Mac Reviews

Best SSD for Upgrading Macbook Pro in 2020

Written by John

With so many things to store on your Mac, you need a reliable storage disk. While in the past Hard Drive Disks (HDDs) have been the norm, they are now being replaced by Solid State Disk drives (SSDs), and this is not without reason.

SSDs are more responsive in terms of their performance. It is faster to copy data from and save to SSDs than HDDs. The prior also operate quietly compared to the latter. If you want a drive that will not be crushing any time soon, then you better get a solid state drive. However, there are many SSDs out there that knowing the best one on your MacBook Pro may be hard.

In this article, you will find details on all the things you need to know about choosing a hard drive. You will also find the best recommendations. Without further ado, let us look at what makes the best SSD for MacBook Pro in 2020.

Considerations when looking for the best SSD for MacBook Pro

What is your Macbook pro controller type?

The disk controller of your MacBook Pro will determine what kind of SSD it is you can use. To find out what the controller for your MacBook is following these steps:

1. Click on the Apple icon at the top left.
2. Click on “About this Mac” and then “System report” button.
3. In the SATA Express/SATA section, check the Physical Interconnect line. What will be displayed is the SSD controller which can be PCIe or SATA.

To make this even easier for you, here is a reference table you can use to easily determine what the controller in your MacBook Pro is. Use this to determine what the ideal MacBook Pro upgrade for your Mac is.

MacBook Pro

Early 2008

Late 2008, Early 2009 & 2010

Early 2011 to Mid 2012

Retina (mid 2012 to early 2013)

Late 2013 to late 2016

Touch (late 2016 to 2017)

Controller type

SATA 1.0

SATA 2.0

SATA 3.0

Mini PCIe


No support to upgrade


1.5 Gbit/s

3.0 Gbit/s

6.0 Gbit/s

8.0 Gbit/s

> 8.0 Gbit/s

Type of SSD for upgrade




mSATA SSD with converter card


Hard Disk vs SSD

What is Serial ATA (SATA) and PCIe?

Best SSD for MacBook Pro in 2018


Type of SSD for upgrade


SanDisk SSD PLUS 480GB ($109)


2. Samsung 860 EVO 250GB ($79)


3. WD Blue 3D NAND 1TB ($229.99)


4. Transcend 480GB JetDrive ($349.99)


5. OWC 1.0TB Aura SSD Flash ($599.99)


6. Samsung 860 EVO 500GB mSATA


Best SSD for MacBook Pro - Our Top Picks

1. SanDisk SSD PLUS 480GB ($109)

Using the SATA Revision 3.0 interface, this SSD is supported by MacBook Pros made between early 2011 and mid 2012. Even the using earlier MacBook Pros with SATA 2.0 and 1.0 can still use this SSD. It has a capacity of 480GB which is a lot of storage for all your personal and business files. The sequential read speed is rated at 535MB/s whereas the sequential write speed is 445MB/s. This means that you will be able to save data to this hard drive very fast and retrieve it even faster.

SanDisk SSD PLUS 480GB

These operations will be done quietly and without overheating the Mac. This means that the battery will serve you for a long time. The SSD will also last a long time because it is sturdy and has shock and vibration resistance. It is no wonder that many consider this the best SSD for MacBook Pro.

Buy on Amazon

2. Samsung 860 EVO 250GB 2.5 Inch SATA III ($79)

This SSD is meant for daily use and last a long time. The SATA 3.0 connection interface it uses is supported by MacBook Pro’s made in 2012 and earlier. This is available in the box. The write and read speeds are 520MB/s and 550MB/s respectively, and with these you can be assured of faster startup, gaming and every other activity. Even when multi-tasking, your Mac’s speed will not be sluggish.

Samsung 860 EVO 250GB

The 250GB storage capacity is more than enough for the average Mac user. Even if you have files that occupy large spaces such as 4K videos and games, it will take a lot to fill up this space.

Buy on Amazon

3. WD Blue 3D NAND 1TB PC SSD ($229.99)

If you want fast and reliable storage then this is the one to get. This SSD adds 1TB of storage space to your Mac. This storage is not only huge, but the drive has a very good performance. The sequential read speed is up to 560MB/s while the write speed is up to 560MB/s. When you save a file to the drive, it will be done faster and so will opening a stored file. Having the OS X in this SSD will ensure that startup, launching apps, shutdown and all other activities are done fast.


Promising 1.75 million hours average time to failure, you can be sure that this drive will serve you for a long time. To emphasize on its durability, the manufacturer gives a 5-year warranty on every SSD. To ensure your battery serves a long item as well, the makers of this drive have made it draw up 25% less power than the previous generations. As for connectivity, it uses the SATA 6.0 GB/s interface.

Buy on Amazon

4. Transcend 480GB JetDrive 820 PCIe ($349.99)

This SSD is compatible with MacBook Pros made between late 2013 and late 2016. These are the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro Retina, Mac Mini and Mac Pro. This SSD uses the advanced PCIe Gen 3 x 2 interface which provides fast transfers. The fast read enhances the fast performances of this interface and write speeds which are each rated at 950MB/s made possible by the 3D NAND flash technology used in this SSD.

Transcend 480GB JetDrive

To easily transfer data into this SSD, users can use the aluminum alloy enclosure included in the box. This has thunderbolt technology with data transfer speeds of up to 10Gb/s. The JetDrive toolbox this drives comes with makers it very easy to monitor its status showing the health status of the drive and firmware upgrades among others. This drive has a storage capacity of 480GB but this can be easily upgraded up to 960GB.

Buy on Amazon

5. OWC 1.0TB Aura PCIe SSD ($599.99)

This SSD is ideal for use with MacBook Pros made from late 2013 to late 2016. This is because it has a PCIe interface. This flash-based storage upgrade offers very fast read and write speeds of up to 726MB/s. To make it easy to transfer data between this SSD and the original one your Mac came with, the OWC Aura SSD comes with an Envoy Pro enclosure that fits both SSDs perfectly.

OWC 1.0TB Aura SSD Flash

This SSD has a total capacity of 1TB with 960GB usable space whereas 64GB is allocated to error correction and real time data redundancy. This is much higher than the SSD you had originally. Plus; with the enclosure, you can still use the initial SSD as an external drive.

Buy on Amazon

6. Samsung 860 EVO 500GB mSATA & Mini PCIe SATA SSD Converter Card

This is the best SSD upgrade for MacBook Pro made between mid 2012 and early 2013. Using mSATA 6Gb/s interface, this SSD can reach sequential write and read speeds of up to 520MB/s and 550MB/s respectively. The fast speeds this SSD has are consistent even when the Mac is multi-tasking. But how long will it last? With a 5-year warranty on each SSD, you can see that the makers are sure about its durability.

Samsung 860 EVO 500GB

Mini PCIe SATA SSD Converter Card

This drive has a storage capacity of 500GB, but if you need a larger or smaller one you will find it.

Bottom line

When you decide to upgrade the storage of your MacBook Pro, it is not in doubt that your aim will be to get more storage. The considerations should, however, not stop there. It is good to choose an SSD which provides storage space that is fast to read and write on. SSDs also last a long time and reliable. But what is the best SSD for MacBook Pro?

This depends on what kind of MacBook Pro it is you are using. If it was made in 2013 or earlier, you will need a SATA SSD while those using MacBook Pros made later require PCIe SSDs. There are many in each category but above we have looked at the best. Think of what capacity it is you want and choose one that suits you from the picks above and upgrades your Mac’s storage.

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August 27, 2019 1:51 am

This was very helpful. Thank you so much. Would love to see something similar for a RAM upgrade for 2012 MacBook pro.

June 10, 2019 9:19 am

hey my macbook pro 2012 hard drive shut down which ssd drive should i use

May 24, 2019 1:56 am

Awesome article! I would be grateful if you did a version for RAM! Thanks!!

Fernando ordonez
Fernando ordonez
November 27, 2018 7:44 pm

hi, just a quick q: what about the sandisk Pro, Is this better than Plus, or has different uses? I saw the pro version is more expensive, which one you recommend?

Mark Jacobs
Mark Jacobs
July 25, 2018 10:53 pm

Great article. There are some typos I wanted to address briefly… In your “Hard Disk vs SSD” paragraph, you say “1.5Gbit/s which is equivalent to 159MB/s” but in fact should be 187.5MB/s. Also in your table Macbook Pro table, SATA 3.0 should say “3Gbit/s” & not “6Gbit/s.” Just don’t want to confuse others out there 🙂