebrating here. Intel has launched a variety of SSD’s often known as the Intel Optane collection which are available a lot of totally different variants. Nevertheless, the 905 is unquestionably the star of the present.

            The learn/write speeds of the M.2 Optane are impressive but nothing to put in writing residence about, mind the pun. Nevertheless, they do supply an AIC PCIe model of this module which literally smashes every little thing in this listing out of the park.

            General, the M.2 version of this SSD could be very efficient and gives good performance, nevertheless, if you wish to maximize performance, perhaps verify the AIC module out.


            XPG SX6000 Professional

            This is ADATA’s second entry into this record of the 5 greatest M.2 SSD’s and it was arduous to keep it out. Regardless that it doesn’t have the perfect efficiency degree’s we’ve seen, what it does supply is completely incredible worth for cash.

            You’ll not discover an SSD as low cost as this which presents comparable efficiency ranges. ADATA are masters of price range hardware choices and that is another to add to their already lengthy record of reasonably priced choices.

            Remaining Ideas

            And that almost wraps issues up. We’ve given you our listing of what we consider are one of the best M.2 SSD’s at present out there in at this time’s market. We determined to not go for all-out performance for each suggestion, as an alternative, we’ve got selected the most effective SSD’s that match a selected area; Top Performer, Best all-rounder and so on.

            We feel splitting the listing like this provides each sort of consumer a viable M.2 SSD to select from, whether it’s an costly 2TB mega SSD or a finances 250GB answer respectively.

            Not solely that, however we’ve additionally given you the knowledge required to exit and do your personal research in the occasion that our record doesn’t quite stay up to your expectations.

            This being stated, what was your most popular SSD selection? I personally really like the ADATA SX8200 because it gives wonderful performance and an affordable price tag. Why don’t you tell us in the feedback part under what you determined to go for!

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