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Looking for a new SSD? There are plenty of companies out there willing to fill your needs. But the obvious question is, are they any good?
Today, we are going to take a closer look at the best SSD brands to find out who makes the best and most reliable SSDs in 2023.
In this article, we will take a journey into the past and learn about each brand, where the company started, and how they have progressed through the years. Additionally, we will explain who each brand is best for, as well as give a couple of brief reviews on their best SATA SSD and m.2 solid-state drives.
But first, let’s cover a few basics.
What to Consider Before Buying an SSD
While this may be old news to some, many readers are new at PC building and upgrading, especially since the pandemic. So this section is for those of you who may not be aware that the ability to upgrade your data storage relies on the following factors.
Know your motherboard
Do you have spare SATA ports? It can be easy to assume everything will just click into place, but you want to make sure you have the available ports.
What about m.2 expansion slots? Does your motherboard have them? What protocol do those slots use, SATA or NVMe? You don’t want to spend the extra money on an NVMe m.2 if your board doesn’t support it.
Do you have additional drive bays?
While you’re double-checking your motherboard, check your case for drive bays as well. Full-tower cases usually have a storage compartment with multiple bays that accept SSDs as well as HDDs.
On the other hand, mid-tower chassis, or smaller ones, typically don’t have large storage bays. Instead, they usually have one or two spaces for an HDD and two or more 2.5” SSD bays which are almost always located behind the back panel. But some are on or under the PSU shroud.
How much data capacity do you need?
This really depends on what you will be using the drive for. For workstations, home entertainment, and gaming PCs, you’ll probably want the highest you can get. For these instances, we recommend a minimum of 1TB. But if you plan on downloading a bunch of games and movies or you create and work with large data files, then a 2TB SSD would work better.
If you’re just wanting to add a little more storage to a basic home PC, then 500GB would be our recommendation. However, anything lower than 500GB is not recommended for any application other than as a boot drive for your computer’s OS.
This is because a 250GB SSD, for example, is only a tiny amount of storage these days. Especially when you consider games are typically 30GB-60GB and up to over 100GB in cases like Call of Duty: Warzone.
Does Brand Matter When Buying an SSD?
There are roughly 60 companies that manufacture SSDs, so you want to make sure you buy from a reliable brand. It’s easy to talk yourself into buying a cheaper SSD after you’ve spent hundreds, if not thousands, on your PC already. This can lead to buying a drive that’s not only unreliable but can end up costing you more in the long run.
Like all computer components, solid-state drives have a limited lifespan, and the better an SSD is made, the longer it will last. The optimal life lifespan of an SSD is 10 years, but real-world data shows anywhere from 5-10 years. So, your mileage may vary.
Storage devices, such as SSDs, have their lifespan measured in TBW (Terabytes Written). The higher the TBW rating, the longer you can expect the drive to last. That’s why the total storage amount is not the only factor to consider when buying a new data drive because TBW is crucial to its predicted lifespan.
This is the reason you want to find a reputable brand that makes high TBW SSDs. Because otherwise, you’ll end up losing data and wasting money.
We would like to take a moment to mention that what brand an SSD is doesn’t matter as much as its performance. And the brands on our list, like Samsung, have proven themselves to be extremely reliable brands in regards to their longevity and performance. That is where you need to consider what company to buy from and whether they make reliable products.
Are all SSDs the Same?
The answer to that question is a resounding no. There are two main archetypes of solid-state drives. One is the larger and older 2.5” SATA SSD which connects to your motherboard using a SATA data cable as well as to your PSU using a SATA power cable. These have all but replaced traditional hard disk drives in modern PCs due to the fact that they can write data up to 100X faster than a traditional 7200RPM HDD.
The next type is m.2 SSDs. These drives use a special m.2 expansion slot on your motherboard. Unlike SATA SSDs, there are no cables required. M.2 SSDs come in two primary types, SATA and NVMe. SATA m.2 utilize the same expansion slot and are practically identical to their NVMe counterparts. The only difference is speed.
NVMe can read and write data at, or above, 3.5GB/s while SATA can only manage around 600MB/s. Making NVMe a much wiser choice if you want a super-fast SSD capable of keeping up with large files during video editing and gaming.
Besides form factor and protocol, the data capacity of SSDs varies greatly from 128GB to 80 or more terabytes for servers and data centers. The higher capacity SSDs are good for every situation, while the lower capacity models are usually reserved for boot drives where the operating system is the only thing on it. This enables your computer to boot up super fast. And most of these builds rely on a secondary drive with much more capacity as a storage drive.
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Samsung is the world leader in mobile phones and holds the largest global market share for SSDs. Overall, Samsung ranks a close second in the world for consumer electronics, just behind Apple, and has been in business for 84 years.
With such a reputation, Samsung earns the top spot on our list as their products have been tried and tested for nearly three generations and there is no sign of them slowing down. Just the opposite actually, Samsung has repeatedly invented and mass-produced many world firsts when it comes to consumer electronics and information technology.
This sets large precedence for smaller brands. But, Samsung wasn’t always the multinational conglomerate it is today. In fact, it had very humble beginnings as a grocery trading company.
History of Samsung
Samsung was originally founded in 1983 by Lee Byung-Chul under the name Mitsuboshi Trading Company, or Samsung Sanghoe, in Daegu, Korea, back when Korea was still under Japanese control. Samsung traded in local foods such as fish, vegetables, and noodles. The company did well and eventually relocated to Seoul in 1947. But the Korean war forced Lee to flee Seoul and head to Busan, where he founded a sugar mill and then Korea’s largest woolen mill located in Daegu.
Samsung would eventually branch out into a wide range of industries, including construction, retail, security, media, food, and more. Samsung prospered immensely within its first 30 years despite going through two wars and several business ventures.
It wasn’t until 1968 that Samsung started dabbling in electronics. Its first product was a black-and-white television, but that was only the beginning.
In 1980 Samsung acquired a switchboard manufacturing plant in Gumi, South Korea, which would eventually become the company’s primary manufacturing location for its mobile phones.
Around this time, Samsung began investing heavily in research and development, which vaulted the company to the forefront of IT development and paved the way for the semiconductor industry. Since then, Samsung has remained near the top of the global tech leaderboards.
By 2002 Samsung had reached number one in the flash memory market thanks to its innovative 1GB NAND flash memory and years in the DRAM market. In 2006 Samsung was the first company in the world to mass-produce consumer SSDs that had up to 32GB of storage.
But it obviously didn’t stop there. Samsung continued to improve its products and doubled the amount of data storage yearly. And by 2013, Samsung had changed the flash memory industry forever with the world’s first 3D V-NAND flash memory technology. This breakthrough was able to overcome the limitations of current semiconductor micronization where many other manufacturers had failed.
These days Samsung holds the title of the biggest seller of SSDs and still offers a wide amount of products to consumers, including mobile phones, kitchen appliances, computer & IT technologies, and much more.
Samsung’s Products and Services
With the wide variety of products offered by Samsung, there are too many to reasonably list, so for the purpose of this article, we will focus on data storage devices.
Samsung was the first manufacturer in the world to sell SSDs to the average Joe and remain the world leader in solid-state drive sales. So, it’s apparent the company has been doing it right since the beginning.
Through the Samsung website, you can choose from a wide selection of both 2.5” SATA SSDs and m.2 SSDs. These range anywhere from 250GB up to 8TB for the 2.5” drives, while the m.2’s only go up to 2TB.
Additionally, Samsung has external hard drives as well as flash drives and other products for people who need mobile storage options.
When it comes to customer service, Samsung seems to have a mixed reputation. Some individual reviews state they were completely satisfied with their customer service experience, while others report total incompetence.
With such a large company, you can expect long wait times via phone, but you have options. Samsung deploys multiple methods through which you can contact support. These include Facebook, Twitter, by phone, and through chat or Email. This gives customers a variety of ways to interact with the company as well as get help with products.
Samsung offers different warranty periods depending on which model of SSD you buy. For example, the Samsung 850 EVO 4TB comes with a five-year or 300 TBW (whichever comes first) warranty, while the 750 EVO 500GB SSD comes with a three-year or 100 TBW warranty.
In the event you need to use this warranty, upon inspection from Samsung to confirm if there is a defect, you will either receive a replacement of equal or greater capacity or be refunded the current market value of your SSD.
What is the Best 2.5” SATA SSD from Samsung?
SAMSUNG 870 EVO
One of Samsung’s flagship products is the 870 EVO 2.5” SSD with 4TB of storage. This solid-state drive has a lifespan of up to 2400 TBW and has a read and write speed of 560MB/s and 530MB/s, respectively. It utilizes Samsung’s V-NAND 3-bit MLC technology and uses a SATA 6 Gb/s Interface that is also compatible with SATA 3 Gb/s and SATA 1.5 Gb/s interfaces as well.
This SSD is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a high-end and high-capacity SSD. With the 870 EVO solid-state drive, anyone can have tons of fast memory. But there is a catch. The 870 EVO is rather pricey. For 4TB, you’ll be paying just about $400. But if you drop down to 1TB, it’ll only cost you $100, which is much more affordable. Plus, 4TB would probably be overkill for most consumers.
What is the Best NVMe M.2 SSD from Samsung?
SAMSUNG 980 PRO
One of the best NVMe m.2 SSDs you can buy is the 980 Pro with a heatsink. It comes with 2TB of storage, and an impressive 7000MB/s read speed and 5100MB/s write speed. The 980 EVO is compatible with PCIe 4.0 x4 and utilizes the NVMe 1.3c protocol, and has a 1200 TBW life expectancy.
Best suited for gamers, the 980 Pro is lightning-fast and performs at an ultra-high level. SSDs, such as this one, offer gamers fast read and write speeds which are useful in games with huge open-world areas. NVMe m.2 drives are slightly more expensive per TB. Where 2.5” SSDs are around $100 per TB, m.2 go for around $130-$140. This SSD will cost you a little under $250, but you’re essentially getting one of the best consumer NVMe SSDs on the planet.
Who Are Samsung SSDs Best for?
Samsung SSDs are generally a good choice for anyone and for any setup. They offer a wide variety of options and have a long-standing reputation backing their products. So whether you are looking for a new m.2 for your gaming PC or just need a little more storage space in your home computer, Samsung has a high-quality SSD for you.
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2. Western Digital
Western Digital is one of the most experienced brands and long-lived data storage manufacturers in the world. And that is exactly why we have chosen them to take up the second spot on our list. Following the trend of many other IT companies, Western Digital has tested the waters in other aspects of the computer world but has primarily stuck to what they do best–data storage.
Like Samsung, Western Digital has produced many “world firsts” when it comes to innovations in the computer industry. They’ve had their ups and downs, but the future looks bright for WD because they have been catching up to Samsung over the past few years.
History of Western Digital
Originally founded under the name General Digital Corporation by a former Motorola employee, Alvin B. Phillips. In the early days, GDC was a MOSFET test equipment manufacturer in Newport Beach, California. But soon, GDC headquarters was relocated to Santa Ana, California, and would eventually become the largest tech company in Orange County.
Quickly, General Digital Corporation gained the interest of several investors as well as the tech giant Emerson Electric. This allowed GDC to grow into a specialty semiconductor manufacturer thanks to the mass amounts of revenue it was now receiving. And in 1971, General Digital Corporation changed its name to Western Digital and released its first product, the WD1402A UART chip.
For much of the early 1970s, Western Digital focused their efforts on manufacturing calculator chips. And by 1975, WD was the largest independent calculator chip producer in the world. But in 1976, Western Digital had to file for bankruptcy following the oil crisis of the time. This was mainly the result of the now-defunct Bowmar Instruments, which was their biggest buyer.
Over the following years, Western Digital continued to adapt to the growing technology demands and made their own logic chipsets, SCSI controllers, CPUs, GPUs, and even their own microcomputer, which ran a pascal based USDC p-system OS. But what really pushed them forward was the invention of the FD1771 floppy disk controller. One of the first controllers/formatters that could write large amounts of TTL logic. And in 1987, WD came out with the WD37C65, which would end up being the predecessor to modern super I/O chips.
It was in 1988 that Western Digital entered the data storage scene by purchasing the hard drive production assets of Tandon and made their first line of SATA drives named Centaur. WD would eventually come out with a newer improved version they named Caviar in 1991, which was a huge success. But by 1995, advancements made by their competitors caused problems for Western Digital, and they began to stagnate.
Over the next three years, Western Digital opened a plant in Malaysia, hiring 13,000 people but their products continued to result in one flop after another. This changed in 1998 when WD struck a deal with IBM to purchase production facilities and gain the rights to certain IBM technologies, such as their giant magneto-resistive heads.
Their gamble paid off with the release of Western Digital’s Expert line of HDDs in 1999. And in 2001, they were the first supplier to offer ATA HDD with an 8MB buffer, which was a massive increase over the 2MB buffer offered by competitors.
In 2003, WD acquired the read-write head assets of the once-leading industry giant Read-Rite Corporation following the company’s bankruptcy. This led to the development of their Raptor line of SATA HDDs, which reached speeds up to 10,000 RPM and had 36GB of storage.
For the next ten years, Western Digital continued to make both PATA and SATA drives but ended up manufacturing Parallel ATA drives in 2013, being the last company to do so. During the interim, they came out with many different versions of their HDDs. These included the WD1500, which offered 150GB of storage and had a window so the user could watch the drive’s internal workings in action.
It wasn’t until 2009 that WD took a shot at the solid-state drive market with the buyout of Siliconsystems Inc. This turned out to be mostly unsuccessful, and a few years later, they scrapped the venture. But the inventions and knowledge they gained were later utilized after the acquisition of SanDisk in 2016, and a year later, they moved their headquarters again to San Jose, California.
From there, WD would go on to manufacture high-quality HDDs and SSDs, which they have now become renowned for and ranked 158th on the 2018 Fortune 500. In 2020, Western Digital released the WD Black SN850 1TB SSD, which uses a proprietary NVMe 1.4 controller. This SSD outperformed Samsung’s 980 1TB SSD, among others that use the typical Phision E18 controller.
Western Digital suffered another setback in February of 2022 in Japan. The joint-production plant, owned by Western Digital and Kioxia, reported an estimated 6.5 to 16 Exabytes of NAND flash memory would be lost due to undisclosed chemical contamination, contributing to the semiconductor shortage.
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Western Digital’s Products and Services
Western Digital provides a wide selection of hard drives, both HDDs and SSDs, and serves both consumers and businesses with their products. These come in the form of portable USB flash drives, internal and external HDDs & SSDs, as well as M.2 SSDs.
WD has decent customer service, but as with most large corporations, their customer service record is full of mixed reviews. Overall, they seem positive, with most complaints being vague about the problems leading to bad reviews.
The warranties offered by Western Digital vary depending on which drive you buy and range from one year to five years. Warranties only cover manufacturing defects and premature failure not attributed to user error or misuse. To qualify for the warranty, you must provide proof of purchase, such as a receipt.
What is the Best 2.5” SATA SSD from Western Digital?
Western Digital 4TB WD Blue
The Western Digital 4TB WD Blue 3D NAND Internal PC SSD (WDS400T2B0A) is WD’s fastest consumer SSD available from the manufacturer and is a perfect choice for basic home computing. It features 4TB of data storage, Sequential read speeds up to 560MB/s, and sequential write speeds up to 530MB/s, as well as a 600 TBW lifespan.
This generation of WD Blue SSDs uses 25% less power draw than previous generations, and you can choose from 250GB up to 4TB capacity. These SSDs are slightly less expensive than other brands averaging less than $100 per terabyte. For example, the WDS400T2B0A costs just under $360, whereas the 870 EVO from Samsung is $400.
What is the Best NVMe M.2 SSD from Western Digital?
The WD Black SN850 NVMe m.2 SSD from Western Digital is the direct competitor to Samsung’s 980 EVO Pro. It features WD’s proprietary NVMe 1.4 controller, compatible with PCIe Gen 4, can have up to 2TB of data storage, and can read and write at speeds reaching 7000MB/s and 5300MB/s, respectively. Additionally, this m.2 SSD comes with a heatsink to better manage thermal loads and boasts a lifespan of 1200 TBW, meaning it should last you quite a while.
Following the pricing trend, these SSDs from Western Digital go for over $100 per TB and are actually more expensive than their Samsung counterparts. This m.2 SSD will cost you around $330 for the 2TB version, but thanks to their faster iteration of the NVMe protocol, they are one of the best in the business.
Who Are Western Digital SSDs Best for?
Western Digital is an all-around good choice for any PC owner. However, many of their products are for data centers, servers, and other industries where data is being written 24/7. Though they do cater to basic consumers, enthusiasts, and gamers as well.
The WD Black SN850 is a perfect example of WD providing high-end data storage suited for gamers and enthusiasts. So, if you’re a company looking to expand your data storage capabilities or an average consumer trying to spruce up your computer or building a badass gaming rig, Western Digital is a very reliable SSD manufacturer that offers plenty of options.
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Crucial is widely considered a reliable and trustworthy brand and has been making DRAM and SSDs for years. They have a variety of options for memory, including super-fast gaming RAM, SATA SSDs, as well as M.2 solid-state drives and USB flash drives.
SSDs from Crucial are generally more affordable than other brands, but that doesn’t mean they skimp out on quality. Just the opposite actually, Crucial SSDs are generally just as good as any other brand and are often compared to the reliability and longevity of brands like Samsung, Kingston, and Western Digital. Hence, why they made it onto our list.
History of Crucial
Crucial has been in the game for 25 years. But in reality, Crucial is a division of Micron Technology, which has been around much longer.
Micron Technology was founded in Boise, Idaho, in 1978 as a Semiconductor design consulting company. And thanks to local investors and one particular potato farmer, in 1981, Micron went from semiconductor design consultation to fabrication when their first wafer fabrication unit was completed and began producing 64K DRAM chips.
In 1996 Micron Technology initiated a 3-way merger with ZEOS International, Micron Computer, and Micron Manufacturing Service. This increased Micron’s overall size and reach and is what ultimately led to the innovations to come.
1996 also saw the creation of Micron’s primary flash memory producer, Crucial. Crucial was founded with the idea of manufacturing high-grade memory for everyday consumers to upgrade their computers. At the time, practically no one was providing this service to end users which made Crucial one of the first.
The company went global with Crucial opening of manufacturing plants in both Scotland and Singapore in 1999. One year later, in 2000, Crucial was the world’s first manufacturer to sell DDR RAM to end users.
Crucial teamed up with AMD in 2002 to create the Crucial Radeon 9700 Pro GPU. It featured 128MB of RAM, a 325MHz core, and three ports a DVI port, AGP, and S-video ports, which we would consider legacy these days.
In 2004 Crucial began selling their Ballistix line of DDR2 RAM modules. These modules offered faster speeds and a gold-colored heatsink to improve thermal performance and offer higher overclocking abilities. And just three years later, they came out with their DDR3 version of Ballistix RAM, which operated at twice the speed of its DDR2 predecessor.
2008 was the first year in which Crucial began making SSDs. This solid-state drive went by the short and simple name The Crucial SSD. It came in the now standard 2.5” form factor and had up to 64GB of storage and a sequential read speed of 100MB/s.
The company spread its reach to France in 2009 with their French website and began offering products there. The following year, in 2010, Crucial released its revolutionary new product, the Crucial C300 SSD. This was the first SSD to utilize the new SATA III interface with 6GB/s transfer speeds and sequential read speeds of up to 355MB/s.
In just one year, Crucial again came out with a smash-hit SSD called The Crucial m4 SSD, which was basically a drastic improvement over the C300. The m4 SSD was almost 100MB/s faster than the C300 and had a maximum capacity of 512GB. And in 2012, Crucial shrunk the m4 to a smaller factor called the mSATA Crucial m4 SSD. It had the same speeds and capacity as its bigger sibling but was much smaller.
Over the next few years, Crucial released one of the world’s first DDR4 RAM modules to the public in 2013 and further expanded their global presence by debuting several websites in Germany, Japan, China, and Italy.
Next, Crucial improved its product line by offering up to 2TB SSDs as well as their first M.2 in 2017. And in 2018, they released their first NVMe M.2 SSD, the Crucial P1 SSD, with read speeds reaching 2000MB/s making this m.2 20x faster than their original SSD.
In 2020, Micron Technology, the parent company of Crucial, developed, in collaboration with NVIDIA, the world’s fastest video graphics memory to date, GDDR6X VRAM. This has been used in NVIDIA’s RTX models, including the 3090 Ti. Showing just how competent they are in manufacturing memory components.
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Crucial’s Products and Services
The Crucial product line is all about memory. Their website includes RAM for a range of uses, from basic computing to high-end gaming.
This is equally true for their internal solid-state drives. As an added bonus, Crucial also provides accessories such as SATA data transfer cables for laptops, SSD installation kits, and more.
Their SSDs include NVMe m.2 SSDs with up to 2TB in 4 different grades labeled P2 through P5 Plus. Furthermore, Crucial offers two different 2.5” SATA SSDs with capacities of up to 4TB.
One of the cool things about Crucial is they are new user friendly, as in they offer a bunch of how-to guides on their website. You can even contact them on social media to ask questions or contact them about a problem.
Crucial has won an impressive amount of awards, including customer service awards, excellence awards, and many editor-choice awards. With so many people backing the brand, it’s obvious they are one the best.
If you ever have any problems with their drives, Crucial backs their SSDs with either a three or five-year warranty starting at the date of purchase. This covers handling damage, manufacturing defects, and premature failures. Any damage caused by customer misuse is not covered.
What is the Best 2.5″ SATA SSD from Crucial?
The Crucial MX500 SSD is one of the best you can buy, and with over 60,000 five-star reviews, the world agrees. Crucial’s MX500 NAND SATA III 2.5” SSD comes with anywhere from 250GB up to 4TB of data storage. It has sequential read and write speeds of 560MB/s and 510MB/s, respectively, and has an expected life span of 1000 TBW.
SSDs, such as the MX500, are head over heels better than traditional HDDs. And although they are more expensive than their HDD ancestors, the MX500 4TB SSD will only cost you about $350, which isn’t too bad considering Samsung’s best SSD costs $50 more.
Crucial even makes adapters for their SATA SSDs so they can be used as external drives. Which is more than you can say about other companies.
What is the Best NVMe M.2 SSD from Crucial?
Crucial P5 Plus
The best NVMe m.2 SSD Crucial makes right now is the Crucial P5 Plus M.2 2280SS gaming SSD. It comes with up to 2TB of storage, uses PCIe Gen 4 x4, and speeds reaching read speeds of 6600MB/s and write speeds clocking in at 5000MB/s. To round out the main points, the P5 Plus has a life expectancy of 1200 TBW, meaning you’d have to fill and re-write the entire 2TB 600 times before it would be expected to fail.
For just over $220, this 2TB NVMe m.2 SSD is one of the most affordable on the market today. And that price includes a low profile m.2 heatsink. Although it is marketed for gamers, the P5 Plus SSD would do great for all occasions. But its specialty is adding fast high-end performance to premium machines where speed is key.
Who Are Crucial SSDs Best for?
Most of Crucial’s SSD lineup is in the M.2 form factor. Additionally, most of their background in the computer industry has been catering to enthusiasts and gamers through high-performance RAM modules.
The Crucial Brand is mainly for folks who are trying to find the best value for their money, as they consistently put out great drives for extremely low prices compared to the competition.
Use-wise, Crucial would be best suited for gamers and users who deal with vast amounts of data like video editing and content creation. But really, who couldn’t use a super-fast SSD in their PC?
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Kingston Technology is a great brand that’s been in the memory business since its inception. It’s the largest independent manufacturer of DRAM and has deviated very little from their niche over the years.
They have been dedicated to supplying the world with high-tier memory chips, and the founders even invented a new type of memory module to surpass the limitations of the available technologies of the time. It changed the industry standards and remained in place for many years.
History of Kingston
Starting out in John Tu’s garage, Kingston Technology was founded in the latter half of 1987 by two long-time friends and engineers, John Tu and David Sun, in Fountain Valley, California, to fill the need for 1Mb surface-mount memory chips, which were in very short supply at the time. The two men would work in John’s garage and transport chips in their own back seats.
John Tu designed a new type of single in-line memory module that overcame the current limitations of the day using pre-existing technology. This would ultimately cement them in the computer world as one of the top innovators.
In just five years, the company was ranked the number one fastest-growing privately held company in America. Three years later, in 1995, Kingston technology expanded to Munich, Germany, and later that year, they surpassed $1 Billion in sales. They held a thank you campaign for their employees and customers and even had every employee’s name listed in articles by numerous outlets, including the Wall Street Journal.
The following year, Kingston sold 80% of its stock to a Japanese corporation named SoftBank in 1996 for $1.8 billion. After the successful acquisition of most of Kingston Technology’s shares by SoftBank, the founders set aside $71.5 million to be given out as bonuses to their employees.
This money was distributed right before the holidays on December 14, 1996, and amounted to an average of $130,000 per employee. Talk about taking care of your employees! And that’s been a motto of the Kingston leadership all along, take care of your employees–Smart.
Soon after, Kingston and Toshiba teamed up to co-market memory upgrades for Toshiba computers. This was the first time a PC OEM and a memory manufacturer collaborated on co-branded modules. It was a success, and a few years later, John and David were able to buy back all 80% of Kingston shares from SoftBank for only $450 million.
By the early 2000s, Kingston technology had locations all over the globe in places such as Taiwan, Japan, England, and Ireland. During this time, Kingston also expanded its American manufacturing capacity by purchasing PC-OEM manufacturing buildings close to home in Fountain Valley, CA.
Kingston saw a lot of growth in the 2000s and received a lot of praise, awards, and accolades from sources such as Forbes and Advanced Micro Devices.
In 2002, Kingston released a patented memory tester, EPOC chip-stacking technology, as well as the new HyperX line of premium memory modules. The HyperX division was eventually sold to HP and would begin to produce their own lines of peripherals, and the HyperX memory modules were rebranded under the Kingston FURY name. Kingston revealed that in 2003, their revenues reached 1.8 billion, and in 2004, that metric skyrocketed up to 2.4 billion.
The company entered the SSD market by releasing the Kingston E and M series solid-state drives. Instead of “re-inventing the wheel”, Kingston used technology licenses acquired from Intel to develop SSDs, which were basically rebadged Intel E and M drives with the Kingston logo.
Today, Kingston still source their chips from other manufacturers such as Micron, Powerchip, and SK Hynix, to name a few. The incoming chips are heavily scrutinized and tested by Kingston to ensure the utmost quality. This allows for a somewhat steady stream of premium chips but also leaves them susceptible to supply shortages and price hikes if supplies dwindle.
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Kingston’s Products and Services
Everything in Kingston’s product library is dedicated to memory, whether it’s for consumers or enterprises. Some of these items include: Gaming RAM, internal & external SSDs, USB Drives, memory cards, and readers.
Their SSDs range from 120GB up to 4TB and come in multiple form factors, from the more common 2.5” and m.2 SSDs to more obscure forms such as U.2 and mSATA.
Customers of Kingston are very satisfied with their customer support, with an average score of four out of five stars. If you remember, earlier, we mentioned that Kingston’s motto is to take care of their customers. Well, that wasn’t the entire motto. Their website states, “If we take care of our employees and vendors, they will take care of our customers.” and it’s working!
Like many other SSD manufacturers, Kingston offers a three or five-year warranty on their drives, depending on the model. Kingston will refund or replace any drive they deem to have malfunctioned during the warranty period, and proof of purchase must be supplied that describes the date, place of purchase, and the price paid. This warranty will not cover misuse, improper installation damage, or damage caused by natural disasters.
What is the Best 2.5” SATA SSD from Kingston?
The KC600 2.5” SSD from Kingston is among one of the best SSDs in the world in regards to performance and reliability. It features up to 2TB of storage, utilizes SATA III, read and writes speeds of 550MB/s and 520MB/s, as well as a full security suite using 256-bit encryption. Furthermore, it has up to a 1200 TBW life expectancy for the 2TB model.
This 2.5” SSD comes in at around $230 for the 2TB version and would be best suited for medium loads, basic computing, or other situations where NVME m.2 speeds and prices would be overkill. In conclusion, the KC600 would make a good “Jack of all trades” SSD for people on a budget.
What is the Best NVME M.2 SSD from Kingston?
Kingston Fury Renegade
One of the fastest NVMe m.2 SSDs on the market, the Kingston FURY Renegade PCIe 4.0 NVMe m.2 SSD is top of the line. It utilizes PCIe Gen4 x4, has speeds of up to 7300MB/s read and 7000MB/s write, and has a life expectancy of 4 PBW (that’s right, this metric is in petabytes) for the 4TB version. Making the FURY Renegade one of the fastest, most durable m.2 SSDs available.
You’ll be paying a pretty penny for all that performance, though. On Kingston’s website, they list this SSD at $1069 for the 4TB version, which is outrageous. On Amazon, however, the 4TB variety is listed for a little under $650–better, but still not very wallet-friendly at all.
This m.2 would be best suited for deep-pocketed individuals who value speed and longevity above all else.
Who Are Kingston SSDs Best for?
The Kingston brand is good for both common users and gaming enthusiasts alike. They have different flavors of their SSDs and have a good reputation in consideration to their quality and performance.
With their practically unmatched performance when it comes to gaming SSDs, such as the FURY Renegade, and their more budget-friendly 2.5” models, Kingston SSDs are a good blend between affordability and raw performance.
Every PC owner doesn’t need something as high-end as the M.2 we reviewed. So, get what suits you best; Kingston has plenty of options.
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5. SK Hynix
SK Hynix is the 2nd largest semiconductor manufacturer in the world, following Samsung, and has been in the business for many years. If you’ve never heard the name before, it’s because they only recently began marketing to end consumers. Up until now, they have been a supplier to OEM companies, so many PC components such as DRAM and graphics cards have SK Hynix semiconductor memory chips in them, maybe even yours.
What sets them apart from the competition is most of their components are made in-house. This gives them full control over the manufacturing process as well as quality, which is top-notch, by the way. But unfortunately, due to a few factors, we can’t justify them higher on our list just yet.
History of SK Hynix
The parent conglomerate of SK Hynix started out as Sunkyong Textile. It was founded in 1953 in Korea by Chey Jong-gun. Sunkyong was built on the ruins left behind during the Korean War. In 1966, SK bought Overseas Merchandise Corporation to have better control over the supply chain. This was the first company purchased by SK and their first step towards becoming South Korea’s 2nd largest conglomeration.
Around the same time, Guido Construction was founded in 1949 and was eventually assimilated by Hyundai in 1983 and was renamed Hyundai Electronics Industries Inc. Over the next couple of years, they started designing 256K RAM and began mass production in 1985.
By 1986 they were making their first line of Hyundai-manufactured PCs called the Blue Chip PC. This was one of the very first computers marketed to consumers rather than industries. In 1993, Hyundai Electronics took over Maxtor, one of the top HDD manufacturers at the time, for $150 million in exchange for 40% of its shares. This was their first foray into memory manufacturing.
In 1999, LG Semiconductor Co. merged with Hyundai Electronics and kick-started the company’s semiconductor business. And by 2001, they had spun off multiple sister companies and rebranded under the name Hynix. Which was a mashup of their original name, Hyundai Electronics.
For a while there, the company was on the up and up. But in 2005, Hynix was fined over $185 million due to a DRAM price-fixing scheme which also involved their competitor, Samsung, which was fined a hefty sum as well.
But despite being caught in sketchy business practices, Hynix reported its highest revenue since its inception in 2006, just one year after the scandal was uncovered. In the same year, Hynix opened a semiconductor facility in China, which was a key facility in establishing a global manufacturing network.
Caught once again in a price-fixing ring between eight other memory manufacturers, Hynix was fined another $62.4 million. And later that year, their Chinese-based subsidiary Hynix Semiconductor Inc. was auctioned off for nearly $3 Billion.
SK incorporated Hynix in 2012, and the company was renamed SK Hynix by acquiring over 21% of Hynix shares. In a press release, SK Hynix announced its goal of becoming the biggest semiconductor manufacturer in the world and vowed to overtake Samsung. And so far, they seem to be heading in the right direction. Since 2012, the gap between Samsung and SK Hynix has been closing.
In 2013, two of SK Hynix’s fabrication plants in China suffered from massive fires. But apparently, this wasn’t as big of a setback as you would think. Because in 2014, SK Hynix created the world’s first 128GB DDR4 modules as well as the world’s first 16GB NVDIMM. And only three years later, in 2017, SK Hynix developed the world’s fastest 8GB VRAM for graphics cards, GDDR6.
But they didn’t stop there. In 2018, the company released another world-first, 128-layer 4D NAND. SK Hynix also launched the world’s fastest SSD (at the time) to consumers, the Gold S31 SATA SSD, which premiered on Amazon. In 2020, SK Hynix completed the first stage in acquiring Intel’s NAND and SSD manufacturing businesses. Setting them up for more success in the future.
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SK Hynix’s Products and Services
The catalog of SK Hynix products is rather robust; these include multiple flavors of 2.5” SSD, m.2, DRAM, CMOS Image Sensors, NAND memory, and more. But there’s a catch.
SK Hynix offers more to the industrial world than they do to consumers. But that doesn’t mean we’re being shorted. Just the opposite, SK Hynix has developed a long-standing trust with their industrial customers in regards to their products. They have only been servicing end users for the last few years, so they are bound to provide more options soon and, by doing so, build trust with users.
As of this writing, SK Hynix sells three different models of consumer SSDs. There’s the Gold S31 2.5” SATA SSD, the Gold P31 NVMe m.2 SSD, and the Platinum P41 NVMe m.2 SSD.
As for customer service, they get a mixed rating. SK Hynix seems to follow the trend of large corporations in that it’s hard to talk to anybody, and when you do, it can be a frustrating experience. When it comes to returns, you have to contact the vendor, such as Amazon, if the product is still within its return period.
Lastly, SK Hynix offers a 5-year limited warranty on their SSDs. This warranty covers defects and damage from the manufacturer. Damage caused by user misuse or neglect is not covered.
What is the Best 2.5” SATA SSD from SK Hynix?
SK Hynix Gold S31
The Gold S31 SSD, released in 2018, was the world’s fastest solid-state drive when it launched. It features a SATA III interface, throughput speeds of 560MB/s read and 525MB/s write, and has SK Hynix’s proprietary HYPERWRITE cache technology. This SSD also comes with an expected lifespan of at least 600 TBW.
SK Hynix’s Gold S31 SSD is right up there with Samsung as far as speed goes, but the 870 EVO is slightly faster with its write speed at 530MB/s. But the Gold S31 is just a tad bit more affordable. So, if you’re looking for a 2.5-inch SSD comparable to Samsung, the Gold S31 is a good alternative.
What is the Best NVMe M.2 SSD from SK Hynix?
SK Hynix Platinum P41
One of the world’s frontrunners of NVME m.2 drives is undoubtedly the Platinum P41 NVMe M.2 SSD. This small form factor drive comes with up to 2TB of storage (SK Hynix reported a 4TB version is coming soon), up to 1200 TBW life expectancy, and has sequential read and write throughput speeds reaching 7000MB/s and 6500MB/s, respectively–The second fastest NVMe PCIe Gen4 m.2 SSD available right behind Kingston’s FURY Renegade, which is outrageously expensive.
This SSD will cost you just about $260, making it competitively priced with outstanding performance. With speeds like these, the Platinum P41 would make an awesome gaming SSD or workstation drive where activities, such as video editing, require super-fast read and write speeds.
Who Are SK Hynix SSDs Best for?
With only three options to choose from, SK Hynix doesn’t have the best selection of drives for consumers. This lowers their appeal quite a lot. What drives they do have, are very good, mind you, but limited in scope.
SK Hynix SSDs are good for all kinds of uses. Being new to the consumer market has many people skeptical of the brand, but SK Hynix isn’t new to the industry, just to the people. Give them some time, and we’re sure they’ll be adding more to their repertoire.
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There you go; these were the top 5 best SSD brands in 2023. There are many companies out there selling solid-state drives, but they aren’t all the same, and others have misleading information. This is why we decided to dig into the matter to find the best of the best and learn about the companies and how they came to be the leaders of the industry.
So, this brings us to the end of our trek through time learning about the SSD giants of the world. We hope you enjoyed the journey and welcome you to give us your thoughts in the comments down below as well as share the article on social media.
Lastly, if you have any questions or need a hand with choosing the right SSD for your build, feel free to use the comment section below, and we’ll be more than happy to help you out. We love hearing from you!