Building your own gaming rig is absolutely the way to go when you want the best bang for your buck. And one of the most essential questions you should be asking yourself is: what is the best SSD for gaming? Obviously, if you’re reading this, you already know that SSDs are the way to go, offering much greater speeds than standard hard drives.
The problem, though, is that the market is flooded with a variety of different solid state drives that you can buy, and if you buy the wrong one, you’re going to be disappointed when you don’t get the results you’re looking for. Luckily, we’re here to help, as we’ve tested numerous SSDs in our day and know a thing or two. So if you’re wondering, “which SSD for gaming should I purchase” than we have you covered with this list of the five best (whether you’re looking for the best ssd for gaming laptop use or desktop use).
Best SSD For Gaming
|Samsung 850 EVO 1TB||Pick Crucial MX200 500GB||PNY CS1311 480GB||PNY CS1311 Corsair|
Force Series LE SSD 480GB
|ASUS RAIDR Express 240GB|
|Capacity||120GB - 1TB||500GB - 1TB||120GB - 960GB||240GB - 960GB||240GB|
|Price Per GB||$0.31||$0.28||$0.24||$0.23||$1.45|
|Read Speed||500 MB/s||547 MB/s||550 MB/s||560 MB/s||635 MB/s|
|Buy Now||Buy Now||Buy Now||Buy Now||Buy Now|
#1 Pick Samsung 850 EVO 1TB
Price: $318.59 | Price per GB: 31 cents
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The Samsung 850 EVO is known for its speeds, and it outperforms other SSDs that are more expensive.
There’s a lot to love about Samsung’s 850 EVO line, but most importantly, it’s the EVO’s reliability, speed, and price that sets it above the rest of the competition. It uses 3D flash memory technology, which Samsung calls V-NAND, that allows them to have 32 layers of flash cells on top of each other, making it fast. The EVO line comes in 120GB, 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB capacities, but the 1TB strikes the best bang for your buck (at least, in our opinion).
There’s also a PRO model available from Samsung, but it’ll cost you roughly 20 percent more on average. What’s more, the standard version actually scores slightly higher than its PRO model counterpart. And when you compare its sequential read speed, the EVO is right up there with the best of them, averaging 496 MB/s (and we saw peaks at 505 MB/s in our tests.
#2 Pick Crucial MX200 500GB
Price: $139.00 | Price Per GB: 28 cents
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The Crucial MX200 is one of the cheapest SSDs for gaming on the market.
If you don’t think you’ll need the extra 500GB, and you don’t want to spring for the full 1TB model, Crucial’s MX200 500GB is a great option. Not only does it hail from Crucial, a company that is well-known for creating relatively affordable and fast after market hard drives, but it easily exceeded the speeds of more expensive drives above its price range, hitting 547 MB/s for read speed and 511 MB/s for write speed.
It’s not the fastest SSD on the market, but it posts great numbers across the board, and given the fact that it’s competitive with other solid state drives on the market, and it’s priced as a budget option, the Crucial MX200 is one of the best SSDs for gaming.
#3 Pick PNY CS1311 480GB
Price: $114.98 | Price Per GB: 24 cents
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The PNY CS1311 480GB model is the cheapest hard drive on the market that’s still a formidable foe for pricier drives.
PNY has quite a few SSDs to choose from, but the best SSD for gaming desktops — if you’re building your own budget gaming rig, that is — is the CS1311 480GB model. For under $120, you’ll get a major upgrade over HDD speeds. Although it doesn’t hit the speeds of drives higher in price, it’s still perfect for those who are looking to save a buck when building their own PC.
There are other capacities available, including a 120GB, 240GB, and a 960GB. What’s more, there’s a gamer/enthusiast model, the CS2211, that is a bit pricier (although, that price increase also gets you faster speeds and more features). But if you’re on a limited budget, the CS1311 comes in at $20 less than the CS2211, and it will do the trick just fine.
#4 Pick PNY CS1311 Corsair Force Series LE SSD 480GB
Price: $108.99 | Price Per GB: 23 cents
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Corsair’s Force Series LE SSD 480GB comes with reliability and performance, as well as powerful suite of tools to tweak your SSD.
If you’re looking to boot and shutdown your PC faster, and you want to do so without breaking the bank, the Corsair Force Series LE SSD 480GB is a great gaming SSD. At around $109 retail, this solid state drive significantly speeds up your system processes and gaming. The Corsair brand name has been around for over 20 years, and they’re reliable, with great customer service.
This drive uses the latest TLC NAND technology to speed up your applications and games. I’ll also note that, although it isn’t important to most, it has a yellow design on its front (so, if you’re building a desktop with a yellow theme, this might be up your alley).
#5 Pick ASUS RAIDR Express 240GB
Price: $349.99 | Price Per GB: $1.45
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: If price isn’t important, the ASUS RAIDR Express PCI Express drive has the fastest speeds available.
There’s a major shift in SSD technology happening in the marketplace right now, as hard drives that fit into a PCI Express slot could become the standard over the next few years. Why? It’s because current solid state drives are being bottlenecked by SATA speed capabilities, and PCI Express slots offer faster speeds. For example, this ASUS RAIDR Express has a sequential read speed of 635 MB/s, and sequential write speed at 463.744 MB/s. And, random read/write speeds of 585 MB/s and 438 MB/s, respectively.
And yes, you can boot from it using UEFI or legacy boot modes. Of course, if you want the speed, you’re going to have to pay a hefty price, as they’re currently sitting at $349.99 for just 240GB. Yikes. But the speed is a noticeable upgrade from even the fastest solid state drives, making it the top-notch option when looking for an SSD for gaming.
Key Factors and Features to a Good SSD for Gaming
- Not all SSDs are made equally, and some of the cheaper hard drives can actually outperform more experience hardware.
- Finding SSDs with read/write speeds in the 500mb/s – 540mb/s range is your best bet at this point.
- It’s not necessarily the case that the more expensive hard drives are the fastest.
- How much are you willing to spend?
- It’s typical that the cheaper hard drives from relatively unknown brands will fail sooner than known brands, and their customer service won’t be as accommodating (because, unlike with a big name like Samsung or Corsair, they don’t care about their reputation).
- There’s no true measurement of reliability, so you’ll have to read the reviews to see if a hard drive is prone to failing.
Mistakes to Avoid
Going with the Cheaper Off-Brand: The biggest mistake we see being made when purchasing solid state drives is going the cheaper route, which typically involves purchasing from a relatively unknown off-brand, simply because you’re getting more storage. This typically means that you’re getting what you’re paying for, though, as their not as reliable or fast as other drives on the market. I’m sure there’s an exception out there somewhere, but as a general rule of thumb, it’s best to avoid any name brand you’ve never heard of. If you’re looking for the best ssd for gaming i7 PCs, you’d want to get the fastest available so that you can really utilize the i7’s capabilities.
Buying the Smaller Hard Drive: Those 120GB SSDs are certainly appealing, but that’s because they’re so much easier on the wallet. But let’s keep in mind that the size of PC games is ever-growing, and some games are coming in at 50GB+ as it is right now. Your best bet, especially if you plan to fill the drive up with more than a few games, is to go for at least the 480GB or 1TB models — it’ll save you from having to just purchase another one in a few months, anyway.
Which SSD is Right For You
If your HDD just isn’t cutting it, and it’s limiting your frame rates, than it’s likely that you’re going to want to upgrade to a SSD. In fact, I noticed a more visually noticeable change in speed when adding an SSD than I did when adding just more RAM, so they’re definitely a worthy upgrade for any system.
It all depends on your budget, though, as the best of the best ssd for gaming are on the expensive side of things. You won’t notice a big difference in your everyday desktop usage when comparing speeds of the Samsung EVO and, say, the Corsair Force SSD, but you will notice higher frame rates while playing the latest games.
Also why not check out:
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- Intel Announces X18-M and X25-M Solid State Drives
- Intel Officially Announces Solid State Hard Drives
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- OCZ Technology Takes “Control” With New Vector Series SATA III SSD Line
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- SanDisk Unveils Integrated SSD The Size Of A Stamp
- Seagate 600 240GB Solid State Drive Review
- Seagate 600 Pro 400gb Solid State Drive Review
- Seagate SSHD Thin 500GB Hybrid Solid State Storage Drive Review
- Seagate Unleashes Trio of Solid State Drives 600, 600 Pro and 1200
- Super Talent’s UltraDrive MX SSD Features Both USB & SATA II
- Toshiba Announces 256GB Solid State Drives
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