Are you looking for the best SSD to upgrade your laptop’s storage and make it snappy? Well, I am here to give you a list of the best SATA 2.5″ and M.2 NVMe SSDs that are fully reliable and yet cheap to afford.
I have done a lot of SSD reviews and installed numerous of them on numerous laptops. So, I will be giving you the list of the best SSDs to upgrade your laptop in 2023.
Also, I will help you with a brief installation guide by the end of this article. Also, if you are not sure how to choose the right SSD, you can find a short yet complete SSD buying guide at the end of this article.
If your laptop’s booting time has slowed down or the software is taking a lot of time to open, an SSD upgrade is surely worth giving a try. Let’s talk some more about it below.
Why and when to upgrade to an SSD?
An SSD (Solid State Drive) can be a pretty impressive upgrade to any system if it is getting bottlenecked by a slow storage device. On SSD Sphere, I keep talking about various SSDs and do their installations, comparisons, reviews, and what not?
But, today, I am going to focus specifically on the laptops. We all have seen our old and even newer laptops getting slower as the day passes by.
But, you might think that this is happening because the machine is getting old.
No, actually the problem could be in the storage. And there are signs that you can easily recognize to confirm whether a slow laptop is slow because of storage or anything else. These signs or signals are as follows.
- Slow OS booting times
- Slow game/software loading times
- Programs not responding
- Laptop not being ready to use even after a full booting process
- Slower file copy/pasting speed of course.
So, if you are also facing this type of issue, you are most probably having a very slow hard drive or even a slow SSD can do this to you. Mostly, this bottleneck happens when your CPU and RAM have enough power but the required data isn’t available just because of a slow storage drive.
You will surely be able to work perfectly with the software once they are fully opened. But, the booting time will be way longer than expected. In this case, for everybody, an SSD upgrade is surely worth it for you.
Best SSDs for Laptops in 2023 (SATA and M.2 NVMe)
Below is the list of the best SATA and M.2 NVMe SSDs that you can choose for your laptop in 2023.
1. Samsung 970 EVO Plus (Best-Selling NVMe SSD for laptop)
The maximum read/write speed of Samsung 970 EVO Plus is 3500 and 3300 MB/s.
I am a big fan of the Samsung 970 EVO Plus SSD. This is the reason why I am adding it here in the first place. This SSD uses the PCIe 3.0 interface to provide you with the maximum value of money.
It is highly popular because it suits most of the users in different categories. Whether you are a gamer or a normal laptop user, you can always buy and use Samsung 970 EVO Plus for your system upgrade. It offers a perfect balance between those expensive high-speed PCIe 4.0 SSDs and the slower SATA drives.
The Samsung 970 EVO Plus comes in the category of consumer NVMe. It uses the DRAM and SLC cache for faster random and sequential read-write speeds. Powered by Samsung TurboWrite technology, you get excellent write features that you may not see in any other SSD out there. The price is a little bit higher as compared to the other PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSDs but it completely justifies that amount with an amazing performance under all environments.
If we talk about endurance, the 2TB variant has a 1,200 TBW rating. The 1TB variant has 600, 500GB has 300, and 250GB variant has 150 TBW rating.
Samsung’s own TLC 3D V-NAND is used here with 96/92 layers. Samsung’s Phoenix controller is powering up this SSD. It has five cores and 8 channels. With all these balanced features, the Samsung 970 EVO Plus becomes one of the leading NVMe SSDs. This is the reason why I always suggest it to all the people who can afford it.
2. Kingston A2000 (Best Budget NVMe SSD for laptop)
The maximum read/write speed of Kingston A2000 is 2200 and 2000 MB/s.
Now, this one is suitable for average and even low-end users. For those who are not using gaming laptops but have good processors, this could be a good option. The Kingston A2000 is an affordable option with enough read/write speed for office people, students, hobbyist gamers, etc. The A2000 lies in the budget NVMe category. So, it is going to be way cheaper than any other high-end NVMe out there.
It has a DRAM cache along with a pseudo-SLC cache for handling write operations. It also supports S.M.A.R.T. and T.R.I.M. commands. Along with that, it offers a good performance for heavy data read/write operations as well. This is the reason why it also suits well for raw data storage tasks. With the help of Kingston SSD Manager software, you can handle firmware updates and all other important things.
If we look at the endurance ratings, its 1TB variant has 600 TBW which is surely a low endurance as compared to the top players. The 500 GB variant has 350 TBW and the 150 TB variant has 150 TBW. I know these numbers are not very respectable but at this price point, you can’t expect anything better than this.
Micron’s TLC 3D NAND is utilized here for storage purposes. It has 64 and 96 layers of NAND depending on different variants. SMI SM2263 controller is utilized here which has two cores and four channels. I would suggest buying this SSD for your laptop if you have a limited budget. A2000 is a fully reliable SSD with great performance.
3. Crucial P5 (Another cheap NVMe for laptop)
The maximum read/write speed of Crucial P5 is 3400 and 3000 MB/s.
The Crucial P5 works on the PCIe 3.0 interface again but it has much better sequential read/write speed as compared to the A2000. This one is a budget NVMe SSD which is available for a cheaper price tag but has most of the required features. This SSD is suitable for normal users as well as for professional gamers and overclockers.
Crucial P5 is actually a consumer SSD with great features and an impressive performance. So, it targets a wide range of users. If we talk about caching, it has both DRAM and SLC caching. It also has S.M.A.R.T. and T.R.I.M. command support. The secure erase feature is also pretty effective.
If we talk about endurance, the 2TB variant has a 1,200 TBW rating which is a good number for sure. The 1TB variant has 600 TBW, 500GB has 300 TBW, and 250GB has 150 TBW endurance rating.
Crucial P5 has Micron’s TLC 3D NAND with 96-layers. The controller is Micron DM01B2 which comes with two cores and 8 channels. All the features are great in this SSD. So, I would suggest this one if you are looking for a cheap NVMe SSD for a laptop.
4. Samsung 870 EVO (Best SATA 2.5″ SSD for Laptops)
Samsung 870 EVO offers 560 and 530 MB/s read/write speed.
It is one of the leading and most-selling SATA SSDs there. There are a lot of competitors to this product in the market at very cheap prices but this one is still a leading SSD. It is perhaps the most reliable SATA SSD out there. Because Samsung has developed it as a Performance SATA SSD, you can surely rely on it. It is a perfect pick for those who are looking for a constant read/write speed along with a huge data storage space of up to 4TB.
It utilizes Samsung’s own 3D TLC V-NAND (128 Layers) for storage purposes which is better than 860 QVO and 870 QVO’s QLC V-NAND. It also supports T.R.I.M. and S.M.A.R.T. commands. Also, you get AES 256-bit encryption support with this. Auto Garbage collection, WWN, and Sleep mode are also supported.
If we look at the endurance, the 4TB variant has a massive 2400 TBW rating while the 2TB variant has 1200 and 1TB variant has 600 TBW ratings.
The controller utilized here is the Samsung MKX which has three cores and eight channels. Although the price is way higher than most of its competitors because of its great reputation, it is surely worth that amount.
5. Crucial MX500 (Cost-Friendly SATA SSD for Laptops)
Crucial MX500 has a read/write speed of 560 and 510 MB/s.
Crucial MX500 is another one of the best SATA SSDs out there. This SSD comes with an impressive performance which will be there even under heavy workloads. MX500 actually comes in the performance SATA category but has an affordable price tag. It suits well for professionals as well as normal users.
Crucial MX500 has Micron’s TLC 3D NAND with 64 layers and 96 layers in some variants. Also, it comes with a fast DRAM cache. It also supports S.M.A.R.T. and T.R.I.M. commands. Along with that, you get to see the AES 256-bit encryption for security purposes.
If we talk about endurance, the 4TB variant has 1000 TBW whereas the 2TB variant has 700 TBW. The 1TB variant surely has a small endurance rating i.e. 360 TBW. Then, the 500 GB variant has 180 TBW and 250 GB has 100 TBW. So, the smaller variants are having a lesser endurance rating.
Crucial has used the SMI SM2258 controller which has a single core and 4 channels. I would suggest you this SSD for any kind of usage. it is a well-reputed SSD with a cheap price and this is what makes it great.
5. WD Blue 3D (A Cheap SATA SSD)
The WD Blue 3D can offer you a data read/write speed of up to 560 and 530 MB/s.
This SSD is built for excellent performance at a cheaper price tag. In fact, if you ever search for the best yet cheap SATA SSDs, this one will surely come into the suggestion. The WD Blue is suitable for any kind of user. Whether you want to use it for raw data storage or for any kind of professional works or even for gaming, this SSD will never let you down.
It uses the 3D TLC NAND (64-layers) for data storage operations. Also, it has a DRAM cache to provide you with the best results for random data operations. Also, it supports the S.M.A.R.T. command but the T.R.I.M. command is not supported. Any kind of encryption is also not available which is surely a drawback for some users.
Again, the TBW endurance ratings are low. The 4TB variant comes with 600 TBW and 2TB with 500 TBW. The low storage variant i.e. 500 GB has just 200 TBW and the 250GB variant has 100 TBW.
WD has used the Marvell 88SS1074 controller in this SSD which has two cores and four channels. So, for any kind of average or even high-end applications, this SSD will suit you perfectly well.
How to install/upgrade an SSD in your laptop?
Step 1: Preparation
The first step is to prepare your laptop for the upcoming steps. You will need a screwdriver to open your laptop. Most of the laptops will require a crosshead Phillip screwdriver, either PH01 or PH00. Along with that, you will need a prying tool to open the bottom panel. A strong guitar plectrum will also work here.
Then, make sure to disconnect the charging cable connected to your laptop. You can also wear an anti-static wrist strap if you have one. If the battery is external, make sure to disconnect it before proceeding. Otherwise, disconnect it after opening the bottom cover in the below steps.
Along with that, keep a thing in mind that the laptop will void its warranty if you open it on your own. So, if it’s under warranty, you should connect with the support services.
Step 2: Open the bottom panel
The first step is to take your screwdriver and start opening all the screws on the bottom side. I am here taking an Acer Aspire 5 laptop to show you as an example. But, different laptops will have different screw locations on the bottom. Make sure to open all of them and also check below the rubber pads.
If there is an optical drive in your laptop, it will also come out when you open its single screw. Once all the screws are opened on the bottom, you can proceed further.
Now, you have to take any side of the laptop’s bottom panel out from the body. Start from the corner for an easy beginning. This can be done with a strong nail or simply your prying tool.
Mostly, this cover will have further attachment with the body through the plastic locks. So, you just have to remove all of them. You will have to move that prying tool around the body till all the locks are removed.
Step 3: Locate the ports
Now, you will find different storage ports depending on the model, brand, and budget of your laptop. You will have to see what are the ports on your laptop. Below are the images of all the possible ports you can see on your laptop.
SATA 2.5″ Port Image
M.2 SATA Port Image
This port can not work with an M.2 NVMe SSD. An M.2 SATA-only port will have its notch on the left side.
M.2 NVMe port Image
This port can work with both M.2 SATA and M.2 NVMe SSDs. This one will have its notch on the right side.
Step 4: Install SSD
Now, the next step is to simply install your desired SSD on its dedicated slot. Let’s start with the M.2 NVMe and M.2 SATA installation process.
1. M.2 NVMe/M.2 SATA
You have now located your M.2 NVMe or M.2 SATA port. So, just remove that M.2 screw given in front of the slot. I am hoping that you have bought and working with the traditional 2280 M.2 SSD here.
Insert your M.2 SSD inside the port at an angle. Now, just push it down and tighten the screw over it.
2. SATA 2.5″
For the SATA 2.5″ SSD installation, the process can be a little bit difficult. If there is a 2.5″ HDD or SSD installed already, you just have to take it out and insert the new one.
In most cases, you will find that there is either a metallic or a plastic caddy for installation purposes. It will be tightened to the motherboard through four screws. Also, the drive will be attached to that bracket with screws.
So, you will have to take that caddy out and then tighten up the screws on your new SSD. Then install the same caddy inside the same port.
In some rare cases, you will just find a caddy and the screws will be inside your laptop’s box. In this case, you will have to do some extra efforts which are all discussed in this article.
Step 5: Close the panel
Once the SSD is installed, you just have to cover the bottom panel normally and tighten those screws back.
Step 6: Mount the SSD
While using the Windows OS, you can face an issue where your system will not recognize your SSD. So, you will have to mount your SSD before using it. You can easily do that using the process below.
- Press Windows+R key to open the Run menu
- Now, type diskmgmt.msc and hit enter
- There, you will see your newly installed SSD as unallocated
- Just right click it and select New Simple Volume. You can then create partitions or process further with the simple mounting.
Step 7: Move or install OS
If you want to move the OS from an existing drive, you can use this free software. It is very easy to use. If the driver is out from your laptop, you can use a SATA enclosure or M.2 enclosure to move the data using your older drive externally.
How to choose the right SSD for any laptop? (Laptop SSD Buying Guide)
Choosing the right SSD for any system is not easy because of the lots of interfaces, form-factors, and protocols available in the market. But, I have made this process very simple for you. Below are 4 main things to look for before you go for an SSD for any laptop. See this SSD compatibility guide or this buying guide for more.
1. Check the PCIe version of your laptop interface
The interface is simply the way your motherboard works with its other components. The latest PCIe interface is the PCIe 5.0 but it is easy to find PCIe 4.0 devices out there. If we talk about the SSDs, most PCIe 4.0 SSDs are also supported by PCIe 3.0 motherboards. However, the speed will be bottlenecked by PCIe 3.0 bandwidth i.e. up to 4 GB/s. Get more information about PCIe here.
It is hard to find the PCIe 4.0 laptops till now. So, you will mostly have to buy a PCIe 3.0 SSD if your laptop supports a PCIe drive.
The SSDs use four lanes of the PCIe interface. So, if your laptop supports the PCIe 4.0 version storage, you can go for it and achieve better results with the PCIe 4.0 SSDs. However, most of the older and low-end laptops will have PCIe 3.0 storage interface.
In order to check your laptop’s supported interface, I would suggest you visit this article. You can also check for the same on your laptop’s user manual or the official website.
2. Check supported storage Form Factor by your laptop
Form Factor is a hardware design aspect that indicates the size, dimensions, and other physical properties of a device. SSDs come in two main form factors i.e. 2.5″ and M.2.
2.5″ form factor is for the SATA SSDs which are bulkier as compared to the M.2 drives. The dimensions of a 2.5″ HDD and 2.5″ SSD are the same because the form factor is the same. Almost all the laptops from any brand will come with either a free or pre-occupied 2.5″ SATA slot.
While the 2.5″ SSDs are bulkier in size, most of the latest laptops will offer you one or two M.2 slots as well. This is the latest form factor. M.2 is known for its high speed. But, there are two further classifications of an M.2 slot.
The first M.2 type is M.2 SATA which will only work with a SATA SSD but with a smaller M.2 form factor instead of a 2.5″ form factor.
The second M.2 type is M.2 PCIe NVMe. This SSD will work along with PCIe and NVMe to provide you with impressive data read/write speeds. You can know more about the M.2 Form Factor here in this article.
The key tip here is to confirm the supported form-factor and the interface of your laptop and then you can easily search for the right SSD and then install it without hassles.
3. Speed Requirements and interface limitations
The highest data read/write speed offered by any SATA SSD will be up to 600MB/s.
Any PCIe 4.0 NVMe can never go beyond the read/write speed of 8000 MB/s. Normally you will find the PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSDs reaching up to the speed of 7000 MB/s. But, because most of the laptops will work on the PCIe 3.0 interface, the maximum achievable speed will be up to 4GB/s.
So, if you are good to go with the 600 MB/s data read/write speed, you are good to go with the SATA SSD. Otherwise, you should go for the NVMe one.
Now, if you are choosing a PCIe 4.0 NVMe, only then you will get that 8 GB/s bandwidth. The speed of PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSD will range within 4 GB/s. So, it could be a perfect balance between the both.
The SATA 2.5″ SSDs are the most cheaper ones. You can easily afford to get a 1TB SATA 2.5″ SSD within 100$. The price of an M.2 SATA SSD will be similar to that.
M.2 PCIe NVMe SSDs are the most expensive ones. The PCIe 3.0 interface SSD will be cheaper as compared to the PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSDs.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you want the same high-speed storage, you will have to upgrade your NVMe storage. However, a SATA SSD is way cheaper than the NVMe and gives a better option for raw storage. So, if you just want to use this SSD for file storage, you should go with the SATA SSD.
Yes. Most of the M.2 NVMe slots come with dual-mode. so, you can install the M.2 SATA SSD there. Also, they are physically compatible.
If the port is just M.2 SATA compatible, you can’t install any M.2 NVMe SSD. This restriction is not only on the software level but on the hardware (physical) level as well.
You can also make use of the DVD drive as well. Read this article for more information on this topic.
Most of the PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD will be backward compatible with the PCIe 3.0 systems as well. So, you can surely try to install and run it.
If there is only one slot available on the laptop’s motherboard, there is no way to connect two NVMe internally. However, you can make use of an M.2 NVMe enclosure to do the same.
You can visit the official website or look up your laptop’s user manual for this information.
Yes. You can do it. Again, if the laptop is under the warranty period and you are opening it on your own, it may void the warranty right away.
Most of the Macbooks after 2017 come with no self-upgrade option. But, if your Macbook has the option to upgrade, you will have to buy its own SSD because of the different form factor. I have done an upgrade on a Macbook Air 2017 here. You can look at it.
Please share your valuable feedback regarding this article!