- Our choice for the #1 Best Overall SSD for gaming is the WD Black SN850X. The WD Black SN850X stands out as it provides high-speed data transfers and ample storage to keep your gaming experience smooth and seamless.
- Solid State Drives (SSDs) for gaming have revolutionized the industry by offering lightning-fast load times, reduced latency, and improved overall system responsiveness. A fast SSD gets you into the action much quicker by significantly minimizing long-lasting loading screens.
- When choosing a suitable SSD for gaming, consider factors such as your specific needs, budget, and desired level of performance.
Gaming has morphed into a high-tech ecosystem demanding robust hardware for an unblemished experience. Amidst all essentials, the SSD (Solid-State Drive) holds a special place; it’s the cornerstone of gaming performance and speed. Boosting load times and facilitating swift data transfers, the suitable SSD propels your gaming odyssey to stratospheric levels, thus spotlighting the criticality of choosing wisely.
Today, the gaming universe is brimming with SSDs offering various features and speeds, catering to desktop and laptop needs. Pivotal factors for choosing an SSD are your system specifications, game requirements, and, most importantly, the balance between speed and storage capacity. A well-chosen SSD enhances your gaming spree and dramatically improves your PC’s overall performance. So let’s delve into SSDs and unearth the best one for your gaming rig.
Let’s take a look at the six best SSD for gaming you can buy today. Here are our top picks for the best SSDs for gaming.
- Best Overall: WD Black SN850X
- Best SATA SSD: Samsung 870 Evo
- Best Overall Performance: Samsung 990 Pro
- Best Steam Deck SSD: Sabrent Rocket 2230
- Best Affordable Gen 4.0 NVMe SSD: WD Black SN770 1TB
- Best Budget M.2 SSD: Crucial P3
Best Overall: WD Black SN850X
- Connection: 4th Generation PCIe NVMe M.2 2280
- Speed: 7300MB/s
- Includes the WD_BLACK Dashboard (unfortunately for Windows only)
- Supports predictive loading and dynamic thermal management.
The WD Black SN850X soars to the top, capturing our accolade for the best SSD for gaming. A distinct upgrade over its predecessor, the SN850, this SSD offers improved sequential read and write speeds, leading to a smoother and faster gaming operation. Its integrated heatsink offers superior cooling solutions, significantly reducing the earlier model’s heat-related issues.
Addressing its thermal management effectively, the SN850X incorporates a new profile that minimizes performance throttling, ensuring your gaming sessions remain uninterrupted and fluid. While the 4K performance may slightly lag behind the older model, the overall robustness and balance of the SN850X make it a winner across various platforms.
Available in capacities up to 4TB, the SN850X caters to a range of user requirements, providing abundant storage for all your favorite games. And while it maintains high-performance standards, it remains relatively affordable, making it a great value proposition for serious gamers.
The WD Black SN850X is not just a hardware upgrade. It’s a comprehensive solution that takes your gaming experience to the next level. Whether you’re a PC gamer or a console enthusiast, this SSD promises to transform your play sessions with its speed, storage, and cooling advantages. It’s a solid choice for gamers seeking high-quality, reliable performance. Check out the WD Black SN850X on Amazon.
|Significantly improved operating temperatures compared to the SN850.||Little improvement in 4K performance|
|Enhanced PS5 compatibility.||The heatsink might not add significant value for PC users|
|Offers solid overall performance.||Not a major step forward|
Best SATA SSD: Samsung 870 Evo
- Connection type: SATA
- Warranty: 5 years
- External SSD (2.5 inch size)
- Speed: 560/530 MB/s read/write
The Samsung 870 EVO is the ultimate pick for the Best SATA SSD for gaming. This best-in-class SSD brings reliability, responsive architecture, and appealing aesthetics. Even though its speeds may seem modest compared to PCIe storage, it is considerably faster than any conventional hard drive, providing a smoother gaming experience.
Beyond speed, the Samsung 870 Evo impresses with its generous storage capacity. Available in sizes up to 4TB, it efficiently houses extensive game libraries. This feature ensures your Steam collection resides comfortably without necessitating relocation. Moreover, the cost-effectiveness of the 870 Evo is noteworthy. Comparable M.2 SSDs with the same storage size fetch a significantly higher price, making this SSD an intelligent choice for gamers prioritizing capacity over speed.
Renowned for its superior quality, Samsung’s 870 Evo SSD is responsive, reliable, and efficient under any workload. Its architecture lends itself to its performance, offering appealing aesthetics and advanced AES 256-bit encryption for extra security.
Finally, despite the increasing shift towards faster NVMe adoption, SATA SSDs like the Samsung 870 Evo maintain relevance due to their compatibility with many systems. It is a simple and easy storage expansion for gamers lacking additional M.2 slots. Check out the Samsung 870 EVO on Amazon.
|The Samsung 870 EVO boasts of reliable and responsive architecture that ensures efficient performance||The 870 EVO is slightly more expensive than its competitors, although it offers increased performance, particularly with small file operations|
|It offers extensive storage capacity options, with models going up to 4TB.||It is slower compared to NVMe drives.|
|The SSD comes with an AES 256-bit encryption feature that provides an additional layer of data security||As technology advances, there is a growing preference for NVMe SSDs over SATA SSDs, which may render SATA models like the 870 EVO less desirable in the future.|
Best SSD for Pure Performance: Samsung 990 Pro
The Samsung 990 Pro dominates the category of SSDs for the gaming field with unmatched performance. It demonstrates great read and write speeds through rigorous testing, making it perfect for hardcore gamers and tech enthusiasts. Record-setting gaming performance positions the 990 Pro at the forefront of the industry, noticeably outpacing its predecessor, the 980 Pro, by more than 1100MB/s in terms of read speeds.
Offering sizes of 1TB and 2TB, this SSD impresses with read speeds up to 7450MB/s and write speeds reaching 6900MB/s. Despite high power demands, it remains cool, thanks to the optional heatsink. Regarding gaming performance, the 990 Pro proved itself by loading a Shadow of the Tomb Raider save in just 6.6 seconds. Such speed is pivotal for a seamless gaming experience.
However, excellence does not come without its challenges. The Samsung 990 Pro could benefit from a price reduction to compete with other SSDs, and its sustained write performance could see improvement. Yet, the pros outweigh the cons, and this SSD remains a game-changer for those seeking the best gaming experience.
The Samsung 990 Pro sets the bar for gaming SSDs. It is a remarkable piece of tech that promises and delivers top-tier performance. Check out the Samsung 990 Pro on Amazon.
|The optional heatsink offers effective cooling.||Pricing is more competitive.|
|Unbeatable load times for an exceptional gaming experience.||It lacks PCIe 5.0 support.|
|Outstanding read/write speeds provide a smooth general use experience.||There’s room to improve sustained write performance.|
Best Steam Deck SSD: Sabrent Rocket 2230
- Up to 800,000 IOPS and 5 Gbps speeds
- Features the new PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD controller with 3D TLC
- DRAM-less with HMB support
- Backward compatible with Gen3 and Gen2 PCIe slots with reduced bandwidth
The Sabrent Rocket 2230 excels as an SSD for gaming, especially in the Steam Deck context. With its ideal size, you won’t have to modify your device to increase storage. This SSD fits perfectly inside a Steam Deck and delivers an exceptional punch for a compact-sized SSD. The PCIe 4.0 drive achieves read speeds of up to 4,750MB/s and writes rates of up to 4,300MB/s. This speed potential makes it a reliable choice for loading and running games rapidly, which is essential for any gamer.
When tested, the Sabrent Rocket 2230 showed remarkable efficiency in power usage. Despite expectations of high power draw due to its speed capabilities, this SSD exhibited an average power draw of only 2W. This SSD drastically reduces game loading times, making it a worthwhile upgrade for your Steam Deck.
In real-world random performance, the 512GB Sabrent excelled with read speeds of 78MB/s above the Deck’s original SSD and 252MB/s writes. This directly translates to quicker file transfer times, reducing a 7GB file transfer time from 36 seconds to 14.
Whether it’s the 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB variant, each model offers tangible improvements over the Steam Deck’s internal SSD. The 1TB model shows slightly inconsistent performance and higher power draw but remains a formidable choice for those needing more space. For users with lower capacity Steam Decks, upgrading to the 512GB Sabrent drive is smart. Check out the Sabrent Rocket 2230 on Amazon.
|Fits perfectly into the Steam Deck||Inconsistent performance in high power draw situations|
|Low power draw of 2W on average|
Best Affordable Gen 4.0 NVMe SSD: WD Black SN770 1TB
The WD Black SN770 1TB is an unparalleled gaming SSD, blending remarkable speed, affordability, and impressive Gen 4.0 NVMe technology. Our hands-on testing observed it hitting its claimed sequential read and write speeds. This performance translates to swift OS boot times and rapid in-game loading, making it ideal for gamers seeking an exceptional price-to-performance ratio.
While testing, it became evident that the WD Black SN770 does not sacrifice performance for the price. It produced a noteworthy Anvil Pro score, usually linked with higher-tier NVMe drives. This gaming-focused SSD offers smooth and responsive gaming experiences, indicating that its performance isn’t merely tied to figures, but to tangible user experiences.
However, it’s not devoid of a few minor hitches. The random read speeds were average, which might impact performance in specific scenarios. Yet, these do not overshadow the sheer value offered by the WD Black SN770. Check out the WD Black SN770 1TB on Amazon.
|This SSD is competitively priced for a 1TB drive, providing excellent value.||The drive does not come in a 4TB option, which might limit its appeal to users requiring larger storage capacities.|
|The WD Black SN770 reliably hits its advertised read and write speeds, ensuring predictable performance.||Its random read speeds are average, potentially impacting performance in specific scenarios.|
|Its sequential performance is impressive, offering quick access to data and files.||The SSD lacks AES hardware encryption, a potential drawback for users requiring enhanced data security.|
Best Budget M.2 SSD: Crucial P3
- Connection: M.2 NVMe
- Speed: 5000MB/s
- Lifetime: 1.5 million hours
- Also compatible with third generation NVMe connections
The Crucial P3 is undoubtedly the best budget M.2 SSD on the market. Its high-capacity options make it a formidable contender in the SSD for the gaming category. Its PCIe 3.0 interface may limit it, but this contributes to its budget-friendly appeal. It is also incredibly efficient, assuring your gaming system stays cool even under intense gaming sessions.
Balancing cost and performance, the Crucial P3 hits the sweet spot. Simultaneously, it maintains admirable efficiency and temperature control. The price per GB, especially when on sale, is relatively low, making it an excellent choice for anyone looking to upgrade their gaming rig.
Crucial further boosts this SSD’s value by offering a generous 5-year warranty and comprehensive software support. Such a commitment to user satisfaction should give any potential buyer peace of mind.
However, the Crucial P3 has its challenges. It employs QLC and lacks DRAM, which may introduce performance issues. Also, its endurance could be much higher than some might expect. But these downsides are mitigated at higher capacities, making the P3 a good option. Check out the Crucial P3 on Amazon.
|High capacity options providing ample storage.||QLC and DRAM-less may affect performance.|
|Price per GB is cheap, especially when on sale.||It has low endurance|
|Highly efficient and cool, ideal for intense gaming.||It is limited to PCIe 3.0.|
How to Pick the Best SSD for Gaming: Step by Step
A suitable storage device is crucial as games become more significant and graphically intensive. Here are four primary considerations when shopping for the best SSD for gaming:
Let us discuss each of these factors in more detail.
Speed is the cornerstone of gaming. Traditional hard drives can slow down your system as the processor spends valuable time waiting for data. SSDs run off flash memory to read and write data digitally, offering speedier load times and a more seamless gaming experience. However, not all SSDs are equal in terms of speed. Look for PCIe 4.0 or even PCIe 5.0 drives that offer faster transfer rates than their SATA counterparts, making your gaming experience much smoother.
Capacity should match your gaming needs. Games can take up a substantial amount of storage space, and the best SSD for gaming should have enough space to store your games without constantly requiring you to delete files. Note that SSDs with larger capacities often provide better performance. Depending on your gaming habits, aim for an SSD with a capacity of at least 500GB, though 1TB or more is optimal for serious gamers.
SSDs wear out over time, and while they’re typically robust, an SSD with a higher endurance rating will last longer. This factor is especially crucial for heavy gamers, as constant writing and deleting of game data can speed up the wear of an SSD.
Balancing performance and budget can take time and effort. High-end NVMe SSDs are more expensive than SATA SSDs but offer better performance. Finding an SSD that fits your budget without compromising your gaming needs is essential.
Compatibility is another critical factor. Your SSD should be compatible with your system. For example, M.2 drives require an M.2 slot on your motherboard, while SATA SSDs need a SATA port. Check your system specifications before making your decision. Also, consider if your system supports the NVMe protocol, which enables faster data transfer rates on M.2 drives.
What to Know Before Buying the Best SSD for Gaming
Before diving into the vast market of SSDs, it’s critical to understand your specific needs and system capabilities. Modern gaming requires substantial storage and speedy data transfers. This is where an SSD for gaming comes into play, exponentially enhancing load times and system responsiveness. The type of SSD you opt for primarily depends on your system’s specifications. The recent PCIe 4.0 and 5.0 drives unlock higher transfer speeds, but not all systems can accommodate them.
Choosing the right brand is another crucial consideration. Brands like Samsung, Corsair, and Western Digital are well-recognized and often provide reliable options. Additionally, consider future-proofing your gaming rig with high-capacity SSDs, as games increasingly demand more storage. Just remember, speed and space are the two driving factors in this realm, so prioritize an SSD that excels in both.
Using the Best SSD for Gaming: What It’s Like
Utilizing the best SSD for gaming is a transformative experience. These Solid-State Drives (SSDs) offer lightning-fast load times and significantly reduced latency, taking your gaming to the next level. The agility of an SSD means less time spent on loading screens and more time immersing yourself in the gaming universe. Moreover, with high-performance SSDs, you’re not just speeding up game load times. You’re enhancing the overall system responsiveness. Transferring files becomes a breeze, and the need for constantly deleting gameplay highlights to make room for new games is significantly lessened. With a quality SSD, gaming becomes smoother and more responsive, setting the foundation for an unsurpassed gaming experience.
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