This page was originally published on July 28, 2023. Its main goal was to aid in selecting SSD, and NVMe drives during a Micro Center sale.

Storage Technologies

3D NAND

  • The most basic of modern SSD technologies. Great for throwing on cheap systems, home servers, anything non-critical really.
  • It is not recommended to host your Operating System on 3D NAND, or QLC.

Quad Level Cell (QLC)

  • QLC (Quad Level Cell) is cheaper to manufacture than TLC (Triple Level Cell).
  • QLC is much slower and less durable to constant writing than TLC.
  • It is not recommended to host your Operating System on 3D NAND, or QLC.

Triple Level Cell (TLC)

  • TLC is more reliable when compared to QLC.
  • MLC is a Triple Level Cell based Samsung technology.

Multi Level Cell (MLC)

  • MLC is a Triple Level Cell based Samsung technology.

Let’s break it down:

  1. MLC V-NAND (Best)
  2. V-NAND (TLC Equiv.)
  3. TLC (V-NAND Equiv.)
  4. QLC (Cheap, less reliable)
  5. 3D NAND (Basic)

How Are SSDs Scored

Storage

  • 1 point per GB
    • Less accurate the bigger the SSD
    • 3 TB and higher drives scale exp/log instead of linearly.

Price

Based on price per $1. Selected $0.10 as the baseline after averaging some calculations.

  • 1 point for every $0.01 / GB below $0.10

Technology Coefficient

  • 3D NAND Coefficient = 0.5 (Big Penalty)
  • QLC Coefficient = 0.75 (Small Penalty)
  • TLC Coefficient = 1.0 (No Change)
  • MLC V-NAND coefficient = 1.25 (Small Advantage)

NVMe M.2 2280 M Key

BrandStoragePriceNotes
970 EVO Plus500 GB$35MLC V-NAND
970 EVO Plus2 TB$100MLC V-NAND
970 EVO Plus1 TB$50V-NAND
9801 TB$50MLC V-NAND
980 Pro2 TB$120MLC V-NAND
980 Pro1 TB$70V-NAND
990 PRO1 TB$80MLC V-NAND
Crucial P31 TB$403D NAND
Inland500 GB$23QLC
Inland1 TB$40QLC
Inland2 TB$70QLC
Performance1 TB$55TLC
Prime500 GB$30TLC
Prime1 TB$50TLC

SSD

BrandStoragePriceNotes
Inland1 TB$50TLC
Inland512 GB$25TLC
Platinum2 TB$80TLC
Platinum1 TB$43TLC
Professional256 GB$203D NAND
Professional125 GB$15TLC
870 EVO1 TB$50MLC V-NAND
870 EVO4 TB$220MLC V-NAND
870 EVO500 GB$40MLC V-NAND
870 QVO1 TB$70QLC V-NAND

Final Scores

NVMe

Description$ / GBper $0.01per GBCoefScore
970 500 GB $35 MLC0.0703.005001.25629
970 2 TB $100 MLC0.0505.0020001.252506
970 1 TB $100 MLC0.1030.0010001.251250
980 1 TB $50 V0.0505.00100011005
980P 2 TB $120 MLC0.0604.0020001.252505
980P 1 TB $70 V0.0703.00100011003
990P 1 TB $80 MLC0.0802.0010001.251253
Crucial 1 TB $40 3D0.0406.0010000.5503
Inland 500 GB $23 QLC0.0465.405000.75379
Inland 1 TB $40 QLC0.0406.0010000.75755
Inland 2 TB $70 QLC0.0356.5020000.751505
Performance 1 TB $55 TLC0.0554.50100011005
Prime 500 GB $30 TLC0.0604.005001504
Prime 1 TB $50 TLC0.0505.00100011005

*Higher is better.

SSD

Description$ / GB1 per cent1 per GBCoefficientScore
Inland 1TB $50 TLC0.0505100011005
Inland 512GB $25 TLC0.0495.15121517
Platinum 2TB $80 TLC0.0406200012006
Platinum 1TB $43 TLC0.0435.7100011006
Professional 256GB $20 3D0.0782.22560.5129
Professional 125GB $15 3D0.12001250.563
870 EVO 1TB $50 MLC0.050510001.251256
870 EVO 4TB $220 MLC0.0554.540001.255006
870 EVO 500GB $40 MLC0.02085001.25635
870 QVO 1TB $70 QLC0.070310000.75753

*Higher is better.

Conclusions

  • Cheap system? Get any of these.
  • Secondary drive? Get any QLC or better.
  • OS Drive? Get any TLC or better.
  • Extra cash? Premium for reliability? Get any Samsung from the list.