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  • Jesper Berg
  • April 02, 2019 08:56:04 PM
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A Little About Us

Gaming PC Builder, or GPCB, is a blog by and for gamers who take great pleasure in building their own PCs. We work hard every day to create new content that helps builders succeed with their builds, regardless of budget or previous experience. Our regularly updated articles cover a wide range of topics, including but not limited to graphics cards (GPUs), motherboards, processors (CPUs), hard drives, cases and other PC gaming essentials. We also publish the occasional software roundup and not least: performance tuning guides for popular games. Also check out our YouTube and Facebook channels, where we regularly publish interesting stuff about hardware and tweaks that will increase the frame rates in your games. See you there!

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    The 7 Best GTX 1660 Graphics Cards for Your 1080p Gaming PC

    Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1660 has taken a back seat to its slightly more powerful and expensive sister model. But the GTX 1660 shouldn’t be overlooked by PC builders looking to build a cost-effective gaming system. It directly replaces the GTX 1060 6GB and offers better performance at a lower price point. In some games, it […] The post The 7 Best GTX 1660 Graphics Cards for Your 1080p Gaming PC appeared first on Gaming PC...

    1660 gpuNvidia’s GeForce GTX 1660 has taken a back seat to its slightly more powerful and expensive sister model. But the GTX 1660 shouldn’t be overlooked by PC builders looking to build a cost-effective gaming system.

    It directly replaces the GTX 1060 6GB and offers better performance at a lower price point. In some games, it even delivers better frame rates than AMD’s power-hungry RX 590. And it’s not unreasonably priced compared to the Ti model either – it’s actually right where it’s supposed to be in the price/performance calculation.  

    As for performance, this is how the GTX 1660 stacks up in the 3DMark DX12 Time Spy benchmark (averages from different systems):

    This is just one benchmark and all games are a bit different but for the most part, it is quite representative of what you get. Nvidia has also furthered its lead in terms of power-efficiency compared to the Radeon lineup and previous generations of Nvidia cards. All in all, the card is a great choice for 1080p gaming, and it’s also viable in 1440p if you can get by with somewhat lower settings.  

    Without further ado, these are our top picks from the current crop of 1660-based cards.

    Product
    Best GTX 1660
    Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1660 Gaming OC 6G Graphics Card, 3X Windforce Fans, 6GB 192-bit GDDR5, Gv-N1660GAMING OC-6GD Video Card
    Best Compact GTX 1660
    ZOTAC Gaming GeForce GTX 1660 AMP 6GB GDDR5 192-bit Gaming Graphics Card, Super Compact, IceStorm 2.0 Cooling, Wraparound Metal Backplate - ZT-T16600D-10M
    Image
    Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1660 Gaming OC 6G Graphics Card, 3X Windforce Fans, 6GB 192-bit GDDR5, Gv-N1660GAMING OC-6GD Video Card
    ZOTAC Gaming GeForce GTX 1660 AMP 6GB GDDR5 192-bit Gaming Graphics Card, Super Compact, IceStorm 2.0 Cooling, Wraparound Metal Backplate - ZT-T16600D-10M
    Max. Boost Clock
    1860 MHz
    1845 MHz
    Effective VRAM Clock
    8004 MHz
    8004 MHz
    FP32 Performance
    5,238 TFLOPS
    5,196 TFLOPS
    Display Outputs
    1x HDMI, 3x DisplayPort
    1x HDMI, 3x DisplayPort
    PCIe Power
    1x 8-Pin
    1x 8-pin
    Avg. Rating
    User Reviews
    27 Reviews
    40 Reviews
    Price
    $239.99
    $219.99
    Prime Status
    Best GTX 1660
    Product
    Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1660 Gaming OC 6G Graphics Card, 3X Windforce Fans, 6GB 192-bit GDDR5, Gv-N1660GAMING OC-6GD Video Card
    Image
    Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1660 Gaming OC 6G Graphics Card, 3X Windforce Fans, 6GB 192-bit GDDR5, Gv-N1660GAMING OC-6GD Video Card
    Max. Boost Clock
    1860 MHz
    Effective VRAM Clock
    8004 MHz
    FP32 Performance
    5,238 TFLOPS
    Display Outputs
    1x HDMI, 3x DisplayPort
    PCIe Power
    1x 8-Pin
    Avg. Rating
    User Reviews
    27 Reviews
    Price
    $239.99
    Prime Status
    Product Link
    Best Compact GTX 1660
    Product
    ZOTAC Gaming GeForce GTX 1660 AMP 6GB GDDR5 192-bit Gaming Graphics Card, Super Compact, IceStorm 2.0 Cooling, Wraparound Metal Backplate - ZT-T16600D-10M
    Image
    ZOTAC Gaming GeForce GTX 1660 AMP 6GB GDDR5 192-bit Gaming Graphics Card, Super Compact, IceStorm 2.0 Cooling, Wraparound Metal Backplate - ZT-T16600D-10M
    Max. Boost Clock
    1845 MHz
    Effective VRAM Clock
    8004 MHz
    FP32 Performance
    5,196 TFLOPS
    Display Outputs
    1x HDMI, 3x DisplayPort
    PCIe Power
    1x 8-pin
    Avg. Rating
    User Reviews
    40 Reviews
    Price
    $219.99
    Prime Status
    Product Link

    Last update on 2019-10-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

    Our choices are based on professional and/or user reviews, as well as pricing, boost clocks and other features. Right now the Gigabyte GTX 1660 Gaming OC 6G is a clear winner. There are two reasons why: 1. A great triple-fan cooling solution with OC headroom, and 2. The price is still very reasonable. As our favorite board for small form factor/mITX builds is the Zotac AMP. This is a very compact card that comes with dual fans and a sizeable factory overclock nonetheless. 

    Of course, there are other options as well. Check them out and click through to our product pages for more information and reviews. The daily price fluctuations may well make one of them the best choice. 

    The 7 Best-Rated GTX 1660 Graphics Cards

    So, let’s have a look at some of the best GTX 1660-based video cards from different manufacturers. Since this is a mid-range card, there won’t be any souped-up water cooled custom designs. Most manufacturers use tried and tested designs that are used for other mid-range GPUs. 

    With this in mind, we’ve sorted the cards based on professional reviews and user opinions. If none are available, we may look sideways at other GPUs from the same manufacturer that uses an identical cooling solution. You can find links to reviews and additional information in our database entries for the specific models.

    1

    Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1660 Gaming OC 6G

    gigabyte 1660 gaming oc

    First on our list is the Gigabyte GTX 1660 Gaming OC 6GB. The card’s design is somewhat uninspiring, but it does have an RGB-lit logo on top. More importantly, it is likely the best in terms of cooling, thanks to its triple-fan Windforce 3X cooling system. Not only does it have three fans, but also uses a system with an alternating rotation that supposedly improves airflow. 

    With that, the card should give you some overclocking headroom. At the very least you get a sizeable factory overclock, to 1860 MHz from 1785 MHz. In spite of having one of the best cooling options and a nice overclock, it’s actually quite reasonably priced – well below e.g. the Asus Strix. 

    On the downside, this is a big card and will not fit in small form-factor builds. 

    In terms of performance, the card will perform slightly better than the category average thanks to a 4% higher boost clock out of the box. For the time being, we consider this the best GTX 1660 card out there. Read more about the card, including professional reviews here.

    Editors Liked:
    • Excellent triple-fan cooling
    • Sizeable factory overclock
    • Fair price

    Editors didn't like:
    • Slightly more expensive than average

    $239.99 1 used from $223.19 26 new from $239.92
    in stock
    Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1660 Gaming OC 6G Graphics Card, 3X...
    2

    MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Gaming X 6G

    msi gaming xTrue to their habit, MSI offers a factory overclocked Gaming X version of the GTX 1660. However, if you prefer to experiment yourself – or don’t want to pay extra – there’s also a non-X model available (if you manage to find one).

    The Gaming X has a boost clock of 1,875 MHz out of the box, and it might be possible to further stretch those values using MSI’s excellent Afterburner overclocking tool. To keep performance consistent and temperatures low, MSI has equipped this card with the Twin Frozr 7 Thermal Design, which consists of two fans that continuously cool a heatsink, which is also designed for good aerodynamics.

    This identical cooling solution with RGB accents is also used on other, considerably more expensive cards. It takes up a little bit more than two PCI slots, so it might be a tight fit for small form factor PC builds.

    Performance-wise, this card has some of the highest out-of-the-box clocks and therefore performs above average. On the downside, it’s also a bit more expensive. Read more about the Gaming X, including professional reviews, here.

    Editors Liked:
    • Very attractive cooling system
    • Sizeable factory overclock
    • RGB accents

    Editors didn't like:
    • More expensive than some competitors

    $248.48 $249.99 2 used from $226.68 33 new from $244.99
    in stock
    MSI Gaming GeForce GTX 1660 128-Bit HDMI/DP 6GB GDRR5 HDCP...
    3

    Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1660 OC 6G

    We are already returning to Gigabyte and the manufacturer’s dual-fan version our favorite GTX 1660. This one also comes with an OC’ed boost clock speed of 1,830 MHz out of the box, which is only just barely behind the aforementioned cards.

    The tried-and-tested Windforce cooling solution is present here, too, but in a shorter dual-fan variety. Two fans spin in opposite directions to maintain good airflow (apparently, it seems to work well enough). And like its bigger sibling, the card comes with a protective backplate that ensures rigidity and provides some additional heat protection.

    All in all, the end result is a package that we believe makes it a smart choice for anyone looking for a good performance-to-cost ratio. It’s perhaps not as sophisticated as the cards from Gigabyte’s premium brand Aorus, but this is the closest you will come as there are no Aorus GTX 1660s.

    Editors Liked:
    • Small factory OC
    • Tried and tested cooling solution
    • Includes backplate

    Editors didn't like:
    • No dual BIOS like other Gigabyte cards 

    $229.99 5 used from $213.89 23 new from $229.99
    in stock
    Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1660 OC 6G Graphics Card, 2X Windforce...
    4

    ZOTAC Gaming GeForce GTX 1660 AMP

    zotac 1660 ampCompact, ITX-sized cards with two fans instead of the usual one have become relatively common. This is a good thing since it promises better cooling efficiency even in small form factors, which could otherwise be a problem. 

    Zotac is so confident in its petite Gaming GeForce GTX 1660 AMP that they have added a decent factory overclock to the mix. The card’s core boost clock is up from 1785 MHz to 1845 MHz, which is on par with or even better than some of its full-size competitors. 

    In our view, that makes it a solid choice for any small form factor, mid-range PC build. The Zotac 1660 should fit in most cases – even those that normally only allow for a short mITX-oriented card. And it wouldn’t be a bad choice for a standard mid-tower build either. Another positive aspect of this card is that it’s very reasonably priced. 

    Editors Liked:
    • Dual fans in a tiny form factor
    • Reasonably priced
    • Decent factory OC

    Editors didn't like:
    • Not much of a looker

    $219.99 $239.99 1 used from $204.59 4 new from $219.99
    in stock
    ZOTAC Gaming GeForce GTX 1660 AMP 6GB GDDR5 192-bit Gaming...
    5

    MSI ventusMSI GTX 1660 Ventus XS 6G OC

    Another interesting and similarly compact alternative to the Zotac is MSI’s Ventus XS 6G OC. It’s slightly bulkier overall than the Zotac overall, but actually a bit shorter. In any event, it should be a good fit for most gaming machines – and not just physically. 

    Like most of the best GTX 1660 cards, the Ventus comes with a factory OC. In this case, MSI has increased the boost clock to 1830 MHz, which isn’t the highest overclock though the difference is hardly noticeable. 

    What makes this card an interesting option in our view is the competent cooling solution in spite of its small measurements. MSI has also included a backplate to improve durability. 

    Editors Liked:
    • Two fans and factory OC
    • Will fit into most builds
    • Comparatively cheap

    Editors didn't like:
    • Not quite as compact as other ITX options 

    $227.99 $229.99 2 used from $217.97 25 new from $227.99
    in stock
    MSI Gaming GeForce GTX 1660 128-Bit HDMI/DP 6GB GDRR5 HDCP...
    6

    ASUS Phoenix GTX 1660 OC 6GB

    Nvidia’s GTX 1660 chip is quite efficient and well-suited to small form factors. It’s also one of the more affordable GPUs, which makes it more likely to be used with low-key designs. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it helps keep the prices down without necessarily sacrificing much. 

    This card is part of Asus’ latest Phoenix lineup, which was also used for Pascal GTX cards. Like other cards in the series, it’s a short, single-fan card, but this one has a bit more height to it than some other “mini” GTX 1660s. Asus ships this card either with stock clocks or with a minor factory overclock (indicated by OC in the name). At 1800 MHz (instead of 1785 MHz), this is an OC of less than 1% and definitely not something you should pay extra for, in our humble opinion. 

    One of the more interesting features of this card is that it’s dust resistant. The card comes with an IPX5 rating, which means resistant and not fully dust-proof (that would probably be impossible for a graphics card). But it does have some protection that should be useful for a long life span.

    Editors Liked:
    • Good single-fan cooling
    • Fits in most ITX cases
    • IP5X dust resistant

    Editors didn't like:
    • Insignificant factory OC

    $221.17 $224.99 1 used from $204.60 30 new from $221.17
    in stock
    ASUS GeForce GTX 1660 Overclocked 6GB Phoenix Fan Edition HDMI...
    7

    Great Value: EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 XC Black Gaming

    evga-1660-xcThe next board on our list is the EVGA Geforce GTX 1660 XC Black Gaming. This card won’t win any awards for out-of-the-box overclocks (there is none) or fancy design. However, it still competes for a win in the price/performance category.

    It comes with the standard specs and performs as advertised by Nvidia (boost core clock is the default 1,785 MHz). The card features a single fan design and a short, thick heatsink that appears to be more than sufficient to cool the GPU under full load.

    EVGA manufactures these cards using a so-called plate-punched design which improves the baseplate’s contact with all components and the heatsink. While this might sound like regular-old marketing talk, Linus Tech Tips tested the XC Black and found out that it runs at 23 degrees C (idle), and just 63 degrees C on load.

    Another positive aspect for some PC builders is, of course, the card’s compact size. It keeps with the dual-slot form factor and is short in all directions. On the downside, the design is not exactly attractive. Considering its price and cooling performance, it’s still a great choice for small form factor and/or budget builds. 

    Editors Liked:
    • Efficient cooling
    • Very compact
    • Attractive price point

    Editors didn't like:
    • Default clock speeds
    • Bland design

    $209.99 $229.99 3 used from $195.29 31 new from $209.99
    in stock
    EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 XC Black Gaming, 6GB GDDR5, HDB...

    Summary and Buyer’s Guide

    With that, let’s summarize the pros and cons of these different GTX 1660 models.

    • If you care about aesthetics as well as performance – and don’t mind paying a bit more for features such as attractive RGB lighting – then the MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Gaming X 6G is one of your few choices. What might make it a tough sell is the narrow price gap between this card and entry-level Ti cards that offer better performance.
    • If you want the best possible combination of low cost and good (cooling) performance, we will stick with our recommendation of the triple-fan Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1660 Gaming OC 6B.
    • In cases involving compact builds using an mITX or mATX case, a full-size card might be out of the equation. In that case, the Zotac and MSI Ventus would be good choices. In fact, these cards are good choices in the category either way. 
    • Single-fan designs like the EVGA or ASUS Phoenix will also work as advertised, even if these cards’ design may not do as well in a transparent case. Provided that you get a good price, either of these cards is a solid option.  

    All of these cards use trusted designs from major manufacturers, so reliability should not be an issue unless you are exceptionally unlucky. In terms of real-world performance, the difference between the cards will be small, but you may have more success overclocking cards with additional/more efficient fans. And last but not least: Also compare the GTX 1660 with other affordable cards to see which GPU offers the best price/performance ration today. At the time of writing, one to compare with is AMD’s RX 590.

    The post The 7 Best GTX 1660 Graphics Cards for Your 1080p Gaming PC appeared first on Gaming PC Builder.


    SSD Ranking: The Fastest Solid State Drives

    A fast SSD is one of the few hardware upgrades that can instantly improve how you experience your PC. This is especially true when upgrading from a mechanical hard drive, but moving between generations (e.g. from SATA to NVMe/PCIe) may also make a noticeable difference.  This aim of this page is to provide a rough […] The post SSD Ranking: The Fastest Solid State Drives appeared first on Gaming PC...

    A fast SSD is one of the few hardware upgrades that can instantly improve how you experience your PC. This is especially true when upgrading from a mechanical hard drive, but moving between generations (e.g. from SATA to NVMe/PCIe) may also make a noticeable difference. 

    This aim of this page is to provide a rough guide to the best and fastest solid state drives on the market. We base our rankings on an average of read/write speeds. However, for real-world performance and durability reasons, we give preference to DRAM-equipped, MLC-based drives.

    We will dive into the details shortly, but first, these are the drives that we consider leaders in their respective form factors. They don’t necessarily represent the best value but are definitely some of the speediest storage devices that you can put in a consumer PC today. 

    Product
    Best 2.5" SATA SSD
    Samsung 860 PRO V-NAND 1TB SSD SATA 6Gb/s (MZ-76P1T0BW) Solid State Drive
    Fastest M.2 PCIe Gen4
    GIGABYTE AORUS NVMe Gen4 M.2 1TB PCI-Express 4.0 Interface High Performance Gaming, Full Body Copper Heat Spreader, Toshiba 3D NAND, DDR Cache Buffer, 5 Year Warranty SSD GP-ASM2NE6100TTTD
    Best Add-In Card
    Intel Optane SSD 905P Series (960GB) (AIC PCIe x 4 3D XPoint)
    Image
    Samsung 860 PRO V-NAND 1TB SSD SATA 6Gb/s (MZ-76P1T0BW) Solid State Drive
    GIGABYTE AORUS NVMe Gen4 M.2 1TB PCI-Express 4.0 Interface High Performance Gaming, Full Body Copper Heat Spreader, Toshiba 3D NAND, DDR Cache Buffer, 5 Year Warranty SSD GP-ASM2NE6100TTTD
    Intel Optane SSD 905P Series (960GB) (AIC PCIe x 4 3D XPoint)
    Sequential read (max., MB/s)
    560 MB/s
    5000
    2600 MB/s
    Sequential write (max., MB/s)
    530 MB/s
    4400
    2200 MB/s
    Random read IOPS (4K/QD32)
    100,000 IOPS
    750000
    575,000 IOPS
    Random write IOPS (4K/QD32)
    90,000 IOPS
    700000
    550,000 IOPS
    Average rating
    User reviews
    277 Reviews
    5 Reviews
    9 Reviews
    Warranty
    5 years
    5 Years
    5 Years
    Endurance rating
    1,200 TBW (512 GB)
    1,800 TBW
    17,520 TBW (960 GB)
    Price
    $271.49
    $209.99
    $1,129.99
    Best 2.5" SATA SSD
    Product
    Samsung 860 PRO V-NAND 1TB SSD SATA 6Gb/s (MZ-76P1T0BW) Solid State Drive
    Image
    Samsung 860 PRO V-NAND 1TB SSD SATA 6Gb/s (MZ-76P1T0BW) Solid State Drive
    Sequential read (max., MB/s)
    560 MB/s
    Sequential write (max., MB/s)
    530 MB/s
    Random read IOPS (4K/QD32)
    100,000 IOPS
    Random write IOPS (4K/QD32)
    90,000 IOPS
    Average rating
    User reviews
    277 Reviews
    Warranty
    5 years
    Endurance rating
    1,200 TBW (512 GB)
    Price
    $271.49
    Store link
    Fastest M.2 PCIe Gen4
    Product
    GIGABYTE AORUS NVMe Gen4 M.2 1TB PCI-Express 4.0 Interface High Performance Gaming, Full Body Copper Heat Spreader, Toshiba 3D NAND, DDR Cache Buffer, 5 Year Warranty SSD GP-ASM2NE6100TTTD
    Image
    GIGABYTE AORUS NVMe Gen4 M.2 1TB PCI-Express 4.0 Interface High Performance Gaming, Full Body Copper Heat Spreader, Toshiba 3D NAND, DDR Cache Buffer, 5 Year Warranty SSD GP-ASM2NE6100TTTD
    Sequential read (max., MB/s)
    5000
    Sequential write (max., MB/s)
    4400
    Random read IOPS (4K/QD32)
    750000
    Random write IOPS (4K/QD32)
    700000
    Average rating
    User reviews
    5 Reviews
    Warranty
    5 Years
    Endurance rating
    1,800 TBW
    Price
    $209.99
    Store link
    Best Add-In Card
    Product
    Intel Optane SSD 905P Series (960GB) (AIC PCIe x 4 3D XPoint)
    Image
    Intel Optane SSD 905P Series (960GB) (AIC PCIe x 4 3D XPoint)
    Sequential read (max., MB/s)
    2600 MB/s
    Sequential write (max., MB/s)
    2200 MB/s
    Random read IOPS (4K/QD32)
    575,000 IOPS
    Random write IOPS (4K/QD32)
    550,000 IOPS
    Average rating
    User reviews
    9 Reviews
    Warranty
    5 Years
    Endurance rating
    17,520 TBW (960 GB)
    Price
    $1,129.99
    Store link

    Last update on 2019-10-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

    Note that our choice of M.2 drive currently requires an X570 motherboard and a Ryzen 3000 CPU to run at full speed over the PCI Express 4.0 interface. If you run any other system, we recommend the excellent Samsung 970 PRO instead.

    For our more complete list of SSDs, we’ll start with 2.5″ SATA drives. Today’s high-end SATA SSDs are all bandwidth-limited compared to more modern interfaces/protocols such as PCI-express/NVMe (M.2 or add-in card form factors). So if your computer has an available PCIe M.2 slot, this is the form factor you should be looking at first.

    Quick links
    Top 10 SATA SSDs
    Top 10 M.2 PCIe/NVMe SSDs
    Top 10 PCI-Express (add-in card) SSDs

    Consumer Drives (2.5-inch SATA, 6 Gbps)

    860-pro1. Samsung 860 Pro

    Available Capacities: 256GB – 4TB
    Interface: SATA III 6Gbps
    560MB/s read (256GB)
    550MB/s write (256GB)

    This list has been maintained for many years now and Samsung has been on top since late 2012, starting with the somewhat legendary 840 Pro. Today you need to move on from the aging SATA interface to get noticeably better performance, but Samsung hasn’t stopped improving on its flagship SATA product.

    The result as of 2019 is the impressive 860 Pro, which not only performs exceptionally well but has an endurance rating that is at least double that of its predecessor. And if previous Samsungs are an indication, the 300 TBW (terabytes written) rating for the 256 GB model up to 4,800 TBW for the 4 TB model (all use MLC NAND), might be conservative estimates. This, coupled with a 5-year warranty and great overall performance, makes the 860 Pro look very attractive indeed. If SATA is your only option, that is.

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    Reviews: AnandTech, NotebookCheck, Tom’s Hardware


    Sandisk SSD2. SanDisk Extreme Pro

    Available Capacities: 240GB – 960GB
    Interface: SATA 3 6Gbps
    550MB/s read
    520MB/s write

    SanDisk’s Extreme Pro has been around for several years but is still one of the best options in the SATA space. It’s a direct successor to the Extreme II and is slightly ahead of its predecessor in most areas. Sequential read speed is 550 MB/s and write speed 520 MB/s (4K random read/write 100K/90K IOPS).

    More importantly, though, SanDisk is confident enough to offer a 10-year warranty with the Extreme Pro – a unique offer in the consumer (or prosumer) segment. The 19nm MLC NAND is allegedly good for writing 22 GB of data per day for 10 years. Consequently, when this drive finally wears out in the average system built today, the SATA interface will be long since obsolete. Although the Extreme Pro is not particularly recent, it is still widely available and should definitely be on your shortlist when evaluating high-end SATA 6 Gbps drives.

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    Reviews: AnandTech, TweakTown


    3. Crucial MX500

    Available Capacities: 250GB – 2TB
    Interface: SATA 3 6Gbps
    560MB/s read
    510MB/s write

    Crucial’s MX500 uses TLC NAND and is a more direct competitor to the Samsung 860 EVO than the 860 Pro. That said, it offers great performance at a very attractive price point and is available in capacities up to 2 TB. Like the 860 EVO it is also backed by a 5-year warranty, but its endurance rating is lower than both the 860 Pro and EVO. It starts at 100 TB for the 250 GB model and ranges up to 700 TB for the 2 TB model, which is still more than sufficient for the average user.

    The MX500 can compete with the 860 series in many areas, but rarely (if ever) surpass it. However, the price/performance ratio is excellent so this drive is a good choice for most SATA-limited systems.

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    Reviews: AnandTech, Guru3D


    Samsung SSD4. Samsung 850 Pro

    Available Capacities: 128GB – 1TB
    Interface: SATA III 6Gbps
    550MB/s read (256GB)
    520MB/s write (256GB)

    The 860 Pro’s predecessor is still an excellent drive, but due to pricing and availability it is probably no longer the best option, but still good if you can find it at the right price. The 850 Pro series uses its own MEX controller in combination with 3D NAND (V-NAND) like its successor, which increases density without compromising performance. And it’s still ahead of today’s competition in many areas.

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK


    atata su9005. ADATA Ultimate SU900

    Available Capacities: 256GB – 2TB
    Interface: SATA 3 6Gbps
    560MB/s read
    525MB/s write

    Taiwanese manufacturer ADATA may have a smaller marketing budget compared to tech giants such as Samsung and SanDisk, but it’s a company known for putting out well-performing, reliable products. The SU900 is not entirely on par with the speediest SATA drives but should be quick enough for most use cases. Neither should endurance be an issue, since it uses MLC (3D) NAND and ships with a 5-year warranty.

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    Reviews: Storagereview


    860 EVO6. Samsung 860 EVO

    Available Capacities: 250GB – 4TB
    550MB/s read
    520MB/s write

    The 860 EVO is Samsung’s follow-up of its incredibly successful 850 EVO. Now the difference between these two will be very slim due to the aforementioned interface constraints, but that matters little – the 860 EVO still replaces its predecessor in this price range. And it will still be a great choice given Samsung’s track record.

    It performs very well considering it’s a TLC-based SSD. Moreover it offers excellent endurance numbers at precisely half those of the 860 Pro at equivalent capacities (which is still much better than most competitors), as well as a 5-year warranty.

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    Reviews: Tom’s Hardware


    ocz vector7. OCZ Vector 180

    Available Capacities: 120GB – 960GB
    550MB/s read
    530MB/s write

    As you may have noticed, there are plenty of older products in this list of SATA drives. The reason is something of a shortage of new SATA SSDs in the high-end (as in MLC) segment. So even though the Toshiba OCZ Vector 180 was released in 2015, it’s still a viable option in 2019.

    The Vector 180 uses 19nm Toshiba MLC NAND in combination with an OCZ Barefoot controller (formerly Indilinx). It is not quite on par with Samsung’s top drives in terms of performance, but it’s close enough. Also, the warranty is a very attractive five years or 50GB of writes per day.

    Check prices: Amazon, Amazon UK

    Reviews: Bit-tech


    transcend-ssd3708. Transcend SSD370

    Available Capacities: 120GB – 480GB
    Interface: SATA 3 6GBps
    560MB/s read (256GB and up)
    460MB/s write (512GB and up)

    The SSD370 uses a Transcend TS6500 controller (a rebranded Silicon Motion SM2246EN controller) with Micron 128Gbit 20nm MLC NAND. The random 4KB read reaches 75K IOPS and the random 4KB write goes up to 75K IOPS as well. Its incompressible sequential read performance is excellent, while write performance is not as great overall. However, the drive has other advantages than pure speed.

    Transcend bundles it with a custom firmware which enables encryption. While DevSleep is supported, slumber power modes, particularly HIPM and DIPM, are not. The drive comes with a 3.5″ desktop adapter for older machines, as well the cloning utility SSD Scope. It also features “StaticDataRefresh”, which is similar to what other drives do to correct data errors due to cell degradation.

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    Reviews: PCWorld, TomsHardware.com


    sandisk-extreme II9. SanDisk Extreme II

    Available Capacities: 120GB – 480GB
    Interface: SATA 3 6Gbps
    550MB/s read
    510MB/s write

    The Extreme II from Flash storage-giant SanDisk delivers excellent performance at a reasonable price point. It’s a predecessor to the Extreme Pro (see above), and likewise pretty old but still going strong as of 2016. Its sequential read speeds of 550 MB/s and write speeds of 510 MB/s are complemented by very good random read/write figures as well (95K/78K IOPS).

    SanDisk uses a controller from Marvell in this particular line of SSDs – a chip with the fanciful designation 88SS9187 (also known as Monet) – with SanDisk’s own firmware and 19nm eX2 ABL MLC NAND (also from SanDisk), which makes for a particularly long-lasting combination according to several reports.

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    Reviews: HotHardware, AnandTech


    su80010. ADATA SU800

    Available Capacities: 128GB – 2TB
    Interface: SATA 3 6Gbps
    560 MB/s read
    520 MB/s write

    The SU800 is ADATA’s top-end TLC-based SSDs. It uses a Silicon Motion SM2258 controller and features SLC-mode caching as well as a DRAM write buffer. For a drive based on low-cost NAND, the endurance ratings are more than acceptable, at 400 TBW for the 512 GB capacity. Speaking of which, you can get the SU800 in a wide range of capacities starting from 128GB up to 2TB. The drive’s random read/write figures are up to 90K/80K IOPS.

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK


    M.2 Drives (2280/2260)

    Update: Check out our new, up-to-date listing of the best M.2 SSDs here.

    1. Gigabyte Aorus Gen4

    Interface: PCIe Gen4 x4 NVMe
    Available Capacities: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB
    5,000MB/s read
    4,200MB/s write

    If you own an X570 motherboard and AMD Ryzen 3rd-gen combo, you can reap the benefits of the PCI Express 4.0 interface. We will likely see more SSDs that take advantage of the increased Gen4 bandwidth soon. But for now, all M.2 PCIe Gen4 devices are based on the same combination of a Phison E16 controller and 96-layer TLC NAND from Toshiba. This includes the Aorus Gen4, Sabrent Rocket 4 and the Corsair MP600. 

    Since these drives all use essentially the same hardware, performance is similar as well – but no less impressive. Sequential read bandwidth approaches a full 5 GB/s. Peak write speeds are lower, but nevertheless exceed any PCIe 3.0 SSD by a fair margin. As usual, the smallest capacity is slightly slower. 

    Again, take note that you need a PCIe 4.0-capable setup to reach the advertised speeds. Otherwise, the SSD will still work but be capped by the Gen3 interface. 

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    Reviews: MMORPG


    970-pro2. Samsung 970 Pro

    Interface: PCIe Gen3 x4 NVMe
    Available Capacities: 512GB, 1,024GB
    3500MB/s read
    2300MB/s write

    If you want top performance and are willing to pay a bit more for it, then the Samsung 970 Pro is about as good as it gets in this form factor. Although in terms of everyday user experience, you would probably never be able to tell the difference between this an any of the other top contenders in this segment.

    But an SSD is the sum of its parts, nothing more and nothing less. What sets the 970 Pro apart from many of its competitors (including the 970 EVO) is that it uses higher-quality MLC NAND, and will, therefore, last longer than its more affordable TLC counterparts. The endurance rating is 600 TBW (twice that of the comparable EVO) or five years (same as the EVO)

    It will also perform better and more consistently thanks to the better NAND. This is particularly noticeable in the random write area, with 500,000 IOPS (4K, QD32) in both available capacities.

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    Reviews: StorageReview, TweakTown


    970 EVO Plus3. Samsung 970 EVO Plus

    Interface: PCIe Gen3 x4 NVMe
    Available Capacities: 250 GB, 500 GB, 1 TB
    3500MB/s read
    3300MB/s write

    Instead of launching an entirely new model, Samsung updated its popular 970 EVO lineup (which is still available) with the 970 EVO in 2019. As the name implies, it is basically an improved version of the same SSD, using the same controller but denser, 96-layer TLC NAND and some additional tweaks. The improvements are particularly noticeable in term of write performance. Sequential transfer rates are up from 2,500 MB/s to 3,300 MB/s, meaning that it outperforms the 970 PRO in some cases.

    According to Samsung, random write performance with the 970 EVO Plus has been improved by as much as 57% compared to the previous EVO.

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK


    sn7504. WD Black SN750

    Interface: PCIe Gen2 x4 M.2
    Available Capacities: 250GB, 500GB, 1TB
    3470MB/s read (500GB)
    3000MB/s write (500GB)

    Western Digital has been a giant in the storage industry for decades, but only recently started catching up in the SSD market following the company’s acquisition of SanDisk.

    This drive, which is a slight update of the WD Black 2018, uses SanDisk’s 96-layer TLC flash, which brings some performance improvements over its predecessor. Its sequential transfer rates are high but differ quite a bit between capacities. This is particularly true for the drive’s listed write speed, where the 250 GB drive (1,600 MB/s) is considerably slower than the 1TB variation (3,000 MB/s). The random figures are also more impressive in the larger capacities.

    WD offers a 5-year warranty with these drives and the TBW rating is up to 600 TBW. All capacities except the 250 GB model are available with an optional heatsink that might help the drive perform consistently during extended high loads.

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    Reviews: AnandTech, TweakTown


    960-pro5. Samsung 960 Pro

    Interface: PCIe Gen3 x4 NVMe
    Available Capacities: 512 GB, 1 TB, 2 TB
    3500MB/s read
    2100MB/s write

    While the 970 Pro was an improvement, Samsung’s 960 pro is still a blazing-fast SSD. Like its successor, this m.2 drive supports 4 lanes of PCIe and uses NVMe for maximum bandwidth utilization and increased throughput. It uses Samsung’s own Polaris controller in combination with Samsung MLC V-NAND.

    The 960 Pro supports TGC Opal and AES 256-bit data encryption. In the random read/write area, it delivers up to 440K IOPS for 4KB (QD32) random read and 330K IOPS for random writes (also 4KB/QD32). Reduce the queue depth to 1 and it still reaches an impressive 14K IOPS/50K IOPS read/write. These numbers, by the way, apply to the higher-capacity drives, while the 512 GB model is slightly slower.

    Samsung offers a 5-year warranty with the 960 Pro as well as impressive endurance ratings of 1200 TB for the 2 TB model, 800 TB for the 1 TB drive and 400 TB for the 512 GB version – higher numbers than the 970 EVO but lower than the Pro.

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    Reviews: AnandTech, ArsTechnica, Guru3D


    evo ssd6. Samsung 970 EVO

    Interface: PCIe Gen3 x4 NVMe
    Available Capacities: 512 GB, 1 TB, 2 TB
    3400MB/s read
    2300MB/s write

    As usual, Samsung’s EVO series offers a feature set that is almost on par with its more expensive Pro counterpart but uses cheaper TLC NAND in combination with the same Phoenix controller. For most of us, the price/performance equation is more important than pure performance, and that makes the 970 EVO a solid option. Again, the difference between the top drives in the NVMe PCI-express segment will not be noticeable for most users.

    The 970 EVO is actually, on paper, slightly faster than the 960 Pro in some areas, but it’s slower in a few others due to the TLC NAND.

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    Reviews: StorageReivew, TweakTown


    adata sx82007. ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro

    Interface: PCIe Gen3 x4 NVMe
    Available Capacities: 256GB to 1TB
    3200MB/s read (480GB)
    1700MB/s write (480GB)

    Unlike Samsung’s lineup, ADATA’s ‘Pro’ designation does not imply that it’s an MLC drive. It instead uses now-common 64-layer 3D TLC NAND, meaning that – like many similar drives – the listed sequential read and write speeds do not paint the whole picture. These drives normally use an SLC cache keep transfer speeds up, but only until the cache is full.

    That doesn’t mean that the SX8200 Pro is not a fast drive, because it is. It surpasses the Samsung 970 EVO in certain areas, with the help of a Silicon Motion SM2262 controller and a DRAM buffer. The warranty is five years and the TBW ratings start at 160 TBW for the 256GB model, which doubles in line with the capacities.

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    Reviews: TweakTown


    960-evo8. Samsung 960 Evo

    Interface: PCIe Gen3 x4 NVMe
    Available Capacities: 250 GB, 500 TB, 1 TB
    3200MB/s read
    1900MB/s write (1 TB)

    One of the strongest competitors to the other TLC-based m.2 SSD – including the 970 EVO – is Samsung’s 960 Evo, which is still available. It is not quite as fast as the new model, although the difference should be small enough not to be noticeable in everyday usage scenarios.

    Its durability rating is unsurprisingly lower than the Pro variant, down from 400 TB to 200 TB for the popular 500 GB capacity. The warranty is also reduced from 5 to 3 years. This won’t be a problem for the vast majority of the intended users, but worth keeping in mind.

    In terms of raw performance, the 960 Evo is rated at up to 380K/360K IOPS random read/writes (compared to 440K/360K for the Pro) in the largest capacities (QD32).

    In short: This is a good choice as the price/performance ratio is very attractive at this point – and if you don’t plan to write copious amounts of data to it too often.

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    Reviews: StorageReview, HotHardware, AnandTech


    optane 800p9. Intel Optane SSD 800P

    Interface: PCIe Gen3 x2 NVMe
    Available Capacities: 58GB, 118TB
    1450MB/s read
    640MB/s write (1 TB)

    This drive is very difficult to categorize as it differs considerably from all of its competitors in more ways than one. While the sequential transfer rates may seem modest, the Optane 800P outperforms Samsungs Pro-series drives in many areas. This might compensate for the comparatively tiny capacities and the high cost, at least in specific use cases.

    The reason why it’s so different is that the Optane doesn’t even use NAND Flash. Instead, it’s equipped with Intel’s own 3D X-Point memory, which has other characteristics, making it partly more similar to DRAM.

    But at the end of the day, the average PC builder will have to compare NAND and 3D X-Point in terms of price/performance/capacity, and then the 800P may be a tough sell. An exception might be workstation users who put their drives through a heavy load on a daily basis, because no competitor offers the same endurance: 1.7 to 3.4 full drive writes per day for the duration of the 5-year warranty period.

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    Reviews: StorageReview, AnandTech


    760p10. Intel SSD 760p

    Interface: PCIe Gen2 x4 M.2
    Available Capacities: 128GB – 2TB
    3230MB/s read (512GB)
    1625MB/s write (512GB)

    You can usually trust Intel when it comes to PC parts although the chip giant hasn’t been able to keep up with Samsung in the consumer segment recently. This drive is an attempt to change that (again), and so Intel has put together this appealing TLC-based SSD with its own NAND and a custom Silicon Motion controller.

    As is often the case, there is a considerable performance difference between the lowest-capacity (128GB) drive and the roomier ones. But it’s a bit more pronounced in this case, with the 128GB model’s sequential transfer rates being 1640/650 MB/s (read/write), compared to 3230/1625 MB/s for the 512 GB capacity.

    That said, it seems to be a very capable drive, backed by a 5-year warranty and acceptable endurance ratings (288 TBW for the 512GB model).

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK


    Top 10 PCI Express Card SSDs (Bootable)

    optane 905p1. Intel Optane SSD 905P

    Interface: PCIe NVMe 3.0 x4
    Form Factor: Add-in Card, HHHL (CEM 3.0)
    Available Capacities: 480GB, 960 and 1.5TB
    Up to 2600MB/s read
    Up to 2200MB/s write
    Random 4K Write: Up to 550K IOPS

    Considering the overall performance scores that this drive racks up across various reviews, this may well be the fastest SSD in the world at this time. And it also has an endurance rating in a league of its own compared to other drives aimed at not-necessarily-professional users.

    However, for the average user – including most professionals – this drive is probably overkill. But if you really want the best-performing drive, you’ll be happy to learn that Intel has introduced a new endurance metric for it known as PBW, or petabytes written.

    The 960 GB capacity has a PBW rating of 17.52, meaning you can write about 17.5 million GB to it before it wears down. Intel’s 3D Xpoint memory, which appears to be practically invincible, is the reason why this drive is difficult to compare to regular NAND-based SSDs.

    Check prices: Amazon, Amazon UK, Newegg

    Reviews: TweakTown


    900p ssd2. Intel Optane SSD 900P Series

    Interface: PCIe NVMe 3.0 x4
    Form Factor: Add-in Card, HHHL (CEM 3.0)
    Available Capacities: 280GB and 480GB
    Up to 2500MB/s read
    Up to 2000MB/s write
    Random 4K Write: Up to 500K IOPS

    Only slightly behind its successor is the 950p’s predecessor in Intel’s Optane 900p-series. These drives also use 3D Xpoint memory, and while it may not show in the drives’ raw sequential transfer performance, it’s a very impressive SSD.

    As is the endurance rating, which is 10 full drive writes per day for 5 years. Such characteristics mean that it’s well suited not only for enthusiast builds but also for heavy-duty workstations.

    Check prices: Amazon, Amazon UK, Newegg

    Reviews: HotHardware


    nx5003. Corsair Neutron NX500

    Interface: PCIe NVMe 3.0 x4
    Form Factor: Add-in Card, HHHL
    Available Capacities: 400GB, 800GB and 1600GB
    Up to 3000MB/s read
    Up to 2500MB/s write
    Random 4K Write: Up to 270K IOPS

    In spite of its higher theoretical maximum transfer rates (measured with ATTO, according to Corsair), we will rank the Neutron NX500 from Corsair below the Optane 900p because real-world performance is consistently below according to the reviews we’ve seen (links below). It’s apparently tough to compete with 3D Xpoint, but that doesn’t mean that the NX500 is a low-end product. Among the small number of consumer-oriented PCIe drives currently available in the add-in card form factor, it’s an attractive option given that the price point is reasonable compared to the Optane.

    Check prices: Amazon, Amazon UK, Newegg

    Reviews: AnandTech, Tom’s Hardware


    4. Plextor M8Pe

    Interface: PCIe NVMe 3.0 x4
    Form Factor: Add-in Card, HHHL
    Available Capacities: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB and 1TB
    Up to 2000MB/s read
    Up to 1400MB/s write
    Random 4K Write: Up to 240K IOPS

    Thanks to the now-ubiquitous M.2 slot, large PCIe add-in cards, or AIC, have become increasingly rare outside of the enterprise segment. Another one of a mere handful of manufacturers who still make drives for the form factor is Plextor.

    The drive series with the less-than-inspiring name M8Pe uses 15nm Toshiba MLC NAND and is available in both M.2 and AIC form factors. There is also a newer version of the drive known as M8Se that uses less durable TLC NAND.

    In terms of performance, the M8Pe should have no problems competing with mainstream M.2 drives, making it a potentially cost-effective solution if an AIC is what you need.

    Check prices: Amazon, Amazon UK, Newegg


    5. OCZ RevoDrive 350

    Interface: PCI Express 2.0 x 8
    Available Capacities: 240GB – 960GB
    1800MB/s read
    1700MB/s write
    Random 4K Writes: Up to 140K IOPS

    The original RevoDrive was released well before the M.2 form factor took off, and was considered exceptionally fast at the time. However, now that it’s not just competing with SATA drives, the RevoDrive will only appeal to a much smaller market.

    There have been several SSDs in the series, but the RevoDrive 350 is the only one that’s more widely available (and it’s not particularly new).


    Summary and Explanations

    We’ve tried our best to compile the most comprehensive list of SSDs available and used this to create the lists you see above. Since there are new drives launched each month, we will update our list and ratings regularly. Also, if you think we’ve omitted something or need correction, don’t hesitate to leave a comment!

    Lots of abbreviations and technical terms are used on product pages and SSD discussions. If you are new to them they will, needless to say, be totally incomprehensible. We will attempt to explain some of them here. 

    What is SLC, MLC, TLC, and QLC?

    An SSDs performance, as well as its life span, are to a large extent determined by the quality of the memory cells. Higher-quality memory not only performs better but can also be erased and written to a larger number of times before it wears out.

    SLC (single-level cell) NAND Flash memory is more durable than MLC (multi-level cell, two bits per cell), which in turn is more durable than TLC (triple-level cell) NAND. Since recently, QLC (quad-level cell) drives such as the Samsung QVO are also available. Additional bits per cell affect performance negatively because it makes the cells considerably more error-prone. There are clever technologies that compensate for this, but in the end, there’s no substitute for higher-quality NAND.

    Unsurprisingly, high-end memory is also much more expensive to produce. There are zero SSDs today in the consumer space based on SLC memory, but some use MLC (like the Samsung PRO lineup).

    Most consumer SSDs in 2019 use comparatively affordable TLC memory, but QLC is increasingly common.

    SSD endurance: What’s MTBF and TBW – Should I Care?

    MTBF is short for “mean time before failure” and is more relevant for conventional hard drives than SSDs, which have no mechanical parts that are prone to failure over time. TBW (terabytes written or total bytes written) is a much more interesting number. This will give you is an indication of how much data can be written to the drive before it wears out. It’s affected by the drive’s capacity, spare capacity (so-called overprovisioning) and the quality of the NAND. 

    For a drive with a 300 TBW rating, 300 TB is the amount of data that the manufacturer guarantees can be written to it (usually in a mutually exclusive number of years). This is not to say that an SSD will necessarily fail after this amount of TB written. It’s part of the warranty terms and an indication of its relative endurance. 

    Production Processes

    Unlike other parts such as a CPU/GPU, a smaller production process as measured in nanometers (nm), is not a strong selling point, as this results in lower durability, all other things being equal. However, for the average home or office user, durability is rarely an issue, since any SSD will most likely outlive the rest of the computer by a wide margin. Just don’t rely on low-cost drives with cheap NAND in a server or other environment with a high continuous workload

    The post SSD Ranking: The Fastest Solid State Drives appeared first on Gaming PC Builder.


    Best RX 590 Card Roundup

    AMD didn’t pick the best possible time to launch its upper mid-range Radeon RX 590 GPU. Right away, it had to compete with Nvidia’s more efficient GeForce GTX 1660 Ti (and 1660 non-Ti) in the same price range, on top of the discounted Radeon RX 580 cards, which aren’t that much slower. On the plus […] The post Best RX 590 Card Roundup appeared first on Gaming PC...

    AMD didn’t pick the best possible time to launch its upper mid-range Radeon RX 590 GPU. Right away, it had to compete with Nvidia’s more efficient GeForce GTX 1660 Ti (and 1660 non-Ti) in the same price range, on top of the discounted Radeon RX 580 cards, which aren’t that much slower.

    On the plus side, this segment is really the buyer’s market right now. The strong competition has driven down prices across the board. It’s already possible to find this card at prices that sometimes dip below the magic $200 mark

    And there’s no question that the RX 590 is an attractive GPU. Although it’s based on the same Polaris architecture as the RX 580, the 590 is more than just a simple rebadge with a slight clock increase. It is manufactured with a smaller (12 nm) production process, which has allowed AMD to increase the default boost clock by more than 200 MHz.

    Theoretical performance (FP32 float.) is up from 6,175 GFLOPS (RX 580) to 7,119 GFLOPS (RX 590). In comparison, the reference GTX 1660 Ti churns out 5,437 GFLOPS. The bad news is that this usually isn’t reflected in actual games. Also, power-efficiency in the Radeon lineup is still far behind the latest Nvidia cards. However, it’s a relatively close competitor as measured in frames per second – and if the price is right it’s still a great choice for both 1080p and 1440p gaming. It gets better still combined with a FreeSync monitor. 

    The 7 Best-Rated RX 590 Graphics Cards

    So let’s move on to the top cards in the category. Actually, this is about half of the total number of cards with this GPU available at the time of writing. We’ve sorted them based on opinions from both professional and user reviews, as well as our own experiences with Polaris cards. Click through to our database entries of the different models to find links to reviews and other information.

    1

    Sapphire Radeon Nitro+ RX 590 Special Edition

    RX 590 Nitro+Sapphire’s Nitro+ series is the manufacturer’s premium graphics card lineup, with the most advanced cooling solution and often a liberal amount of factory overclocking. The Nitro+ is no exception – even the card’s 8 GB of memory (VRAM) is boosted out of the box, making this card a rarity in the segment (possibly unique).

    Compared to the reference model, the Nitro+ GPU boost clock is up from 1545 MHz to 1560 MHz. The VRAM clock is increased from 2000 MHz to 2100 MHz, resulting in an effective 8400 MHz instead of 8000 MHz. 

    Like other Nitro+ cards, this one also an efficient cooling solution with replaceable fans. It also takes up no more than two PCI slots, whereas most competitors use triple-slot options.  

    Professional reviews of the Nitro+ are mostly in agreement that it’s one of the best cards, if not the best. 

    Editors Liked:
    • Efficient cooling solution
    • Compact, dual-slot design
    • Factory-overclocked GPU and VRAM

    Editors didn't like:
    • Power-hungry
    • Only available in blue

    2

    XFX Radeon RX 590 Fatboy OC+

    XFX’s Fatboy is one of the best-selling variants of the card, and not without reason. 

    Like the aforementioned Sapphire card, the Fatboy is factory overclocked. While the memory clock is untouched, the GPU boost clock is actually a bit higher still, at 1580 MHz. This gives you an extra 2% worth of GPU core performance out of the box. 

    The Fatboy’s dual-fan cooling solution takes up three PCI slots internally. XFX has equipped the card with a Unibody VRM Heatsink, which increases the heat sink surface considerably, according to the manufacturer. The card also has an aluminum backplate to improve rigidity and help with heat dissipation.

    XFX has picked up generally favorable reviews of the RX 590 Fatboy.

    Editors Liked:
    • Relatively quiet
    • A clear improvement on the predecessor
    • Factory-overclocked GPU boost clock

    Editors didn't like:
    • Triple-slot cooler
    • Only available in blue

    $209.99 $279.99 1 used from $189.95 18 new from $209.99
    in stock
    XFX RX-590P8DFD6 Radeon Rx 590 Fatboy 8GB OC+ 1580MHz DDR5...
    3

    PowerColor Red Devil RX 590 OC

    PowerColor RX 590PowerColor’s take on the latest AMD Polaris chip is also overclocked out of the box. The reference model’s 1545 MHz maximum GPU boost clock has been increased to 1576 MHz – higher than the Sapphire Nitro+ but marginally lower than the XFX Fatboy. 

    Like the XFX model, the PowerColor Red Devil RX 590 OC is equipped with a dual-fan cooling solution that is rather large and occupies three slots. Anyone who enjoys tinkering with their GPUs will be happy to learn that the Red Devil has a dual BIOS setup. A switch on the card lets you toggle between the two presets ‘Ultra Overclocking’ and ‘Silent Overclocking’.  

    Opinions on the Red Devil are mostly positive, although there are some questions raised regarding how it handles temperatures and power consumption. 

    Editors Liked:
    • Dual BIOS
    • Factory overclocked GPU boost clock

    Editors didn't like:
    • High power draw

    $219.99 $239.99 3 used from $199.38 3 new from $219.99
    in stock
    PowerColor AXRX 590 8GBD5-3DH/OC Graphic Cards, Black/Red
    4

    ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 590 8G Gaming

    Strix RX 590Products in the ever-popular ROG Strix lineup from ASUS tend to breathe quality and come with premium features, but also a price tag to match. The Strix checks all of these boxes including the last one, which is why we’re not rating it higher. As a mid-range card based on the Polaris 30 GPU, the ASUS model is simply not competitive at MSRP.  

    That said, it’s almost certainly a great card. Like its RX 580 predecessor, the Strix 590 is very rare in that it comes in a full-length format with triple-fan cooling

    ASUS has also applied a slight overclock of the GPU boost clock, from 1545 MHz to 1565 MHz, but the VRAM is untouched. Considering the extra fan compared to the other models, there’s a potential for more headroom for a user overclock – to squeeze even more performance out of the card. 

    However, the main selling point for most potential buyers of this expensive card is probably the Aura Sync feature. If you’re building an ASUS ROG-based gaming rig, the RGB lighting scheme will make this one more attractive.

    We haven’t seen many reviews of the card, but most users are positive. 

    Editors Liked:
    • Great cooling
    • Aura Sync feature looks great
    • Factory-overclocked GPU

    Editors didn't like:
    • Expensive

    $325.77 3 used from $269.55 25 new from $325.77
    out of stock
    ASUS ROG Strix Radeon Rx 590 8G Gaming GDDR5 DP...
    5

    ASRock Phantom Gaming X Radeon RX 590

    asrock 590If you don’t want to tinker with the GPU yourself and want the highest possible factory overclocking instead, the ASRock Phantom Gaming X Radeon RX 590 is an attractive option. ASRock has been very generous with the GPU boost clock, and as an added bonus it’s a dual-slot card.

    Compared to the reference model, ASRock has pushed the GPU boost clock from 1545 MHz to 1591 MHz in the Phantom Gaming X, in ‘OC Mode’. This also increases the card’s VRAM very slightly, from 8000 MHz (effective clock) to 8032 MHz. 

    Cooling is handled by two fans in a compact dual-slot solution that doesn’t take up unnecessary space. On the downside, this has also made the card quite loud according to some tester.  

    Editors Liked:
    • Dual-slot design
    • High factory overclock

    Editors didn't like:
    • Loud fans

    6

    Gigabyte Radeon RX 590 Gaming 8G

    Gigabyte has used this exact same Windforce cooling solution on several GPUs in the past – and why change a winning formula? The 590 Gaming 8G was late to the party and we’ve found no professional reviews of the card yet. But since it’s practically identical to the RX 580 Gaming we have in the basement, we’ll vouch for it anyway. 

    In OC mode, the GPU boost clock is increased to 1560 MHz, or 1% compared to the reference design.  

    Like the card’s predecessors and the ASRock and Sapphire alternatives mentioned above, it’s a comparatively compact, dual-slot card suitable for similarly compact gaming PC builds.  

    We Liked (in the RX 580 model):
    • Dual-slot card
    • Very competent cooler for its size
    • RGB LED on top

    We didn't like (in the RX 580):
    • Not an overly exciting design

    $209.99 $239.99 2 used from $195.29 4 new from $209.99
    in stock
    GIGABYTE Radeon Rx 590 Gaming 8G Graphics Card, 2X Windforce...
    7

    MSI Radeon RX 590 Armor 8G OC

    Much like Gigabyte’s model, MSI has reused an existing board design and cooler for the 590 Armor. This one is also a relatively simple dual-fan solution in a dual-slot form factor. It’s available in both a factory overclocked model (OC) and without the overclock. 

    The difference in the OC version is that MSI has increased the GPU boost clock to 1565 MHz, or just over 1% compared to the standard variant.  

    On the whole, it’s a no-frills card based on a tried-and-tested design from a reputable manufacturer, so there should be few surprises here. 

    $259.87 $259.99 4 used from $200.50 3 new from $259.87
    in stock
    MSI Gaming Radeon Rx 590 256-Bit DP/HDMI/DVI 8GB GDRR5 HDCP...

    Undervolting the RX 590

    Ever since the RX 480, which used the first and less efficient version of the same Polaris chip, undervolting has been a topic of much discussion. A problem with Polaris – especially when compared to Nvidia’s lineup – is poor power-efficiency. Although this is the best version so far, it is still less efficient than the GTX 1060 and even more so than the GTX 1660 (Ti).

    Therefore, reducing the voltage to improve the efficiency of the chip used to be a popular tactic among crypto miners. But it’s also useful for gamers. It will keep the temps to a minimum and reduce power draw, often without reducing performance. If you’re interested, take a look at this walkthrough from Wccftech that explains the process.

    Summary

    The RX 590 may have been launched at a bad time, but it may still be a great choice for a mid-range build. Prices are already down significantly since launch, so it’s still competitive with the Nvidia alternatives. However, the price tag should determine whether it’s the best choice at any given time.

    Factory-overclocked cards are generally not worth a premium based on the higher clocks alone but may have other advantages such as better cooling. If this card is not in your price range at the moment, also have a look at our roundup of the best AMD and Nvidia cards below $200

    The post Best RX 590 Card Roundup appeared first on Gaming PC Builder.


    The Best AMD X570 Motherboards For Your Next Ryzen 3000 Build

    AMD has just launched the AMD Ryzen 3000 series CPUs that support PCIe 4.0. If you are on the verge of getting one of the new Ryzen CPUs, then you are going to need a compatible motherboard. Fortunately for (some) existing Ryzen owners, certain previous-gen boards will be able to house the upcoming Ryzen 3000s. […] The post The Best AMD X570 Motherboards For Your Next Ryzen 3000 Build appeared first on Gaming PC...

    AMD has just launched the AMD Ryzen 3000 series CPUs that support PCIe 4.0. If you are on the verge of getting one of the new Ryzen CPUs, then you are going to need a compatible motherboard. Fortunately for (some) existing Ryzen owners, certain previous-gen boards will be able to house the upcoming Ryzen 3000s. Here’s a quick overview:

    AMD X570 Motherboards

    When or if your particular board will support Ryzen 3000/Zen 2 depends on the manufacturer. While the socket is the same, and AMD claims that you can use any motherboard with the new AMD Ryzen CPUs, a BIOS update will be required at the very least.

    If you’re going to build a new system, on the other hand – or just want to get the most out of your new CPU and the benefits of PCI Express 4.0 –  an AMD X570 motherboard is the best option for high-end builds. Here we are going to look into some of the best AMD X570 motherboards that you can get your hands on right now.

    High-End, Mid-Range, and Budget AMD X570 Motherboards

    Motherboard manufacturers have launched a variety of AMD X570 motherboards. Asus alone has 30 variants in the pipeline, and several are available today. Others will become available at a later date, e.g. the water block-covered ASRock Aqua. In this article, we’ll focus on what’s on store shelves now. Unfortunately, it’s a rather demanding platform and none of the X570 boards are bargain-priced. On the plus side, none of them lack essential features such as ultra-fast M.2 slots.  

    High-end chips such as the new Ryzen 3900X that comes with 12 cores and 24 threads will need more power (105W TDP). You should go for a high-end motherboard in order to take full advantage of that powerful chip, especially if you’re going to overclock. As for other features, a good rule of thumb is to only pay for the features that you plan on using, now or in the near future.

    Even after examining all currently available X570 motherboards in detail, it’s hard to pick a winner. But some of them will likely come close enough depending on your requirements. Based on their specs and averages from all professional reviews in our database, these are the boards that we feel comfortable recommending in the E-ATX (super premium), ATX (enthusiast) and ATX (value) categories. 

    Name
    Best E-ATX X570
    MSI MEG X570 GODLIKE Motherboard (AMD AM4, PCIe 4.0, DDR4, SATA 6Gb/s, Triple M.2, USB 3.2, AX Wi-Fi 6, 10G Super LAN, Extended-ATX)
    Best ATX X570
    ASUS ROG Strix X570-E Gaming ATX Motherboard with PCIe 4.0, Aura Sync RGB Lighting, 2.5 Gbps and Intel Gigabit LAN, WiFi 6 (802.11Ax), Dual M.2 with Heatsinks, SATA 6GB/S and USB 3.2 Gen 2
    Best Value X570
    Asus Prime X570-P Ryzen 3 AM4 with PCIe Gen4, Dual M.2 HDMI, SATA 6GB/s USB 3.2 Gen 2 ATX Motherboard
    Image
    MSI MEG X570 GODLIKE Motherboard (AMD AM4, PCIe 4.0, DDR4, SATA 6Gb/s, Triple M.2, USB 3.2, AX Wi-Fi 6, 10G Super LAN, Extended-ATX)
    ASUS ROG Strix X570-E Gaming ATX Motherboard with PCIe 4.0, Aura Sync RGB Lighting, 2.5 Gbps and Intel Gigabit LAN, WiFi 6 (802.11Ax), Dual M.2 with Heatsinks, SATA 6GB/S and USB 3.2 Gen 2
    Asus Prime X570-P Ryzen 3 AM4 with PCIe Gen4, Dual M.2 HDMI, SATA 6GB/s USB 3.2 Gen 2 ATX Motherboard
    Form Factor
    E-ATX
    ATX
    ATX
    RAM slots/speed (max.)
    4x/4800+ MHz (128GB)
    4x/4400 MHz (128GB)
    4x/4400+ MHz (128GB)
    PCIe 4.0 M.2 Slots
    3x 32GB/s (+2 via add-in card)
    2x
    2
    Wi-Fi 6/802.11ax
    2x2 MU-MIMO 802.11ax
    Yes
    No
    PCIe x16/x8 slots
    4
    3
    2
    Crossfire/SLI
    Y/Y
    Y/Y
    Y/N
    BIOS Flashback
    Yes
    Yes
    No
    Ethernet
    10 Gbps (via add-in card)
    2.5 Gbps
    1 Gbps
    SATA Ports
    6
    6
    6
    RGB
    Yes
    Yes
    Yes, header x2
    User Rating
    Prime Status
    Price From*
    $699.99
    $326.99
    $135.99
    Best E-ATX X570
    Name
    MSI MEG X570 GODLIKE Motherboard (AMD AM4, PCIe 4.0, DDR4, SATA 6Gb/s, Triple M.2, USB 3.2, AX Wi-Fi 6, 10G Super LAN, Extended-ATX)
    Image
    MSI MEG X570 GODLIKE Motherboard (AMD AM4, PCIe 4.0, DDR4, SATA 6Gb/s, Triple M.2, USB 3.2, AX Wi-Fi 6, 10G Super LAN, Extended-ATX)
    Form Factor
    E-ATX
    RAM slots/speed (max.)
    4x/4800+ MHz (128GB)
    PCIe 4.0 M.2 Slots
    3x 32GB/s (+2 via add-in card)
    Wi-Fi 6/802.11ax
    2x2 MU-MIMO 802.11ax
    PCIe x16/x8 slots
    4
    Crossfire/SLI
    Y/Y
    BIOS Flashback
    Yes
    Ethernet
    10 Gbps (via add-in card)
    SATA Ports
    6
    RGB
    Yes
    User Rating
    Prime Status
    Price From*
    $699.99
    Best ATX X570
    Name
    ASUS ROG Strix X570-E Gaming ATX Motherboard with PCIe 4.0, Aura Sync RGB Lighting, 2.5 Gbps and Intel Gigabit LAN, WiFi 6 (802.11Ax), Dual M.2 with Heatsinks, SATA 6GB/S and USB 3.2 Gen 2
    Image
    ASUS ROG Strix X570-E Gaming ATX Motherboard with PCIe 4.0, Aura Sync RGB Lighting, 2.5 Gbps and Intel Gigabit LAN, WiFi 6 (802.11Ax), Dual M.2 with Heatsinks, SATA 6GB/S and USB 3.2 Gen 2
    Form Factor
    ATX
    RAM slots/speed (max.)
    4x/4400 MHz (128GB)
    PCIe 4.0 M.2 Slots
    2x
    Wi-Fi 6/802.11ax
    Yes
    PCIe x16/x8 slots
    3
    Crossfire/SLI
    Y/Y
    BIOS Flashback
    Yes
    Ethernet
    2.5 Gbps
    SATA Ports
    6
    RGB
    Yes
    User Rating
    Prime Status
    Price From*
    $326.99
    Best Value X570
    Name
    Asus Prime X570-P Ryzen 3 AM4 with PCIe Gen4, Dual M.2 HDMI, SATA 6GB/s USB 3.2 Gen 2 ATX Motherboard
    Image
    Asus Prime X570-P Ryzen 3 AM4 with PCIe Gen4, Dual M.2 HDMI, SATA 6GB/s USB 3.2 Gen 2 ATX Motherboard
    Form Factor
    ATX
    RAM slots/speed (max.)
    4x/4400+ MHz (128GB)
    PCIe 4.0 M.2 Slots
    2
    Wi-Fi 6/802.11ax
    No
    PCIe x16/x8 slots
    2
    Crossfire/SLI
    Y/N
    BIOS Flashback
    No
    Ethernet
    1 Gbps
    SATA Ports
    6
    RGB
    Yes, header x2
    User Rating
    Prime Status
    Price From*
    $135.99

    Last update on 2019-10-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

    MSI’s Godlike will deliver more than enough stable power for your overclocking needs, while also including a vast range of connectivity options and nice-to-haves – including a built-in OLED display and a couple of add-in cards for additional M.2 slots and 10 Gbit LAN. Unfortunately, it’s not exactly affordable.

    The Asus ROG Strix X570-E is more reasonably priced and looks like the best X570 motherboard in the standard ATX form factor. It has received top scores from professional reviews and users alike – and its feature set doesn’t leave much to be desired.

    As there are no particularly cheap X570 boards, our “budget” pick is the quite competent Asus Prime X570-P. While opting for the MSI X570-A PRO will shave off around $10, we definitely feel that you get better value with this Asus board. It has a better overall feature set, including RGB headers and what appears to be a better VRM (8+4 DrMOS).

    Now for a more detailed look at the top X570 motherboards currently on the market. We’ll start with the big ones. Feel free to skip to your preferred section using the quick links on the right. 

    Top Enthusiast E-ATX X570 Motherboards

    1

    MSI MEG X570 GODLIKE

    We’ll start with a full-featured motherboard from MSI in the super-premium segment. The board is designed for the AMD Ryzen 3000-series CPUs and features a 14+14+1 digital power design that does not compromise on performance or features. You can expect the motherboard to provide ample power to the CPU even when overclocking.

    It comes with the M.2 Shield Frozr for keeping the temperature in check and allowing your storage to perform as it should. There is a double bearing Frozr heatsink on the motherboard as well. The MSI MEG X570 Godlike also comes with a display that highlights important information and errors that you should know about. You can customize it to display any visuals that you would like to view through the transparent case of your high-end monster build.

    It also features Wi-Fi 6 for fast internet and gaming, as well as 10 Gbps wired LAN via an included add-in card. There are three high-speed M.2 storage slots (with fans) and yet another add-in card that lets you add two more SSDs.

    If you are looking for a new motherboard that has all the latest features and looks great too, then the MSI MEG X570 Godlike is an option that you should look into.

    Editors Liked:
    • Superb power delivery
    • Lots of fast storage slots
    • Complementary add-in cards
    • Built-in OLED panel

    Editors didn't like:
    • Very expensive

    Links: Reviews and details | Manufacturer’s product page

    2

    X570 AORUS Xtreme

    X570 AORUS Xtreme

    The X570 AORUS Xtreme is a Gigabyte’s answer to MSI’s Godlike in the ultra-premium segment. It comes with a 16-phases Infineon Digital VRM Solution with 70A power stage. This should be more than enough even for the top-of-the-line 3900X. The motherboard features three ultra-fast NVMe PCIe 4.0/3.0 x4 M.2 for high-speed SSDs. All of these come with thermal guards to keep the temperature in check. Actually, most of the board is covered in heatsinks and it’s one of the few X570 variants without a chipset fan.

    The Xtreme also comes with WiFi 6 802.11ax 2T2R & BT 5. RGB is a common trend in 2019 and you have plenty of RGB options on this motherboard. You can add RGB components of your choice to sync with the motherboard and the rest of the hardware and peripherals. If you are looking for the best possible X570  motherboard for you next Ryzen build, then it’s mostly this one and the MSI Godlike you should be looking at.

    Editors Liked:
    • Superb power delivery
    • Lots of fast storage slots
    • Complementary add-in cards
    • Built-in OLED panel

    Editors didn't like:
    • Very expensive

    Links: Reviews and detailsManufacturer product page

    3

    MSI Prestige X570 Creation

    MSI PRESTIGE X570 CREATION

    The MSI Prestige X570 Creation is another high-end E-ATX board for the 3rd generation (and 2nd generation) AMD Ryzen chips. Like most others of its kind, it has 4 RAM slots and supports up to 128 GB of dual channel DDR4 memory running at blazing-fast speeds. More importantly, it also features Dual LAN, including 10Gbit Super LAN and WI-FI 6 onboard. You also get to take advantage of 64GB/s bandwidth using up to four Gen4 PCI-E M.2 SSDs.

    The Frozr Heatsink on the motherboard is there to keep the thermals in check even when under load. The MSI PRESTIGE X570 CREATION also comes with an integrated I/O shield that will allow you to install the motherboard in your case easily. (Speaking of the case, don’t forget that this is an Extended ATX board and will require more space than some compact cases will provide.)

    Dual 8-pin power supply and IR digital power design provide the power needed to run the AMD Ryzen 9 CPU and enough headroom to overclock. Audio Boost 4 provides high-quality audio when gaming or consuming content.

    While the Prestige X570 Creation is aimed at content creators, it will serve you equally well as a gaming motherboard depending on your PCIe and M.2 slot requirements. 

    Editors Liked:
    • Outstanding quality and performance
    • Four high-speed PCIe 4.0 M.2 slots
    • Onboard 10 Gbps Ethernet

    Editors didn't like:
    • Costly

    Reviews and details | Manufacturer’s product page

    The Best Premium ATX X570 Motherboards

    For the vast majority of gaming PC builders, a solid motherboard in the standard ATX form factor is the best starting point for a new build. Unless your requirements are very specific, these boards are more than sufficient for providing a great Ryzen 3000-based gaming experience for years to come.  Most of them offer plenty of overclocking headroom, while also being future-proof thanks to the PCIe 4.0 interface. 

    1

    Asus ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Formulacrosshair viii-formula

    The Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Formula is a premium motherboard for enthusiasts, with features and a price tag to match. It is liquid-cooling ready courtesy of a Crosschill EK III water block for the VRM, and it comes wrapped in armor. There is armor on the back as well to provide additional support and cooling. In addition, there is a small OLED display that will show information and code if needed. Naturally, you also get plenty of RGB lighting options and also a 5 Gbit Aquantia Ethernet controller. 

    Being a motherboard targeted at overclockers, the power solution with 14+2 IR3555 PowIRstages should be more than sufficient. Asus claims that it can handle even more cores and threads than what AMD has announced at Computex 2019, which might mean that it’s ready for a putative 16-core AMD CPU that might be in the works. Other motherboards in the Crosshair series include ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Hero (see below) and ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Impact.

    If you are looking for a motherboard in the ATX form factor with all the bells and whistles, then the Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Formula is a strong contender.

    Editors Liked:
    • Ready for VRM liquid cooling 
    • All high-end components
    • Onboard 5 Gbps Ethernet

    Editors didn't like:
    • Considerably pricier than the Hero edition

    $687.18 $699.99 1 used from $605.42 20 new from $683.69
    in stock
    ASUS ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Formula ATX Motherboard with PCIe...

    Reviews and detailsManufacturer’s product page

    2

    Asus ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Hero

    ASUS ROG X570 Crosshair VIII HeroIf you don’t intend to need a liquid-cooled VRM, an OLED panel – and will settle for 2.5 Gbit Ethernet instead of 5 Gbit – then the ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Hero offers much better value than the Formula. And you still get a premium ATX board with all high-end components, just like with the Formula flagship. 

    Other than the features we just mentioned, the Crosshair Hero is nearly identical to the Formula version but priced much lower. The same power solution is included, but the whole thing is cooled by plenty of heatsinks and a fan instead. 

    The Hero has received several glowing reviews by experts and users alike, so we have won’t hesitate to recommend this board over many other premium offerings. If there’s one negative aspect, it’s that the Crosshair VII Hero is still rather pricey compared to some competitors in the premium range of X570 boards. 

    Editors Liked:
    • Mostly identical to the Formula, minus water cooling
    • Onboard 2.5 Gbps Ethernet
    • Great overall performer

    Editors didn't like:
    • Still a bit expensive compared to other premium boards

    Reviews and detailsManufacturer’s product page

    3

    MSI MEG X570 ACE

    msi meg ace x570If you’re looking for an enthusiast-grade ATX board – but prefer MSI over Asus – the MEG X570 ACE is in the same price range as the Crosshair Hero. It has a similar feature set and a sophisticated VRM (12+2+1 IR digital power) that should enable some serious tweaking. 

    In addition, the MEG ACE is equipped with fast Wi-Fi 6 MU-MIMO (non-optional) as well as a 2.5 Gbit LAN controller. With this motherboard, you also get an additional PCIe 4.0-enabled M.2 SSD slot for a total of three. 

    The MSI MEG ACE sits just below the previously mentioned E-ATX X570 Godlike. It costs considerably less, and you’ll have to get by without the add-in cards and some other bling, but the component quality is still top-notch. 

    Editors Liked:
    • Superb VRM solution
    • Onboard 2.5 Gbps Ethernet and Wi-Fi 6
    • Triple PCIe 4.0 M.2 slots

    Editors didn't like:
    • Just 4 SATA ports

    $342.99 $369.99 1 used from $318.98 21 new from $342.99
    in stock
    MSI MEG X570 ACE Motherboard (AMD AM4, DDR4, PCIe 4.0,...

    Reviews and detailsManufacturer’s product page

    4

    Gigabyte X570 AORUS Master

    X570 AORUS Master

    The X570 AORUS Master is another high-end motherboard from Gigabyte that sits right below the flagship Xtreme model and above the Ultra in the manufacturer’s lineup. The mobo comes with three M.2 slots for high-speed data transfers – and all leverage the new PCIe 4.0 standard. The motherboard has a clean Black and Silver theme that should blend in well with the rest of your build.

    The PCI slots have metal shields to protect your graphics card and provide better support. The M.2 slots also have shields as well as heatsinks for better SSD cooling. Needless to say, the board has RGB lighting, but there’s also a small display that will show you important information such as error codes and system temperature.

    As usual, the board supports the 3rd and 2nd generation AMD Ryzen chips and comes with 4 RAM slots (max. 128 GB). What’s less usual compared to lower-end motherboards, however, is the high-end Direct 14 Phases Infineon Digital VRM Solution with PowIRstage, so the power delivery is not going to be an issue even with high-end AMD Ryzen CPUs such as the 3900X.

    An integrated USB TurboCharger can be used to charge devices that support fast charging. The integrated I/O shield is going to make installing the motherboard much easier compared to motherboards that do not come with this feature.

    Editors Liked:
    • Excellent power delivery solution
    • 2.5GbE and Wi-Fi 6 included
    • Three PCIe 4.0 M.2 slots

    Editors didn't like:
    • Rather expensive
    • Using all M.2 slots means losing 2 SATA ports


    Reviews and details | Manufacturer’s product page

    5

    Asus ROG Strix X570-E Gaming

    Asus ROG Strix X570-E Gaming

    We will now once again return to Asus and one of the hardware editors’ favorite: the ROG Strix X570-E Gaming motherboard. While the Crosshair has some additional premium features, this is a solid upper midrange motherboard that has most of the features that a gamer needs. You still have great performance and the ability to overclock so you are not missing out on much.

    Like all the other motherboards that we have looked into so far, this one comes with RGB lighting as well. The logo and cybertext light up and you can plug in additional RGB fans and lighting strips.

    This is not Asus’ top-of-the-line model, so you can save some money but still get all the features that you need. You have two M.2 slots for high-speed PCIe 4.0 storage and the usual 4 RAM slots to populate. In addition, this board has plenty of PCI slots. It comes with highspeed Wi-Fi, 2.5 Gbit LAN and an integrated I/O shield for easy installation.

    If you are looking for a premium X570 motherboard for gaming then the Asus ROG Strix X570-E Gaming is a great option to consider. FYI: there is also a scaled-down version of this board know as the Strix X570-F, which we can’t recommend at this pointThe reason is not that it’s a bad motherboard, but it’s not much cheaper than the E model and lacks key features such as Wi-Fi 6 and 2.5 GbE. 

    Editors Liked:
    • All the ROG features at a lower cost
    • 2.5GbE and Wi-Fi 6
    • Excellent build quality

    Editors didn't like:
    • Only two M.2 slots

    $326.99 $329.99 5 used from $296.48 27 new from $326.99
    in stock
    ASUS ROG Strix X570-E Gaming ATX Motherboard with PCIe 4.0,...

    Reviews and detailsManufacturer’s product page

    6

    ASRock X570 Taichi

    The X570 Taichi is part of ASRock’s premium lineup for Ryzen 3000 and competes directly with the just mentioned Strix X570-E from Asus. What sets these boards apart is mainly their varieties of slots and ports.

    Much lite its rival, the Taichi comes with Wi-Fi 6 802.11ax (2.4Gbps) + BT 5.0, but no 2.5 Gigabit LAN. Instead, you get an extra PCIe 4.0-enabled M.2 slot.

    The Taichi supports CrossFireX as well as SLI, which is common for high-end motherboards. Something that’s a lot less common, however, is that you can get Thunderbolt 3 with this board. Unfortunately, that requires a separate, proprietary add-in card that you attach to the board’s TB3 header.

    Another unique ASRock feature is a flexible integrated I/O shield that should simplify installation. The Taichi’s full-coverage heatsink on top of the M.2 slot area is not making waves among reviewers, on the other hand, as it appears to be rather impractical to handle. Issues with a noisy fan have also been reported. 

    Editors Liked:
    • Excellent VRM
    • Ax Wi-Fi included
    • Thunderbolt 3 header

    Editors didn't like:
    • Fan is noisy unless turned down manually
    • Impractical large heatsink

    Reviews and details | Manufacturer’s product page

    Small Form Factor Alternative: Strix X570-I Gaming

    This is another board that supports PCIe 4.0 but it is smaller as compared to the other boards that we have looked into. Asus claims that the Strix X570-I Gaming is proof that the best things do perhaps come in small packages. The Strix X570-I is a mini-ITX board for people that are looking to build a small form factor build.

    Strix X570-I Gaming

    The motherboard features 8+2 power stages and features a heatsink that has its own fan. This allows you to overclock your CPU while keeping the temperature in check. The motherboard does come with an AIO header with the hybrid fan header if you are interested in liquid cooling your CPU.

    It also has diagnostic LEDs that let you know what went wrong when an overclock crashes your system. There are only has 2 RAM slots, but that is not an issue for most users, as you can get 16 GB DIMMs and get 64 GB of RAM in total.

    Other features include HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.4, Intel Wi-Fi 6 Bluetooth 5.0. The RGB lighting is a staple for Asus products and you get that in this small motherboard a well. Not only does the logo light up but you get headers for connecting fans and lights. You can sync the lighting of the motherboard with other hardware components and peripherals that support it.

    If you are looking to build a mini-ITX gaming PC that does not compromise on performance then the Strix X570-I Gaming will be a great place to start.

    Manufacturer’s product page

    Summing Up

    The new AMD X570 motherboards support the AMD Ryzen 3000 series chips that are based on the 7nm process. All of them offer support for the key feature of this generation – PCIe 4.0 – and an X570 mainboard is going to be the best way to access this feature from day one. A great thing about PCIe 4.0 is that it’s backward compatible with legacy hardware, but PCIe 4.0 gear that utilizes the doubled bandwidth of the new standard is underway.

    Here we have looked into some of what will likely be the best AMD X570 motherboards that you can buy in 2019. If you are looking for a premium motherboard that is designed for enthusiasts then the Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Formula is a great option to consider. If you need something that is a bit mainstream then you should check out the ASRock X570 Phantom Gaming X. If you are building a small form factor build that does not compromise on performance then you should look into the Strix X570-I.

    Let us know what you think about these AMD X570 motherboards and whether or not you are interested in buying one for your next build or system upgrade!

    The post The Best AMD X570 Motherboards For Your Next Ryzen 3000 Build appeared first on Gaming PC Builder.


    Fastest M.2 NVMe SSDs

    Moving to faster storage can shave seconds off most of your PC activities – from booting up your OS to loading apps and games. If you are currently booting from a hard drive, there is simply no other component that will have a comparable effect on your user experience than an SSD. But not all […] The post Fastest M.2 NVMe SSDs appeared first on Gaming PC...

    optane-800pMoving to faster storage can shave seconds off most of your PC activities – from booting up your OS to loading apps and games. If you are currently booting from a hard drive, there is simply no other component that will have a comparable effect on your user experience than an SSD.

    But not all solid state drives are created equal. If you have an available M.2 slot on your motherboard (desktop or laptop), then this is most likely this type of SSD you want as a system drive. Preferably, it should also be compatible with PCI Express and the modern storage interface protocol NVMe.

    Table of Contents

    What is NVMe and is it necessary?

    NVMe example

    Image credit: Intel

    What SSD speed boils down to is how fast you can move data from storage (non-volatile, slow) to DRAM (volatile, fast).

    NVMe – short for non-volatile memory express – was created to make the most out of solid state drives in combination with the PCI Express interface. Its predecessor was and is  AHCI (paired with SATA), which was originally intended for mechanical hard drives. The newer protocol includes lots of efficiency improvements when dealing with parallel transfers and the low-latency nature of SSDs.

    If you want to learn more about NVMe, start by checking out this introduction by Intel. It’s aimed at Intel’s data center customers but is accessible to anyone who wants a quick overview of the NVMe advantages.

    When shopping for a new SSD, it’s important to know that M.2 is just a form factor that says nothing of performance. Some M.2 SSDs operate over the SATA interface, making it no different from a 2.5″ drive in terms of performance. Other drives instead use PCI Express (PCIe), which is a considerably faster interface.

    Fastest Vs. Best Value M.2 SSD

    The short version is that if you want an M.2 SSD that is consistently fast during long-term, heavy use – and don’t mind paying a bit more – you should opt for one that uses MLC Flash (or 3D XPoint) memory chips. But if you don’t work with storage-heavy applications you will probably won’t notice the difference compared to a drive based on 3D TLC memory. TLC-based drives are more affordable but can be as fast as MLC-based SSDs in shorter bursts.

    MLC, or Multi-level cell NAND, generally offer better endurance and overall performance than its triple-level cell counterpart. But for a vast majority of users, TLC endurance will be more than enough, and the difference in performance is barely noticeable.

    Product
    Fastest M.2 SSD
    GIGABYTE AORUS NVMe Gen4 M.2 1TB PCI-Express 4.0 Interface High Performance Gaming, Full Body Copper Heat Spreader, Toshiba 3D NAND, DDR Cache Buffer, 5 Year Warranty SSD GP-ASM2NE6100TTTD
    Best Value
    Samsung 970 EVO Plus Series - 500GB PCIe NVMe - M.2 Internal SSD (MZ-V7S500B/AM)
    Image
    GIGABYTE AORUS NVMe Gen4 M.2 1TB PCI-Express 4.0 Interface High Performance Gaming, Full Body Copper Heat Spreader, Toshiba 3D NAND, DDR Cache Buffer, 5 Year Warranty SSD GP-ASM2NE6100TTTD
    Samsung 970 EVO Plus Series - 500GB PCIe NVMe - M.2 Internal SSD (MZ-V7S500B/AM)
    Sequential read (max., MB/s)
    5000
    3500
    Sequential write (max., MB/s)
    4400
    3200
    Random read IOPS (4K/QD32)
    750000
    480000
    Random write IOPS (4K/QD32)
    700000
    550000
    Average rating
    User reviews
    5 Reviews
    657 Reviews
    Warranty
    5 Years
    5 Years
    Endurance rating (TBW)
    1800 TBW
    300 TBW
    Price
    $209.99
    $119.98
    Fastest M.2 SSD
    Product
    GIGABYTE AORUS NVMe Gen4 M.2 1TB PCI-Express 4.0 Interface High Performance Gaming, Full Body Copper Heat Spreader, Toshiba 3D NAND, DDR Cache Buffer, 5 Year Warranty SSD GP-ASM2NE6100TTTD
    Image
    GIGABYTE AORUS NVMe Gen4 M.2 1TB PCI-Express 4.0 Interface High Performance Gaming, Full Body Copper Heat Spreader, Toshiba 3D NAND, DDR Cache Buffer, 5 Year Warranty SSD GP-ASM2NE6100TTTD
    Sequential read (max., MB/s)
    5000
    Sequential write (max., MB/s)
    4400
    Random read IOPS (4K/QD32)
    750000
    Random write IOPS (4K/QD32)
    700000
    Average rating
    User reviews
    5 Reviews
    Warranty
    5 Years
    Endurance rating (TBW)
    1800 TBW
    Price
    $209.99
    Best Value
    Product
    Samsung 970 EVO Plus Series - 500GB PCIe NVMe - M.2 Internal SSD (MZ-V7S500B/AM)
    Image
    Samsung 970 EVO Plus Series - 500GB PCIe NVMe - M.2 Internal SSD (MZ-V7S500B/AM)
    Sequential read (max., MB/s)
    3500
    Sequential write (max., MB/s)
    3200
    Random read IOPS (4K/QD32)
    480000
    Random write IOPS (4K/QD32)
    550000
    Average rating
    User reviews
    657 Reviews
    Warranty
    5 Years
    Endurance rating (TBW)
    300 TBW
    Price
    $119.98

    Last update on 2019-10-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

    Fastest PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 SSD: Gigabyte Aorus Gen4

    If – and only if – you have a motherboard that supports PCI Express 4.0 (at this point only AMD X570 boards with Ryzen 3000-series CPUs), then here’s a suitable SSD. All current PCIe 4.0-capable SSDs are based on the same Phison PS5016-E16 controller and 3D TLC Toshiba BiCS4 memory. For this reason, they offer about the same performance. 

    Apparently, PCIe 4.0 SSDs run hot, so a model with a heatsink is recommended. When combined with the right motherboard, there is no question that you get amazing transfer rates of up to 5 TB/s. Again, this is only with a compatible motherboard/CPU combo – otherwise, these drives will max out at PCIe 3.0 speeds. 

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    Best PCIe 3.0 NVMe M.2 SSD: Samsung 970 PRO

    No single drive will take home the crown as the fastest M.2. SSD in every benchmark or practical use case. However, our choice as the best general performer in the PCIe 3.0 segment of 2019, is still the versatile Samsung 970 PRO – a drive that currently tops many performance charts in the M.2 PCI Express category.

    It’s also considered one of the most reliable. Actually, Samsung’s performance and reliability track record in the SSD segment has been almost flawless for nearly a decade, so it’s a very comfortable recommendation.

    The 970 PRO comes with Samsung’s proprietary controller and MLC chips, as well as an excellent endurance rating. Unfortunately, the 970 PRO is only available in two capacities: 512 GB and 1 TB, which limits your choices. It may also be a questionable choice when looking at the performance/$ equation because the cost per GB is above average.

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    Read more about the 970 PRO in our SSD database >>

    Best Value: Samsung 970 EVO Plus

    This will ultimately depend on today’s prices for the best M.2 SSDs on the market (scroll down for a full list). Nevertheless, Samsung’s 970 EVO Plus is cheaper than the PRO and very close in terms of raw performance. Although it uses less durable TLC NAND, this drive is among the very best – and will likely remain so until we see more competition in the PCIe 4.0 segment. 

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    Read more about the 970 EVO Plus in our SSD database >>

    On the same note, also check out the affordable yet well-rounded MyDigitalSSD BPX Pro, which is normally a nice mix of value and performance. MyDigitalSSD might not be one of the big names in storage, but the company has successfully released a relatively wide range of SSDs based on well-known third-party components. This particular drive uses Toshiba 3D TLC NAND memory in combination with the recent Phison E12 controller. The result is a lot of fast storage for the money.

    12 of the Fastest M.2 PCIe NVMe SSDs in 2019

    There are alternatives to all of the above of course. Some of which could be better options if the price is right, so don’t stop reading just yet. In the following list we’ve put together some of the best-performing, recently released drives. They are ordered by sequential performance first, random second. Because of the drives’ different controllers and memory types, these numbers are only an indication of actual performance.

    # NameMax. sequential read/write (MB/s)4K random read/write performance (IOPS)Endurance rating (terabytes written)Store link
    2Gigabyte Aorus Gen4 (500GB)5000/2500550K/400K850 TBWView on Amazon
    1Sabrent Rocket Gen4 (500GB)5000/2500N/AN/AView on Amazon
    3Corsair MP600 Gen4 (500GB)4950/2500550K/420K850 TBWView on Amazon
    4Samsung 970 PRO (512GB)3500/2700370K/500K600 TBWView on Amazon
    5Samsung 970 EVO PLUS (500GB)3500/3200480K/550K300 TBWView on Amazon
    6WD Black SN750 (500GB)3470/2600420K/380K300 TBWView on Amazon
    7Adata XPG SX8200 Pro (512GB)3500/2300390K/380K320 TBWView on Amazon
    8MyDigitalSSD BPX Pro (480 GB)3400/2100600K/600K*800 TBWView on Amazon
    9HP EX950 (512GB)3500/2250390K/370K320 TBWView on Amazon
    10Intel SSD 760p (512GB)3230/1625340K/275K288 TBWView on Amazon
    11OCZ RD400 (512GB)2600/1600190K/120K296 TBWView on Amazon
    12Intel Optane SSD 800P (118GB)1450/640250K/140K365 TBWView on Amazon

    Remember that the Gen4 SSDs on top of the list requires a PCI Express 4.0-capable motherboard (X570 chipset) to run at full speed. In other words: don’t pay extra for a Gen4 SSD unless you own a suitable motherboard or plan on upgrading. 

    High-End Alternative: Intel Optane 800p

    optane-800pThe last drive on our list should also be considered a high-end option. Although its sequential performance might not sound like much, Intel’s Optane 800p will be faster than all other M.2 SSDs in certain areas. Its extremely low latency makes random performance at low queue depths particularly good, which is an advantage in a system drive. The reason why it’s hard to compare to other SSDs is that it uses Intel’s proprietary 3D XPoint memory instead of ‘normal’ NAND Flash.

    Unfortunately, it also comes with a much higher cost/GB than competing drives and is only available in two tiny capacities – 58 GB and 118 GB. Read more about it here, or head straight to AnandTech for what is likely the most detailed review online.

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    Which is the Best M.2 SSD for Gaming?

    For the average user, the difference between an SSD and a hard drive – in terms of user experience – will be very clearly noticeable. The effect of shifting from one type of SSD to another will not be as dramatic.

    All storage-intensive tasks that move lots of files around will be affected by an SSDs capability. However, a faster SSD will not necessarily shorten loading times in games by large amounts. Here’s an interesting test from the web, comparing an M.2 PCIe SSD (970 Pro) versus an older 2.5″ SATA SSD (plus a mechanical hard drive) when loading various games:

    Here’s a summary of the data:

    GameLoading from mechanical HDDLoading from 2.5" SATA SSDLoading from 970 Pro (M.2 NVMe)Decrease/Increase, (NVMe Vs SATA)
    Total325s161s151s-6%
    Destiny 2
    45s31s29s-6%
    Deus Ex: Mankind Divided71s27s21s-22%
    DOOM65s49s47s-4%
    Civilization 627s18s17s-6%
    Far Cry 525s10s11s+10%
    Path of Exile23s3s3s+0%
    World of Warcraft36s7s6s-14%
    Skyrim Special Edition20s9s12s+33%
    Witcher 313s7s5s-29%

    Source: YouTube user Alexandr iuneWind

    With these results in mind, it is probably safe to assume that a comparison of individual high-end M.2 PCIe SSDs will result in small differences as far as gaming is concerned. The usual price/performance calculation will serve you well. Of course, all seconds saved add up to minutes and hours in the long run, so a fast NVMe is still a key component in a high-end PC. But in most cases, you can not expect the sort of radical performance gains that you see when coming from a traditional hard drive.

    Will it Work in my Laptop/Desktop PC?

    For the listed drives to work in your computer, it must have the proper slot and support for PCIe/NVMe. But there may be exceptions: Even without an M.2 slot on your (desktop) motherboard, you may still be able to use one in a full-size PCIe x4 slot via an adapter. But if you want to run your OS from the drive, your motherboard still must support booting from PCIe, which is not a guarantee with older motherboards.

    Most recent, high-end ATX-size motherboards include at least one M.2 slot and will most likely be able to run a modern SSD at the full supported speed. With an older or entry-level board, you might not be so lucky. In any event, it’s always best to check the manual before buying a new drive.

    Keying and Sizes

    M.2 SSDs (and other M.2 cards) come in different sizes and some motherboards – particularly in laptops – will only hold a drive up to a certain size. They also have different sets of notches (keying) that will prevent you from installing it the wrong way.

    M.2 Keying and Size

    Three different key types or ‘notch styles’ may be used by M.2 SSDs: B, M or B&M. The socket can be either B or M, but not both.

    High-end SSDs, as well as recent motherboards, will have to use an M-key slot, as this is the only type that provides four lanes of bandwidth, or 20 Gbit/s, also known as PCIe x4. B-key supports ‘only’ PCIe x2, or 10 Gbit/s.

    On many motherboards, the connector itself or the PCB next to it will be labeled with the keying. Otherwise, check the specs or manual. Likewise, M.2 card length might be stamped on the board, looking something like this:

    High-capacity drives have additional memory chips mounted on the card and may require more space. The M.2 standard allows for cards of five different lengths, with the number format meaning width-length in millimeters. All sizes are the same width, so the two most common, 2280 and 2242, are 80mm and 42mm long, respectively (and so on). All sizes:

    • 2230
    • 2242
    • 2260
    • 2280
    • 22110

    Not all motherboards – and much less all laptops – can accommodate the longest cards and some might not even support the common 2280 size (the format used by most of the drives listed above). So make sure to check before buying.

    Also, don’t confuse M.2 and mSATA, which is another, older standard. These slots may look similar on the motherboard, but they’re not compatible. M.2 SSDs may also use the SATA interface, but that doesn’t mean it’s an mSATA drive.

    Checklist Before Buying an M.2 SSD

    • Check the drive’s interface and M.2 keying, e.g. B+M-key/M-key (all PCIe x4 SSDs are M-key).
    • Make sure it matches the slot on your motherboard or in your laptop. You can usually find this information on the specs page.
    • Also ensure that the length of the drive is supported, e.g. 2280 or 2242 (numbers in bold are millimeters).

    To sum things up about keying and interfaces: it might sound complicated, but really isn’t. If you are building a high-end PC based on a Z170, Z270, B350/B450, X370/X470 chipset, it will likely have an M-key slot. And if so, most of the popular M-key or B+M-key drives will work. But there are a few exceptions, so it’s best to double-check.

    Choosing the Right Capacity

    You can hardly ever have too much storage space, but all of it doesn’t have to be super fast. There is no reason to use an expensive, high-end SSD to store family photos, backups, or your entire Steam library.

    Using myself as an example, my main PC has a primary 256 GB SSD that contains the stuff I use on a regular basis. That includes the OS, all work-related apps and a couple of games – basically what I want quick access to on a regular basis. The rest is mostly distributed on some affordable terabytes of hard drive space (local and NAS). On the local SSD, what takes up most of the space right now are those two games, both of which take up a lot of space.

    In other words, what capacity you need will be very personal. If you just want a really fast computer for work (and who doesn’t?), you can probably get by with as little as 128 GB and use hard drives for the rest. If you’re an avid gamer, on the other hand, 512/500 GB is probably a minimum.

    Most importantly, you want to boot from your fastest drive. That means it must be able to store the OS and all of its associated files (such as caches and swap). And it’s not that much:

    • Windows 10 (64-bit): 20GB
    • MacOs Mojave: 12.5GB
    • Ubuntu 17.04: 25GB
    • Manjaro 18 (Arch): 30GB
    • Linux Mint 19.1 (Debian/Ubuntu): 20GB
    • Elementary OS 5 (Debian/Ubuntu): 15GB
    • Fedora 29: 10GB
    • OpenSuse 42.3: 5GB

    Those numbers may or may not be a minimum requirement, but also add – at the very least – the amount of RAM in your system to be on the safe side (to make room for the swap file). Office apps are usually not that demanding either, with MS Office taking up about 4 GB of space on your SSD. Games tend to use a lot more but can range in size from a few hundred megabytes to dozens of gigabytes, so there is no simple answer. On the other hand, loading games from a slower device (but preferably still an SSD) is still a viable option, as seen above.

    The post Fastest M.2 NVMe SSDs appeared first on Gaming PC Builder.


    4TB SSD Roundup: All 4 TB+ Solid State Drives

    Looking for a place to store your entire Steam library without compromising on performance? For now, 4 TB is the largest amount of SSD storage space you can get your hands on today in a single drive on the consumer market. And even then, availability is very limited. Here we’ve collected every single 4TB SSD […] The post 4TB SSD Roundup: All 4 TB+ Solid State Drives appeared first on Gaming PC...

    Looking for a place to store your entire Steam library without compromising on performance? For now, 4 TB is the largest amount of SSD storage space you can get your hands on today in a single drive on the consumer market. And even then, availability is very limited. Here we’ve collected every single 4TB SSD we could find as of late 2019.

    It’s fully possible to build high-capacity SSDs – at least in the 2.5″ and Add-in Card form factors – so the major stopping block is a high cost for the end-user. However, the cost of Flash memory has been dropping for some time. And thanks to the arrival of cheaper chips in the form of TLC (triple-level cell) and lately QLC (quad-level cell) NAND, prices should keep falling.

    As of now, however, only a limited few manufacturers build 4TB drives. The number of M.2 SSDs with this capacity is zero so far. You’ll be limited to the 2.5-inch SATA, Add-in Card and external form factors.

    4TB 2.5″ SATA SSDs

    If you are looking for lots of fast internal storage space at a cost that isn’t too exorbitant, a 2.5-inch SATA drive is pretty much your only choice today. You are also limited to just one manufacturer, namely Samsung.

    Product
    Price
    Samsung 860 QVO 4TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD, Gray - MZ-76Q4T0B/AM
    Value
    Samsung SSD 860 EVO 4TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-76E4T0B/AM)
    Performance
    Samsung 860 PRO 4TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-76P4T0BW)
    Image
    Samsung 860 QVO 4TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD, Gray - MZ-76Q4T0B/AM
    Samsung SSD 860 EVO 4TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-76E4T0B/AM)
    Samsung 860 PRO 4TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-76P4T0BW)
    Sequential read (max., MB/s)
    550 MB/s
    550 MB/s
    560 MB/s
    Sequential write (max., MB/s)
    520 MB/s
    520 MB/s
    530 MB/s
    Random read IOPS (4K/QD32)
    97,000 IOPS
    98,000 IOPS
    100,000 IOPS
    Random write IOPS (4K/QD32)
    89,000 IOPS
    90,000 IOPS
    90,000 IOPS
    Random read IOPS (4K/QD1)
    7,500 IOPS
    10,000 IOPS
    11,000 IOPS
    Random write IOPS (4K/QD1)
    42,000 IOPS
    42,000 IOPS
    43,000 IOPS
    Average rating
    User reviews
    514 Reviews
    6,459 Reviews
    276 Reviews
    Warranty
    3 years
    5 years
    5 years
    Endurance rating
    1,440 TBW
    2,400 TBW
    4,800 TBW
    Price
    $499.99
    $569.99
    $856.00
    Price
    Product
    Samsung 860 QVO 4TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD, Gray - MZ-76Q4T0B/AM
    Image
    Samsung 860 QVO 4TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD, Gray - MZ-76Q4T0B/AM
    Sequential read (max., MB/s)
    550 MB/s
    Sequential write (max., MB/s)
    520 MB/s
    Random read IOPS (4K/QD32)
    97,000 IOPS
    Random write IOPS (4K/QD32)
    89,000 IOPS
    Random read IOPS (4K/QD1)
    7,500 IOPS
    Random write IOPS (4K/QD1)
    42,000 IOPS
    Average rating
    User reviews
    514 Reviews
    Warranty
    3 years
    Endurance rating
    1,440 TBW
    Price
    $499.99
    Value
    Product
    Samsung SSD 860 EVO 4TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-76E4T0B/AM)
    Image
    Samsung SSD 860 EVO 4TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-76E4T0B/AM)
    Sequential read (max., MB/s)
    550 MB/s
    Sequential write (max., MB/s)
    520 MB/s
    Random read IOPS (4K/QD32)
    98,000 IOPS
    Random write IOPS (4K/QD32)
    90,000 IOPS
    Random read IOPS (4K/QD1)
    10,000 IOPS
    Random write IOPS (4K/QD1)
    42,000 IOPS
    Average rating
    User reviews
    6,459 Reviews
    Warranty
    5 years
    Endurance rating
    2,400 TBW
    Price
    $569.99
    Performance
    Product
    Samsung 860 PRO 4TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-76P4T0BW)
    Image
    Samsung 860 PRO 4TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-76P4T0BW)
    Sequential read (max., MB/s)
    560 MB/s
    Sequential write (max., MB/s)
    530 MB/s
    Random read IOPS (4K/QD32)
    100,000 IOPS
    Random write IOPS (4K/QD32)
    90,000 IOPS
    Random read IOPS (4K/QD1)
    11,000 IOPS
    Random write IOPS (4K/QD1)
    43,000 IOPS
    Average rating
    User reviews
    276 Reviews
    Warranty
    5 years
    Endurance rating
    4,800 TBW
    Price
    $856.00

    Last update on 2019-10-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

    Samsung 860 QVO, EVO or PRO?

    For several years, many users made only one choice when buying an SSD, regardless of capacity: either the Samsung EVO or the PRO series. Fortunately, for anyone looking for a larger variety, Samsung recently added a more affordable 4TB SSD to the lineup along with the 860 QVO series.

    What makes the QVO different – and more importantly cheaper – is the use of quad-level cell, or QLC NAND memory. QLC memory stores an additional bit per cell (compared to TLC), which means higher densities, a more efficient production process, and a lower total cost.

    Needless to say, some significant drawbacks are also included in the more moderate price tag. Most importantly, performance and endurance are both reduced. One extra bit doubles the number of charge states in each transistor, making them more prone to voltage drift and other issues that need to be corrected for. Samsung also offers a shorter warranty with the QVO, which is arguably an argument in favor of the EVO.

    Bigger Drive – Better Performance

    On the other hand, Samsung seems to have the technology well in hand. The QVO series offers impressive performance, particularly in the largest 4 TB capacity.  The endurance issue is also compensated by the sheer size of a 4TB SSD. A vast majority of users will never come close to the 1,440 TB of the guaranteed writes ever – and even less so during the warranty period. Most likely, it won’t wear out before all other parts of the computer are already on the scrap heap. So the main drawbacks compared to the more expensive Samsungs would be lower performance and a 3-year warranty (instead of five).

    If you’re not comfortable with the warranty terms and performance numbers for the 860 QVO, the 860 EVO might be a more attractive option. It comes with the usual 5-year warranty as well as tried-and-tested TLC memory that will last even longer. And in terms of performance, this SSD is only bested by the 860 PRO.

    The bottom line: There’s really no question that the 860 PRO is the fastest and most durable drive out of the three high-capacity SATA SSDs available. However, it’s no less obvious that the price tag on the 4TB 860 PRO is intimidating. In our opinion, the 4TB 860 EVO offers the best mix of value, performance and warranty terms at today’s price levels. The reason why we’d choose it over the 860 QVO is not that the QVO is bad, but that it has to drop further in price to compensate for the negative aspects of QLC NAND.

    External 4TB SSDs

    If you just want lots of really fast storage to go – in a compact form factor – you actually have more options. Unlike hard drives, solid state drives are not limited by the size of spinning platters, only on how the manufacturers decide to arrange the memory chips and layout of the PCB. Oddly enough, storage giants like SanDisk and Samsung don’t offer 4TB or larger drives in their well-known Extreme and T5 ranges. Instead, several smaller manufacturers have found a niche here.

    One thing to keep in mind when shopping for an external SSD is rated performance. What you really need to avoid is ending up with a glorified thumb drive that’s barely faster than a mechanical hard drive. The best-performing drives use either the USB 3.1 Gen2 or Thunderbolt interfaces. Here are some of the leading models right now.

    Product
    Glyph Atom RAID SSD 4TB Silver (External USB-C, USB 3.0, Thunderbolt 3) AR4000SLV
    VectoTech Rapid 4TB External SSD USB-C Portable Solid State Drive (USB 3.1 Gen 2)
    U32 Shadow 4TB External SSD USB-C Portable Solid State Drive (USB 3.1 Gen 2)
    Glyph Atom RAID SSD 4TB Silver (External USB-C, USB 3.0, Thunderbolt 3) AR4000SLV
    VectoTech Rapid 4TB External SSD USB-C Portable Solid State Drive (USB 3.1 Gen 2)
    U32 Shadow 4TB External SSD USB-C Portable Solid State Drive (USB 3.1 Gen 2)
    Sequential performance (max., MB/s)
    950 MB/s
    450 MB/s
    575 MB/s
    Interface
    USB 3.1 Gen2
    USB 3.0
    USB 3.1 Gen 2
    Average rating
    User reviews
    10 Reviews
    264 Reviews
    44 Reviews
    Warranty
    3 years
    3 years
    3 years
    Price
    $749.95
    $699.00
    $699.00
    Product
    Glyph Atom RAID SSD 4TB Silver (External USB-C, USB 3.0, Thunderbolt 3) AR4000SLV
    Glyph Atom RAID SSD 4TB Silver (External USB-C, USB 3.0, Thunderbolt 3) AR4000SLV
    Sequential performance (max., MB/s)
    950 MB/s
    Interface
    USB 3.1 Gen2
    Average rating
    User reviews
    10 Reviews
    Warranty
    3 years
    Price
    $749.95
    Product
    VectoTech Rapid 4TB External SSD USB-C Portable Solid State Drive (USB 3.1 Gen 2)
    VectoTech Rapid 4TB External SSD USB-C Portable Solid State Drive (USB 3.1 Gen 2)
    Sequential performance (max., MB/s)
    450 MB/s
    Interface
    USB 3.0
    Average rating
    User reviews
    264 Reviews
    Warranty
    3 years
    Price
    $699.00
    Product
    U32 Shadow 4TB External SSD USB-C Portable Solid State Drive (USB 3.1 Gen 2)
    U32 Shadow 4TB External SSD USB-C Portable Solid State Drive (USB 3.1 Gen 2)
    Sequential performance (max., MB/s)
    575 MB/s
    Interface
    USB 3.1 Gen 2
    Average rating
    User reviews
    44 Reviews
    Warranty
    3 years
    Price
    $699.00

    Last update on 2019-10-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

    Out of these three best-selling 4TB external drives, it’s clear that the Glyph Atom RAID SSD is the best-performing option. It actually consists of two smaller M.2 drives in a RAID 0 array, which nearly doubles transfer rates compared to a single drive. It is also ‘Thunderbolt 3 compatible’, meaning that it should play well with recent MacBook Pros. However, it doesn’t use an actual, full-featured Thunderbolt 3 interface, and neither does Oyen Digital’s U32 Shadow. Both utilize the USB-C 3.1 Gen2 interface, which has a maximum bandwidth of 10 Gbps.  The VectoTech Rapid is bound by the limits of the USB 3.0 (or USB 3.1 Gen1) interface and it’s, therefore, slower than its competitors.

    Additional High-Capacity Options

    There are also a few other high-capacity alternatives on the external SSD market:

    Oyen Digital U32 Shadow Dura – This is, unsurprisingly, a close relative to the previously mentioned U32 Shadow from Oyen Digital. The difference is that it comes in a more durable rubber-enclosed case, making it shockproof and somewhat water-resistant. At least according to the manufacturer (we could find no IP-rating though). Check price >>

    Oyen Digital MiniPro Dura – The MiniPro Dura also shares many features with the U32 Shadow (Dura) from the same manufacturer. This drive, however, is a bit larger (oddly enough, considering the name) and complies with the military-grade test MIL-STD-810G 516.6. The warranty is only one year instead of three, perhaps reflecting that it’s supposed to be used in the field. Check price >>

    MiniproV3 ssdOyen Digital SSD MiniPro RAID V3 – The MiniPro RAID is an enclosure that can be purchased separately or equipped with up to two 4TB Samsung 860 EVO SSDs. A total of 8 GB of fast storage space should be enough for most use cases. For the same reason, it’s much larger than most portable drives and requires external power. As the name implies, you can set up your drives in RAID for striping (performance) or mirroring (backup). There’s also a Dura version of this drive/enclosure. Check price >>

    istorageiStorage diskAshur PRO2 – If you value security higher than any other aspect, then – and only then – this might be the drive for you. It comes with a code lock and all the military-grade security certifications you can imagine. You also get AES-XTS 256-bit hardware encryption. Performance is not nearly as impressive at 148 MB/s (read) and 140 MB/s (write). Check price >>

    BUSLink driveBUSlink Disk-On-The-Go External Slim Portable – Last but not least, BUSlink offers external SSDs in sizes all the way up to 7.68 GB. In other words, they likely use enterprise SSDs from Samsung or Micron inside. The drive uses the USB 3.1 Gen2 interface, offering up to 10 Gbps of bandwidth. Unfortunately, BUSlink doesn’t provide any more detailed performance data. Check price >>

    4TB+ Enterprise SSDs

    If money is no object, it’s possible to buy SSDs in even higher capacities than 4TB, such as Samsung’s 30.72 TB PM1643. This monster will probably set you back around $12,000. Most enterprise drives are both very expensive and very durable, as they are intended for the server market. Endurance here is usually measured in DWPD (drive writes per day) or petabytes written (PBW) instead of terabytes written (TBW). Enterprise SSDs are a bit outside of the scope for this article, but we’ll take a brief look at a pair of interesting models.

    Product
    INTEL SSDPEDKE040T701 Solid State Drive 3.5"
    Micron 5200 ECO | MTFDDAK7T6TDC-1AT1ZABYY | 7.68TB 2.5" SATA 6GB/S 64-Layer 3D TLC NAND | 3 Million Mttf | Industry Leading Solid State Drive SSD
    Image
    INTEL SSDPEDKE040T701 Solid State Drive 3.5"
    Micron 5200 ECO | MTFDDAK7T6TDC-1AT1ZABYY | 7.68TB 2.5" SATA 6GB/S 64-Layer 3D TLC NAND | 3 Million Mttf | Industry Leading Solid State Drive SSD
    Interface
    PCIe NVMe 3.1 x4
    SATA
    Form factor
    HHHL (CEM3.0)
    2.5"
    Sequential read (max., MB/s)
    3200 MB/s
    540 MB/s
    Sequential write (max., MB/s)
    1900 MB/s
    520 MB/s
    Random read IOPS
    617,500 IOPS
    95,000 IOPS
    Random write IOPS
    225,000 IOPS
    9,500 IOPS
    Warranty
    5 years
    5 years
    Endurance rating
    23.23 PBW
    8.4 PBW
    Price
    $2,752.49
    $1,138.99
    Product
    INTEL SSDPEDKE040T701 Solid State Drive 3.5"
    Image
    INTEL SSDPEDKE040T701 Solid State Drive 3.5"
    Interface
    PCIe NVMe 3.1 x4
    Form factor
    HHHL (CEM3.0)
    Sequential read (max., MB/s)
    3200 MB/s
    Sequential write (max., MB/s)
    1900 MB/s
    Random read IOPS
    617,500 IOPS
    Random write IOPS
    225,000 IOPS
    Warranty
    5 years
    Endurance rating
    23.23 PBW
    Price
    $2,752.49
    Product
    Micron 5200 ECO | MTFDDAK7T6TDC-1AT1ZABYY | 7.68TB 2.5" SATA 6GB/S 64-Layer 3D TLC NAND | 3 Million Mttf | Industry Leading Solid State Drive SSD
    Image
    Micron 5200 ECO | MTFDDAK7T6TDC-1AT1ZABYY | 7.68TB 2.5" SATA 6GB/S 64-Layer 3D TLC NAND | 3 Million Mttf | Industry Leading Solid State Drive SSD
    Interface
    SATA
    Form factor
    2.5"
    Sequential read (max., MB/s)
    540 MB/s
    Sequential write (max., MB/s)
    520 MB/s
    Random read IOPS
    95,000 IOPS
    Random write IOPS
    9,500 IOPS
    Warranty
    5 years
    Endurance rating
    8.4 PBW
    Price
    $1,138.99

    Last update on 2019-10-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

    What makes these SSDs from a consumer/enthusiast perspective is that they can actually be used in a consumer machine. The Intel drive is a half-height PCI Express Add-in card, while the Micron 5200 ECO uses the common SATA interface (as opposed to SAS).

    Moreover, both drives are built with mostly the same hardware as consumer models, most importantly 64-layer 3D TLC NAND. This keeps the prices in check versus extremely expensive alternatives such as eMLC. Drives that use SLC, or single-level cell memory, are almost impossible to find these days. The production cost has always been prohibitive. Current SSDs, however, often use an SLC-mode cache to speed up transfer rates.

    Summary

    SSD prices keep dropping at a steady pace. However, the cost per GB is still very high compared to mechanical hard drives. And for most users, combining a low-capacity but fast drive with one or more regular hard drives is still the best value combo.

    On the other hand, there are some categories of users that can really take advantage of a 4TB or larger SSD. The fast transfer rates are an advantage for everyone working with large files, like photo- and video editors. The options are still few, but it’s practically certain that we’ll see more high-capacity SSDs in the near future. And at reasonable prices, thanks to the proliferation of QLC NAND.

    The post 4TB SSD Roundup: All 4 TB+ Solid State Drives appeared first on Gaming PC Builder.


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