Make the most of Amazon Prime Day by upgrading your SSD

Upgrade your SSD this Amazon Prime Day
(Image credit: Future)

It's great to see so many SSDs in the Prime Day sales (opens in new tab), especially when some of the best SSDs around have enjoyed big savings. This makes it a great time to upgrade your gaming rig to embrace the latest tech, which is not only much faster than what has gone before, but you can get a much bigger chunk of the stuff, especially at these reduced prices. And with 2TB SSDs coming in as low as $235, it really is a great time to upgrade.

If you're still running a SATA-based SSD as your main boot drive, or dare we even imagine a spinning platter hard drive, then the latest PCIe SSDs represent a massive uplift in performance. You do need to make sure your motherboard has an M.2 slot that you can boot from though—check your motherboard's website to make sure. You could upgrade your motherboard if not, there are a few deals around, or alternatively, grab a really big SATA drive like the 4TB Samsung 870 QVO for more room to breathe.

Quick note: If you've been eyeing up the WD_Black SN850 (opens in new tab) and Samsung 980 Pro (opens in new tab), then you are going to need to use a platform and CPU that supports Gen4 M.2 to take full advantage. If you've got an AMD Zen 2 or Zen 3 CPU and a 500-series motherboard, then you're good to go. Only Intel's very latest Rocket Lake CPUs support PCIe 4.0 though, so bear that in mind. These drives will work in PCIe 3.0 slots as well, although you'll be limited by the interface to 3,500MB/s (which is still plenty fast).

Don't be intimidated by the idea of upgrading your boot drive either. Most SSDs come with software that makes copying your existing installation over to your new SSD as difficult as clicking the mouse a couple of times, i.e. not at all. We've covered the general drive cloning process previously (opens in new tab).

The only thing you have to watch out for is making sure the UEFI/BIOS is booting from the right drive after you physically install it. It depends on your motherboard, but pressing F12 at boot generally lets you pick what drive to boot from. 

Alternatively, you could seize this as an opportunity to install Windows on your system from fresh (opens in new tab). You know, throw out all of the rubbish that you've collected over the years, and go for that fresh install feeling. Though that can be a bit of a chore if you've got a slow internet connection, and loads of games (and apps, I suppose) to download. 

If you're buying a large, but not particularly fast drive, like the Crucial P2 2TB for $235.61 (opens in new tab), then you just need to make sure that you've got a spare M.2 slot free. Oh, and make sure that you're UEFI/BIOS is set up to boot from your main OS drive, and not this, and you're good to get copying your files across.

Below you'll find a list of the SSDs that we think are worth upgrading your system with:

$529.99 (opens in new tab)

WD_BLACK SN850 NVMe SSD | 2TB| PCIe 4.0 | $529.99 $419.99 at Amazon (save $110) (opens in new tab)
This impressive SSD consistently gives the Samsung 980 Pro's performance a run for its money and is arguably the PCIe 4.0 drive to beat. That's a lot of cash for a 2TB drive for sure, but it's also about as quick a modern SSD as you'll find right now. If time is money for you, then the SN850 makes sense.

$429.99 (opens in new tab)

Samsung 980 Pro M.2 NVMe SSD | 2TB| PCIe 4.0 | $429.99 $313.49 at Amazon (save $116.50) (opens in new tab)
The Samsung 980 Pro is one of the better Gen4 NVMe SSDs you can find. It's a next-gen SSD with outstanding read/write speeds along with hardware-based AES 256-bit encryption. Now that it's over $100 off, it makes this expensive high capacity SSD a far more attractive proposition.

Samsung 980 Pro | 500GB | PCIe 4.0 | $149.99 (opens in new tab)

Samsung 980 Pro | 500GB | PCIe 4.0 | $149.99 $99.99 at Amazon (save $50) (opens in new tab)
The latest Samsung NVMe drive is also one of the fastest PCIe 4.0 SSDs out there, but as next-gen storage, they don't come cheap. If you've got a compatible system (using AMD Ryzen 5000 and Intel 11th Gen CPUs) then picking up a 500GB boot drive will get you on the fastest interface without a huge outlay. That said, the 500GB is a little slower than the 1TB or 2TB Samsung 980 Pro drives, and you can get full 1TB PCIe 3.0 SSDs for less than this discounted price.

Crucial P5 | PCIe 3.0 | 500GB | $79.99 (opens in new tab)

Crucial P5 | PCIe 3.0 | 500GB | $79.99 $49.49 at Amazon (save $30.50) (opens in new tab)
All that noise about a crypto-based SSD shortage? Yeah, a speedy 500GB PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSD discounted to less than $100 should ease any concerns about that being a reality. The Crucial P5 can't hold a candle to the best PCIe 4.0 drives when it comes to synthetic performance, but when you throw some games at it you won't notice a tangible difference in actual real-world performance.

$299.99 (opens in new tab)

Crucial P2 | PCIe 3.0 | 2TB | $299.99 $235.61 at Amazon (save $64.38) (opens in new tab)
This decent 2TB NVMe SSD was already one of the more cost-effective high-capacity SSDs out there even without the 23% discount. And at this price, you could grab a pair of them for a huge 4TB of storage. Hell, why not even RAID a pair of them if you want to boost the otherwise pedestrian read/write speeds. 

$429.99 (opens in new tab)

Samsung 870 QVO | SATA 6Gbps | 4TB | $429.99 $322.99 at Amazon (save $107) (opens in new tab)
This featured packed SATA-based SSD provides great read/write speeds and seriously sizable storage. While not much as of a discount compared to other drives on sale, the capacious 870 QVO is still worth a look if you're after a big data SSD. At smaller capacities, I'd worry about the QLC memory, but not at 4TB.

Alan has been writing about PC tech since before 3D graphics cards existed, and still vividly recalls having to fight with MS-DOS just to get games to load. He fondly remembers the killer combo of a Matrox Millenium and 3dfx Voodoo, and seeing Lara Croft in 3D for the first time. He's very glad hardware has advanced as much as it has though, and is particularly happy when putting the latest M.2 NVMe SSDs, AMD processors, and laptops through their paces. He has a long-lasting Magic: The Gathering obsession but limits this to MTG Arena these days.