What Is The Best SSD For A Macbook Pro (2016 models and earlier)?


If you own an older Macbook Pro, something before the 2016 model, and want to bring it back from the grave, a decent Solid State Drive can help you achieve that.

An SSD can take your productivity to the next level by increasing the speed at which you can download and retrieve files from storage. Finding the best MacBook Pro SSD is a tricky task if you don't have time to research each and every option on the market. This guide is meant to narrow down the top eight solid-state drives for MacBook Pro so you can spend more time enjoying the benefits of such a wonderful upgrade.

SanDisk SSD Plus

SanDisk SSD PLUS 240GB Internal SSD - SATA III 6 Gb/s, 2.5'/7mm, Up to 530 MB/s - SDSSDA-240G-G26
33,668 Reviews
SanDisk SSD PLUS 240GB Internal SSD - SATA III 6 Gb/s, 2.5"/7mm, Up to 530 MB/s - SDSSDA-240G-G26
  • Easy upgrade for faster boot-up, shutdown, application load and response (As compared to 5400 RPM SATA 2.5” hard drive. Based on published specifications and internal benchmarking tests using PCMark...
  • Boosts burst write performance, making it ideal for typical PC workloads
  • The perfect balance of performance and reliability
  • Read/write speeds of up to 530MB/s/440MB/s (Based on internal testing; performance may vary depending upon drive capacity, host device, OS and application.)
  • Shock-resistant for proven durability —even if you drop your computer (Shock resistant (up to 1500G) and vibration resistant (5gRMS, 10-2000 HZ/4.9 gRMS, 7-800 HZ), Temperature (from 0 degrees...

This SATA 3 drive has 480 GB of storage capacity. This is plenty for document files, presentations, and music. If you are planning to play games or store a lot of movies, you may want to opt for a MacBook Pro SSD with less of a limit. 

While primarily designed for MacBooks that came out in 2011 or 2012, this will upgrade any hard drive that is running SATA 1 or 2. In fact, it is about 20 times faster than the SATA 2 so you will notice a night and day difference upon booting it up.

The impressive 535MB/s sequential read speed and a 445MB/s sequential write speed will have you transferring data like never before. Despite all this power, it runs very quietly and preserves battery life. This one upgrade will revitalize your old Mac into something that feels positively brand new.

Samsung 860 EVO 250 GB

Samsung SSD 860 EVO 250GB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-76E250B/AM)
36,944 Reviews
Samsung SSD 860 EVO 250GB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-76E250B/AM)
  • Innovative V-Nand Technology: Powered by Samsung V NAND Technology, the 860 EVO SSD offers optimized performance for everyday computing as well as rendering large sized 4K videos and 3D data used by...
  • Enhanced read write speeds: Sequential read and write performance levels of up to 550MB/s and 520MB/s, respectively
  • Secure encryption: Protect data by selecting security options, including AES 256 bit hardware based encryption compliant with TCG Opal and IEEE 1668
  • Warranty and compatibility: 5 year limited warranty; Windows 8/Windows 7/Windows Server 2003 (32 bit and 64 bit), Vista (SP1 and above), XP (SP2 and above), MAC OSX and Linux
  • Included contents: 2.5 inches (7 millimeter) SATA 3 (6 Gb/s) SSD & user manual (All other cables, screws, brackets not included); Reliability (MTBF): 1.5 Million Hours Reliability (MTBF)

If you are on a tight budget but want a noticeable upgrade, then this drive will deliver some impressive results. While it only has 250 GB of memory, your Mac from 2012 or earlier will operate so much smoother than before. That level of storage is solid for most users and you can always get an external drive later on.

The SATA 2 connection will blow you away upon booting it up for the first time. It has a lightning-fast 520 MB/s read speed and 550 MB/s write speed that ensures your files will be ready in a flash. 

Your programs will load much faster and device restarts will no longer chug. You can freely update your software without having to wait an hour to use it again. Plus, it has a reliability of 1.5 million hours so it will be the last upgrade that you ever need.

WD Blue 3D Nano

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Western Digital 250GB WD Blue 3D NAND Internal PC SSD - SATA III 6 Gb/s, M.2 2280, Up to 550 MB/s - WDS250G2B0B
8,976 Reviews
Western Digital 250GB WD Blue 3D NAND Internal PC SSD - SATA III 6 Gb/s, M.2 2280, Up to 550 MB/s - WDS250G2B0B
  • 3D NAND SATA SSD for capacities up to 2TB with enhanced reliability. As used for storage capacity, one terabyte (TB) = one trillion bytes. Total accessible capacity varies depending on operating...
  • Sequential read speeds up to 560MB/s and sequential write speeds up to 530MB/s. As used for transfer rate or interface, megabyte per second (MB/s) = one million bytes per second and gigabit per second...
  • An industry-leading 1.75M hrs mean time to failure (MTTF) and up to 500 TBs written (TBW) for enhanced reliability. | MTTF based on internal testing using Telcordia stress part testing. TBW calculated...
  • WD F.I.T. Lab certification for compatibility with a wide range of computers.
  • 5-year manufacturer's limited warranty

Western Digital always delivers a quality drive and the nano is no exception. It has a whopping one terabyte of memory storage so you can add your entire library of games and movies without batting an eye. Those games will load much faster as well so you can be the first to finish all the hot new titles.

Your games will also last longer on the go as this SSD improves battery life even during intensive CPU and GPU usage. This 530 GB/s read speed and 560 GB/s write speed make this drive a force to be reckoned with. 

You get a software download upon purchasing that lets you check the performance of your drive to see if it is still running optimally. If it starts to falter, WD offers a five-year warranty so you can exchange it without a fuss.

Transcend JetDrive

Transcend 480GB JetDrive 820 PCIe Gen3 x2 Solid State Drive (TS480GJDM820)
495 Reviews
Transcend 480GB JetDrive 820 PCIe Gen3 x2 Solid State Drive (TS480GJDM820)
  • Compatible with MacBook Air 11" & 13" (Mid 2013 – 2017), MacBook Pro Retina 13" & 15" (Late 2013 – mid 2015), Mac Mini (Late 2014), and Mac Pro (Late 2013)
  • Ahci PCIe Gen3 x2 interface
  • Up to 950 MB/s Read; 950 MB/s write
  • Installation tools included
  • Free download of the JetDrive Toolbox Software

As the name implies this SSD is incredibly quick. It sports 950 MB/s read and write speeds making for some of the most seamless load times we've ever seen. The PCIe Gen 3 x 2 interface used by this drive was designed specifically for quick data transfers. The 3D nano flash system increases the speed even further.

It has 480 GB of internal storage which will be more than enough for most MacBook users. If you have a Mac from 2016 or earlier than you will see a massive boost in performance when you install this device. 

The JetDrive toolbox is a great resource to use when checking for updates or want to monitor the health of your drive. The simple interface tells you everything you need to know and with a few clicks, you can set everything to your liking.

OWC Aura SSD Flash

OWC 1.0TB Aura Pro X2 SSD Upgrade for Mac Pro (Late 2013), High Performance NVMe Flash Upgrade, Including Tools & heatsink (OWCS3DAPT4MP10P)
105 Reviews
OWC 1.0TB Aura Pro X2 SSD Upgrade for Mac Pro (Late 2013), High Performance NVMe Flash Upgrade, Including Tools & heatsink (OWCS3DAPT4MP10P)
  • 1.0 TB High performance NVMe flash upgrade, includes tools & heatsink. For Mac Pro (Late 2013), model id: MacPro6,1
  • Speeds up to 3200MB/s read and 2400MB/s write, up to twice as fast as the original SSD; SLC caching accelerates burst performance; Upgrade your Mac Pro with Aura Pro X2 SSD for a fraction of the cost...
  • Consumes less power and runs cooler than earlier models: Newly calibrated to use less power and run cooler than than earlier SSD models, so you can run at peak for longer than ever, Aura Pro X2 is the...
  • Controller: Silicon Motion SM2262EN; Flash Components: 3D TLC NAND; Interface: NVMe 1.3 (PCIe 3.1 x4); Form Factor: Custom blade; Overprovisioning: 7% overprovisioning; System Requirements: macOS...
  • 5 Year OWC Limited Warranty, Designed for macOS 10.13 and beyond: NOTE: Aura Pro X2 is designed for APFS file system available on macOS 10.13 High Sierra and later. Upgrade to macOS 10.13 or higher...

This flash enabled drive has a massive one terabyte of storage. If you love to play games, the huge capacity combined with blazing speeds will impress you for sure. It was designed specifically for Macs in 2013 so they are very easy to install. After all these years, this drive is still one of the best options available.

The read and write speeds are both 726 MB/s which will make everything load faster and run smoother. You won't need to worry about the lag in large programs like video editors or latency in fast-paced video games.

The included enclosure is a great way to add even more space. You can use your old drive as an external storage device by simply plugging it in. This also reduces the need to transfer all your existing files to the new drive.

Samsung 860 Evo 500GB

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Samsung 860 EVO 500GB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-76E500B/AM)
37,080 Reviews
Samsung 860 EVO 500GB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-76E500B/AM)
  • Innovative V-Nand Technology: Powered by Samsung V-NAND Technology, the 860 EVO SSD offers optimized performance for everyday computing as well as rendering large-sized 4K videos and 3D data used by...
  • Enhanced read write speeds: Sequential read and write performance levels of up to 550MB/s and 520MB/s, respectively
  • Secure encryption: Protect data by selecting security options, including AES 256-bit hardware-based encryption compliant with TCG Opal and IEEE 1670
  • Warranty and compatibility: 5-year limited warranty; Windows 8/Windows 7/Windows Server 2003 (32 bit and 64 bit), Vista (SP1 and above), XP (SP2 and above), MAC OSX and Linux
  • Included contents: 2.5 inches (7 millimeter) SATA 3 (6 Gb/s) SSD & user manual (All other cables, screws, brackets not included); Reliability (MTBF): 1.5 Million Hours Reliability (MTBF)

This upgraded version of the Samsung Evo doubles the hard drive space. If you have a lot of files or want to dabble in some gaming, consider going for this heftier model. This SATA 3 device will upgrade a majority of older Macs so that they feel brand new.

The 550 MB/s read speed and 520 MB/s write speed combine to facilitate speedy file transfers and convenient uploads. Samsung's TurboWrite technology offers reliable speed at a great price. The buffer size has been upgraded from 12 GB to 78 GB so you can add more files before experiencing slower performance.

The included five-year warranty shows just how durable this bad boy is. This is an overall great value and well worth looking into if you want the most bang for your buck.

G-Technology 0G06054 2TB G-Drive Mobile SSD

Sale
G-Technology 2TB G-DRIVE mobile SSD Durable Portable External Storage - USB-C (USB 3.1), Up to 560 MB/s - 0G06054-1
829 Reviews
G-Technology 2TB G-DRIVE mobile SSD Durable Portable External Storage - USB-C (USB 3.1), Up to 560 MB/s - 0G06054-1
  • A durable design with IP67 water/dust resistance, 3M drop tested, and 1000 pounds crush resistance
  • Super fast transfer rates up to 560MB/s
  • Latest generation USB C connectivity (USB 3.1 Gen 2)
  • Shock and vibration resistant solid state drive
  • With capacities up to 2TB in a small, light package (As used for storage capacity, 1 gigabyte (GB) = 1 billion bytes and 1 terabyte (TB) = 1 trillion bytes; Total accessible capacity varies depending...

G-Technology is a relatively new brand that is looking to penetrate the market by offering very high-end drives. The massive two terabytes of storage will ensure you will never run out of space on your existing MacBook. You can fit millions of photos, hundreds of movies, and dozens of the latest games at the same time.

The reason this drive is considered so unique is because of the IP67 classification. This means it is waterproof when submerged in up to one meter of water. It can take 1000 pounds of pressure and be dropped three meters without breaking. If you have data that needs protection at all costs, this drive will keep it safe and sound.

You can plug it into any MacBook since it hooks up with a convenient USB cable. This means that no matter what you have you will be getting a substantial upgrade. Plus, you can keep your old hard drive installed and have your old files without any transfers.

Seagate Fast SSD 250GB External SSD

Seagate Fast SSD 250GB External Sold State Drive Portable – USB-C USB 3.0 for PC Laptop and Mac, 2 Months Adobe CC Photography (STCM250400)
13 Reviews
Seagate Fast SSD 250GB External Sold State Drive Portable – USB-C USB 3.0 for PC Laptop and Mac, 2 Months Adobe CC Photography (STCM250400)
  • Ready for ultra-fast on-the-go file transfers? The Seagate Fast SSD is a portable external solid state drive dishing out speeds of up to 540MB/s
  • Lightweight, shock-resistant design offers 250GB of space and USB-C compatibility
  • This external SSD includes folder syncing capabilities to help keep files organized across devices
  • Take advantage of the complimentary two-month membership to the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan for access to awesome photo and video editing apps
  • Enjoy long-term peace of mind with the included three-year limited warranty

This is another external hard drive that is great for the convenience factor. You can just plug it into any USB port and you are on your way. It looks stylish and sophisticated so you can proudly rest it next to your sleek MacBook without it looking silly.

The read speed is 528 MB/s and the write speed is 478MB/s. It has 250 GB of internal storage as well. This is an overall great choice for anyone who works from their laptop and travels around a lot. You can take this portable drive anywhere and access your documents or presentations within a moment's notice.

Conclusion

The overall best MacBook Pro SSD will differ depending on what you plan to use it for. Gamers will love the large storage capacity and quick load times of the OWC Aura Flash. Businessmen and entrepreneurs will love the portability and sleek design of the Seagate External SSD.

Average users that want the most value will appreciate the balanced feature set and affordable price of the Samsung Evo 860 500 GB. Finally, people with no budget that want the latest tech will adore G-Technology's OGO6054 because of the massive storage space and ability to survive almost anything.

Mike Roberts

Hi, my name is Mike and I made this site to document all the helpful tips and tricks that I've discovered using various Apple Macs and other Apple products over the years, as well as to provide more general guides in relation to using the internet. I've been obsessed with Apple products ever since I could afford my first iPod, and am somewhat of a fanboy (you might have guessed). For me, the simply work without any fuss, issues or errors. I can rely on their products. The build quality is excellent and I even have several, several-year-old Macbooks in my wardrobe that are still humming along fine (just a bit slower). You can contact me personally using the form on this page.

6 Comments

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  1. I’d definitely recommend NVME storage if your budget allows for it, the speeds are around 2-6x faster than a standard SSD. That said, there’s nothing wrong with a SATA SSD at all, they are plenty good enough for the average user. I’ve always like the Samsung Evo line having used it for many years myself.

  2. I think most SSD’s are fine to use these days, as long as they have a DRAM cache. Without it, your data is at a much higher risk. That said, you should always be backing up your important data to a secondary drive or cloud storage. I’m using a WD Green drive at the moment, I’ve always trusted them for fast and safe storage.

  3. I have an old MacBook, 2014 I believe. Not long ago I really started to notice it slowing down so I looked for a solution. An SSD seemed the easiest solution so I bought one and hooked it up. The boot times are amazing now and everything feels much snappier. It’s like a completely new MacBook.

  4. You can’t go wrong with the Sandisk drive or even a cheaper Kingston drive. There’s a lot of marketing babble around SSD’s and it can get confusing. As long as you stick to a reputable manufacturer that offers a good warranty for the drive, you’ll be good. Remember to always backup your important files, all drives with inevitably fail at some point!

  5. I’m trying to decide which SSD to get for my older Macbook. Is there much of a difference between SATA and PCIE? I don’t need the most blazing fast drive around but I do want it to be very reliable and last quite a few years. I’ve lost data before because of a dead drive, I don’t want that to happen again.

  6. Whilst the NVME drives are incredibly fast, most of us probably don’t need that kind of speed or will rarely ever utilize it. For web browsing, office work and other general activities, I always recommend a SATA SSD because you get a lot more storage for a cheaper price. Those with a more professional workflow should definitely opt for an NVME drive, though.