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.
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, 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 budget SSDs can outrun 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. But the extra advantages of faster windows boot time and better file transfer speeds are worth the higher prices.
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 space, you should surely move ahead with SSDs.
Ultimately the price will be the biggest issue for any interested buyer. 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 that 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 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 type 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.
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 budget SSD for gaming. It is compatible with all the laptops and desktops that accept 2.5″ 7mm SATA drives.
This 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 HDD has received more than a few accolades for being the best SATA based SSD card available in the market.
Priced around $100 along with a 5-year limited warranty covered by the Crucial, it is among the cheapest SATA based SSD cards 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 Capacity: 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
Seagate BarraCuda is the next-generation internal solid-state drive based upon the PCIe Generation 3 X4 slot. So, you can insert this SSD into the motherboard just like a graphics card.
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 interface helps extend the battery life by reducing the 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 speed from Seagate Barracuda 510 comes at a cost of over $80 for 500GB. But given the performance on offer, it is surely worth a buy.
Model: ZP500CM30001 | Compatible Devices: Desktops and Laptops | Digital Storage Capacity: 1 TB| Form factor: PCIe AIC (Add-In-Card) | Hardware Interface: PCIe Gen3 x4, NVME | Write Speed: 510 Megabytes per second | Read Speed: 560 Megabytes per second
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 high storage capacity of 2TB and considerable read and write speed of over 500 Megabytes per second.
This HD also claims the highest mean time to failure in the industry of 1.75 million hours (based on Telcordia stress part testing.) It also comes delivers almost 25% lower power consumption than the previous generations of WD Blue SSDs.
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 while somewhat sticking to a budget. 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 Capacity: 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
Western Digital’s next-generation SSD WD Black is a force to be reckoned with. This drive was developed targeting casual, heavy, and professional gamers.
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 as if perfect for those intending to build a high-end custom gaming PC or gaming rig.
It is based upon the PCIe Gen3 interface with 8 data lanes. As per WD claims, this drive offers more than 6x higher speeds than their fastest SATA based SSD. 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. It also comes with a.
This device has no downside except the fact that it is meant for those who don’t mind spending a huge amount.
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 value-for-money.
Model: WDS100T3XHC| Compatible Devices: Desktops | Digital Storage Capacity: 1TB| Form factor: M.2 2280 | Hardware Interface: PCIe Gen3 8.0 GB/s up to 4 lanes | Write Speed: 3000 Megabytes per second | Read Speed: 3470 Megabytes per second
The Gold range of SK Hynix is truly a 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 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 around $120, the device is almost as expensive as the WD Black but lags behind in terms of data reading and writing speeds. However, it does offer easier compatibility with a larger range of motherboards given its SATA roots.
Model: B07SNHB4RC | Compatible Devices: Desktop | Digital Storage Capacity: 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
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 device has memory storage of 250 GB, 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 based SSDs.
It also comes with intelligent SLC Caching and DRAM memory cache buffer for consistent performance for long gaming hours.
This XPG SX 850 comes with complimentary access to 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 a 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 OS.
Model: SSD-SX850-256G | Compatible Devices: Desktop | Digital Storage Capacity: 250GB | Product type: External | Hardware Interface: SATA 6.0 Gb/s | Write Speed: 520 Megabytes per second | Read Speed: 560 Megabytes per second
This is an SSHD, a solid-state Hybrid Device, it offers a significantly higher read and write speed than the fastest HDDs. But is nowhere comparable to the speed and performance offered by the SSDs. You might be wondering if it’s not as fast as an SDD why is it on the list?
It offers a storage space of 500GB but at least 5X speed than most HDDs available today. This makes it perfect for gamers looking for a faster external device dedicated 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.
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.
The Barracuda performs well enough, delivering 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 with platforms such as Windows, Mac, PS4, and Xbox makes 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 Capacity: 500GB | Product type: External | Hardware Interface: USB 3.0 | Write Speed: 520 Megabytes per second | Read Speed: 560 Megabytes per second
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. Sandisk even offers a 3-year limited manufacturing warranty on this device
These features and capabilities make this one of the best portable storage drives available in 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 device, especially if you are in the lookout for tough smart portable storage device that can handle gaming.
Model: SDSSDE601T00-G25 | Compatible Devices: Desktop and Laptops | Digital Storage Capacity: 500GB | Product type: External | Hardware Interface: USB 3.0 | Write Speed: 520 Megabytes per second | Read Speed: 550 Megabytes per second
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.
This SSD 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 860 QVO 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 one of the best SSDs for gaming, available in the market today.
Model: MZ-76Q1T0 | Compatible Devices: Desktop and Laptops | Digital Storage Capacity: 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
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 the decent SATA based 500GB Seagate BarraCuda 510. It offers decent storage space for a few games and an OS within $80.
Hardcore gamers with a higher budget can consider between the Crucial MX500 or the SK Hynix Gold S31 SSD, both offering 1TB storage under the price bracket of $125.
For more storage as well as 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 4x,8x and SATA port.
Coming to the external SSDs, these are used as a separate storage device 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 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 durable long-lasting storage drive, although it does not offer any significant performance as compared to the above two external SSDs.