Even the best devices can be beaten down by a slower storage device but when it comes to gaming, the OS boot speed and game loading time have a significant impact on the overall performance. These storage devices are of two types.
- HDD – Older generation hard disks with a lot of moving components.
- SSD – Latest generation solid-state drives with at least 10x faster speeds.
SSDs have taken the world by storm and they show no sign of slowing down. These smaller and faster storage devices have almost evicted HDDs from most performance-oriented gaming PCs and Laptops. Although an HDD is almost half the price of an SSD, the difference in performance is what motivates consumers to opt for SSDs nowadays.
FACT CHECK: SSDs were launched in 1991, almost 29 years ago whereas the HDDs were launched in December 1954, about 65 years ago.
Is SSDs Worth It For Gaming?
Every individual interested in buying a storage device will have their own reasons. Some are looking to remove their PC’s speed limit, while others want more storage. But we have narrowed it down to the two most important pointers that will help you choose an SSD storage as per your requirements.
There is no doubt about the performance of SSDs, even a cheap NVME SSD can outperform top-end HDDs available today. But the real question is what this extra performance does for gaming.
For starters, you will spend far less time staring at the loading screen with an SSD. Obviously, the gaming experience will not be any nicer with an SSD, neither will there be any significant increase in frame rates. The gaming experience will improve but not as much as it will if you were to invest in graphics cards.
But the extra advantages of faster windows boot time and better file transfer speeds are worth the higher prices. You won’t have to wait for hours for large file transfers. Nor will you have to deal with slow and laggy data transfer speeds. In short, the right SSD will take your computer’s performance to the next level.
Price to Storage Ratio
It is the most considerable factor why HDDs have still survived to this date. SSDs offer much lesser space for a far higher price. A 1TB SSD will usually cost you 3x more than a 1TB HDD. Although SSDs are available at a much cheaper price than ever, HDDs offer far better value when we compare the storage offered by both these devices.
It all comes down to individual preferences and requirements. If you want a faster boot time by spending more money and are satisfied with the lesser storage capacity, you should surely move ahead with SSDs. If you want an SSD at an HDD competitive price range, you can always opt for a lower-end brand.
Ultimately the price will be the biggest issue for any interested buyer. The best SSD for gaming will cost you. Although some people get the best of both worlds by using a smaller SSD as a system drive and a larger HDD for storage. But considering the SSDs are getting cheaper by the month, you may still use an SSD as the primary and only drive with an eye towards the future.
Types Of SSDs You Can Buy
Apart from the changes in minor specifications, there is only a major difference in the type of SSDs. They are either internal or external devices.
Internal SSDs come with various form factors ranging from 2.5-inch x 7mm, M.2, and a spare PCIe AIC (Add-In-Cards) which can be inserted in PCIe slots like GPUs. Even internal SSDs can be converted to external SSDs by using an external enclosure.
External drives are available in 3 different connection modes using reversible Type-C, Type-C-to-Type-A cable, or SATA cables. SATA SSDs are connected using two SATA cables, one for data and another for power. These external SSDs are often used as a backup device to deal with huge amounts of data such as huge games.
The problem with SATA SSDs is that because they don’t have access to too many PCIe lanes, the rates of data transfer are lower than in an NVME SSD.
NVME SSDs are plugged straight into the motherboard, they can access more PCIe lanes which results in faster sequential speeds.
NVME SSDs are generally faster than SATA drives. It’s not a surprise really, an internal drive is bound to be faster than an external drive.
So, now that you know the basics of SSDs and their advantages, here are the best SSDs for gaming you can buy today.
Best Internal SSDs For Gaming
1. Crucial MX500
The Crucial MX500 1TB solid-state drive is the best SSD for gaming if you are on a budget. It is compatible with all the laptops and desktops that accept a 2.5″ 7mm SATA drive.
This budget SSD comes with AES 256-bit encryption that can keep your personal data secure from unwanted third-party infiltration. This device was launched with its one-of-a-kind integrated power loss immunity system that preserves all the saved data even in case of an abrupt power shortage.
The relatively higher read and write speed makes it perfect for better load times, powered by Micron 3D NAND Technology. This SSD has received more than a few accolades for being the best SATA interface card available in the market.
Priced around $100, it is among the cheapest and the best SATA SSDs available today with an average rating of 4.8 on Amazon at the time of writing this blog.
Model: CT1000MX500SSD1 | Compatible Devices: Desktops and Laptops | Digital Storage Space: 1 TB| Form factor: 2.5 Inches | Hardware Interface: SATA 6.0 Gb/s | Write Speed: 510 Megabytes per second | Read Speed: 560 Megabytes per second
- Competitive performance
- Available in both SATA 2.5 and M.2 SATA versions
- Comes with a five-year warranty
- Slightly slower at large data transfers
- Very basic form factor
2. Seagate BarraCuda 510
This drive comes with NVMe or Non-Volatile Memory that helps deliver 6 times better performance outputs compared to common SATA HDDs. You can enjoy read and write speeds of over 3GB/sec, sufficient for quick data or file transfers.
It also comes with a Drive health monitoring tool which can be used to analyze the health of the SSD.
This HDD is best suited for upgrading ultra-thin laptops given its PCIe 3.0 X4 interface helps extend the battery life by reducing power consumption. However, this is just as useful for console gaming as well given that gaming consoles can show power drain issues.
This top-of-the-line NVME SSD from Seagate Barracuda 510 comes at a cost of over $80 for 500GB. But given the performance on offer, it is one of the best SSDs for gaming.
Model: ZP500CM30001 | Compatible Devices: Desktops and Laptops | Digital Storage Space: 1 TB| Form factor: PCIe AIC (Add-In-Card) | Hardware Interface: PCIe Gen 3 x4, NVME | Write Speed: 510 Megabytes per second | Read Speed: 560 Megabytes per second
- Optimized for the best read and write performance
- Available in PCIe 3.0 x4 Interface
- Low storage-to-price ratio
3. WD Blue
Western Digital launched the WD Blue to compete in the SSD segment and it has quickly become one of the highest-selling SSDs on Amazon.
The WD Blue is recognized as the best internal SSD for gaming considering its 2TB storage capacity and considerably high read and write speed of over 500 Megabytes per second.
This SSD also claims the highest mean time to failure in the industry of 1.75 million hours (based on Telcordia stress part testing.) It also delivers almost 25% lower power consumption than the previous generations of WD Blue SSDs that had the issue of high idle power consumption.
WD also offers downloadable software to track the performance of this device, data cloning, or creating a backup. Along with the 5-year manufacturer’s limited warranty, this is arguably one of the best internal SSDs for gaming available today.
Highly recommended for the gamers looking for higher storage and competitive pricing. This SSD is priced at around $230 for 2TB. It also comes in 500GB, 1TB and 4TB options.
Model: WDS200T2B0A | Compatible Devices: Desktops | Digital Storage Space: 2 TB| Form factor: 2.5 Inches | Hardware Interface: SATA 6.0GB/s | Write Speed: 530 Megabytes per second | Read Speed: 560 Megabytes per second
- Value for money
- Exceptional reliability
- Speeds capped around 500 Megabytes per second
4. WD Black
Western Digital’s next-generation SSD, the WD Black is a force to be reckoned with. This drive was developed targeting casual, heavy, and professional gamers. The WD Black SN750 is a much-improved version of the WD Blue SN550. Higher sequential speeds and bigger storage options are just a few features that make the WD Black SN750 a great SSD for gaming.
It is perhaps the fastest SSD for gaming available which comes with several high-tech features not available in any other solid-state drive as of now.
The WD BLACK SSD Dashboard with gaming mode makes it the perfect SSD upgrade for those intending to build a high-end custom gaming PC or gaming rig.
It is based upon the PCIe 3.0 interface with 8 data lanes. As per WD claims, this drive offers more than 6x higher speeds than their fastest SATA drives. A vital competitive edge for hardcore gamers.
The features just keep on adding – it also hosts a heatsink design (visible in the image above) enabling peak performance for a longer duration. With features like these, the WD Black SN750 really is a great piece of gaming hardware. If you are still not impressed, you can also check out the WD Black SN850, a more costly upgrade to the WD Blue SN550.
The only downside is that it is meant for those who don’t mind spending a huge amount. Comparing the WD Black SN750 SSD versus the other options, you will have to spend about 15-20% more.
At around $150, 1TB of storage can raise a few eyebrows. But considering the 5 years limited manufacturer’s warranty and the next-gen performance outputs, this is still great value-for-money.
Model: WDS100T3XHC| Compatible Devices: Desktops | Digital Storage Space: 1TB| Form factor: M.2 2280 | Hardware Interface: PCIe 3.0 8 GB/s up to 4 lanes | Write Speed: 3000 Megabytes per second | Read Speed: 3470 Megabytes per second
- In-built heatsink for advanced cooling
- Class-leading performance
- High write endurance.
- Too expensive for only 1TB
5. SK Hynix Gold
The Gold range of SK Hynix is truly the gold standard of SSDs offering an industry-leading 5-year warranty. SK Hynix might not ring a bell in your head, but it was the second-largest memory chipmaker and third-largest semiconductors manufacturing company in the world, delivering products to DELL and Apple.
This SK Hynix Gold is developed keeping in mind the requirements of a hardcore gamer, delivering over 560 MB/s of read and 525 MB/s of write speed. It uses a combination of a NAND, Controller, and DRAM to deliver consistent performance, setting new benchmarks for SATA III-based SSD drives.
Priced at around $120, the device is almost as expensive as the WD Black but lags in terms of data read and write performance. However, it does offer easier compatibility with a larger range of motherboards given it’s a SATA drive.
Model: B07SNHB4RC | Compatible Devices: Desktop | Digital Storage Space: 1000GB | Product type: 2.5 inches | Hardware Interface: SATA 6.0 Gb/s | Write Speed: 525 Megabytes per second | Read Speed: 560 Megabytes per second
- High data read and write speed on SATA III interface
- Mounting points for placing it in HDD Slot
- Quite Overpriced
Best External SSD For Gaming
1. XPG SX850
The XPG SX 850 is perhaps the best SSD for gaming purposes, especially for those hardcore gamers who are looking for an affordable and efficient external SSD OS drive.
This SSD has 250 GBs of storage capacity, sufficient for loading an OS and a few games. It implements 3D NAND technology that stacks the memory cells vertically to overcome the density limitation posed by the previous 2D NAND SSDs.
It also comes with intelligent SLC Caching and DRAM memory cache buffer for consistent performance for long gaming hours.
The XPG SX 850 comes with complimentary access to the ADATA exclusive SSD toolbox and Disk mitigation utility for easy data management and transfer. It further comes with Raid Engine and Data shaping for better data security delivering long-lasting stability and safety.
The manufacturer offers a worry-free 3-year warranty for the best quality and service. I would highly recommend this to all budget gamers facing boot issues with their device to enjoy gaming without re-hauling the existing machine.
Available on Amazon with a rating of 4.6/5 for under $50, this is a surprise package and perfect as a standalone SSD to run games without using your base PC hard drive or even as the primary boot drive.
Model: SSD-SX850-256G | Compatible Devices: Desktop | Digital Storage Space: 250GB | Product type: External | Hardware Interface: SATA 6.0 Gb/s | Write Speed: 520 Megabytes per second | Read Speed: 560 Megabytes per second
- Easy installation and mobility
- Unparalleled value for money
- Limited space of 250 GB
- High cost to storage ratio
2. Seagate FireCuda
This is an SSHD, a solid-state Hybrid Device, it offers significantly higher read and write speeds than the fastest HDDs. But it’s nowhere comparable to the speed and performance offered by a SATA SSD or even an NVME SSD. But if it’s not as fast as an SDD, why is it on the list?
FireCuda Gaming offers a storage space of 500GB but at least 5X more speed than most HDDs available today. This makes it perfect for gamers looking for a faster external boot drive, and a new SSD for gaming and storing an Operating System, with a flexible price to storage ratio. Note that this drive is best suited for games limited to 75 FPS or less.
If that is just what you are looking for, you can get this external Hybrid SSD which is priced under $50, a bargain price tag considering the storage offered along with the performance.
Model: ST500LX025 | Compatible Devices: Desktop and laptops | Digital Storage Space: 500GB | Product type: External |Hardware Interface: SATA 6.0 Gb/s | Write Speed: 119 Megabytes per second | Read Speed: 153 Megabytes per second
- Decent speed as compared to HDDs
- Low cost to storage ratio
- Below-par performance
3. Seagate BarraCuda Fast
The Seagate BarraCuda Fast is a unique, trendy, and stylish external SSD. The design hosts a unique LED light that glows when in use other than a shock-resistant structure to resist damage. It’s not as stylish as an RGB SSD, but it definitely looks better than a basic consumer SSD.
Seagate makes some of the best SSDs and the Barracuda lives up to the name. It performs well enough, delivering a 500 MB/s average across both read and write speeds. This is one of the few portable SSDs to offer level speeds on both counts, making it perfect for standalone PC gaming or extended console gaming.
This SSD also offers some smart add-ons inside such as the backup and folder mirroring software for easy data and file transfers. The compatibility of this device and the same performance levels across all platforms such as Windows, Mac, PS4, and Xbox make it a perfectly versatile storage device.
Available on Amazon for less than $100, it is a perfect buy for casual and amateur gamers looking for a stylish SSD that can deliver on performance as well.
Model: STJM500400 | Compatible Devices: Desktop, Mac, Xbox, PS4 | Digital Storage Space: 500GB | Product type: External | Hardware Interface: USB 3.0 | Write Speed: 520 Megabytes per second | Read Speed: 560 Megabytes per second
- Attractive Design
- Synchronization software
- USB Type-C based connection
- Low performance-to-price
4. Sandisk Extreme
The Sandisk Extreme truly lives up to its name and is perhaps the best external SSD for gaming and otherwise available in the market.
We all know how fragile storage drives are by nature but given the fact that this device comes with IP55-rating, it is tested to withstand the water flow of 30 kPa for 3mins and even on-surface dust substantially.
It is also tested to bear a shock of up to 1500G and vibrations of 5g RMS, 10-20000Hz, and can bear non-operating temperatures in the range of -20°C to 70°C. These features are hard to find in the so-called SSD market. Sandisk even offers a 3-year limited manufacturing warranty on this device.
These capabilities make this SSD one of the best portable flash memory drives available on the market today. It is compact, lightweight, and can easily fit into your pocket.
Performance-wise it delivers speeds of over 500MB/sec in both read and write operations. And with 500GB of storage available, it offers ample space considering the price tag.
Although it is priced around $150 for 1TB, the extra cost balances the huge features offered by this SSD, especially if you are on the lookout for a tough, smart, portable, and quality SSD that can handle gaming.
Model: SDSSDE601T00-G25 | Compatible Devices: Desktop and Laptops | Digital Storage Space: 500GB | Product type: External | Hardware Interface: USB 3.0 | Write Speed: 520 Megabytes per second | Read Speed: 550 Megabytes per second
- Functional Design
- IP55 dust and water-resistant
- Best in class SATA speeds
- Dust gets stuck to the design panels
5. Samsung 860 QVO
The Samsung 860 QVO is commonly called the king of SSDs. As of late, Samsung has created a great brand value in the SSD segment prompting most of the new buyers to head their way. Samsung SSDs excel in high sequential performance and provide the fastest loading speeds while you are playing games on your laptop or gaming console.
Another reason Samsung SSDs are so popular is because of the wide variety Samsung offers. Whether you want the best SATA SSD or the best NVME SSD, Samsung has got you covered. From budget to expensive, Samsung’s SSD range is something else. For instance, one of the best SSDs for gaming right now is the Samsung 970 Evo Plus.
The Samsung 860 QVO comes with the Samsung Magician, a free tool to monitor the speed, performance, and health of the drive. It is protected by a 3-year limited manufacturer warranty as well.
Inside, AES 256-bit hardware-based encryption with higher security compliance makes it both secure and high-performance simultaneously. So much so that this Samsung SSD has outperformed non-DRAM TLC-based SSDs thanks to its unique high-density QLC NAND technology.
Overall, the device offers one of the best speeds in the SATA segment of external SSDs with 256-bit encryption. So, this a highly recommended storage device to buy, and the price tag make it one of the best SSDs for gaming, available in the market today.
Model: MZ-76Q1T0 | Compatible Devices: Desktop and Laptops | Digital Storage Space: 1 TB | Product type: External | Hardware Interface: USB 3.0 | Write Speed: 520 Megabytes per second | Read Speed: 550 Megabytes per second
- High cost per storage ratio
- Available up to 4TB
- Write speed plummets after secondary cache exhaustion
Summing It Up
The most important factor to consider while choosing an SSD over an HDD is undoubtedly the speed. There are multiple devices with a lot of combinations, it all narrows down to what you can get in your budget.
Those looking for an internal SSD to upgrade their system on a tight budget should move ahead with a decent SATA SSD like the 500GB Seagate BarraCuda 510. It offers decent storage space for a few games and an OS within $80.
Hardcore gamers with a higher budget who are building their own gaming PC can consider the Crucial MX500 or the SK Hynix Gold S31 SSD, both offering 1TB storage under the price bracket of $125.
For higher storage as well as a sustained performance, choose either the 2 TB WD Blue SSD or the 1TB WD Black SN750. These devices can only be mounted on the pre-existing devices with necessary sorts like the PCIe 4.0, 8x, and SATA port.
Aside from an internal upgrade, you can also go for external SSDs. These are used as separate storage devices for higher mobility and keeping your games and OS on a separate device. Most of these devices are powered by USB 3.0 which can be connected using a reversible Type-C cable or Type-C to Type-A cable. This mobility is for those gamers and creative professionals who have multiple setups and like to keep their gaming progression close to themselves.
The Seagate FireCuda SSHD can suffice the need for larger storage space with a little extra boot speed than an HDD. For budget gamers, the 250GB XPG SX 850 provides decent read and write speeds while the Samsung 860 QVO can fulfill the need for significantly larger storage space and boot speeds.
The 1TB Sandisk Extreme is a must-have device for users who want a durable and long-lasting solid-state storage drive, although it does not offer any significant performance as compared to the above two external SSDs.