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(Pocket-lint) - NVMe drives are becoming more and more common. With the rise in popularity of PCIe gen 4, they're also getting faster and faster.

We've written a detailed guide on how to install these tiny drives to give your system a performance boost, but if you're contemplating which drive to buy you might be stuck knowing which to choose. 

We're here with a helping hand. Covering the best drives available for you both in terms of storage, speed and reliability. As well as other features like RGB. Yes, some drives also have RGB now, because every good PC gamer knows RGB lighting means better performance. 

Our guide to the best NVMe SSDs to buy today

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Samsung 980

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Samsung's range of Evo NVMe SSDs have been popular and highly recommended for a long time and with good reason. These drives are solidly built and designed to last. 

The 980 continues that trend with a new design that includes intelligently upgraded internals capable of delivering outstanding performance for longer than ever before. 

It's a PCIe gen 3 drive capable of 3,500 MB/s and 3,000 MB/s for sequential read and write speeds. The highlight of this drive is it can maintain those speeds for 75 per cent longer than the previous model. 

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WD_Black SN850

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If you've got a setup that can take a PCIe gen 4 drive, there's not much out there that can best this superb option from WD_Black.

The SN850 is blisteringly fast - read/write speeds can reach 7,000/5,300MB/s, so you're looking at a big leap forward from older tech. You can get it with or without a heatsink, too, in case you're a little worried about overheating in your build. It can be an expensive choice for bigger capacities, but this is a bleeding-edge option. 

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WD_Black AN1500

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If, for some reason, you don't have an M.2 NVMe slot on your motherboard, then this may well be the answer. This drive is also a really interesting option as it boasts speeds similar to PCIe Gen 4 NVMe drives but on Gen 3 motherboards. 

That's right the WD_Black AN1500 can run with up to 6,500MB/s read speeds which is still very much bonkers. It also installs in a PCIe X16 slot (the same one as your graphics card) meaning it's potentially even easier to install. You do need to make sure it's compatible but if it is this thing is incredibly fast and it has RGB as well. 

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Seagate FireCuda 520

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If you own a new motherboard from AMD, the chances are you have support for PCIe gen 4.

This means you can make the most of drives like the Seagate FireCuda 520 which offers speeds almost twice that of older drives. This NVMe drive can run up to 5,000/4,400 MB/s in terms of sequential read/write performance, That's nine times faster than standard SATA SSDs and faster than older NVMe drives too. 

Neat. 

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WD_Black SN750

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One of the performance problems potentially associated with NVMe drives relates to their running temps. If they get too hot they won't run as well. 

If this worries you, then the slightly older WD_Black SN750 is a great option. It sports a cool looking heatsink designed in collaboration with EK Water Blocks that promises to help keep run at good temps and deliver the performance you want. 

Just keep in mind that the heatsink makes it fatter than other drives and it won't fit under motherboard heatshields. 

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Adata XPG Spectrix S20G

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The Adata XPG Spectrix S20G isn't the fastest NVMe drive on this list. It has read/write speeds of just 2,500/1,800MB/s, but that doesn't mean it should be overlooked as it's more affordable than other drives and it has RGB too. 

That RGB is compatible with motherboards from various manufacturers so you can get some wonderful lighting sync going on if that's your thing. 

Other highlights include the peace of mind that comes with a five year warranty that's included as standard. 

Writing by Adrian Willings. Originally published on 3 March 2021.