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The Best SSDs and PC Storage

Sabrent gave the Rocket 4 a nice boost with the Plus model. In our testing, this drive was able to get the closest to its class-leading, officially rated transfer speeds of 7,100 MB/s reads and 6,600 MB/s writes, making it the fastest consumer drive currently on the market. Although real-world testing sees it leapfrog competitors by the minutest of margins and vice versa, you get to keep the bragging rights with the Sabrent drive.

Like its predecessor, the Rocket 4 Plus’ value proposition remains unmatched, although getting onboard this time around requires spending $200+ for the 1TB model as Sabrent isn’t selling a cheaper — and less capacious — 500GB version. On the plus side (geddit?), the newer drive is now offered in up to 4TB capacities, allowing you to store massive game libraries, work files, and other stuff, all in one place. You’ll need $800 for the privilege of owning the biggest Rocket, but then your pockets are probably deep enough to afford a PCIe 4.0 motherboard and accompanying hardware that’s required to take full advantage of this drive.

It’s not a complete home run for Sabrent because in terms of endurance, the Rocket 4 Plus sees a noticeable downgrade compared to its predecessor. Despite both drives being TLC-based, Sabrent rates The newer model’s 1TB version at 700 TBW (terabytes written), which is less than half of the 1,800 TBW for the non-Plus drive. Similarly, the 2TB Rocket 4 Plus is rated at 1,400 TBW, making it considerably less than the 3,600 TBW of the standard 2TB drive. Although a number for the flagship 4TB Rocket Plus is still TBD, expect it to be in the 2500-3000 TBW range.

The only comforting factor here is a MTBF (mean time between failures) of 1.6 million hours and Sabrent’s 5-year warranty, which oddly enough, is only applicable if you register your drive and is otherwise fixed at just 1-year.

Just as great: Samsung 980 Pro

It’s got the brand cachet and is no performance slouch either. The Samsung 980 Pro (read our review) is nearly as fast as its competition, edging out the aforementioned Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus in our file copying tests. Samsung has gone for aggressive pricing this time around, with the 1TB 980 Pro currently going for $200, just like its main rivals. The 2TB version, however, is $100 more expensive than the Sabrent equivalent.

Samsung offers impressive 6,700MB/s read and 2,700MB/s write speeds for just $80 if buyers opt for the 250GB base model. That’s good enough for storing OS and primary applications, with capacious, faster versions (500GB, 1TB, and 2TB) also available for more demanding users.

Like the Rocket 4 Plus, Samsung’s 980 Pro also takes a hit to endurance. The drop is easier to figure out in this case as Samsung shifted from the 970 Pro’s 2-bit MLC flash to denser, 3-bit TLC in the 980 Pro. This has led to a 50 percent reduction in Samsung’s official TBW ratings for this model over the older 970 Pro, coming in at 150TBW/250GB, 300TBW/500GB, 600TBW/1TB, and 1,200TBW on the flagship 2TB drive.

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These figures are lower than Sabrent’s and are accompanied by a slightly worse MTBF rating of 1.5 million hours. However, Samsung also offers a 5-year warranty on its drives, with another positive being its well-built and mature Magician SSD software.

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It’s worth mentioning that both, the Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus and the Samsung 980 Pro are top-tier SSDs, and enthusiasts looking for the ultimate speedy storage solution can’t go wrong with either. The differences come down to their official TBW endurance rating, where Sabrent leads Samsung, and how they approach value.

Samsung makes it easier to get onboard by offering a cheaper, slightly slower 250GB base model, and has a lot more brand recognition and track record in the storage business.

Honorable mentions

While Sabrent and Samsung are our top picks for this category, rivals from WD and Crucial are not far behind. WD’s SN850 is a blistering performer, though you may need to spend extra on a heatsink as it has been noted to get fairly warm under heavy loads. At $130the drive’s 500GB model is currently priced to match the Samsung 980 Pro and is just $10 more for the 1TB version,

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The Crucial MP600 is another solid PCIe 4.0 SSD that offers the lowest price of admission amongst competitors, starting at just $100 for 500GB and $175 for the 1TB model, It won’t be touching the ~7,000MB/s peak transfer rates of its rivals, but are most likely to find its max 4,950MB/s reads and 4,250MB/s writes perfectly adequate for daily use.

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