Posts Tagged ‘SSDs’

WD Blue 3D NAND review: Better for big workloads


When Western Digital first released its Blue line of SSDs, it’s probably fair to say that they didn’t really make much of an impact. Not in the face of the mighty Samsung 850 Evo, at least, which still tops several Best SSD lists even today. Now, thankfully, WD’s finally jumped on the 3D NAND bandwagon, making its latest Blue 3D NAND SSDs much more competitive. There’s still some way to go before they reach the same dizzying heights as Samsung’s new 860 Evo, but the key thing is that they’re much less expensive, potentially making them better buys for anyone looking to keep costs down.

It’s also one and the same as SanDisk’s Ultra 3D SSD, giving you even more buying options as prices continue to fluctuate. WD acquired SanDisk in mid 2016, but decided to keep both brands going for the sake of their respective markets, with WD always having been better on the businessy side and SanDisk being bezzie mates with the general public. With both SSDs readily available online, however, the only thing you need to worry about is how much they both cost.

Right now, that’s the WD Blue 3D NAND, and with claimed sequential read and write speeds of up to 550MB/s read and 525MB/s write, it could potentially be even better than the 860 Evo. Let’s find out how it fares in practice.

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Samsung 960 Pro review: Blistering speed that costs an absolute bomb

Samsung 960 Pro

There are several things that make the Samsung 960 Pro a bit special. The first is its ridiculous speed. With a claimed sequential read speed of up to 3500MB/s and a sequential write speed up to 2100MB/s, this is essentially a Formula One car crammed inside a drive no bigger than your index finger. It was also the first NVMe SSD aimed at us normal, non-enterprise folk to come in a 2TB capacity, offering caverns of space in a pint-sized package.

For many, it’s one of the best SSDs ever made. The other thing that makes it stand out, however, is that it costs an absolute fortune, with the smallest 512GB model starting at £260 / $300, going all the way up to over £1000 / $1249 for that oh-so-special 2TB version. You could buy yourself a new graphics card with that kind of money, or even an entire PC. Why, then, should you consider getting this over its significantly cheaper 960 Evo sibling? Let’s find out.
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Samsung 960 Evo review: Still the best value NVMe SSD money can buy

Samsung 960 Evo

When Samsung first launched their pair of flagship 960 SSDs at the tail-end of 2016, they were the fastest NVMe SSDs on the planet. Coming in 960 Evo and 960 Pro flavours, they were five times faster than your typical SATA3 SSD and offered almost as much speed as their PCIe-based interfaces could manage.

Today, little has changed, and both remain widely regarded as the best SSDs around, NVMe or otherwise, with the 960 Evo in particular often being the favoured choice over its more expensive sibling. Available in 250GB, 500GB and 1TB size options, the 960 Evo is still a lot more expensive than SATA3 SSDs like the Crucial MX500 or even Samsung’s own 860 Evo, but with 250GB sticks starting from around £110 / $120, at least it doesn’t feel like you have to remortgage your house just to get your foot in the door.
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Samsung 860 Pro review: Just say no and get the 860 Evo instead

Samsung 860 Pro

Samsung’s Pro range of SSDs have always had a hard time in the face of their cheaper Evo counterparts. On the face of it, they’re meant to be faster and longer-lasting – the best of the best SSDs, so to speak – but when the Samsung 850 Evo and 960 Evo proved to be pretty much just as quick as their respective Pro siblings for a lot less cash, they’ve become increasingly hard to justify. Unless you regularly move hundreds of GBs of files around your PC on a daily basis, Samsung’s Evo SSDs are more than enough for your typical gamer.

The 860 Pro is no different. Speed-wise, Samsung claims it’s a fraction faster than both the outgoing 850 Pro and incoming 860 Evo with a sequential read speed of up to 560MB/s and a sequential write speed of up to 530MB/s, but in reality they’re all pretty much identical. Why, then, should you consider the 860 Pro? It’s all to do with endurance.

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Samsung 860 Evo review: Improved endurance, but just as fast as the 850 Evo

Samsung 860 Evo

For the past three years, Samsung’s 850 Evo has been consistently one of the best SSDs money can buy. It’s often been more expensive than the competition, but its speed, endurance rating and generous five-year guarantee have all helped it secure its place as one of the mainstays of any PC gaming build. Finally, however, it looks like the 850 Evo’s time at the top is about to end, as Samsung’s just replaced it with the brand-new 860 Evo.

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Best SSDs 2018: Top solid state drives for gaming

Best SSDs 2018

Buying an SSD can be a bit of a headache when you’re constantly being bombarded with such friendly terms as mSATA and M.2 this, and NVMe and PCIe that, which is why we’re here to help you pick the best SSD for you and your budget. Below, you’ll find our current top picks as well as in-depth buying advice on how to pick your next SSD. Whether it’s for general performance or the fastest speeds money can buy, we’ve got you covered.

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Samsung 850 Evo review: Still a great SSD for those in the UK

Samsung 850 Evo

The Samsung 850 Evo is one of the most popular SSDs around, and with good reason. Thanks to its blistering speeds, five-year guarantee and best-in-class endurance rating, it’s sat near the top of most best SSD lists ever since it first came out at the end of 2014. If your PC’s been feeling a bit sluggish lately, then the Samsung 850 Evo will almost certainly give it a much-needed boost.

Having said that, Samsung’s just replaced the 850 Evo with the newer 860 Evo. There’s not actually a huge amount of difference between them speed-wise, but the 860 Evo doubles down on the 850 Evo’s already excellent endurance levels and takes it to the next level. That’s not to say you shouldn’t still consider a Samsung 850 Evo, though, as those in the UK will find it a much better buy than its newer sibling. In the US, it’s a different story, as 850 Evo stock has pretty much already dried up, making the 860 Evo the obvious choice. Still, if you’re looking for a new SSD and live in the UK, then read on, as the 850 Evo is still a pretty tough act to beat while it’s still available.

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Crucial MX500 review: Better value than Samsung’s 850 Pro

Crucial MX500

The MX500 is Crucial’s first SSD with flashy new 64-layer 3D NAND memory. This means that the data storage cells inside are stacked on top of one another, 64 deep. In comparison to 2D NAND, which only has a single layer of cells, 3D NAND has much higher storage density. This opens the door to potentially huge storage capacities, as well as making the NAND itself cheaper to produce for a certain capacity.

But why, you may ask, am I reviewing Crucial’s latest SSD tech in an old-school 2.5in SSD? Wouldn’t an NVMe drive’s faster interface give the NAND more of a chance to shine? In short, yes, it would. But not everyone has a motherboard with the requisite NVMe-compatible M.2 slot. After all, motherboards with M.2 slots only started appearing less than three years ago, and as long as my nearly-six-year-old gaming PC can still play The Witcher 3 at 60fps, it ain’t going anywhere. So let’s see what the new Crucial MX500 is capable of, and whether it can upset our previously established list of Best SSDs.

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Samsung 850 Pro review: SSD overkill

Samsung 850 Pro

If you’re in the market for an SSD upgrade (and if you’re still using a hard disk, you really should be) you’re spoiled for choice. Any modern SSD, such as the Samsung 850 EVO, Crucial BX300 or WD Blue 3D, will transform your PC, but there are some of you who need the ultimate in performance. Enter Samsung’s 850 PRO range.

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Crucial BX300 review: Inexpensive and fast enough

Crucial BX300

If you’re still running your programs and games off a hard disk, do yourself a favour and get an SSD. They’re (still) not cheap, but they’re the best way to make your PC feel fast and responsive. They’re silent, too, and take up less room in your case. We’ve extolled the virtues of SSDs in our SSD Buying Guide, which has a few recommended drives, but Crucial has sent me a potential bargain for review: the BX300.

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Black Friday 2017: Best SSD deals

Black Friday is a great time for upgrading your PC, whether it’s buying a new graphics card, or getting a more up-to-date monitor to make the most of it. It also happens to fall right in the middle of video game Christmas, where all this year’s biggest releases also have the biggest install sizes. As such, why not grab yourself an SSD deal and upgrade your storage as well while you’re at it?

Below, we’ve rounded up all the best SSD deals we can currently find, but you can also find more deals for other types of components over in our central Black Friday 2017 hub. Of course, if you see a deal that isn’t listed below, let us know in the comments and we’ll get it added to the list.

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CES 2016: OLED PC Screens Are Coming

It's $5K. It's 4K. It's Dell's OLED display.

Didn’t I tell you 2016 was going to be great for PC gamers? Well, it’s started. The greatness, that is. And 2016, too. In fact it’s all so fantastic even the orgasm of capitalism, technological futility and conspicuous consumption that is the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas could not resist and duly served up an uncharacteristically compelling collection of intriguing new PC stuff. Stuff like OLED displays, silly-fast SSDs, graphics boxes for laptops, VR all over the shop and, well, other things that want your money.

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Why 2016 Will Be A Great Year For PC Gaming Hardware

2016 is going to be great for PC gaming hardware. Of that I am virtually certain. Last time around, I explained why the next 12 months in graphics chips will be cause for much rejoicing. That alone is big news when you consider graphics is arguably the single most important hardware item when it comes to progressing PC gaming. This week, I’ll tell you why the festivities will also apply to almost every other part of the PC, including CPUs, solid-state drives, screens and more. Cross my heart, hope to die, stick a SATA cable in my eye, 2016 is looking up.
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Why You Need A Solid-State Drive

SanDisk Extreme Pro, m'current SATA SSD weapon of choice

You might think the technical properties and real-world performance of your PC’s hard drive is pretty tangential to your gaming experience. After all, games are not rendered on hard drives. And yet you would be wrong. I view a decent solid state drive as one of the most important cornestones to any half-decent PC. And that includes half-decent gaming PCs. As why-you-needs go, then, this one is awfully easy.
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Week in Tech: New Intel Chips, More Mega-Monitors

There but for the grace of US immigrations officials...

It’s January and that can only mean one thing. Well, apart from New Year’s resolutions serially and unceremoniously defenestrated by the second week and a general sense of futility. No, I speak of the festival of capitalism gone completely mad that is CES in Las Vegas. Which actually happened last week. CES isn’t exactly the epicentre of all things PC. But it’s so bleedin’ huge, even a tiny fraction of it dedicated to the PC adds up to a lot of interesting things. This year is no exception, what with bonkers-fast SSDs, screens that push all my IPS, 120Hz-plus and frame-syncing buttons, integrated graphics from Intel that might be (oh OK, won’t be) good for playing games and a cheap PC case from Corsair that looks tolerable. I know, I’m really selling this stuff.
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Week in Tech: 2015 Hardware Hotness

Your new gaming PC...

We wrapped up 2014 with the best hardware bits of the year. Ever the innovator, I’m thinking how better to start 2015 than a look at the likely highlights for the next 12 months? Empty speculation and a dash of rampant SEO cheekiness? Perish the very thought. Instead, hang your cynicism on a coat hook for half an hour and humour me. With upsides that start with faster graphics and cheaper SSDs and might extend to some free gaming performance for your PC courtesy of Microsoft, turning your TV into a massive gaming rig for under £100/$150 and perhaps even a VR revolution, 2015 might not be so bad after all.

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Week in Tech: Buy Yourself The Gift Of Graphics

Custom-cooled 290X is where it's at re AMD cards

As the festive season approaches and thoughts inevitably turn to gifts and giving, to those we love and cherish and want to keep safe from all the horror and the hurt, I can’t help but recall Captain Blackadder’s priorities at such moments. So, that’ll be me. Or rather you. Look, what I’m trying to say is that it’s nearly Christmas, graphics cards look cheap, so I suggest if you’re struggling for frame rates, now’s a good time to give yourself a treat and knock that particular problem on the head. Meanwhile, Samsung has wheeled out its first affordable SSD with 3D memory. Sounds exciting. But is it? Read the rest of this entry »

Week in Tech: SSD Update – It’s All About (NV)Me!

Turns out Samsung's 840 Evo is a bit borked...

One word. NVMe. Take it from me, you want some of it. So, you’d better start to get your head around it. Luckily, it’s all you need to know about solid-state drives or SSDs over the next year or so. Well, that and whether your motherboard can support NVMe. Oh, and the difference between M.2, SFF-8639 and SATA Express. I know. This whole SSD thing is a nightmare to keep up with right now. But let me simply say this: some early solid-state drives with that NVMe stuff I just mentioned have appeared in recent months, and these things absolutely fly.

Time, then, for an SSD update and for me to make something intelligible out of the technosoup that is emerging SSD tech. Also, can there really be any of you left without an SSD of some kind? If so, shout out below and let’s see if we can all encourage the laggards to finally make the leap. SSDs are cheaper than ever (an eminently viable 100GB-120GB drive can be had for as little as about £50 / $70, possibly even less with some deft shopping), and I can promise that you will not be disappointed.
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Week in Tech: AMD’s New 285 GPU, NVMe SSDs And Stuff

Oh, you silly GPUs. Remember the days when by your names should we know ye? No longer. Increasingly, both AMD and Nvidia appear to be engaged in a game of one-upmanship when it comes to baffling branding. Enter, therefore, the new AMD Radeon R9 285. The nomenclature suggests it should sit above the existing R9 280, but in fact it’s cheaper, less complex and most likely a bit slower. Why not Radeon R9 275? I have no idea. Still, it looks like a promising new option in terms of bang for your buck. Meanwhile, the complete package for next-gen SSD performance is finally coming together as a major new controller chipset with support for NVMe is announced. Yes, NVMe! Oh and on a related note, it now looks like you might want to skip Intel’s upcoming Broadwell architecture / CPU family / platform / whatever and jump straight to Skylake. Details after the break.

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Week in Tech: Bent Screens, Reversible USB, AMD SSDs

I’ve been dreading this moment for some time. But inevitably, inexorably, irresistibly it’s happened. LG has announced a curved LCD monitor. Specifically, we’re talking 34-inches of bent IPS panel in the super-wide 21:9 form factor that had me gushing like an idiot the other week. Admittedly I haven’t seen it first hand. But curved HDTVs are an appalling gimmick conceived to exploit the most base consumerist tendencies. I suspect bent PC monitors will be just as bad. Meanwhile, you might think the requirement for correct orientation of USB connectors upon insertion is hardly the most onerous threat to humanity’s collective well-being. But the finalisation of USB Type-C looks set to put an end to it, regardless. Oh, and I have a little – but only a little – more on the Intel Haswell-E uber platform I mentioned last week, Freesync monitors are said to be coming soon and, whaddya know, AMD is doing SSDs… Read the rest of this entry »