SSD is faster and much newer technology than the old-fashioned storage solutions. So, we are talking about the best SSD for gaming in specific. Do keep in mind though, that buying the best SSD drive isn’t as easy as picking up your favorite headphones. Things get a little technical.
For instance, almost all performance related products get reviews and benchmarks. So, we can not only check the specifications of each M.2 SSD but also how well it performs in comparison to others. Technical specifications wise, we’ll be discussing all the areas you should consider before spending a few hundreds of dollars on a gaming SSD.
How To Choose The Best SSD For Gaming?
We could simply tell you to go an buy the Samsung SSD 970 Evo because it fits all shoes. But that would be unfair to the rest of the choices you have. As a result, we have decided to discuss the top five products and their feature set. This will include measurements of their capacity, type of interface used, speeds, and so on.
These days anything from a 2TB SSD to a 256GB SSD is available in the market. Some exceptions even go beyond those limits. But your question should be whether you need anything more than a 1 TB SSD or not? The asking prices of M.2 SSD and non M.2 drives vary a lot based on the storage capacity you are buying.
While we discuss all this in the list below, you can also head on to the Buyer’s Guide section for some must have insights.
Overall Best SSD for Gaming
Samsung SSD EVO 970
Fastest of The Lot!
The best part about the latest M.2 Samsung SSD isn’t even that it is the fastest of the lot. Instead, how it can manage to push such high-end performance at such economical price tag.
Best Cheap SSD
Silicon Power SSD
Entry Level Performance on Tight Budget
While it is certainly not comparable with our favorite SSD drive models in terms of power as well as technology like M.2 SSD. Yet, we believe that it could be something you want if you are on a very small budget.
It is interesting how the latest 970 Evo made us question whether we should choose it as our budget pick or as the fastest, overall best SSD for gaming. While it is an affordable SSD, the performance standards it sets even beat the 960 Pro. Which, by the way, is the latest NVMe SSD by Samsung. We are talking about 1500MB/s writing speeds and 3400MB/s reading speeds!
As far as the Samsung 970 Evo is concerned, it got better and even faster as compared to the 960 Evo. That is so because previously, the only problem with the model was that it didn’t come with a 2TB SSD variant. Samsung has fixed that problem. As a result, you get to choose between 250GB/500GB/1TB/2TB variants.
It uses an NVMe M.2 SSD slot and is based on the latest PCIe. If you let us be honest, it didn’t take a big leap in terms of speed over the former 960 Evo. But since the Evo line is already on top of the speed chart in the market, retaining the spot is good enough for us. That is why we picked the Samsung SSD for our top slot.
Performance wise, it is more enduring and performs reading and writing tasks faster than all competition. Yet, this comes at a cost: tests reveal that the Solid State hard drive gets hotter than its predecessor. Hopefully, without compromising much on performance.
- Fastest of The Lot
- Better Endurance
- Five Year Warranty
- Gets Hotter Than Previous Samsung SSD EVO
Time could come when you are on a very tight budget but at the same time, you also want to set up your gaming rig. Let this Silicon Power 3D NAND SSD help you as much as it can. While it isn’t a high-end product, it is the best SSD for gaming on the smallest of budgets.
Don’t expect an M.2 SSD or an NVMe for that matter. But, if you could spend something more than the $50 asking price of this SSD, we would have asked you to go ahead and buy Samsung SSD 970 Evo or Pro. But otherwise, stick to this one.
It is much slower than the products that we have liked during the tests. Only managing around 500MB/s reading and writing speeds on average. But it is a 120GB SSD and comes with all the help it can get from 3D NAND flash as well as SLC Cache Technology boosters. What we are trying to say is, go for it if money is the point of decision.
It is a SATA III powered piece and comes compatible with laptops as well as PCs. Other areas that we liked about its performance were how it isn’t too noisy. It stood its ground even when we were testing top speeds. Last but not least, you can stay hopeful for help from the manufacturers if something goes wrong. The product comes with a three year warranty.
- One of The Slimmest Profiles
- Best for Low Budget
- Below Market Read and Write Speeds
- SATA III Gaming SSD
This is possibly one of the very few products that are currently competing head to head with the dominance of the Samsung SSD range. At an average price, the Western Digital model boasts of astonishing read speeds. While the company promises up to 3400MB/s, we believe close to 3000MB/s would be more accurate, in the right conditions. This is about 50 percent faster than the previous models that WD has released.
When testing the SSD, its writing speeds often varied a lot. Basically, the random write speeds were the only problem area. Other than that, sequential write speeds of the WD SSD were unaffected and very promising. That being said, it doesn’t offer as many storage size choices as the top Samsung SSD does, but it is just the 2TB SSD version that is missing.
It is true that there were some areas that could do with some improvements. But the performance so far has been exceptional given the affordable asking price.
Thanks to the uncompromising feature set that uses NVMe storage technology, and the M.2 SSD slots, we can say that it is a quality product with little or no reason for disappointment. What’s more, the manufacturer also promises a lower power intake at about 2.5mW. In comparison, this is half of what the previous WD SSD took.
- Affordable Price
- Impressive Performance
- Good Quality of Build
- Slower Random Write Speeds
If you weren’t content with the 1 TB SSD you had and moved on to a 2TB SSD, chances are you’ll want to upgrade further. Although most of the models we tested only come with up to 2TB capacity, this little beast from Samsung even offers a 4TB SSD model!
We all know the Samsung 860 Evo is not a newcomer. In fact, it is building on the quality and performance of its predecessors. In line with the previous models, this Samsung SSD is also based on SATA III. This, in part, is the limiting factor it has, but at the same time, it is the reason why it comes cheaper.
The mSATA, M.2 interface has allowed for better speeds than before. To be specific, we touched 500MB/s in reading as well as writing tasks. Moving on, the endurance levels of the SSD drive are also worth appreciating when tested to its limits. At its low asking price, the Samsung 860 Evo will not bother your wallet too much. So you can get your hands on an average to well-sped SSD for gaming for a price that is totally bearable.
Do keep in mind, however, that it is an entry-level SSD drive, which means it shouldn’t be expected to crack a punch at high-end tasks too. Better than Samsung’s external SSD, it comes with a five-year warranty.
- Improved Speeds
- Very Affordable
- Even Has 4TB SSD Variant
- Entry Level SSD
- SATA III Based
Since we are at it, an external SSD might also be on someone’s mind, so we decided to include one. In case you just want to keep the additional storage with you and look great while at it. That being said since it is external, the interface used by the Samsung SSD is Thunderbolt 3. Which, by the way, is super fast and the best we can get from the market these days.
Moreover, you will be able to choose between an SSD 500GB, 1 TB SSD or 2TB SSD. Do keep in mind, however, that this is a premium quality product. Therefore, it is one of the more expensive solutions you can have. To add to that, the larger the capacity you want, the more you will have to spend on it. But hey, who told you that the best SSD for gaming would be cheap?
In other words, if you are alright with spending a little extra, you will be rewarded with the best external hard drive of SSD build there is. Not only is it the fastest, but it is also one of the more durable builds. The casing that holds the SSD is magnesium and gives off a very rugged, but solid feel. To be specific, we are talking about 2,800MB/s reading and 2,300MB/s writing speeds.
While the industry leading warranty takes your worries away for five whole years, that is not the case with the external Samsung SSD. You will only get three years of warranty.
- First Ever NVMe External SSD
- Great Speeds (Sequential)
- Solid, Rugged Build
- Expensive Than Most
- Three Year Warranty
Yet, video games these days can take up to 50GB, so a 256GB SSD would only fit five of those installations. Video games are getting larger, and prices of SSD drives are decreasing. Thus, you can aim for anywhere between 1 TB SSD and 2TB SSD models.
Thus, now you can expect a 256GB SSD to start from well below $100. But getting a reasonable capacity and speed will need a couple of hundred dollars.
Before the advent of SSDs, we had hard disk drives that used a storage platter. Here, a mechanical arm would read and write data according to how you were using the disk drive. SSD (Solid State Drives) replaced this technology. The SSD does not rely on any moving parts for data storage. Instead, data storage uses microchips.
As a result, the SSD is much faster and lasts longer than the disk drives. Needless to say, they can be used internally or externally, depending on the build, for storage and transfer of data at will.
What is an M.2 SSD and are they any better than standard SSD?
In the computers that followed the Skylake 6th Gen Core, the M.2 SSD slot became more frequent. This is a better performing dedicated slot for Small Form Factor (SFF) expansion cards that are internal. In other words, it is a Solid State Drive made for internal use and not as an external one. Before the name M.2 SSD, its name was Next-Generation Form Factor (NGFF). Last but not least, since they are a newer technology, we expect the best SSD for gaming to have an M.2 SSD slot.