Having the best SSD for gaming will seriously improve your gaming experience, and give your system a speed boost when it comes to running and loading the latest PC games. A solid-state drive (SSD) runs off flash memory to write and read data digitally, and any system can benefit from swapping from an aging mechanical drive to a more modern SSD. Since the advent of the NVMe protocol, high-capacity M.2 drive storage has never been so small or affordable. But which gaming SSD is right for your needs?
There are plenty of excellent gaming SSDs on the market, from well-known brands like Samsung, Corsair, and Western Digital, as well as more niche options that still perform well. To help you choose the best SSD for gaming, we’ve benchmarked the latest (and fastest) solid-state drives, comparing their read and write speeds against one another.
The latest PC games can require high storage requirements, and that means it’s more important than ever to make sure that your gaming PC or gaming laptop has plenty of available space. Using years of PC gaming experience and our in-house testing expertise, we’ll help you find the best SSD for gaming available now.
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Best SSD for gaming FAQ
What are the benefits of using an SSD?
Solid-state drives are inherently faster than traditional mechanical drives, mostly due to the fact they feature no moving parts. So, by replacing your old hard drive with even the cheapest SSD, you can expect fast boot times, speedy file transfer rates, and even enhanced gaming performance. However, installing a new storage drive won’t make your gaming PC faster if you’re still rocking old components elsewhere.
SATA vs NVMe SSDs
SATA drives have been around for a while longer, and while they offer lower read and write speeds than you’ll find on an NVMe-based drive, the price per GB is much lower. This makes them the perfect choice if you want a high-capacity solid-state drive for storing your Steam library, or if you’re going for a budget PC build. Plus, the speeds are still significantly better than a conventional hard drive.
What is an add-in card SSD?
Add-in card SSDs look a little bit like graphics cards, and they connect to your PC via PCIe. While they use the same standard as M.2, PCIe options boast compatibility over M.2, as you won’t need a motherboard with a newer socket type to upgrade from SATA.
Which capacity SSD should I get?
A higher-capacity SSD will cost more, so consider how much you want to spend. Not all of the best PC games benefit from being installed on an SSD, so you don’t necessarily need a drive as big as your secondary storage. Some of the SSD options in this guide start at 250GB capacity, but if you can afford it, we recommend getting a 1TB SSD to future-proof your system for longer. You can get an SSD up to 4TB, but this is expensive. If you just want an SSD to install Windows onto, then a 512GB capacity is sufficient.
What’s the best SSD brand?
We trust all of the SSD brands in our guide (otherwise we wouldn’t have included them). Western Digital and Samsung are well known for being reliable and long-lasting, but we also recommend checking the retailer and manufacturer warranty when you buy an SSD, as some will offer extended warranty periods of up to three or five years – providing peace of mind in the unlikely event that your gaming SSD fails.
Can you put a PCIe 5.0 SSD in a PCIe 4.0 slot?
PCIe 4.0 is backward and forward compatible, meaning you can use a PCIe 3.0 drive with the newer format and vice versa. It’s worth noting in both instances, your performance will be constricted by the 3.0 standard’s limitations.
For more help building your ideal gaming PC, check out our list of the best gaming cards, which will help you find the right graphics card.