One could argue we are living in a golden age of storage: hard drives keep getting bigger and solid-state drives keep getting faster and cheaper. With that background, here’s what our readers picked as their best storage device of 2016.

WINNER

Samsung EVO 950 512GB SSD
Price: R5499

Specifications
• 512GB
• M.2
• PCI-Express 3.0 x 4 (up to 32 Gb/s) NVMe 1.1
• 80mm
• Samsung 512 MB Low Power DDR3
• 2,500Mb/s Sequential Read Speed
• 1,500MB/s Sequential Write Speed
• 4KB Random Read: Up to 300,000 IOPS
• 4KB Random Write: Up to 110,000 IOPS

Thanks to solid-state tech, storage is no longer as much of a bottleneck to true PC performance as it once was. Samsung’s release of its 950-series EVO SSDs blew the world away with its incredible speeds and M.2 form factor, so much so that even local consumers gave it the majority of their votes in our GOTY awards. Not by much, mind – the 950 won by a 0.4% sliver of a majority, after WD’s excellent 6TB monster desktop drive – but a win’s a win.

Bottom line, locals loved everything about the 950, from its M.2 form factor to its blazing-fast 2500MB/s maximum theoretical sequential read speed to its rather large 512GB capacity. One could infer that the drive delivers what savvy consumers want from their SSDs – capacity and speed. And since I’ve seen gaming laptops that run M.2 drives like this one reach beyond the 2000MB/s transfer speed mark, I know the promise of increased system responsiveness isn’t just hot air.

So congrats to Samsung for both a fantastic product, and for reaching enough consumers with news of this drive’s awesomeness to earn themselves the category win.

Votes
Percentage of votes: 25.4%
Runners-up: WD Black 6TB Internal SATA3 drive (25%), WD My Passport Portable Drives (19.1%)

Journalist’s choice

Deon du Plessis

I’m totally with our readers on this one – SSDs are the future of storage, and Samsung’s 950 EVO series has consistently proven itself in benchmarks to be right at the top of the consumer-level performance pile and, in my opinion, deserves the win 100%. While we did give our readers a wide range of storage device types to vote on, I firmly believe the best and most relevant and interesting storage device won. Now if only SSD prices would drop even further, that’d be swell.

Deon got his first taste of PC gaming at the tender age of 11 when his father bought an 8088 XT, ostensibly to "help him with his homework". Instead, it introduced him to Leisure Suit Larry, King Graham, Sonny Bonds and many more, and Deon has been a PC gamer and hardware enthusiast ever since. He landed his first professional writing gig in 2006 at a prestigious local PC magazine, a very happy happenstance as he got to write for a living about things he loves - tech, PCs, gaming, and everything in between. He's been writing about it all ever since, and loves every minute of it.