Data storage has come a long way, and in today’s gaming environment, every extra second of file retrieval counts. While SSD’s – solid state drives – aren’t an absolute necessity, no gaming PC should be without one. From lightning fast boot up to file retrieval in a fraction of the time of traditional hard drives, SSD’s can make a huge difference in not only how your overall gaming rig functions but the amount of operational space you have at your disposal.
What Does an SSD do for Gaming?
It can be hard to see what benefit an SSD will bring to your gaming experience that an HDD won’t, but if you’re the type of person who likes a quick snappy experience with nonexistent load times, and would like to eliminate these times; then an SSD is an absolute necessity.
SSD’s are even better for people who play larger games that require a lot of processing such as Fallout 4 or The Witcher 3. One of the main complaints with these games are the slow load times, but with a good SSD, you can eliminate these load times altogether. With larger games you might even see an FPS increase as the game can process much quicker on an SSD than an HDD. For smaller games there is less of an impact, but you would still have shorter load times.
Best SSD’s For Gaming On A Budget
I understand that not everyone has the money to spend on a top of the line SSD, so below I’ve included a few SSD’s that are great for the money that should still be able to house multiple games. I assume that 95% of us are going to be getting an SSD from this list, so I’ve included a good amount!
ADATA 240GB SSD
If you’re on a budget and still need a really cheap 240 GB SSD for gaming, then I would recommend ADATA’s 240GB SSD. Sure, this SSD doesn’t have the brand name, but what it does have is incredible value for the price and fantastic customer service. This SSD can reach read speeds up to 560 MB’s per second and write 510 MBs per second. Considering the price, this is an absolute steal. Besides what do you have to lose? This SSD comes with a 3-year warranty, so if you do have any complications, then you can just return the product. You can also get a 120GB version of this SSD or a 480 GB version. If you are looking for affordability, then ADATA SSD’s are without a doubt top choices.
SanDisk SSD Plus 240GB
Another excellent, but also cheap SSD is the SanDisk Plus 240 GB SSD. Many of you have probably already heard of SanDisk, as they’ve been an industry powerhouse for years. This SSD has great read times coming in at 520 MB’s per second and decent write times coming in at 350 MBs per second. For load speeds, this will do just fine and should eliminate all major load time issues you may have when gaming on an HDD. Although this SSD has lower write times then the ADATA, the Sandisk Plus 240GB SSD, is still something for the person who wants to have an SSD backed by a well-known company.
Samsung 850 Pro 128GB
One of the mainstays of the gaming SSD niche is the Samsung 850 Pro SSD. It’s available in 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, as well as 1 and 2TB of storage, with the higher-end 2TB version being one of the highest storage SSD’s on the market. The great thing about the 850 Pro is not only its durability but its speed – up to 2x faster than conventional SSD’s and all for under $100 for the lower-end 128GB model. It features exceptional power management and read/write capabilities that have become the hallmark of Samsung devices, not to mention file encryption – something rarely offered at this price point. All things considered, it’s a worthy addition to any gaming PC.
Best Midrange SSD’s For Gaming
These SDD’s aren’t the best you can buy, but they provide a lot of value and are the ones that I would recommend for gaming enthusiasts who are trying to eliminate load times. These SDD’s are a little pricey, but shouldn’t break the bank.
SanDisk Extreme Pro 240GB
Coming in at a suggested price of $189 for the 240GB model (but can probably be found less expensively) is the SanDisk Extreme Pro, another high-end enthusiast/gaming SSD. Although coming in with a higher price tag than the Samsung 850 Pro, it’s worth every penny when taking into account its features. Not only does it offer plenty of storage, but it also features SanDisk’s nCache Pro technology which helps to optimize the overall storage and retrieval speed, promising incredible performance with a reduced power signature. Further, the unit incorporates background garbage collection which frees up storage blocks to boost overall performance. It’s designed to be sturdy and to withstand shocks and bumps all in the name of enhanced data security. The onboard software helps you monitor the health and longevity of the drive, and it can alert you to any possible issues. Additionally, the Extreme Pro offers one of the highest endurance rates of any SSD’s on the market and is designed to outlast most comparable units. If that’s not enough it also comes with a 10-year warranty, ensuring maximum enjoyment out of this SSD.
Toshiba Q Series 512GB SSD
When taking into account mid-range SSD’s, the Toshiba Q 512GB SSD sets the standard. An excellent device, it carries a relatively modest price tag (Less than 200 dollars for 512 GB’s is pretty amazing) and delivers exceptional performance. As it uses NAND flash as its storage medium, Toshiba has managed to overcome the concern of data corruption during power interruptions by incorporating two distinct types of data management into the SSD, known as power loss protection and power failure management. Users can rest assured that their data will always remain protected while taking advantage of its lightning-fast speed capabilities. Endurance is excellent, as the drive contains routines designed to recycle and replace dead storage sectors when necessary, contributing to the excellent longevity of the unit. A high-performance drive at a lower cost than its rivals makes this an exceptional investment for any serious gamer.
Best High-End SSD’s For Gaming
These SDD’s are top of the line and are really going to cost you a pretty penny. However, if you are okay with paying the premium price, then these SSD’s will hold many games and process them at lightning speeds.
Intel 730 Series
The Intel 730 Series SSD is designed for professional and gaming systems and is available in 240 and 480GB. The overclocked architecture is intended to handle the highest workloads imaginable, yet the extra benefits don’t necessarily justify its high cost ($310 to $400). The 480GB model comes with a lot of usable data space – up to 528GB – mainly due to it leaving room for overprovisioning functions. It also offers a high degree of endurance, up to 125TB in its lifespan, but when you consider that the SanDisk Extreme Pro is rated for 80TB over its lifespan, it’s more than enough for even the most enthusiastic gamer. Despite the high cost, it’s still a remarkable SSD, and scores exceptionally high in raw data storage rates. Again, though, when rated against SanDisk the benefits are negligible.
Seagate 600 480GB SSD
The Seagate 600 Pro SSD is designed with optimal overprovisioning in mind, ensuring that it will always be at fully operational strength when you need it. While 512GB is on offer in the 480GB unit itself, the remaining memory is strictly reserved for error management, meaning it isn’t fully accessible as in the SanDisk. While a great device itself, it was also rated at about 15% less performance than the SanDisk Extreme Pro, not a great feat when considering it costs well over $100 more. That’s fine if the extra storage space is vital, but not when it comes to the overall processing speed of the drive. Still, it does have a decent endurance rate, and its 5-year warranty is ahead of most in the game. A tad on the expensive side but, all things considered, the Seagate 600 pro is a worthy SSD.
Crucial M500 960GB SSD
When absolute storage space is crucial, it doesn’t get much better than the Crucial M500. With a whopping 960GB of space, yet lower than the Samsung Pro’s 1TB model’s cost, this drive will handle anything you want to save to it with the speed to match. The cost for this storage behemoth is about $400 and still remains a competitive device after two years on the market. It intelligently manages NAND flash capacity using it’s RAIN system (Redundant Array of Independent NAND). One significant downside is its reduced performance when compared to other SSD’s on this list, yet this is a tradeoff between higher encryption protocols that ensure files will be safely secured. Encryption is at a premium on SSD’s and tends to be reserved for the higher-end models. And while the price tag may be high, overall the large amount of storage as well as the intelligent file allocation system makes it an excellent gaming SSD.
Which SSD Is My Top Recommendation for Gaming?
Before I get into my recommended SSD, I just want to say that if you don’t already have a good gaming PC build set up, then I really wouldn’t focus on getting an SSD just yet. Sure, the quick load times make for a better gaming experience, but due to the cost of SSD’s there more of a luxury item. This is the main reason why I don’t recommend SSD’s on most of my builds. Having to wait a few seconds extra in exchange for a better graphics card is worth it for most.
There are so many SSD’s that will let you game without any annoying slow loading times, but the one that’s my recommended pick isn’t the most expensive (as most of us can’t afford a $400 SSD), but rather an SSD that meets performance with price. Out of all of these SSD’s, I would choose the Samsung 850 Pro SSD for gaming. My reasons for picking this SSD is simple. You get bang for your buck, with quick loading times while having to pay less than it’s competitors for the price. Sure you can go with the more expensive SDD’s that are actually the best for gaming, but they are serious overkill. Unless you care about a half a second, the 850 Pro will suit you just fine.
Whether you’re looking for a cheap gaming SSD or a more expensive one, your gaming experience will never be the same after you start gaming on an SSD. It’s not a good feeling to start a game and have to wait 30 seconds just for the game to load up, so investing into an SSD for gaming might be a good idea. SSD’s aren’t essential; Nevertheless, they make a great addition to any gaming build.
If you’re looking for a good cheap gaming PC build, check out my $500 or $600 Gaming PC Builds. Otherwise, feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions, and I’ll answer them as soon as I get the chance.