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Best SSD for Gaming: Reviewed

With PC gaming, speed matters. Your ability to react to events on-screen is directly affected by the power of your gaming rig. One of the easiest and most cost effective ways to increase your computer’s power and speed is with the addition of a Solid State Drive (SSD).

An SSD is a different way for your computer to store and access data. Looking for more information on SSDs? You’re in the right place! Our guide below has a complete breakdown of how SSDs work, what features are available and everything else you need to know in order to make an informed purchase.

SSD Basics

A Solid State Drive performs the same basic functions as a Hard Disk Drive (HDD). In order to understand why many people prefer a SDD, we first have to look at how a HDD works.

Both types of drives store data. A hard drive stores data by writing on the magnetically-coated hard drive disk. Ever heard your hard drive spinning? That’s when data is either being read off the drive or written onto it. When you turn off your power to your PC, your data remains stored.

An SSD also stores data but in a different way. Instead of a magnetic drive, the data is saved on inter-related flash memory flakes. This means all data stored is able to be accessed much faster.

This speed is why SSDs are preferred by many computer users generally and many PC gamers specifically. Storing games as well as the entire operating system on a SSD makes all data available practically instantaneously. Your PC will boot faster than ever before. Applications, including games, are able to load in literal seconds. 

As this video from ASUS shows, the speed differences are instantly (pun intended) apparent.


How SSDs Affect Gaming

Load Time

A solid state drive won’t improve performance. However, a solid state drive will allow applications, programs, operating systems and other software to load quicker. Much quicker.

Loading and wait times are a common, frustrating problem with gaming. An SSD drives allows you to dramatically reduce the time you spend waiting for a game to start.

Heat 

Solid state drives keep your PC cooler than traditional hard disks. Because the SSD is accessed in a less intensive way than the HDD, your computer can find files with less effort. This reduces power strain, core temperature and fan use.


Games can be quite taxing on even a high-end PC. This is because PC game aren’t always optimized properly, so they can use more resources than necessary. A recent example of this is the game Batman: Arkham Knight. One way to combat poorly optimized games is with a SSD, which allows the game to access more of the computer without taxing it to the point of failure.

With an SSD, you’ll even charge your computer less frequently. This is great news for anyone who games often on a laptop. You’ll be able to get more from your computer for longer. SSDs use less power in general to operate.

Solid state drives are also, well, solid. They’re less prone to damage than an HDD, which is pretty much toast if dropped the wrong way. A solid state drive has a non-mechanical design with NAND flash memory. These drives are shock resistant up to 1500g. While many gamers play on stationary desktop PCs, the ability to easily and safely move files from one physical location to another is certainly a positive.

PC Health

You want to spend your time playing games on your PC, not constantly fighting viruses and other malware. Online games in particular started having problems with viruses even five years ago – and the problem has only grown over time.

A solid state drive dramatically decreases times for virus scans and other security programs. You can run better protections faster and with less interference to other programs.


What to consider before buying

Before buying a SSD, there are three primary factors you want to consider:

  • Speed – How fast are files accessed? This includes both Read and Write speeds.

  • Storage Space – Fast speeds aren’t much good if you don’t have enough room for all your files. Determine your storage needs as best you can before you start shopping for a SSD.

  • Reliability – Is the manufacturer dependable? What type of product guarantee is available? A problem with your storage space basically means your entire computer is shut down. If you do encounter a problem, how fast are the repair or replacement turnaround times?

  • Price – How does this compare to similar drives in the market? Is this product a relatively good deal? You want to buy the best SSD you can afford, but that doesn’t always mean the one with the most storage space. If a smaller drive is all you need, you can end up saving a lot of money.

The more you understand your data needs the easier selecting the best SSD will be. Remember, the “best” product is the one which suits your specific needs. Here are five excellent SSD drives for you to consider:


Best SSD for Gaming: Our Picks

best ssd for gaming

PNY CS2211 480GB Pro Gaming 2.5" SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

This SSD is built for gaming with blazing fast speeds of 565 MB/s seq. read and 540 MB/s write. The random read and write both go up to 95,000 IOP.

Installation is easy with the included Acronius Data Migration Software. You can easily transfer files over from your current hard drive. Your computer will have the same programs and files, only now with faster access.

PNY has a well-establish history of making quality SSDs and other computer peripherals. Each SSD includes a four-year warranty. All customer support is based in the U.S. and available at all hours seven days a week.

Pros

  • Designed specifically for gaming. Tremendous power for just a little over $100.

  • Excellent customer support from fluent English speakers who have a high degree of technical expertise in the SSDs specifically. Company is headquartered in New Jersey with over 80% of their workforce located within the U.S.

  • Stores 480 GB with a Data Transfer Rate of 6 GB per second.

Cons

  • Won’t work with the Xbox One as an external drive unless you purchase an additional adaptor.

  • Includes no sata, molex or additional cables.

  • Extra year of warranty coverage costs $34. Certainly not a huge cost but still something most other companies offer for free.

Seagate 2TB Desktop Gaming SSHD (Solid State Hybrid Drive) SATA 6Gb/s 64MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Bare Drive

best ssd for gaming

Seagate has a variety of SSD drives available – and they’re all worth recommending – but we find a lot to like about this drive in particular. This is what’s called a Solid State Hybrid Drive, which combines a high capacity hard drive with 8 GB of solid-state flash. At around $90, a Hybrid Drive is a way to increase performance without breaking your budget.

Installing the SSHD is fairly simple and not particularly different than snapping in a standard hard drive. No special drivers or software are needed. As measured by PC Mark Vantage benchmark software, this drive is roughly four times faster than a 7200 RPM hard drive. All products are backed by Seagate’s three year limited warranty.

Pros

  • Recent changes to the PlayStation console means this SSHD can now be used for external storage on the PS4.

  • Hybrid tech offers faster speeds than a hard drive but at a lower price than a “true” SSD.

  • Installation is simple even if you barely ever (or never) open up your computer.

Cons

  • Adaptive Memory technology doesn’t offer quick access to all files on your computer, only the most commonly used.

  • Refurbished drives have enough customer complaints that we’re unable to recommend purchase. Best to buy new even if the price is higher.

Samsung 850 EVO 250GB 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal SSD

best ssd for gaming

This Samsung SSD is incredibly fast. Powered by V-NAND technology the EVO has Read performance up to 540 MB/s and Write performance up to 520 MB/s. Random Read goes up to 97,000 while Random Write is around 88,000.

Samsung is obviously a huge international brand. They stand behind their SSD with a five year limited warranty.

The Disk holds 250 GB of data with a Data Transfer Rate of six GB per second. Hardware interface is sata 3 0gb.

Pros

  • Easy integration with basically all types of Windows OS as well as both Windows Server and Linux.

  • Reliable, powerful SSD backed by a technology innovator.

  • Samsung’s unique 3D V-NAND stacks 32 cell layers vertically to create better performance in a small space.

Cons

  • SATA cable not included. This is fine for installation to a laptop but you will need a separate SATA cable is you wish to install to a PC.

  • Samsung’s extensive product line has a lot of similar brand names. Can be easy to become confused about the differences between the many products.

Kingston Digital HyperX FURY 240GB SSD SATA 3 2.5 Solid State Drive with Adapter

best ssd for gaming

Kingston has released a variety of hardware for PC and this drive is a way for gamers to include a HyperX FURY SSD into their system. Like other Kingston HyperX products, this drive is an attempt to deliver high power at low cost.

The HyperX Fury has Read and Write speeds of 500 MS/s with synchronous NANA. The 2.5 inch drive is 7mm. This is one of the few SSD drives we found really geared toward laptop gaming as well as desktop.

This is the 240 GB model but 120 GB is also available for less cost. The drive also has 245760 MB Flash RAM. This is a fast drive. With no moving parts, this SSD is easily transportable which also fits into the overall laptop focus.

The drive is backed by a three-year warranty. This includes free technical support, which is a nice level of service not offered by many other manufacturers.

Pros

  • Kingston has a proven track record with gamers. Their headphones in particular are well-known by many PC gaming enthusiasts. While headphones are certainly different than SSDs, Kingston has demonstrated an understanding of what gamers like.

  • This is a low priced product. While maybe not the fastest on the market, this SSD will certainly be a major improvement over basically any traditional HDD.

  • Laptop support is a welcome addition. The added power can even help convert non-gaming laptops into full gaming machines.

Cons

  • While faster than a magnetic hard drive, this is far from the fastest SDD on the market. If you’re looking to upgrade an existing SDD, make sure the HyperX is an improvement on what you currently own.

  • Kingston’s an independent company with a pretty diverse product line. There are some questions about their ability to keep up with their ever-growing customer base, especially regarding customer service. Still, the company has been around since 1987 which is certainly a positive.

AMD Radeon R7 Series 240GB 2.5-Inch SATA III 7mm Ultra Slim SSD

best ssd for gaming

Games are graphical monsters who demand a lot of power from the PC. AMD understands this which is why they developed the Radeon R7. Even the most resource-hogging games will operate faster and easier than ever before.

Sequential Read Speed is a zippy 550 MB/s with a Write Speed of 530 MB/s. There’s also up 95,000 FOB Random Read IOPS.

The NAND flash management helps the SSD sustain optimal performance for years. For an upfront cost of around $100, this drive will likely last for many years without issue or even irrelevance. The emphasis on client workload endurance means this SSD is rated at 30 GB of daily host writes for at least four years.

The 3.5 inch desktop adapter bracket combines with the included Acronis True Image HD cloning software making file transfer a breeze. Every file, game and piece of data from your old hard drive can be automatically moved onto your new SSD.

Pros

  • Designed with graphic intensive programs in mind. Works well on complicated visual games including simulations and MMO’s.

  • Efficient customer support is based on your product’s unique serial number. No shipping costs or long waits. If your product is defective, a new one will be shipped to you.

Cons

  • Acronis software isn’t immediately available. Rather, you’ll be given a key to use on the Acronis site. Certainly not an insurmountable problem but still a bit of a minor hassle.

  • Previous issue where drive would occasionally freeze up. Fortunately, this was fixed with a recent firmware update.

Conclusion

In some ways, purchasing an SSD is easy. Even the absolute worst one is still likely to be much faster and more powerful than a traditional HDD. So, in that sense, you really can’t go wrong.

At the same time, you do want to get the best value possible. Not only do you want to avoid low quality products, you also want make sure you’re not paying for speeds and specifications beyond what you’ll ever need.

About The Author

Matt Becker

Tech enthusiast. Providing the best, reviews, news, and rumors on the latest technology and PC gaming.

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