Which 1TB SSD internal hard drive is best?
An internal solid-state drive is one of the easiest ways to increase the effective speed of your PC. This is especially true if you’re upgrading from a traditional hard drive. While SSDs were once prohibitively expensive for most users, they’ve fallen in price considerably over the last few years and are now accessible to a wide range of consumers.
A 1-terabyte SSD capacity ensures that you can run Microsoft Windows and other operating systems, install plenty of software including AAA games and not miss a beat due to slowdowns. The fastest on the market currently is the Gigabyte Aorus 7000s, which can move data at blistering speeds and remain reliable for years.
What to know before you buy a 1TB internal SSD
SSD form factors and connections
The SATA III bus has been in use for quite a while, and although it’s nowhere near new, it’s easily suitable for everyday use and every modern computer will have open SATA III ports inside. The typical SATA III drive connects to a cable with a SATA III plug and mounts somewhere on the frame of the PC case.
This is in stark contrast to the M.2 connector, which enables the use of ultra-compact “gum stick” drives. Most recently released motherboards have an M.2 connector on the motherboard, but be aware that not all M.2 slots are created equal.
The SATA III vs. the PCIe bus
The term “bus” refers to the connections between individual components within a PC. The current consumer PC architecture is based around PCI express and enables high-speed communication between the most powerful system components like the CPU, RAM and GPU. The older SATA III storage drive bus doesn’t have a direct line to the PCIe bus, but recent advancements have made PCIe-enabled drives more affordable.
This is where you’ll need to do a bi of due diligence to make sure you’re getting the right drive. The newest motherboards all support PCIe SSDs—also known as NVMe drives—, but if you’re upgrading an older computer, consult your motherboard’s manual or manufacturer to determine which drive format you need. If your mainboard has an M.2 slot but is limited to the SATA III storage bus, there are M.2 SATA SSDs just for you. If you’re working with a recently released motherboard, you can probably shoot for the fastest drive you can afford. Bear in mind that NVMe drives are not backward compatible with dedicated SATA M.2 slots, although a good number of M.2-enabled motherboards let you toggle between a SATA III and PCIe connection.
What to look for in a quality 1TB internal SSD
Read and write speeds
If you only use your PC for casual tasks like word processing, watching videos and browsing the web, you don’t need to pay much attention to raw performance numbers. If you plan on working with resource-intensive programs like video encoders and data compilers, having a high-speed drive can make a massive difference. If you need more storage in an advanced console like the Playstation 5, there are specific requirements to meet, including a minimum read speed of 5,500MBps.
A good SSD should last for a few hundred terabytes of rewrites and the vast majority of users will never see their SSD fail under general wear and tear. If you’re working with sensitive data or providing storage for an always-on security system, though, reliability is a more important concern. There are some commercial-grade SSDs like the Samsung EVO 980 Pro are designed for long lifespans, even in the face of constant data rewrites.
Does it include a heat sink?
This is only really relevant if you’re looking at upgrading to a PCIe 4.0 NVMe drive. To be clear, PCIe 3.0 drives do generate plenty of heat, but Gen4 models take that to the next level, possibly endangering your data if the thermal situation inside your PC case gets out of hand. Keep an eye on whether or not your SSD of choice comes with a heat sink and how large that heat sink is, as larger heat sinks won’t fit in some motherboard configurations.
How much you can expect to spend on a 1TB internal SSD
The most affordable 1TB internal SSDs cost around $80, while you can spend as much as about $200 on the latest and greatest PCIe 4.0 model.
1TB internal SSD FAQ
What are the Playstation 5’s requirements for internal SSDs?
A. At long last, the Playstation 5 update enabling user-upgraded storage finally went live shortly before this writing. This brings relief to dedicated gamers who balked at the immense file sizes of many of the best PS5 games. Sony has released the following requirements for anyone looking to add a new NVMe drive to their console:
- 22mm width (the 2280 format is by far the most common)
- Thickness of 11.25mm or less
- PCIe Gen4 bus support
- Minimum read speed of 5,500MBps
- Capacity ranging from 250GB to 4TB
- Mated or DIY heat sink or heat spreader
How do I get the most speed out of an SSD?
A. Unlike hard drives, SSDs don’t need periodic maintenance like defragmenting to maintain peak speeds, as they perform various actions in real time to maintain their health. An offshoot of this, however, is that filling an SSD 100% with data can slow it down significantly. The first few generations of SSDs came with recommendations to keep it to a maximum of 75% full to maintain peak data transfer rates. The newest models utilize improved over-provisioning, which is just extra storage space that’s included to act as a buffer and let you use the drive’s entire capacity. The most recent NVMe drives shouldn’t see any noticeable slowdowns as long as they’re under roughly 85%-90% capacity.
What’s the best 1TB internal SSD to buy?
Top 1TB internal SSD
What you need to know: As fast as anything else on the market, this PCIe SSD should satisfy the most demanding users.
What you’ll love: Utilizing the Gen4 version of the PCIe bus, this high-speed option is rated for up to 7,000MBps read and 5,000MBps write speeds. Keep in mind, that’s megabytes rather than megabits, making this the fastest flash storage ever released for consumers. It ticks all the boxes for use in the impressively designed Playstation 5 console, including a premium aluminum heat sink that mitigates the excess energy needed for such a fast transfer rate.
What you should consider: To take full advantage of this high-end model, a relatively recent PCIe 4.0 motherboard is an absolute requirement. Also, it’s not exactly cheap.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top 1TB internal SSD for the money
What you need to know: Having been around for a while, you can be sure that this reasonably priced SSD provides good performance and better reliability.
What you’ll love: Given that it uses the slightly older SATA III bus, this one won’t set any speed records, but most users won’t actually notice a big difference in regular usage between a SATA and PCIe drive. In fact, if you’re not consistently working with large files like RAW photo or video data, a SATA drive like the MX500 is one of the most cost-effective upgrades you can make when trying to breathe new life into an old PC.
What you should consider: It doesn’t cut quite as many seconds off boot and game load times as its more expensive counterparts, although the difference isn’t that huge.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: Surprisingly affordable for an NVMe SSD, the Samsung 980 is the one to choose if you’re using a PCIe 3.0 motherboard and don’t plan to upgrade for a while.
What you’ll love: The latest in a long line of SSDs from one of the world’s premier flash memory manufacturers, the 980 is evidence that you don’t have to spend a fortune to move multiple gigabytes of data per second. It’s the best choice for anyone with a previous-generation motherboard that doesn’t support PCIe 4.0 technology, and there are plenty of those mainboards around that won’t really need upgrading for a few years. Advanced wear leveling and highly reliable flash cells ensure it will run well for quite some time.
What you should consider: You can’t use it as internal storage in a Playstation 5 and it won’t be able to take full advantage of the latest PC SSD technology such as Microsoft DirectStorage.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Chris Thomas writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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