If you’re trying to find the best SSD for gaming in 2021 which maximizes your overall experience then look no further. We’ve rounded up six amazing options for great SSDs to accelerate your gaming experience.
Finding the best SSD for gaming wasn’t a total walk in the park, it took some looking around to make sure what we recommended was the best option out there. We found the highest-rated, highest-forming SSDs across various price ranges and have put them on this list for your convenience.
Regardless of which SSD you choose, your in-game loading times will skyrocket, as will your boot times and program launch times.
With no further ado, let’s hop right into our six contenders for the best SSD for gaming and choose which one is right for you.
Our Top Picks
Best SSD For Gaming: First Look
The 970 Evo Plus is truly one of the best products on the market right now and for good reason, it has lightning-quick read/write speeds that destroy most of the competitor offerings currently available and comes to shelves at a very competitive price.
We couldn’t think of a more fitting entry to fill our top spot, the Samsung 970 Evo Plus is a brilliant piece of hardware.
The 970 EVO plus range is, without doubt, the most powerful SSD’s in our list, the benchmark results we discovered were in the 100th percentile. Samsung has always been known for providing quality, reliable SSD and has once again taken a huge step in the right direction with the EVO plus range.
Western Digital is rapidly closing the gap between itself and the top-tier SSD providers. The SN750 boasts speeds almost as quick as the 970 EVO and has the quality build assurance you get when buying WD products. Overall a great SSD and just misses out on the top spot.
You’re literally buying peace of mind when you choose Western Digital as they are widely considered to be one of the best producers of hard drive solutions around. With their new SSD range, they not only move away from SATA speeds but take one step closer to the likes of Samsung’s 970 line.
The Sabrent 2TB Rocket is the fastest SSD in our round-up. This is easily one of the best M.2 NVMe’s you can find at the moment and it is the perfect companion for any high-end build. For the guys wanting the best of the best then look no further, however, if you’re sticking to a budget you might want to pick something else!
If money is no option then you are going to love Sabrents 2TB rocket M.2. This is the all singing all dancing SSD, knocking everything else in this list out of the park. However, it does come at a price… a price we feel is just too expensive to justify giving it a place at the top.
The SX8200 is actually more efficient and faster than the WD Black SN750 but due to the brand, and its clouded past, we have decided just to give them an honorable mention here. For the price of this SSD, you’re getting unbelievable value for money.
ADATA is a relatively new brand, formed in 2001 and primarily manufactures memory and storage solutions at relatively low prices. However, consumers haven’t been overly impressed with their products for the last couple of years thanks to poor build quality and premature life spans. Keeping that in mind though, we were super impressed with the SX8200 SSD they released at the end of 2018 and feel like ADATA may be starting to make movements into the upper tier bracket of storage solutions.
Intel is widely known as the best producer of CPU’s but they do dabble in other hardware areas as well. With their 660p SSD, they have provided consumers with a fantastic budget choice for a storage solution. It is by far the cheapest NVME PCIe 3.0 SSD on this list.
Intel’s sole purpose when developing the 660p M.2 SSD seems to be undercutting the competition. Essentially giving consumers on a budget another option to consider. If their SSD’s are anywhere near as good as their CPU’s then we’re going to have a brilliant hardware component at our disposal.
It may not have the speed or raw performance power of the NVME models in this list, but there’s certainly a market for SATA out there and this gives those guys a brilliant option at a cheap price.
As many will presumably already know, SATA SSD’s are considered much slower than the newly enhanced NVME M.2 which are becoming much more mainstream. This being said, the price of SATA is starting to become much more attractive than ever before. The MX500 is the ultimate budget edition to our list and fills that side of the consumer market nicely.
All of the SSDs on this list have been hand-selected for a reason. First and foremost, we conducted a search to discover which SSDs gamers tend to prefer while trying to balance those with the highest reviews against those with the lowest price tags.
Reviews from various manufacturers were taken into account, as well as reviews from others in the PC gaming industry.
Next, we get our hands on as many of our recommendations as possible so we can see the build quality up close and test how they perform.
From graphics cards to SSDs, we like to get hands-on with all the hardware we recommend. Testing the products is a huge part of our overall selection process and it is a way we can be sure that a specific option is the best for the job.
Products must pass our testing which is largely a lot of gaming, with some other boring stuff but most if not every recommendation will have gone through a strict testing process.
With an SSD, especially the ones we list as the best for gaming, we need to assess build quality, performance, and finally, value.
This process enables us to provide you with an accurate take on how well individual SSDs perform and, ultimately, if they are worth your hard-earned cash.
PC components are considered an investment, so regardless of what the piece of hardware is, there are always going to be a few key things to consider before making that final purchase. In this section, we are going to go over why you should buy an SSD, talk you through storage capacity, and briefly explain the different interfaces, to ensure you walk away with the right product for your individual needs.
Due to their faster speeds and more expensive manufacturing methods, SSDs are much more expensive per-gigabyte than an HDD. Because of this, most enthusiasts prefer to have an SSD in their system alongside an HDD, so they aren’t losing out on either performance or storage space.
When selecting your SSD, you’ll want to figure out how much of it you actually intend to use. If you already have an HDD to use alongside it, use the HDD to store most of your media and games.
Your operating system and your most-played games should be stored on your SSD. Modern games come in at anywhere from 10-50GB, so keep this in mind when comparing the SSDs that we’ve provided.
If you aren’t going to supplement your SSD with an HDD, you’ll want to spend more on your storage to compensate. You should also get used to managing your existing storage space more carefully.
There are three main interfaces for SSDs: SATA 3, M.2 and PCI-E.
SATA 3 is an interface shared by standard HDDs and has limited speeds when compared to M.2 or PCIe. However, even with the SATA speed penalty, SSDS go far beyond an HDD’s speed capabilities.
M.2 is both an interface and a form factor, designed for tiny SSDs and tiny slots for them to plug into. These slots can run a SATA or PCIe signal for the same or better performance, all while saving significantly on space for installation.
The PCI-E SSD is mounted in the same way as a desktop GPU: in a PCI-E slot. PCI-E SSDs have world-class performance and are most often used in enterprise environments, thanks to the memory bandwidth and speed offered by a PCI-E slot over alternatives.
Roundup aside, some of you may be left wondering why to use an SSD for gaming, or what performance benefits it actually offers. We’re going to hop into that now.
If you’re buying an SSD expecting it to boost your in-game FPS, it won’t. Unless the game has issues loading in assets during gameplay that hurt its FPS, your performance won’t see a boost from investing in an SSD.
Where an SSD will make a difference on the gaming front is in loading times. Loading times, especially loading screens between maps, will plummet significantly on an SSD versus any hard drive.
SSDs will also improve your experience outside of games. Transferring large games or large files will become much quicker on an SSD when compared to an HDD.
Additionally, if you install your OS and your programs on your SSD, everything will run much faster. Even on systems with weak CPUs, the drive is the main bottleneck behind operating system boot times and program launch times.
This is why many people buy SSDs to revive old computers. It’s one of the best user-experience upgrades that a user can buy for their system.
SSDs, as a whole, do come with one key downside: price-per-GB. Because of this, people generally supplement an SSD with a larger, cheaper HDD.
Best SSD For Gaming
One of the quickest available
Doesn’t have a huge capacity
Samsungs 970 EVO plus was released earlier this year and likely marks the last PCIe 3.0 version before we move onto the higher performance PCIe 4.0 which will coincide with the release of AMD’s 3rd Gen Ryzen chips, due out later this summer. The new 970 Evo Plus came to shelves at almost half the price of the 970 EVO’s release price which arrived a little less than a year ago making this SSD extremely good value for money. You can thank the dramatic drop in memory prices for this.
So what we have here is an extremely efficient SSD which, from a consumer point of view, is much more powerful that the majority of the SSD’s in its price range. For this reason, we have given the Evo plus the crown for best NVME performer this 2019 and it’s hard to argue against it. If you have room for it in your budget we definitely recommend spending the extra over the 860 EVO which is currently in our $1000 build.
6x faster than their fastest SATA
Well trusted brand
Can be considered expensive
Western Digital are closing the gap rapidly between themselves and top tier SSD developers giving consumers even more to think about in today’s market. Their most recent addition comes in the shape of the SN750 and it comes to the table boasting speeds similar to that of the 970 Evo Plus. Western Digital have been quoted saying the SN750 has their fastest ever NVME interface making it 6X faster than their best SATA SSD providing performance stats similar to that of the 970 range from Samsung. Very impressive considering it’s price tag.
The WD Black SN750 secures our runner up position for best SSD for gaming this time round, however if they keep making huge leaps forward we may see them surpass Samsung some day soon.
Significantly faster speeds than PCIe 3.0
5000 MB/s (read) / 4400 MB/s (write)
In theory, the Sabrent Rocket 4.0 is one of the best SSD M.2’s we have ever used and this 2TB version is a great option for those looking to finish off their high-end build with some premium storage. This thing is fast, efficient, and actually well-priced when you compare its specs to the competition.
The only reason this doesn’t sit at the top is due to the rather large price tag but for all intents and purposes, it is top drawer in terms of quality and speed. This Gen4 PCIe M.2 is available in 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB, boasting read and write speeds of 5000MB/s and 4400MB/s respectively. Now that’s quick.
Ultimately, until the next iteration of these hits the shelves and doubles the Gen3 speeds, consumers may want to hold back investment but rest assured, this is a high-quality piece of kit.
Extremely good value for money
Not the most trusted brand
Varying performance under different hardware setups
Adata aren’t usually the first on our list when recommending, well anything, but after extensive research and testing, we were seriously surprised with what Adata had managed to produce with there SX8200 M.2 SSD.
First and foremost, Adata isn’t the most trusted of brands, however, they are growing within the community and are starting to provide consumers with solid options for hardware. So, let’s talk about performance. The SX8200 currently sits in the 99th percentile for performance, it falls just short of the 970 EVO plus in this regard but comes to shelves at a fraction of the price making it incredible value for money.
We are yet to discover how this SSD handles itself over time but one thing is for sure. If you can get a year out of this product then you’ve got yourself a serious bargain.
Great budget selection
Fairly decent performance stats
Not the fastest out there
The Intel 660p gets our top budget 1TB SSD solution and for good reason, it is truly incredible value for money. Intel have designed this SSD to specifically target budget consumers and why not!? it’s a great idea and one many will take advantage of. As far as 1TB SSD’s go, you simply can not get anything close to this for price/performance standards. Not to mention the peace of mind you get when purchasing Intel products.
Many of the drives on this list are 500GB or below due to the expense of SSD’s these days, however our budget pick comes with a huge 1TB storage capacity. This means you not only have enough space to accommodate your OS and primary game titles, you’ll also be able to store your additional media library here as well. No need for additional HDD capacity.
A truly fantastic cheap SSD which has all the features and tech you’d expect but at a much more affordable price tag.
Good starter size SSD
Much slower than NVME
In case you forgot, there are SATA SSD’s out there, unfortunately, however, only one features in our best-of list and that’s purely down to NVME PCIe SSD’s becoming much more affordable. The difference in speed between the 2 is pretty exponential with the NVME boasting over 6x the speed of a SATA SSD. This being said, there is still a market for SATA SSD’s and that market is predominantly people on a budget.
The Crucial MX500 is way slower than everything else on the list, but in the same breath, it’s much cheaper. We’d always recommend going for an NVME type SSD but if you can’t quite stomach the cost, 500GB of SATA is a great place to start.
Just be aware, if you only have this as your primary and backup hard drive, keep in mind that it will fill up quickly… especially with games and 4k media being much more space demanding.
Related SSD Pages
If you are still looking for information on the best SSDs or storage-related guides, then check out our selection below.
There we have it, the best SSDs for gaming all in one place. Now, this may seem a little M.2 heavy but they are the fastest and require nothing more than being plugged in, with no cable management required. There is still plenty of use for the 2,5″ SSDs but they just lose out across the board. Finally, that brings us to the end, our personal favorite SSD would be the Samsung 970 EVO Plus 500GB, thanks to its fair pricing and great performance.
In truth, a SATA SSD over a PCI-E SSD won’t result in much of a difference in gaming. However what you will see is huge improvements in overall, general system usage. We can not recommend an SSD enough, it is truly one of the greatest system improvements you can buy.
So, we’ve gone for the Samsung 970 EVO Plus as our top choice, what’s yours?
Comment below and let us know what you went with.