Best SSD for gaming 2024

The best SSD for gaming will boost your PC speeds and gameplay. We've tested top gaming SSDs from WD, Samsung and Corsair to help you buy the right one.

The best SSD for gaming - three SSDs on a colorful gradient background

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.

Why you can trust our advice ✔ At PCGamesN, our experts spend hours testing hardware, games, and VPNs. We share honest, unbiased opinions to help you buy the best. Find out how we test.

WD Black SN850X

Best SSD for gaming overall

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WD Black SN850X specifications:
Sizes 1TB, 2TB, 4TB
Form factor M.2 Type-2280
Interface PCIe 3.0 x4
Seq. read Up to 3,500MB/s
Seq. write Up to 3,000MB/s
Reasons to buy
  • Fastest PCIe 4.0 gaming SSD
  • Optional RGB heatsink
  • Good capacity choices
Reasons to avoid
  • Can run hot without a heatsink

The WD Black SN850X is the fastest SSD you can buy, making full use of its PCIe 4.0 interface with lightning-fast sequential read and write speeds of 7,300MB/s and 6,600MB/s, respectively.

This level of performance not only improves loading times in games, but you should notice your gaming PC boots faster and more quickly handles general tasks. You’ll always get the most out of the drive while playing games too, thanks to its Game Mode 2.0 toggle in the included software.

If you’re worried about potential thermal throttling impacting the WD Black SN850X, you can pick it up with an optional heatsink for peace of mind. Better still, the heatsink comes with a splash of RGB too, so it can look cool while staying cool.

Samsung 980

Best PCIe 3.0 SSD for gaming

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Samsung 980 specifications:
Sizes 250GB, 500GB, 1TB
Form factor M.2 Type-2280
Interface PCIe 3.0 x4
Seq. read Up to 3,500MB/s
Seq. write Up to 3,000MB/s
Reasons to buy
  • Fast PCIe 3.0 speeds
  • Robust Samsung Magician software
Reasons to avoid
  • Outperformed by PCIe 4.0 drives
  • No DRAM

The Samsung 980 is the perfect fit for anyone looking to upgrade their aging SATA hard drives or SSDs with something a bit nippier. The South Korean tech giant’s storage components have remained among the most desirable in the market for years, and it’s not hard to see why.

Using a PCIe 3.0 interface, the Samsung 980 delivers sequential read and write speeds that transform any sluggish gaming PC into a nippy machine. The SSD can be further enhanced through the use of Samsung Magician software, making it easy to get the most out of your new drive.

Samsung 870 EVO

Best SATA SSD for gaming

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Samsung 870 EVO specifications:
Sizes 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB
Form factor 2.5-inch
Interface SATA
Seq. read Up to 560MB/s
Seq. write Up to 530MB/s
Reasons to buy
  • Still plenty fast for PC games
  • High capacity options
Reasons to avoid
  • Slightly lofty price tag
  • Much slower compared to NVMe drives

NVMe SSDs will undoubtedly replace their SATA brethren, but there’s still plenty of value to be had in drives that use the ageing interface like the Samsung 870 EVO. While its sequential read and write speeds may seem paltry in the face of PCIe storage, it’s still plenty fast for most games and is undeniably faster than any hard drive.

If you prioritize capacity over speed, opting for the Samsung 870 EVO could be a smart move. You can pick it up in sizes that go all the way up to 4TB, meaning you won’t have to worry about rehoming your Steam library and it costs much less than any M.2 SSD with the same amount of space.

Crucial P5 Plus

Best cheap PCIe 4.0 SSD for gaming

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Crucial P5 Plus specifications:
Sizes 250GB, 500GB, 1TB
Form factor M.2 Type-2280
Interface PCIe 4.0 x4
Seq. read Up to 6,600MB/s
Seq. write Up to 5,000MB/s
Reasons to buy
  • Super snappy read/write speeds
  • Great endurance rating
  • Five-year warranty
Reasons to avoid
  • Not the fastest drive in its class
  • Could be more power efficient

PCIe 4.0 SSDs don’t have to cost a fortune, and Crucial’s P5 Plus proves you can pick up a drive with respectable performance without having to stretch your budget.

Not only does the Crucial P5 Plus boast read speeds up to 6,600MB/s but its two million-hour mean time to failure (MTTF) rating means it’s reliable to boot. Of course, it also comes with a five-year warranty, just in case its impressive endurance rating isn’t enough to incite confidence.

WD Blue SN570

Best cheap PCIe 3.0 SSD

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WD Blue SN570 specifications:
Sizes 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB
Form factor M.2 Type-2280
Interface PCIe 3.0 x4
Seq. read Up to 3,500MB/s
Seq. write Up to 3,000MB/s
Reasons to buy
  • Full x4 PCIe 3 interface
  • Great price-to-performance value
  • 900TBW endurance
Reasons to avoid
  • No DRAM
  • Boring design

WD is here to show that you can, in fact, have it all, as the Blue SN570 NVMe SSD boasts up to 2TB of storage, a solid 900TBW endurance, and respectable read and write speeds for one the lowest prices you’ll find.

Of course, it’s not the fastest drive out there, but it’s hands down the best you can get under $100 without sacrificing capacity, speed, or both. That makes it the perfect option for the best gaming PC on a budget.

Crucial MX500

Best cheap SATA SSD for gaming

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Crucial MX500 specifications:
Sizes 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB
Form factor 2.5-inch
Interface SATA
Seq. read Up to 560MB/s
Seq. write Up to 510MB/s
Reasons to buy
  • Competitive price
  • Top read/write performance for SATA
  • Good endurance
Reasons to avoid
  • Lower capacities are slower

The MX500 should be your go-to if you want the cheapest SSD possible, without compromising too much on quality. Because of its Micron parent company, Crucial can offer SSDs using its high-quality memory for a great price.

The MX500 seriously undercuts its competition and while it’s not strictly the cheapest SSD on the market, it’s the most budget-friendly we can recommend as a worthwhile, quality purchase.

Read our Crucial MX500 review.

SK Hynix Platinum P41

Best M.2 SSD for laptops

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SK Hynix Platinum P41 specifications:
Sizes 500GB, 1TB, 2TB
Form factor M.2 Type-2280
Interface PCIe 4.0 x4
Seq. read Up to 7,000MB/s
Seq. write Up to 6,500MB/s
Reasons to buy
  • Compact form factor
  • Five-year warranty
  • Extraordinary 1,200TBW rating
Reasons to avoid
  • No heatsink

Even the best gaming laptop benefits from more storage, and the SK Hynix Platinum P41 SSD is perfect for increasing your on-the-go storage without compromising on spec. Featuring an in-house Aries controller, this drive is capable of read speeds up to 7,000MB/s, meaning it’ll run rings around SATA SSDs and many NVMe options.

Despite its impressive speeds, the Platinum P41 features an equally impressive power efficiency rating, something that helps maintain peak performance within a toasty laptop environment. Naturally, this also means it’ll be kinder to your portable powerhouse’s battery, which could help you spend less time gaming next to a power outlet.

Sabrent Rocket 2230

Best Steam Deck SSD

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Sabrent Rocket 2230 specifications:
Sizes 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
Form factor M.2 Type-2280
Interface M.2 PCIe 4.0 x4
Seq. read Up to 5,000MB/s
Seq. write Up to 4,300MB/s
Reasons to buy
  • Right size for Steam Deck
Reasons to avoid
  • Inconsistent performance
  • Easy to install

If you’ve already had a peek inside Valve’s handheld, you’ll already know that a standard M.2 SSD isn’t going to fit. Thankfully, the Sabrent Rocket 2230 is exactly the right size, so you won’t have to make any weird modifications to expand your on-the-go storage.

The Sabrent Rocket 2230 might be dinky enough to fit inside the Steam Deck, but it still packs a solid-state punch. The PCIe 4.0 drive boasts up to 4,750MB/s read speeds, and you’ll be able to write up to 4,300MB/s to the compact SSD. Despite its size, 1TB models are also available, meaning you could bring an even greater chunk of your Steam library with you on your travels. It’s one of the best Steam Deck accessories list to increase the storage on your handheld gaming PC.

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.