Best Budget M.2 SSD You Can Buy

Choosing a Solid State Drive (SSD) is probably one of the most confusing and intimidating duties for a PC user. However, a reputable brand like Samsung will give you access to some of the fastest storage available, and at a reasonable price. SSDs are fast, offer less noise, are more durable, and are more energy-efficient. This blog will review some of the top M.2 SSD options available from Samsung, Crucial, and Western Digital.

If you’ve heard that M.2 SSDs are the new kings of storage, you’re probably curious about how they stack up to traditional hard drives. Well, you’re in luck—we put together this handy list of the best budget M.2 SSDs you can buy. And because we’re nice, we investigated the best M.2 SSDs for budget-minded gamers, budget-minded professionals, and budget-minded enthusiasts. It’s worth mentioning spending at least enough for a 500GB M.2 SSD or higher, as this is the sweet spot for price versus capacity.

These drives look like miniature versions of sticks of RAM. They are usually 80mm long by 22mm wide, which is described as size 2280. Some of them may be shorter, so make sure to get one that matches your slot or that your PC case has the standoff studs available. Most modern desktops and laptops now come with M.2 slots to support the faster PCIe NVMe standard.

In this review, we will be talking about 1TB specs. If you are interested in 500GB the performance numbers may be different.

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Budget Gaming M.2 SSD

For gaming in the present day, you most definitely want a blazing fast SSD to minimize those loading screen times and booting up applications within seconds. For gaming, we recommend a minimum of 500GB to accommodate your Operating System and plenty of games. Pairing with a powerful graphics card and the latest gaming CPU will give your gaming rig all the necessary power to tackle any game you throw at it. For those with laptops, don’t worry as most gaming laptops nowadays provide an additional M.2 SSD slot to upgrade additional storage for gaming.

Western Digital Black SN850

The WD Black SN850 is the best PCIe 4.0 NVMe drive out there for gaming. It offers some of the best speeds seen on consumer SSDs, pumping out 7,000 MB/s read and 5,300 MB/s write. Your boot times will be minimal when turning your Gaming PC on along with any game loading times.

Western Digital Black SN850 M.2 SSD
Western Digital Black SN850
Western Digital Black SN850 M.2 SSD with optional heatsink
Western Digital Black SN850 with Heatsink

Pros

  • Good Value Price versus Competition
  • Competitive Leading Performance
  • Generous Dynamic SLC Cache
  • 5 Year Warranty
  • Software
  • Optional Heatsink if Cooling Required

Cons

  • No AES 256-bit encryption
  • High Idle Power Consumption
  • Reports of running on the warmer side when under heavy load

The WD Black SN850 is amazing for gaming, almost silly not to consider it for a gaming M.2 SSD and it will not break the bank. It’s fast, it has an additional cooling option, a 5-year warranty. So what, it doesn’t have AES 256-bit encryption or efficient power consumption, but does that really matter for a GAMING PC? You’re whole gaming pc is not powered efficiently! That is the point of a gaming pc – more performance equals more power consumption. Those Cons are not heavy concerns for gaming. Yes, it might run a little hot if your rig doesn’t already have a cooling feature for NVMe. So spend a little more or catch a sale for the heatsink option. This is a strong choice for a gaming M.2 SDD. Best of all, it’s cheaper than other comparable alternatives!


Are you a streamer wondering if a 2 PC Setup is worth it? Check out our Dual PC Streaming Review!


Budget Professional M.2 SSD

When it comes to business a few things come to mind, secure and efficient. You want to know that your valuable files are safe from outside threats and that they are stored on a quality drive that is unlikely to fail over time. At the same time, you want a balance of performance and power efficiency to keep things running smoothly while not causing excessive heat generation and high power consumption. It’s a delicate dance, but we believe this is the perfect M.2 SSD for the task!

Samsung 980 Pro

The Samsung 980 Pro is the best PCIe 4.0 NVMe drive out there – period. Every component on this M.2 SSD is manufactured by Samsung so you know that it is reliable quality with performance to last. It offers some of the best speeds seen on M.2 SSDs, pumping out 7,000 MB/s read and 5,000 MB/s write. It is lightning fast utilizing its controller to harmonize the flash memory to the interface for superior speed – the responsiveness is incredible. Its power efficiency is optimized making it the ideal M.2 SDD for power-conscious consumers.

Top side of Samsung 980 Pro M.2 SSD
Samsung 980 Pro – Top Side
Bottom side of Samsung 980 Pro M.2 SSD
Samsung 980 Pro – Bottom Side

Pros

  • Fast Competitive Performance
  • Best responsive M.2 SSD
  • AES 256-bit encryption
  • 5 Year Warranty
  • Software

Cons

  • Price is on high side for a budget build

You cannot go wrong selecting the Samsung 980 Pro M.2 SSD – for anything, really. It’s truly an amazing M.2 SSD and will perform wonderfully at anything you throw at it. Gaming, graphics design, data analytics, etc. This thing is a powerhouse! You can feel safe knowing that it has AES 256-bit encryption capability if needed. The Samsung 980 Pro also utilizes a reliable thermal control to ensure stable performance and has an embedded cutting-edge thermal control algorithm to manage its heat while minimizing performance fluctuations during extended usage.

Budget Enthusiast M.2 SSD

Describing an M.2 SSD for enthusiast use, a couple of descriptions come to mind. Everyday general-use, generous quality, average performance, and a light hit to your wallet. When it comes to choosing components for a PC or a laptop for everyday computing, most people simply want their PC to do the basics, like browsing the Internet, checking social media, watching videos, or doing some light writing or editing. For these tasks, the M.2 SSD is a clear choice to provide lightning speeds and keeping you happy. The M.2 SSD offers fast data transfer speeds, so you can quickly download and upload files, as well as access your files and folders at a near-instant response. Plus, onboard M.2 NVMe drives use the latest PCIe connection technology, so you can expect faster speeds than SATA SSDs.

Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus

The Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus is the best PCIe 4.0 NVMe drive for everyday general use. It offers very good speeds, pumping out 7,000 MB/s read and 5,300 MB/s write. It has an attractive design, looks sleek, and even has a heatsink option if there are any cooling concerns on your PC or laptop. There’s even a generous 5-year warranty if registered online, otherwise you’ll be granted a 1-year warranty starting at 90 days from the time of purchase.

Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus M.2 SSD
Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus
Optional Heatsink for Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus M.2 SSD
Optional Heatsink for Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus

Pros

  • Great Value Price
  • Fast Competitive Performance
  • Generous Dynamic SLC Cache
  • 5 Year Warranty
  • Optional Heatsink if Cooling Required

Cons

  • No AES 256-bit encryption
  • Not as responsive as Samsung or WD

The Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus is over a good M.2 SSD for everyday activities and it will not break the bank. It’s fast, it has a large dynamic cache, and offers a 5-year warranty. Depending on your PC, it may be worth it to spend a little more for the heatsink option. Best of all, it’s cheaper than the Western Digital (WD) and Samsung alternatives! It really does offer great value for those looking to save some money, but still wanting that responsiveness of a PCIe 4.0 performance.