5 Best Budget SATA 2.5″ SSDs in 2021

Do you want to upgrade your system or build a new one? Well, SSDs (Solid State Drives) have became a very important part of any kind of build these days. Most of the laptops are coming with the SSDs and people are upgrading their old laptop’s HDD to the SSDs.

But, the thing that keeps most people away from getting the benefits of SSDs is mostly the price of these products.

The SSDs are becoming cheaper year by year. But, still, buying a higher-end SSD with 1 TB or more storage space can be costly purchase.

However, SATA 2.5″ SSDs are the most affordable solutions available for us. Most of the older boards and the laptops working with the HDDs will support the SATA 2.5″ SSDs. However, the same SSDs are available in the M.2 form factor. But, in this article, I have just covered the best budget-SATA 2.5″ SSDs.

What to look for while buying a SATA 2.5″ SSD?

All the SSDs highlighted in this article are going to be available on most of the online electronic shopping sites especially Amazon, Newegg, and Western Digital stores. But, below are the 5 things to look for whenever you are about to purchase a SATA 2.5″ SSD. If you do not want to read these tips, you can just proceed to the products themselves.

1. Type of NAND Flash

There are four main types of NAND Flash storage technologies used in the SSD. These are SLC, MLC, TLC, and QLC. SLC (Single Level Cell) Flash storage is found mostly in corporate-level SSDs. But, you can easily find numerous SSDs in the consumer markets using MLC (Multi-Level Cell), TLC (Triple Level Cell), and QLC (Quad-Level Cells).

It is not very important to understand the working. But, if you ever have to choose between these three, just keep MLC your priority. Between, TLC and QLC, you should choose TLC. The lesser amount of bit/bits storage within a cell, the better will be the performance and Longevity of your SSD.

2. Type of Cache memory (DRAM/DRAM-Less SSD)

There are various types of cache memories used in SSDs. The most common type of Dynamic RAM. The cache memory is used to properly locate the data and know its position for a better SSD performance. Wear Levelling is also done with the cache. It is like a small and faster memory buffer before the system actually reads or writes any chunk of information.

It is a good decision to go for a DRAM SSD. However, various other SSDs would be using the SLC, MLC, or any other faster cache memory than the actual flash storage used for raw storage. Just make sure to check if your SSD is having a cache if you want to use your SSD on a regular basis.

3. Type and configurations of Controller

Checking the type of controller used in your SSD can be a little bit tough because most brands will not highlight it on their product pages. But, you can see this spreadsheet to confirm the type of controller used in your SSD. Along with that, you can get in touch with your SSD manufacturer’s customer support and they will also give you information about the controller. The more the number of cores and channels in your SSD controller, the better will be the speed of data read and write.

4. TBW (Tera-bytes Written)

The total Tera-bytes Written of any SSD will determine how much data any SSD can read and write on its NAND Flash. The more the TBW, the longer will be the lifespan of your SSD. Also, the higher TBW SSD will have more warranty period.

5. Read/Write Speed

The maximum sequential read/write speed of any SATA-3 SSD can never go beyond 600 MB/s. But, you will find various SSDs which may bottleneck this speed at 500 MB/s or more or less. So, make sure to buy the one with the highest data read/write speeds.

List of Best Budget SATA SSDs (With DRAM)

1. Crucial MX500 (Best Value+Budget SATA)

crucial mx500 ssd image
Pros
  • DRAM Caching
  • Suitable for gaming builds and other hardcore uses
  • AES 256 bit hardware based encryption
  • Error Correction and Adaptive Read Technology
Cons
  • Low Data write speed (510MB/s)
  • Costly high-storage variants

The Crucial MX500 comes into the category of performance SATA. However, it’s very low price with great offerings brings it to the top of our list. This SSD is using Micron’s 64/96 layers of 3D TLC NAND Flash. Its prices are starting from 50$.

The company claims the sequantial 560MB/s read and 510MB/s write speed with this product.

If we talk about the storage variants, the MX500 is available in four variants i.e. 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB. It has 5 years of limited warranty.

This SSD is using 64/96 layers of Micron’s 3D TLC NAND Flash. The controller is SMI SM2258 which has single-core and 4-Channels.

2. addlink S20

addlink s20 ssd image
Pros
  • DRAM Cache included
  • Compatible with SATA-1, 2, and 3
  • SmartECCâ„¢ and SmartRefreshâ„¢
  • Quad-Core Controller
  • Prices ranging from $28 – $135
Cons
  • 2TB Version is not available

I have added addlink S20 to our list of best budget SATA SSDs because this SSD is capable enough to power up any kind of system including basic gaming rigs or personal computers. The S20 SSD comes with 32/64 layers of 3D TLC NAND Flash along with an advanced firmware algorithm.

As per the company, this SSD can easily reach up to the sequential read speed of 560MB/s and write speed of 500MB/s.

This SSD comes in multiple storage variants ranging from 120GB to 1TB and the TBW (Tera-bytes Written) limits are different for each version. The 120GB version can withstand up to 80TBW, 256GB at up to 130TBW, 512GB at up to 300TBW, and 1TB at up to 500TBW.

The addlink S20 works on the SATA-3 interface. However, it has backward compatibility with SATA-1 and 2. The SSD has 3 years warranty period as well. This SSD has Phison S10 controller with four cores and 8-channels.

3. ADATA SU800

adata su800
Pros
  • SLC Caching and DRAM support
  • Massive 1600TBW with the 2TB version
  • RAID Engine and Data shaping
  • New Generation 3D NAND
Cons
  • Single Core controller
  • Low Random 4K Speed (up to 85K)

The price of ADATA SU800 starts from 25$ which is very low for a DRAM SSD with great TBW and other advanced features such as DEVSLP. The SSD is using 32/64 layers of Micron’s 3D TLC NAND Flash.

The theoretical sequential read speed is up to 560MB/s and write speed up to 520MB/s.

This SSD is available in various storage variants i.e. 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB. The 2TB version has a massive TBW limit i.e. 1600TBW.

The addlink S20 works on the SATA-3 interface. This SSD has 3-Years Warranty period. The controller used is Single-core, 4-Channel SMI SM2258. However, the SSD is making the best use of it and offering competitive read/write speeds.

4. SK Hynix Gold S31

SK Hynix S31
Pros
  • DRAM Cache included
  • Competitive seq. read speed (525MB/s)
  • Prices ranging from $44 to $105
  • Great TBW Limit (600TBW)
Cons
  • Only three versions available (250GB, 500GB, 1TB)

The SK Hynix Gold S31 is also on our list because it offers great features at very easy prices. The SSD is equipped with Hynix’s own 72 Layers of 3D TLC NAND Flash.

As per the company, the SSD can reach up to sequential read speed of 560MB/s and write speed of 525MB/s.

Unfortunately, if you are looking for a 128GB variant or 2TB variant of Hynix Gold S31, they are not available. Only three versions i.e. 250GB, 500GB, and 1TB are available in the market.

This budget SATA SSD works on SATA-3 1st generation. The controller used in this SSD is Quartz/SH87830CC which has two cores and 8-channels. The SSD comes with a DRAM buffer which gives an advantage over various other DRAM-Less SSDs in the market.

5. Seagate Barracuda 120

seagate barracuda 120 ssd image
Pros
  • DRAM Cache Included
  • Dual-Core Phison S12 controller
  • Good Quality NAND Flash from Toshiba
  • Quad-Core Controller
  • Massive 1170 TBW limit (2TB)
Cons
  • 2TB Variant is a little bit pricey

Starting from $40, the Seagate Barracuda 120 SSD is one of the best SSDs which you can trust and use for any work. The price of the 500 GB variant is just 69.99$. The SSD is making use of 64 Layers of Toshiba’s 3D TLC NAND.

All the variants of Seagate Barracuda 120 SSD offers a theoretical sequential read speed of 560MB/s and write speed of 540MB/s.

There are only four storage variants available in the market. These are 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB.

The SSD complies with the SATA-3. The controller used is STXZA01F5578 which is based on Phison S12 design. It has two cores and 8 channels. The DRAM cache chip helps this SSD work more efficiently while doing random read/write operations.

Final Verdict

I hope this list will help you pick the right budget SATA SSD for any purpose. There are various other SSDs that comes in this category but these are the ones which I trust more. So, you can pick any of these. All of them have DRAM and at least 3-years of manufacturer warranty.

Thanks for reading!