Best SSD Under $100 of 2020 – Top 10 [M.2 & 2.5″] Drives For The Money

Best SSD Under $100

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SSDs have changed the landscape of computing. It doesn’t matter what you spend on building or buying a computer for home, work or home office if you don’t have an SSD in your system, you are missing out.

Read here if you are looking for the best SSD under $100 of 2020 to boost your system. If you are looking for a 1TB drive with a different budget, check out my article “Best 1TB SSD of 2020.”

Best SSD Under $100 of 2020 Round Up

The table below will give you a quick look at our selections for the best SSDs under $100 currently available on the market. To read a full review, simply click on ‘review>>’ in respective row.

Product

Image

Rating

1. Seagate Firecuda 510
'Best Overall'

9.8

2. Crucial P1
'Best Value Pick'

9.7

3. Samsung 970 EVO Plus
'Fastest M.2 Drive'

9.6

4. Seagate Barracuda 510
'Editors' Pick'

9.4

5. Crucial BX500
'Best 2.5″ Drive'

9.3

6. SanDisk SSD PLUS
'Endurance King'

9.2

7. Gigabyte AORUS RGB
'Gamers' No.1 Choice'

9.1

8. Corsair Force Series MP510
'Solid All Around Pick'

9.0

9. Samsung 860 PRO
'Fast 2.5″ Drive'

8.8

10. TEAMGROUP T-Force Delta RGB
'2.5″ Drive for Gamers'

8.7


1. Seagate Firecuda 510

Capacity: 500GB | Form Factor: M.2 2280 double-sided | Interface: PCIe Gen3 ×4, NVMe 1.3 | Sequential read: 3450MB/s | Sequential write: 3200MB/s | Warranty: 5 Years

Seagate Firecuda 510REASONS TO BUY

  • Top write/read speeds
  • Fastest random speeds on the list
  • Super realiable
  • 5 Year warranty
  • Excellent value pick

REASONS TO AVOID

  • None

Our Rating:   9.8/10

The Seagate FireCuda 510 is a Seagate offering in the m.2 form factor space.

As with all the drives on this list, the FireCuda 510 is a PCIe 3.0 configuration and with its excellent build quality, is right at the maximum limits of the PCIe 3.0 capabilities. The FireCuda 510 is my all around top pick on this list due to its lead in all-around speed and reliability.

When loking through everything just by the numbers, there are drives listed here that have a longer mean time between failures. There are also drives that are slightly faster in some areas. There are no other drives here, however, that beat the FireCuda 510 on all fronts, and none meet the well-rounded nature of this drive at this level.


Starting with Warranty, you have the 5-year warranty backed by one of the long-time storage giants, Seagate. Along with the 5-year warranty, the Mean Time Between Failures rating is among the top on the sub $100 list at 1.8 million hours.

Next, we get to sequential read speeds on the FireCuda 510 coming in at a very nice 3450 MB/s, only being bested by the Samsung EVO 970 Plus and the Gigabyte AORUS RGB. When looking at sequential write speeds of the FireCuda 510, Seagate brings a very respectable 3200 MB/s rating to the table, which is only bested by the Samsung EVO 910 Plus on this list.

Where the FireCuda 510 steps above the competition is the random speeds.

Remember, random speeds allow for faster performance in every-day tasks. While the Barracuda 610 bests the rest on this list, the FireCuda 510 takes it up a notch. With a random read speed of 620,000 IOPS, the FireCuda takes the top spot with data access speeds.

The FireCuda 510 matches the Barracuda 610 for the top spot on random write speeds of 600,000 IOPS. When taking the full package into consideration, the FireCuda 510 really stands at the top of the class and gets my nod as the top pick in the sub $100 category.

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2. Crucial P1

Capacity: 500GB | Form Factor: M.2 2280 | Interface: PCIe Gen3 1×4 / NVMe | Sequential read: 2000MB/s | Sequential write: 1750MB/s | Warranty: 5 Years

Crucial P1REASONS TO BUY

  • Highly competitive pricing
  • 5 Year warranty
  • Decent speeds
  • Deep under $100

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Not as fast as others

Our Rating:   9.7/10

The Crucial P1 is another m.2 NVMe offering for the sub $100 club.

The big difference here, this is a very far below $100 offering, coming in way cheaper than all the other drives on the list. When you are truly seeking the budget conscious drive in an m.2 form factor, you can’t really go wrong. Crucial is well known for price/performance champion and they do not disappoint here.

While you can certainly outperform this drive by spending about $40 more, it is certainly no slouch. The Crucial P1 delivers 2000 MB/s sequential read speeds, which significantly outperforms any 2.5” SSD easily, due to the NVMe technology and the m.2 interface.


The Crucial P1 delivers 1700 MB/s sequential write speeds, again, not topping the list, but very respectable for the price point. To continue the speed comparison, the Crucial P1 is over 50% faster than the top 2.5” drives on this list coming in at 59 MB/s random 4k read speeds, as well as 139 MB/s random 4k write speeds.

Unlike the other Crucial offering listed here, the Crucial P1 comes with a 5 year warranty. With the better than average speeds and the price point, the Crucial P1 comes in as my number 2 pick overall.

This is an important place for me, because this gives the option for top-end computing at a fraction of the price. When you are replacing a hard drive in a computer, it is likely an unexpected event, and we always don’t have premium level dollars available for a replacement and the P1 gives you the opportunity to perform at a gaming worthy level on a budget.

If you are looking to build a system from the ground up, and you are squeezing dollars at every corner, saving anything on any part is a welcome thought. I have often considered the cheapest drive so I could spend more on the CPU, memory or graphics card. The Crucial P1 gives anyone the ability to build a machine that will perform respectably with any use for a great price point.

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3. Samsung 970 EVO Plus

Capacity: 500GB | Form Factor: M.2 2280 | Interface: PCIe Gen 3.0 x 4, NVMe 1.3 | Sequential read: 3500MB/s | Sequential write: 3200MB/s | Warranty: 5 Years

Samsung 970 EVO PlusREASONS TO BUY

  • Serious SSD power
  • Top PCIe 3.0 performance
  • 5 Year warranty
  • Top read/write speeds

REASONS TO AVOID

  • None

Our Rating:   9.6/10

The Samsung 970 EVO Plus comes in at the top of the price spectrum for the under $100 category of SSDs. This EVO 970 plus also comes in as my pick as one of the best drives on the list.

Samsung has a history of producing some of the fastest and most reliable SSDs on the market for several years now. The EVO 970 Plus is designed to fit in the m.2 2280 slot and is built upon Samsung’s V-NAND technology.

As with most SSDs on the market today, the EVO 970 Plus is designed to work with the PCIe Generation 3.0 technology. If you want more details about the differences between PCIe Generation 3.0 and the upcoming PCIe generation 4.0 protocols, go have a look at my article “Best CPU under $300, where I explain it in more detail.


When you consider the EVO 970 Plus is manufactured on the older PCIe 3.0 protocols, surprisingly the drive stands up against some of the fastest generation 4.0 drives out there where it counts for most of us.

Through this article you will read terms like sequential read and write speeds, sustained read and write speeds or random read and write speeds. It is important to know which speeds are most important for your workload to know which numbers to pay attention to.

Many advertisements are geared towards sequential or sustained speeds, and these may not be relevant to you at all. Sequential speeds are most relevant when you are transferring large data files regularly. If you are using the drive for most every-day tasks such as video editing, gaming or daily office tasks you want to really focus in on the random write and read speeds.

This is where the Samsung EVO 970 Plus really shines. The EVO 970 Plus touts a max sustained max read speed of 3,500 MB/s (at the very top of PCIe 3.0 is capable of) and a sequential write speed of 3.200 MB/s.

The EVO 970 Plus has a max random write speed of 550,000 IOPS on the 4KB QD32 benchmarks, and 480,000 IOPS in the same benchmark for random read speeds (this translates to a random 4k read speed of 53.8 MB/s and a random write speed of 148 MB/s in user benchmarks). These numbers may be foreign to you, but they are important to see which drives suit your purpose the best.

Besides that, the warranty of the EVO 970 Plus drive is 5 years or 600 Terabytes written. With that being said, you really cannot go wrong with the EVO 970 Plus.

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4. Seagate Barracuda 510

Capacity: 500GB | Form Factor: M.2 2280 single-sided | Interface: PCIe Gen3 ×4, NVMe 1.3 | Sequential read: 3400MB/s | Sequential write: 2400MB/s | Warranty: 5 Years

Seagate Barracuda 510REASONS TO BUY

  • Great endurance
  • Top random, sequential speeds
  • 5 Year warranty

REASONS TO AVOID

  • None

Our Rating:   9.4/10

The Seagate Barracuda 510 is an m.2 NVME offering by Seagate put in direct competition to the Samsung EVO 970 Plus, which claimed 3rd spot on this list.

The NVME nomenclature can be a little confusing and to put it simply, NVMe stands for Non-Volatile Memory Express meaning it is the type of technology being used to sort and handle data. M.2, by contrast, is the type of connector used to connect the drive to your computer. The m.2 drive looks to be about the size of stick of RAM (memory).

With the Seagate Barracuda 510 you will get very similar performance to the Samsung EVO 970 plus, with a very similar warranty. The Barracuda 510 comes with a 5 year warranty and boasts a meant time between failure of 1.8 million hours, besting the Samsung EVO 970 Plus by 300,000 hours.


The sequential read speed of the Barracuda 510 comes in 3400 MB/s and the sequential write speeds at 3000 MB/s. This puts the Barracuda just a bit slower that the Samsung EVO 970 Plus but definitely competitive.

The interesting part, and maybe more significant for many people is that the Barracuda 510 ties the Samsung EVO 970 plus at the exact same Random Read speed of 600,000 IOPS. Surprisingly the Seagate Barracuda 510 actually outpaces the Samsung EVO 970 Plus in random write speed by almost 10%.

The difference between the two drives are hardly discernable without actually using them in a benchmarking environment, and if 500 GB is the right size for you, and you are working with a machine that has the m.2 configuration, this is a hard decision not to take with the price of the Barracuda 510 being just slightly better than its direct top-end speed competitors.

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5. Crucial BX500

Capacity: 1TB | Form Factor: 2.5-inch, 7mm | Interface: SATA 6Gb/s | Sequential read: 540MB/s | Sequential write: 500MB/s | Warranty: 3 Years

Crucial BX500REASONS TO BUY

  • 1TB Capacity
  • Great cost per GB
  • 3 Year warranty

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Significantly slower than M.2 offerings
  • Physically larger SSD

Our Rating:   9.3/10

The Crucial BX500 1 TB drive is a more standard 2.5” drive, as opposed to the m.2 2280 form factor in other offerings on this list.

This form factor may be a large consideration in your purchase because computers built before 2011 would not have the m.2 2280 slot built onto your motherboard, and for years after 2011 the m.2 2280 slot would be rare.

When looking at the top end of the sub $100 drives, the Crucial BX500 has a solid place in the lineup for two major reasons. First, the form factor, if you are using an SSD to spruce up a dated machine, this may be the most important factor in your decision.


Secondly, the Crucial BX500 comes in at a whopping 1 Terabyte of drive space and really nice 3 year warranty.

As this is a more traditional drive, you ideally will connect this to a SATA 3 interface. The SATA 3 interface, as you may already know, maxes out at 6GB/s transfer speed. This is more than adequate to handle the Crucial MX500 as its maximum sustained read speed is 540 MB/s while it boasts a 500 MB/s sustained write speed.

User benchmarks have tested this drive to have a random 4K read speed of 27.1 MB/s and a random write speed of 72.6 MB/s. While this won’t break any speed barriers on this list, if you are looking for a hard drive replacement, this will definitely show you a noticeable difference, as the fastest hard drives come in at around 26 MB/s random read speeds and 47.5 MB/s random write speeds.

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6. SanDisk SSD PLUS

Capacity: 1TB | Form Factor: 2.5-inch, 7mm | Interface: SATA 6Gb/s | Sequential read: 535MB/s | Sequential write: 450MB/s | Warranty: 3 Years

SanDisk SSD PLUSREASONS TO BUY

  • 1TB Capacity
  • 3 Year warranty
  • Reliable drive
  • Excellent endurance

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Slower than M.2 offerings

Our Rating:   9.2/10

The SanDisk SSD Plus 1TB is another 2.5-inch SSD that will fit nicely as a replacement for almost any machine because of the popular form factor. The SanDisk SSD Plus comes in right at the top of the sub $100 price bracket as well as many on this list, boasting 1 TB of storage space.

SanDisk is one of the most known names in the solid-state storage market. You may recognize the name printed on memory cards for you phone, camera or just about anything with removable storage.

In 2016 SanDisk was acquired by storage giant Western Digital, and Western Digital continues to produce and market the SanDisk brand. Is this the right for you in your storage needs?

The sequential read speeds with the SanDisk SSD Plus 1TB come in at a respectable 535 MB/s and it boasts Sequential Write speeds of 450 MB/s. Furthermore, it comes in at 19 MB/s random 4k read speeds and 68.9 MB/s random 4k write speeds. Also note that the SSD Plus comes with a 3 year warranty.

While this drive will work as a good replacement for an aging hard drive, or to speed up an older machine, there have been complaints about the backup software to move your information from your old drive to the new SSD, so this may need to be a consideration if that is your purpose.

The SanDisk SSD Plus shows a little longer life on Mean Time Between Failures, coming in at around 2 million hours, whereas the Crucial BX 500 is coming in at 1.8 million hours. So, if you want to squeeze out a little longer life for your new drive, of the two 1 TB offerings this may be your best bet.

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7. Gigabyte AORUS SSD RGB

Capacity: 512GB | Form Factor: M.2 2280 | Interface: PCI-Express 3.0 x4, NVMe 1.3 | Sequential read: 3480MB/s | Sequential write: 2000MB/s | Warranty: 5 Years

Gigabyte AORUS SSD RGBREASONS TO BUY

  • Great Visuals with RGB
  • Great for gamers
  • Top performance/speeds
  • 5 Year warranty

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Slightly above $100

Our Rating:   9.1/10

The Gigabyte Aorus RGB 512MB offering comes in just above the $100 price point, but I feel that it’s a relevant comparison and worthy of mentioning here.

Why add this to the list? Simple, Gigabyte is a well-respected parts manufacturer and it also has RGB lighting effects. If you really want to show off your build, there is nothing more eye-catching than excellent use of RGB lighting.

Unlike the TeamGroup RGB offering, this drive is an m.2 form factor, so keep that in mind when deciding on this drive. The performance of this drive is solid, but not top of the heap compared to some of the leaders listed here today.

The Aorus RGB is spec’d at 3480 MB/s sequential read speed putting is just under what the Samsung EVO 970 plus deals out. The sequential read speed delivered by the Aorus RGB is rated at 2000 MB/s although in real world benchmarks it is showing to perform almost as well as some of the higher rated drives listed here.

All in all, within the realm of PCIe 3.0 devices, the Aorus RGB is considered top of the line.

When looking at the random read speeds, the Aorus RGB is slightly behind the Samsung EVO 970 Plus at 48.3 MB/s on user benchmarks. The random write speeds actually outperform the Samsung 970 Plus at 176 MB/s when tested by user benchmarks. Besides that, the Gigabyte Aorus RGB does come packed with a 5-year warranty along with the top models on the sub-$100 list.

Overall, if you are looking for a top performing drive in an m.2 form factor and RGB lighting is a priority for you, this may be you top choice. Again, if you are 100% performance focused I would recommend moving over to the Seagate or Samsung offerings on the list.

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Related reading: Best CPUs under $200

8. Corsair Force Series MP510

Capacity: 480GB | Form Factor: M.2 2280 | Interface: PCI-Express 3.0 x4 | Sequential read: 3480MB/s | Sequential write: 2000MB/s | Warranty: 5 Years

Corsair Force Series MP510REASONS TO BUY

  • Decent performance
  • Reliable
  • 5 Year warranty

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Only 480GB of space
  • Slower than most M.2 on this list

Our Rating:   9.0/10

The Corsair Force Series MP510 is another m.2 NVMe offering to add to the list.

Corsair is well known in the computer parts manufacturing world, with a broad spectrum of computer accessories and peripherals, as well known as Gigabyte. Corsair has long been an excellent memory manufacturer and is considered one of the top PC memory manufacturers.

The Corsair Force Series MP510 is a solid offering with speeds very similar to the Gigabyte offerings. The sequential speeds offered up are Identical to the Gigabyte at 3480 MB/s. The sequential write speeds are also on par with the Gigabyte offering at 2000 MB/s. The MP510 is rated up to 440,000 IOPS max random write speeds and up to 360,000 IOPS random read speeds.

It is to be noted that in real world speed tests performed by users, the Corsair falls behind the Samsung and the Gigabyte offerings. To draw a direct comparison with the Samsung EVO 970 plus, the Samsung is 102% faster in sequential read speeds, and 33% faster in sequential write speeds compared to the Corsair MP510.

However, the MP510 does have a Mean Time Between Failures rating of 1.8 million hours, coming in near the top of the list. Also note that the MP510 comes with a 5-year warranty, which is best in class.

Unfortunately, the Corsair Force Series MP510 does not stand up among the other offerings we listed today. If you are a brand fan of corsair, this is the only reason I would choose this drive from this list.

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9. Samsung 860 PRO

Capacity: 256GB | Form Factor: 2.5-inch | Interface: SATA 6Gb/s | Sequential read: 560MB/s | Sequential write: 530MB/s | Warranty: 5 Years

Samsung 860 PROREASONS TO BUY

  • 5 Year warranty
  • Fastest in the 2.5-inch category

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Only 256GB of space
  • High cost per GB 
  • Bad MTBF rating

Our Rating:   8.8/10

The Samsung 860 Pro make the list as the smallest drive in the sub $100 category reviewed here in this article. This is not a small thing to consider with the size of programs today. However, it does bring up the question: How are you using cloud storage today?

If you are strictly looking for a small boot drive and most of your data is stored on a second drive, or you save most of your information in the cloud, the 256GB drive should be sufficient to run most day to day programs.

If you are a gamer, I would be cautious in the purchase of a drive of this size with the enormous games that are being churned out today. I have recently installed a game that is 156 GB by itself. That would use well over half of your drive capacity!

The Samsung 860 Pro has been around for a few years and is now becoming dated as many drives are close in specs without sacrificing the size.

How does it compare?

The Mean time Between Failure comes in on the lower side of this list at 1.5 million hours, which is lower than many on this list. Even considering the failure rates, the Samsung 860 pro has a longer warranty than many drives on this list with a 5 year warranty.

What about speeds?

In the 2.5” drive space, the speeds are nothing to be ignored with Sequential read speeds up to 560 MB/s and sequential write speeds of up to 530 MB/s. Users are benchmarking the random 4k read speeds of 45.9 MB/s and the random 4k write speeds of 90.3 MB/s. These speeds put the Samsung 860 Pro right at the top of the lists for drives in the form factor category.

While the Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) are worse than some on this list, the 5 year warranty may give you that piece of mind that you are looking for as the MTBF lists are primarily used in a data center server environment.

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10. TEAMGROUP T-Force Delta RGB

Capacity: 500GB | Form Factor: 2.5-inch | Interface: SATA 6Gb/s | Sequential read: 560MB/s | Sequential write: 560MB/s | Warranty: 3 Years

TEAMGROUP T-Force Delta RGBREASONS TO BUY

  • Fast for 2.5-inch drive
  • 3 Year warranty
  • Has RGB
  • Great for gamers

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Only 500GB
  • Same price as M.2 drives

Our Rating:   8.7/10

The Teamgroup T-Force Delta RGB is a budget SSD with good features and if you are looking to come in 25% lower price than many of the top performers on this list.

Teamgroup is relatively new to storage, but does that mean they are a bad product? Not at all. One cool factor about this over many on the list, is style! With RGB lighting you can really spice up your computer build as almost every component in a PC has an RGB variant.

The T-Force Delta RGB is a 2.5” drive and as with most SSDs, it is a significant improvement from a traditional hard drive. For sequential read and write speeds matched at 560 MB/s each way, it is in line with the lower speed drives on the list, and with the SATA 3 interface it does not approach the speeds of the m.2 counterparts.

When compared with the other 2.5” drives on this list, I would be concerned that the speeds are very similar to the Crucial MX 500, however the Crucial is double the capacity. If you are looking for budget price, and lighting effects are a priority for you and you need a 2.5” drive, this may be a good fit for you.

If you are just looking for performance per dollar, then I would consider the Crucial MX500 or the SanDisk SSD Plus simply on the fact of doubling your drive capacity with a very minor difference in performance.

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About Richard Gamin 77 Articles
My name's Richard and over the years, I have personally built many PCs for myself and my friends. I love gaming, programming, graphics designing and basically anything that has to do with computers and technology. If you ever need a hand with anything, feel free to contact me and I will be more than happy to help you out.

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