For those who don’t know, the storage devices have evolved a lot since they were first brought in, gone are the days when the storage devices were only limited to the hard disk drives. Nowadays, PCI-express, and M.2 based SSD drives are getting more and more common. In case you don’t know, an SSD (Solid State Drive) is a modern type of storage device that stores data on several different NAND flashes, and considering how there are no moving parts involved in the solid state drives, they don’t suffer from damages that are only limited to hard disk drives.
With that said, apart from just storing data on something entirely different, another great benefit of having an SSD is that the transfer speeds (both read and write) are a lot faster than they normally are on your traditional hard drives.
Users have reported that the overall boot, and loading time of their computers have improved drastically ever since they shifted over to the solid state drives. With that said, in the start, these solid state drives were only available in your traditional SATA interface, however, over the past couple of years, they have largely moved onto the much faster interfaces like PCI-Express as well as the M.2 slot that is found on most modern motherboards, however, this transition has made the SSDs all the more expensive than their counterparts.
In simpler words, the gigabyte per dollar factor is a lot better when you look at a hard drive, and if you want to buy a 1 terabyte hard drive, you can easily do so by spending less than $60, however, the same storage on an SSD can cost you hundreds of dollars. Something that is deemed absolutely ridiculous.
Still, as the time passes on, we will see that the solid state drives will become more accessible to a wide range of consumers, as for now, the availability widely shifts in the favour of enthusiasts. With that said, the market is pretty wild with solid state drives, and there are several you can buy, but that also leaves the newcomer PC builders with a lot of confusion as they are often left confused about which one they should buy, and which ones they should just ignore.
In order to help the readers, and PC builders, we are going to take a look at some of the best PCI-E and M.2 based solid state drives out in the market, and to make sure there isn’t a lot of confusion among the readers, we are going to keep the list shorter than usual. So, without wasting anymore time, let’s begin.
Top 10 Best M.2 SSD 2021
1. Samsung 960 Pro
The Fastest and Best NVME SSD in the Market
Samsung has earned enough reputation to be called the king of the SSD market mainly because the company has dished out one after another increasingly impressive SSDs in the market, and while you may think that the company is pushing out a lot of SSDs in the market, but that’s a good thing because there’s plenty for everyone.
You can go for their Samsung 850 series that comes in Evo, and Pro series, and if you want something better, you can even go higher and get the Samsung 950 Pro that comes in M.2 standard, and if you want to go even higher, then you can go for the newly released Samsung 960 Pro, now the good thing about this SSD is that it’s based on the same trusted M.2 standard, and you can buy it right now from the market.
Now if you are wondering what has changed, well this is one of the few SSDs with a ridiculously high storage space available for use, and in case you are wondering how high, well, the 960 Pro comes in 2 TB, and don’t worry, the company was considerate enough to release the same in other capacities such as the 512GB, and the 1TB variant.
Now comes the interesting part, how good is the SSD when it comes to performing, and well, it’s pretty simple, and safe to say that this is perhaps one of fastest SSDs we have tested, it’s slightly slower than the 950 Pro, but considering how you are getting an awfully large amount of storage, it’s not a problem.
In addition to that, pretty much everything about this SSD falls into place; it uses the latest standards, it offers a lot of storage, and it’s pretty fast even by the modern standards. The only thing that may keep people away is the premium price they are going to pay, and that’s about it. If you’re okay with it, then the Samsung 960 Pro is the SSD that you need to get. Forget about all the others in the market, as long as you have the hardware that supports it, go for it.
Highly Recommended 960 EVO Small Brother of 960 PRO- Budget and Super Fast M.2 SSD
2. Samsung 950 Pro M.2
Another Best M.2 SSD of 2020
Samsung may not be as popular with their hard disk drives, but when it comes to solid state drives, the company is quite simply the best go to for solid state drives; even when it comes to releasing some of the best SATA interfaced solid state drives like the 850 Evo, and 850 Pro. However, today, we are going to take a look at something different; the Samsung 950 Pro M.2 is not a SATA based SSD, and as the name tells, it’s actually runs on the latest and the greatest M.2 interface.
Now in case you didn’t know, the M.2 slot is found on your motherboard, and is usually placed between the PCI-E slots, however, do keep in mind that the placement may vary depending on the motherboard you are using.
With the introduction out of the way, let’s take a look at the basics of this SSD; for starters, the base storage for this SSD is 256GB, going all the way up to 960GB, and in case you are wondering whether or not you can get more storage, there is a Samsung 960 Pro that provides you with a whopping 2.1TB of SSD storage.
With that said, the good thing about this SSD is that it happens to be incredibly fast, and the performance is poles apart from your traditional SATA based SSDs, and that is no way a bad thing.
With that said, we did have some concerns, while the SATA based solid state drives are compatible with pretty much every single computer out in the market, same isn’t the case with M.2 based SSDs because the slot is only available on modern, high end motherboards, and that can cause issues for some people.
3. Intel 750 PCIe
Intel Most Stable PCIe Solid State Drive
Much like Samsung, Intel’s foray into the SSD business went really successful, the company first introduced some of the best SSDs in the market, and we’re not talking about just PCI-e based SSDs, the company started with the usual slew of SATA based hard drives, and then moved on to the PCI-E standard.
Today, we are going to take a look at the Intel 750 PCI-e based solid state drive, the one we have come with 400 gigs, although you can always get a 1.2 TB version as well, the SSD uses the famous, and revered NVMe standard. Now, the good thing about this SSD is that it’s super-fast, and is a bit more compatible as compared to the M.2 based versions. With that said, let’s take a look at everything that makes this SSD better.
Now the performance side of things is amazing, the SSD is fast, and the best thing is that you can actually use it as your main boot drive, that is a big advantage for people who don’t want to spend extra on having a separate drive, and considering how the 1.2TB version will be more than enough for a lot of people.
Needless to say, the Intel PCI-E hits all the checkmarks, and is quite simply one of the best solid drives we have seen in the market. It’s fast, its’ reliable, and it actually looks good.
4. Kingston Digital Hyper X Predator
The Best Over All PCIe SSD
It’s safe to say that pretty much jumped the gun and started releasing SSDS, and although Kingston’s foray into the SSD market wasn’t as successful due to an older module, they learned from their mistakes, and released more SSDs under the Savage, and Predator branding.
The SSD we have today is known as the HyperX Predator; the SSD is available in two storage options, and in case you don’t know, uses the highly revered PCI-E standard. For those interested, the SSD is available in 240 GB and 480 GB configurations. So, without wasting anymore time, let’s take a look at just how good this SSD is.
As per Kingston, the write speed on this puppy is 1,000MB/s, and read speed is around 1,400 MB/s, something that is considered ridiculously fast by the modern standards, however, do keep in mind that there is always a margin of error, and difference when it comes to the actual speeds, and the advertised speeds are almost never matched. Still, there is no denying that the HyperX Predator happens to be one of the fastest, most consumer friendly PCI-E based SSD on the market.
The only issue we have is that the price per gigabyte for this one doesn’t look as good, and there aren’t many storage options available. Other than that, it’s a perfect SSD that will suit your build.
5. WD Black M.2
Western Digital, a company that is known for creating some of the class leading hard drives is back, however, this time, they are not bringing you a really fast HDD. Instead, we have an M.2 based SSD that is simply named WD Black Performance SSD.
In case you’re wondering, Western Digital recently acquired SanDisk, and started releasing their own SSDs in the market, they have already released SATA based WD Blues, and now we are looking at the WD Black, an M.2 based SSD that is going to offer amazing performance, for a relatively modest price.
Let’s start with the storage, you get the base 256GB option, and a 500GB option as well, however, what surprised was just how modestly Western Digital priced both of these SSD. In some cases, the 256 GB version costs almost the same as some of the high end SATA based SSDS.
Moving on, the performance is obviously the more important part of the SSD, and don’t worry, the SSD holds well, and stays true to the legacy that has been created by Western Digital, during our testing of the 256GB model, we noticed absolutely no lags, or slowdowns when reading, and writing both large, and small chunks of files.
The SSD is blazing fast, and works like a charm; just make sure that you have an M.2 slot on your motherboard, and you’ll be set to witness fast transfer speeds, and incredibly fast boot timings. With that said, we do have some minor concerns with the SSD.
Despite being oriented towards the performance users, it seems that the WD Black lacks storage options, the 256, and 512GB options just may not be enough for some of the enthusiasts, especially when the market is going beyond 2 TB.
But considering how Western Digital is relatively new in the SSD market, there’s a lot of room for improvement, and we believe that with time, the company will release more products in the market with a lot more flexible storage options.
Needless to say, we have absolutely no complaints with how the SSD is priced, and how it’s performed, because in simpler words, things couldn’t get better than what we have here.
6. Toshiba OCZ RD400 Series Pcie
For those who don’t know, Toshiba’s OCZ series of SSDs are one of the best ones out in the market, and the good thing is that we’re not just talking about their PCI-E based SSDs, we are also talking about the SSDs they have available in SATA standard.
However, today, we are keeping it less about SATA and more about the latest PCI-E based solid state drives, and the one we have on our hands right now is known as the OCZ RD400, this particular SSD is actually based on PCI-E NVME standard, and in case you are wondering, the SSD does come in multiple storage options starting from the standard 256 gigs, and going all the way up to 1TB.
Now as per the official numbers from OCZ, all the SSDs are rated at the same performance and speed, however, you should keep in mind that the performance numbers are always there with a margin of difference. Now the good thing about this SSD is obviously the competitively placed storage options, but what about the price? Well, just like the storage options, the price scale is linear and that is certainly a good thing. As for the performance side of things, we are happy to report that the SSD is one of the best, and one of the fastest SSDs in the market at the moment.
There are a lot of good things about the OCZ RD400 series, and one of them is that while it works it’s an M.2 SSD, it can even work in PCI-E mode via an adapter that you have to buy separately, and in all honesty, it’s a good thing because a lot of people prefer using the SSD in the PCI-E mode.
In addition to that, the performance on this SSD is one of the fastest we have seen, and yes, it may come as a surprise to some, but the performance is actually that fast, and it’s certainly a good thing considering how tough the completion has become in the SSD market at the moment. With that said, there are no major caveats in this otherwise amazing SSD. However, if you are thinking this would come cheap, then don’t.
The price is steep, and that’s because of two reasons one is that SSDs are already expensive, and second is mainly because it uses the modern PCI-E/NVME standard, a combination that can’t be ignored at all. Overall, The Toshiba OCZ RD400 is a pretty good SSD with extremely fast speeds, and flexible storage options just for the sake of being the cherry on top.
7. Asus RAIDR Express PCIe SSD
Now the next SSD on our list is from Asus, and if you’re surprised, don’t be, although Asus’ foray into the SSD market was short lived, but the good thing is that the only SSD they ever released ended up becoming one of the best SSDs in the market.
Now in case you are wondering what we are talking about here, we are talking about the infamous Asus RAIDR Express PCI-E based SSD that Asus released quite some time ago. The SSD was released under the ROG branding from Asus, and we figured out that the SSD was meant to be for serious business.
With that said, the storage option we got was a 240 GB version, and while we were concerned about just how good it’ll perform, the good thing is that it performed really, really well. We didn’t face any issues or whatsoever with the SSD, it was a simple, straightforward installation, and even after everything was set up, the SSD performed like a beast it is.
While some of the other SSDs in the market may focus on the features more than the actual form, this one is built purely around both of the factors offering one of the best performances, combined with one of the best looks in the market.
We don’t really have any complaints with this SSD, we only wish that Asus should have continued the SSD business for a bit longer in order to achieve the best.
8. G Skill Phoenix Blade PCIE SSD
Almost 2 years ago, G.Skill came up with one of the best SSDs in the market, the G.Skill Phoenix Blade, and while hardcore enthusiasts, and performance lovers were concerned about how good the performance is going to be, everyone had a feeling that it’s going to be nothing short of impressive.
Soon after the official announcement, G.Skill started sending out the review samples, as soon as it happened, everyone knew what a beast this SSD was. Early reviews called it one of the fastest SSDs to ever come out in the market, and had G.Skill decided to stay in the SSD business, it would have been a booming success. Sadly, that never happened. However, the legacy lives on, and till this day, a lot of people are proud owners of the infamous G.Skill Phoenix Blade PCI-E SSD.
Now as you can tell, the SSD is based on the PCI-E standard, and it’s one of the fastest out in the market, the one we got had 480 gigs of blazing fast transfer rate when it comes to both read and write, the good thing is that the SSD also looks great, in all honesty, after the RAIDR by Asus, this is definitely the best looking SSDs available in the market. Strikingly great design, brilliant read/write performance, and despite the fact that we are testing a brand new version in 2016, the SSD still holds up pretty brilliantly against all the latest and greatest in the market.
9. Plextor M6e PCIe
Although Plextor is a brand a lot of people haven’t heard about, but there’s nothing to worry as they are one of the best brands when it comes to PCI-e based SSDs, the drive we are looking at today is known as the Plextor M6e PCIe, and It’s one of the best budget oriented solid state drives out in the market; the good thing about this drive is that it’s affordable, and gives you a decent enough performance.
Now, before we begin, you need to know that this SSD comes in 2 variants; there is the standard M6e, and the M6e black edition, now when you compare both standards, the M6e black edition looks better thanks to the black PCB as opposed to the green PCB, along with some other features.
However, we are looking at the standard M6e, and you need to know that this is actually available in a number of different storage options beginning from the base line of 128 GB, and going all the way up to 512GB.
Now, when it comes to the performance side of things, the good thing is that the Plextor M6e is really, really good with both read and write speeds, however, in order to keep the price low, Plextor had to make a compromise on advanced features, looks, and the packaging of this SSD, and in case you are someone who’s purely in it for the performance side of things, then this SSD is certainly made for you because iti s fast, and it manages to get the job done.
10. Samsung SM 951 M.2 – Best In Budget
We are taking a look at another M.2 based SSD from Samsung, and this time it’s the SM 951 M.2, in case you are wondering, this SSD is made to work on the PCI-e standard, and it’s actually an SSD that is used by a lot of other OEMs, it is available in your standard 128 GB model, and goes all the way up to 512 GB.
The good thing about this SSD is that it can be used on your M.2 slot as well, and while you may not get the best looking SSD out in the market, it’s certainly good, and it’s super-fast. For instance, the 512 GB model that we got for reviewing had advertised speeds of 2,150 MB/s when sequential reading, and 1,550 MB/s when sequential reading, and while it’s safe to say that the advertised speeds aren’t often matched with real world performance, the SSD is still pretty fast even in real life testing.
With that out of the way, the Samsung SM 951 M.2 is a really, really good M.2 based SSD that is made for pure performance enthusiasts, and while it may not be the best looking SSD out in the market, it’s certainly a worthy contender, and deserves a spot on our list thanks to the fast performance, and flexible storage options.
11. Intel SSD 600p Series
The last SSD on our list is the Intel SSD 600p series, and just like the other SSDs we have on our list, this one is also one of the fastest in the market, and while you may think that Intel is not really serious about making SSDs, you may want to think about it again.
In simpler words, the 600p was basically created in order to fight the 950 Pro by Samsung, and while it may not look as fancy as the 950 Pro, but the looks never made anyone win the hardware war. The 600p is available in a variety of storage options including 128 GB going all the way up to 512 GB, this means that people who are on a budget have a lot to spend can enjoy the fastest speeds you can get.
Needless to say, the Intel SSD 600p series is one of the best SSDs available in the market, it’s fast, it comes in a variety of different storage options, and it’s affordable as well, making it one of the top picks for anyone who’s looking to buy a M.2 based SSD.
So, there you have it, with all the buzz in the market surrounding the PCI-E and M.2 based SSDs, we have picked the top 6 SSDs you can buy in the market right now. Sure, these SSDs are certainly more expensive than their SATA counterpart, but you do need to keep in mind that it’s not a bad thing to have a high price tag, especially when you look at the performance you will be getting. Sure, you’re not getting the most amount of gigabytes for the price you will be paying, but you are definitely getting some of the best transfer speeds in the market when it comes to both the writing, and reading. Needless to say, the PCI-E and the M.2 based SSDs are the future.
Now the pressing question here is whether or not these SSDs are the only one in the market, well, to be fairly honest, they’re not. That’s mainly because the amount of SSDs we have in the market, and while a lot of people prefer the SATA based SSDs mainly because they are comparatively cheap, enthusiasts usually shift to the performance grade SSDs that are way, way better. Simply put, the SSDs that are on our list are some of the best from the PCI-E and M.2 world, and will give you quite possibly the best performance one can ask for.