In this day and age, one cannot truly call a PC or console a gaming machine if it doesn’t have an SSD on it. Yet people still confuse SSDs with regular HDDs despite being two fundamentally different technologies. But what exactly does make an SSD extra special over its HDD counterparts? Tune in to find out.
What Is an SSD?
To put it simply, a Solid-State Drive (SSD) is a faster version of the Hard Disk Drive (HDD). As indicated in the name, an SSD uses solid-state technologies like integrated circuitry to store and retrieve data. This makes for faster read and write speeds as an SSD relies on electrical signals to transmit data, unlike an HDD, which makes use of mechanical platters and a moving head to do so.
How this translates into in-game performance is a thing of beauty. With its faster speeds, a good SSD for gaming can load games faster, allowing you to enter lobbies and actual gameplay areas without having to wait for minutes to do so. These quicker loading speeds are quite essential when it comes to critical events like timed boss hunts or competitive first-person shooter modes.
If you already have a good gaming monitor, you will also benefit from notable stability in in-game framerates as an SSD can load textures and graphics resources much faster, allowing you to jump from scene to scene without suffering from horrible stutters and delays that kill the element of surprise or enjoyment.
We have come to the point where SSDs are way cheaper per gigabyte than they were years before, along with newer interface technology like the upcoming PCIe 4.0 driving read and write speeds through the roof. With that in mind, if you are still wondering what is the best ssd for gaming, here are some of the best gaming SSDs for both PC and console gamers in 2021.
Best SSD For Gaming: Comparison & Reviews
|WD Black SN750 1TB||1TB||4.8|
|Corsair Force MP600||1TB||4.9|
|Samsung 970 EVO Plus||500 GB||4.7|
|Crucial P1 1TB SSD||1TB||4.6|
|ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro||1TB||4.6|
|Sabrent 2TB Rocket||2TB||4.5|
|Silicon Power 1TB NVMe||1TB||4.7|
|Patriot Viper VPR100||1TB||4.6|
|Seagate FireCuda Gaming 2TB||2TB||4.5|
|WD Blue SSHD||4TB||4.8|
|WD My Passport SSD||1TB||4.9|
|ADATA Entry Series SD600Q||240 GB||4.6|
|Samsung T5||500 GB||4.7|
|SanDisk 1TB Extreme||1TB||4.7|
Best SSD For Gaming: Comparison & Reviews
While Western Digital built its reputation on some of the most solid HDD offerings in the market, the brand isn’t backing down in the speed niche at all. The WD Black SN750 1TB is an excellent example of why one should consider Western Digital’s SSD offerings. This particular model has 3D NAND flash memory that boost read and write performance, as well as reliability and power efficiency.
The WD Black SN750 1TB makes use of a proprietary memory controller along with Toshiba memory to match even the pricier Samsung EVO models, which are a gold standard in the SSD market. This NVMe drive has sequential read speeds of 3,470 MB/s and sequential writes of 3,000 MB/s for this 1TB model so you won’t miss out on fast-paced action where in-game environments might have a hard time loading on slower drivers.
Do note that SSD speeds increase along with the capacity, so pick whichever performance bracket benefits you the most. There is also a heatsink-equipped variation of this PCIe 3.0 SSD, but you are generally fine if the case or housing of the PC or laptop has ample airflow.
Another capable performer making it on our list is the addlink S70, particularly the 1TB model, as this particular storage capacity is the sweet spot for most gamers’ needs. As you might’ve noticed, this SSD isn’t from a well-known brand, but don’t let that fool you.
The addlink S70 offers insane specs and performance on par with its more premium counterparts – this SSD uses the NVMe standard along with the PCIe 3.0 platform to deliver blazing-fast speeds at affordable prices.
The addlink S70 uses a 3D NAND TLC design to deliver read/write speeds of up to 3,400/3,000 MB/s, which is more than enough to run even the most demanding games without hiccups, along with efficient file transfer rates and snappy operating system response.
This SSD also boasts a design molded from a RAID engine, LDPC coding, and a reliable and robust ECC algorithm to keep data preservation at optimal levels. The flash memory chips are paired with efficient thermal throttling features as well, allowing for proper performance management when things get a bit hot. Also, the addlink S70 has a fantastic service lifespan of up to 800 Terabytes written.
For gamers on a tight budget but still want to experience the benefit of faster speeds, the Crucial MX500 1TB is an excellent option to start with. Those who can’t really afford to go with NVMe SSDs due to specific budget allocations for their gaming PC parts are still able to enjoy a smooth and reliable gaming experience with this 2.5-inch SATA SSD.
Whether or not you use this as the primary drive or a secondary one, it still provides the much-needed boost in terms of loading times over an HDD, as it is leagues faster even if both use the same data transmission interface.
The Crucial MX500 1TB is rated for 560 MB/s read, and 510 MB/s write speeds, which offers an impressive step-up in terms of response and seamlessness in your games and operating system.
Crucial is also known to manufacture some of the most reliable storage solutions in the market, with low failure rates to ensure your precious data is safe from corruption. Other than budget constraints, this SATA SSD is also great for older systems that have no M.2 slots or newer ones that have theirs populated to the gills.
Top of the line in gaming peripherals, Corsair doesn’t lag in terms of storage solutions as well. The Corsair Force MP600 may come at a premium price, but tagging along it is performance and quality you can’t find anywhere else.
This Force series SSD makes use of an early-stage Phison memory controller and Toshiba memory chips as a base of its operations. It still uses the 3D TLC NAND setup that is designed for M.2 PCIe 4 slots, boasting future compatibility with the said data transmission standard.
PCIe Gen. 4 has double the bandwidth of the widely-used Gen. 3 – although the implementation is still on the slow side. But then again, it doesn’t hurt to get a future-proof solution for your gaming machine.
With these technologies in hand, the Corsair Force MP600 can deliver up to 4,950 MB/s of read and 4,250 MB/s of write speeds, far higher than what most Gen. 3 NVMe drives offer today.
Furthermore, it comes with a nifty heatsink unit with thin, raised fins that improve heat dissipation to keep the SSD cool even under the most demanding workloads, promoting consistent performance with the absence of thermal throttling issues.
One of the major players in the SSD field is Samsung, offering some of the most reliable and fastest drives in the market and has gained the trust of enthusiasts and neophytes alike with its no-nonsense product series.
The Samsung 970 EVO Plus is a cut above the rest in comparison to other SSDs in its price range – and probably even among its family members! It uses a premium in-house Samsung Phoenix controller along with Samsung 3-bit MLC to provide a high level of performance at the PCIe 3.0 standard, which is hard to beat even at the more top end of the spectrum.
The Samsung 970 EVO Plus offers terrific read speeds of 3,500 MB/s and write speeds of 2,500 MB/s to keep your gaming machine on its toes when loading some of the most storage-intensive applications and games without hiccups. Moreover, this M.2 NVMe drive has a decent write lifespan of 600 Tbw.
You can also benefit from Samsung’s SSD management software, Samsung Magician, for file transfers, cloning, and optimization options. The SSD also has automatic temperature monitoring thanks to Thermal Guard to help with throttling and other temperature-based issues.
If you are looking for the best internal ssd for gaming and want to take advantage of that free M.2 slot on your motherboard without having to shell much per gigabyte, the Crucial P1 1TB SSD offers a considerable proposal for system performance improvements. This NVMe SSD is one of the cheapest you can find in the market, especially in the highly-contested area of 1TB models.
Do note that the cost-cutting measure is due to Crucial’s decision to imbue the SSD with QLC memory instead of higher-end technology such as 3D NAND. While there is a significant performance difference between more advanced implementations like MLC and TLC, this SSD still offers a sizable margin versus, say, a SATA drive.
The Crucial P1 1TB SSD has a read speed of around 2,000 MB/s and write speeds of up to 1,700 MB/s, which is already relatively impressive in terms of the benefits it can provide to your gaming sessions.
It is important to remember not to fill the Crucial P1 1TB SSD’s storage capacity to full, however, as this can greatly reduce the speeds in which it runs. Overall, this SSD can be a great main drive for budget-oriented gamers or a secondary game drive for those that have the extra M.2 slot to spare.
Another great bang for the buck options for speed-seekers is the ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro. We’re suggesting the 1TB model as it presents an excellent value for money at the capacity and speeds it runs at.
This SSD makes use of a 3D NAND implementation in an M.2 NVMe interface, allowing you to save a lot of internal space without sacrificing storage capacity and speed at the same time. More than that, your data is kept safe by LDPC ECC technology and E2E protection to avoid corruption or loss of vital information.
The ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro boasts read/write speeds of up to 3,500 MB/s and 3,000 MB/s, respectively. This performance is on par or even better than some of the most advanced drives on the market, endowing your gaming setup with blazing fast speeds that drastically improve loading times and level of system response as well.
Apart from that, you also get excellent after-sale support with the 5-year limited warranty or the 640 Tbw lifespan claim, whichever goes first. Match NVMe levels of performance with a price like that of SATA drives with the ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro.
Those who want unmatched performance should be ready to dish out the needed compensation, especially with an SSD like the Sabrent 2TB Rocket. This top of the line SSD is part of the new breed of PCIe Gen. 4 units that offer premium-level performance, thanks to the advanced Phison E16 controller doing most of the work for it. Along with the NVMe 1.3 adaptation, the Sabrent 2TB Rocket offers read speeds of up to 5,000 MB/s and write speeds of up to 4,400 MB/s, which is a good chunk faster than even the most powerful PCIe 3.0 drives around.
Apart from that, the Sabrent 2TB Rocket is one of the most rugged offerings in the SSD market, sporting a massive 3,600 Tbw or up to five years of limited warranty (when registered). This makes the SSD resilient to multiple read and write processes, allowing it to take a beating on applications like benchmarks, network storage transfers, or running virtualization software at high machine counts.
If you can’t get your hands on some of our suggested value-packed options, the Silicon Power 1TB NVMe is a viable alternative that has the same bang for the buck performance and reliability.
This SSD makes use of a Phison E12 NVMe controller along with Toshiba TLC NAND flash, which isn’t the latest and greatest in terms of hardware and performance but is still leagues better versus its SATA and QLC counterparts. The SSD uses the PCIe 3.1 interface and NVMe 1.3 standard to provide you with the needed boost in speed.
The Silicon Power 1TB NVMe has impressive read and write speeds for its price, rated at 3,400 MB/s and 3,000 MB/s, respectively. This is on par with some market favorites, allowing you to step up on any game with competitive confidence, even for casual titles or triple-A ones.
Also, this drive has a decent 500 Tbw rating, which is slightly lower than most offerings but can work pretty well when you set it as a secondary drive or a limited 5-year warranty to give you peace of mind with the drive’s lifespan.
Since the RGB craze a few years back, it’s hard to imagine gaming PCs and laptops without the ubiquitous lighting feature around. To keep up with the times, the Patriot Viper VPR100 offers excellent performance and storage capacity with a side dish of bling for aesthetic-concerned gamers out there.
The Patriot Viper VPR100 isn’t just all about looks, either, as this NVMe drive can push up to 3,300 of sequential reads and 2,900 MB/s of sequential writes – on par with some of the most reliable drives in the market.
The Patriot Viper VPR100 uses its integrated heatsink to house the RGB lighting accents, which you can tweak via the proprietary software to your desired color or pattern. You need not worry about the LEDs heating up the SSD as well as the lights output little to no heat at all, while the heatsink soaks all the heat from the drive and dissipates it with the help of ambient air moving over it to prevent thermal throttling and performance dips.
Best SSHD for PC Gaming
If you’re wondering what a Solid-State Hybrid Drive (SSHD) is, it is essentially a cross between an SSD and HDD. For those who are on a tight budget but still want the best SSD for gaming pc in terms of speed and storage, a solution like the Seagate FireCuda Gaming 2TB is for you.
This SSHD is equipped with an 8GB solid-state memory with NAND flash technology. While just a fraction of the size of what SSDs normally sport, this little piece of storage acts as a buffer cache on where your most-used files and programs are stored for faster access speeds, which can help a lot in speeding up load time over the performance of, say, a traditional HDD.
The Seagate FireCuda Gaming only comes in 5,400 RPM for the 2.5-inch variants, which isn’t the fastest at the first look, but users have the advantage of the flash memory doing wonders for your games. You also get to conserve space or improve compatibility with systems like laptops, mini-ITX builds, and enclosures. This SSHD is capable of read and write speeds of up to 140 MB/s, however, which may be slow for some when doing file transfers and the likes.
For power users out there that really need the storage capacity without losing out on speed, the WD Blue SSHD is a great solution for desktop setups. This particular model has 4TB of storage space going for it, allowing you to stack up on the latest and greatest games in the business while still facilitating faster loading times.
This particular SSHD adopts the 3.5-inch form factor which is commonplace in most gaming PCs and network storage devices, making it a viable option if space and compatibility isn’t an issue for you.
Unlike most 3.5-inch SSHDs, the WD Blue SSHD features a 5,400 RPM spinning disk for its storage operations. While this might seem underwhelming for some, the real-world difference is hardly noticeable when compared to, say, an SSD.
It claims to be five times faster than traditional HDDs as well, which is a significant improvement thanks to the 8GB flash memory buffer it has equipped in it.
Best SSDs for Console Gaming
For PC gamers that also have a spare console like the PS4 for their gaming needs, an SSD that can function in both applications can greatly benefit your needs. The WD My Passport SSD is an amazing option in the vast multitude of portable SSDs out there.
Clad in a professional-looking housing, this external SSD for gaming offers improved speeds versus its own internal HDD. It boasts read speeds of over 390 MB/s and write speeds of 300 MB/s, which is a far cry from HDD speeds that run below half of its figures. This is thanks to the USB 3.1 Gen 2, 3.0, and 2.0 compatibility, along with Type-C functionality added in.
Moreover, the WD My Passport SSD offers an extra layer of safety for your data with its proprietary automatic backup system, password protection, and hardware-level encryption to protect sensitive data like account details and login credentials. Enjoy blazing-fast console gaming speeds in tandem with the plug and play features of the WD My Passport SSD.
Improving your console’s gaming performance doesn’t really take that much of an effort – chuck your games into a portable SSD like the ADATA Entry Series SD600Q. This SSD uses 3D NAND flash technology to facilitate fast transfer speeds and loading times, boasting read and write speeds of up to 440 MB/s.
We’re suggesting the 240 GB variant so you can save money and still store 3 to 5 decently-sized games without issues. It uses a USB 3.1 interface to allow it to achieve fast speeds without being an internal upgrade.
Moreover, the ADATA Entry Series SD600Q’s exterior is built to withstand a beating – as people more often than not suffer from data loss when they accidentally drop their portable drives. Its silicone casing allows for effective shock absorption, paired with a 60-gram weight profile that can be dropped at over 1.22 meters vertically without suffering from damage and data loss.
Samsung has been a trusty companion for gaming PCs now, but the brand isn’t limiting its reach in the industry as the Samsung T5 offers an incredible performance boost for consoles as well.
We’re going with a 500 GB variant for our suggestion so as to not overwhelm potential buyers with the cost while still enjoying decent storage capacity and speed boosts. It benefits from V-NAND flash technology along with a backward-compatible USB interface like USB 2.1, 3.1, 3.2, and Type-C platforms.
With this, the Samsung T5 is capable of providing up to 540 MB/s read and write speeds – which is more than enough for you to see noticeable differences in loading times as well as copy and transfer speeds.
Moreover, this external SSD is contained in a rugged yet lightweight aluminum housing that can withstand drops of up to 2 meters in height without losing precious data. It also comes in a sleek, low-profile design that you can stash with speed and ease whenever you need games on the go.
Those who like to live their lives dangerously will see the SanDisk 1TB Extreme as a welcome addition to their gaming collection. This rugged yet low-profile storage solution is ideal for when visiting family and friends who have consoles in their cribs but don’t have the games you want to play installed in their built-in drive storage.
Using innovative flash storage solutions, this portable SSD uses a USB connection to provide read and write performances of up to 550 MB/s. This will give you the tactical advantage when playing first-shooters and enjoy seamless scene and landscape transitions in demanding triple-A games. The SSD is compatible with USB 2.0, 3.0, 3.1, and Type-C and A connections.
Apart from that, the SanDisk 1TB Extreme also takes data protection seriously with its highly-rugged build quality, boasting an IP55 rating to add water and dust resistance to the mix.
Moreover, the small but rugged housing can withstand 2-meter drops without data loss and corruption as well, although this doesn’t permit you to toss the SSD around when you want to. Stash games in this rugged bad boy and you’re good to go no matter the situation.
What Is an SSHD?
A Solid State Hybrid Drive is a combination of both flash memory and spinning disk technologies found in SSDs and HDDs, respectively. However, the configuration is made so that the spinning drive holds a big part of the storage capacity while the flash memory is a tiny percentage of the total value, which is often offered at 8GB per 500GB or 1TB unit.
While the read and write speeds aren’t that far off from traditional hard drives, SSHDs rely on the small flash memory buffer to store applications and files you accessed or used the most recently, resulting in significantly faster loading times.
Checking Compatibility for SSD and SSHD Upgrades
When upgrading your gaming device’s storage configuration, compatibility must be confirmed first to avoid wasting time and money on something that won’t go in or work in the first place.
For PC applications, one can either get SSD/SSHD models with 2.5 and 3.5-inch form factors that can be conveniently plugged into the motherboard’s SATA ports. Laptops, on the other hand, are limited to 2.5-inch units due to their limited internal space.
Things get a bit tricky when it comes to M.2 form factor SSDs, however. First off, M.2 is a form factor wherein an SSD can be internally mounted without worrying about space constraints as it adapts a thin, card-like structure.
Let’s move on to the communication standards on which an SSD goes through to electrically communicate with your gaming system. As of now, there are two widely-used interfaces, which are SATA and NVMe. SATA, as you should know by now, is the interface used by most cheap gaming PCs and laptops as it is easier to integrate into motherboard designs, but are severely lacking in terms of speed.
NVMe, on the other hand, is a newer way for an SSD to communicate with your system and is inherently faster as it bypasses the SATA interface and directly taps into the PCIe lanes for faster data transmission. One should not confuse the PCIe “interface” with the PCIe “form factor”, however, as the latter refers to add-on SSDs that fit right into a motherboard’s PCIe slots. It’s a bit mind-boggling, but we hope we didn’t lose you there
On the other hand, console gamers have it way easier as most internal upgrades only allow 2.5-inch SATA SSDs and SSHDs to be accepted. Even making things easier is the option to use external variants via a USB interface for a plug and play functionality when gaming on the go. Do note how most console SSD upgrades are capped at speeds of 500 MB/s or less, way lower than how it is for PC and laptop applications.