I'm looking for the fastest SSD possible that's under 115 dollars. According to userbenchmark.com, this one appeared to be the fastest: https://pcpartpicker.com/product/z4jJ7P/mushkin-pilot-500gb-m2-2280-solid-state-drive-mknssdpl500gb-d8
But upon reviewing the newegg pages of some of these SSDs, it appears to be a neck-and-neck race between these two models:
I don't really know what I'm doing, so some of my research may be flawed. In addition, there may be some candidates that I have missed. Please help.
If You are spending that much on a 500gb spend a little more and get double the capacity.
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant
All SSD slow down as space is used up so a 1tb will actually last you longer and keep its speed better then a smaller drive.
"Fastest" is unfortunately not a black-and-white metric in the SSD world. Are you looking for sequential read speeds? writes? random reads or writes? low or high queue depths (ie simultaneous I/O's)?
Also, it turns out that paper speeds don't always translate to visibly better response time in real life. It depends an awful lot on what you're doing. For a lot of general interactive work, a "value" line SATA SSD will appear to perform just as well as a top of the line 970 Pro NVMe drive. On the other hand, if your work plays to a particular SSD's strengths, and if I/O really is the bulk of the time spent, you can see a very significant difference.
So ... what exactly are you going to be doing with this SSD?
Pretty much just gaming. Was looking for something that would boot my OS and open programs as fast as possible.
An NVMe drive will give you a very slight boost compared to SATA for booting and game loading, maybe a second or so for booting or very large game images. I think you'd be very hard pressed to see a difference among the various NVMe drives you've listed, even with a good stopwatch. All three are solid brands (if there's a question mark at all, it might possibly be against ADATA, but that's anecdotal and not statistical), so flip a coin, get the cheapest, get the brand name that you like, etc.
You are looking at some very nicely priced M2 2280 NVMe drives. Out of the three, the HP one impresses me most.
I picked up this one not too long ago, I can vouch for it. A little more pricey but you get what you pay for IMO.
Any of these are great for gaming SSDs. The cheapest EX920 performs fairly similarly to the Samsung 960 EVO, while the rest are faster still. Realistically, any decent NVMe drive is going to be a fantastic option, and I'd look more at capacity than raw speed: https://pcpartpicker.com/products/compare/Ky448d,mNx2FT,8Bkj4D/
I got the Gammix S11 480gb month plus ago it was about $90. It is the sister to the XPG SX8200 but it has its own heat sink the SX does not. It was pretty close to the EVO in a test I found on it. Still don't have the PC assembled. The EVO and black were better (and cost more at the time), but not far off. It can do top speeds, the intel 660 is slower but twice the size for not much more. The intel does 1800 speed and the Gammix 3200 iirc. I bought before the intel went on sale, unless you are moving big files not sure that is a big difference in normal home use.