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How To Choose The Best SSD For A Gaming Computer

How to choose the best SSD for a gaming computer

Finding the best SSD for a gaming computer is like hitting your head with a brick wall. With so many options available it can get confusing. Some have great speed but lack quality, and some have quality but lack the finesse of great brands. Don’t fret, we discuss all the things there are to know when you want to buy any SSD.

An SSD (Solid State Drive) is a storage device that uses NAND-based flash memory to store data persistently. Unlike traditional hard disk drives (HDDs), SSDs have no moving mechanical parts, making them faster, more reliable, and less prone to physical damage.
SSDs have become increasingly popular recently due to their speed and efficiency. They can read and write data much faster than HDDs, resulting in faster boot times, quicker application launches, and snappier system performance overall.
SSDs also consume less power than HDDs, making them a more energy-efficient choice for portable devices like laptops.
SSDs are available in various form factors, 2.5-inch drives for desktop and laptop computers, M.2 drives for ultrabooks and other thin devices, and PCIe-based drives for high-performance workstations and servers.

So basically, an SSD is like the Usain Bolt of storage devices – lightning fast and without any unnecessary baggage weighing it down.
It’s so quick; it makes a sloth look like Usain’s arch-nemesis in a race. And just like Usain’s rippling muscles, an SSD has no moving parts to get all tangled up and slow things down.
It’s the storage equivalent of a “just roll with it” attitude, which is more than we can say for its finicky cousin, the HDD. With an SSD, your computer will boot up faster than you can say “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”; and your applications will launch quicker than a rocket to the moon.
So, if you’re tired of waiting for your old hard drive to load your cat videos, it’s time to upgrade to an SSD – your computer (and your cat; I am a dog lover) will thank you.

Key points To Look For when you want to buy the best SSD for a gaming computer

  • Type of SSD: There are different types of SSDs available, such as SATA, M.2 SATA-based, and M.2 PCIe-based (NVMe). SATA SSDs are a more affordable option, while M.2 PCIe-based SSDs are the fastest and most expensive. Choose the type that suits your needs and budget.
  • Read and write speeds: SSDs are known for faster read and write speeds than traditional HDDs. The read and write speeds can vary depending on the type and model of the SSD. Look for an SSD with high read and write speeds if you need fast data transfer and application launch times.
  • Capacity: SSDs come in various storage capacities, ranging from 128GB to 4TB or more. Choose the capacity that suits your needs, considering how much data you need to store and what kind of applications you use.
  • Form factor: SSDs come in different form factors, such as 2.5-inch drives, M.2 drives, and PCIe-based drives. Choose the form factor that is compatible with your device and suits your needs.
  • Price: SSDs can vary in price depending on the type, capacity, and brand. Consider your budget and choose an SSD that offers the best value for money without compromising on performance and reliability.

Types Of SSD’s – Ways to get your pocket burned

There are so many SSDs out there; it’s like trying to choose between a box of chocolates and a buffet – they all look delicious, but you don’t know which one will give you the most satisfaction. So before we decide which is the best one to use for our gaming computer, let’s break it down and give you an idea to decide for yourself.

SATA SSD – Kinda like android has everything you need but we are apple users…

These SSDs use the same interface as traditional hard disk drives; it is the most reliable of this bunch. It’s like your trusty pair of sweatpants – not flashy, but comfortable and always there for you. You can swap it out with your old hard drive without breaking a sweat, and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

Most SATA SSDs have a maximum sequential read speed of around 500-550 MB/s and a maximum sequential write speed of around 400-500 MB/s. These speeds can vary depending on the specific model, but they are generally much faster than the maximum speeds offered by HDDs, which typically top out at around 150 MB/s.

It’s worth noting that SATA SSDs have been around for a while and are considered to be a more mature technology compared to some of the newer SSD interfaces like PCIe. However, they still provide a significant boost in speed and performance over traditional HDDs and are a great option for users who want to upgrade their computer’s storage without breaking the bank.

M.2 SSD SATA based – The best way to waste money, because we know you made a stupid decision when you did not check the M.2 Slot for NVMe Support…

These are small, rectangular SSDs that plug directly into the motherboard of a laptop or desktop computer. This is – the little guy that packs a big punch. It’s like the Napoleon of storage devices – small in size; but always ready to take on the big guys. Plug it directly into your motherboard, and watch it go faster than a cat on a hot tin roof.
SATA-based M.2 SSDs typically offer maximum sequential read and write speeds of around 550 MB/s and 500 MB/s, respectively.

M.2 PCIe-based SSD or NVMe: Gaben, Take my wallet !!

It’s like the Beyonce of storage devices – sleek, powerful, always on top of its game, and a bit expensive. These SSDs use the PCIe interface, which is commonly used for graphics cards and other high-performance components. They offer even faster speeds than M.2 SATA-based SSDs.
Just a small clarification for you –
PCIe (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express) is a type of interface that can be used to connect SSDs (as well as other components) to a computer’s motherboard. NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) is a protocol that SSDs can use to communicate with the rest of the computer.

NVMe SSDs are so quick, they make regular SATA SSDs look like they’re still using a dial-up modem. With read and write speeds that can exceed 3,500 MB/s, it’s like having the Flash himself as your personal data courier. These speeds are significantly faster than what is possible with SATA-based SSDs.
The speed of an NVMe SSD can also be affected by other factors, such as the number of PCIe lanes it uses, the type of flash memory it uses (such as TLC, MLC, or SLC), and the controller technology. Gen 4 NVMe SSDs with advanced controllers and multi-lane PCIe connections can offer even faster speeds, with some models capable of reaching sequential read and write speeds of over 7,000 MB/s and 6,000 MB/s, respectively.

Generations Of NVMe – The boring part…

There are currently three generations of NVMe SSDs: Gen 3, Gen 4, and Gen 5. Each generation represents a different level of performance and speed, and the generation of NVMe SSD you choose can have a significant impact on the overall performance of your system.

Gen 3 NVMe SSDs are the most common and widely available. They use the PCIe 3.0 interface and are capable of providing sequential read and write speeds of around 3,500 MB/s and 3,000 MB/s, respectively. These speeds are significantly faster than traditional SATA SSDs and make Gen 3 NVMe SSDs an excellent choice for most users.

Gen 4 NVMe SSDs use the PCIe 4.0 interface and offer even faster speeds than Gen 3 SSDs. They can provide sequential read and write speeds of up to 7,000 MB/s and 5,000 MB/s, respectively, making them an excellent choice for power users who need the absolute fastest speeds possible.

Gen 5 NVMe SSDs are the newest and most advanced generation of NVMe SSDs. They use the PCIe 5.0 interface and are capable of providing sequential read and write speeds of up to 14,000 MB/s and 9,000 MB/s, respectively. These speeds are incredibly fast and make Gen 5 NVMe SSDs ideal for users who need the absolute fastest storage possible, such as professionals working with large amounts of data or gamers who demand the best performance.

Choosing the right generation of NVMe SSD is important because it can impact the overall performance of your system. If you’re a casual user who doesn’t require the fastest speeds, a Gen 3 NVMe SSD will likely be more than sufficient. But if you’re a power user who needs the fastest speeds possible, a Gen 4 may be a better choice. Ultimately, the generation of NVMe SSD you choose will depend on your specific needs and budget.
Note – you can place a Gen 4 NVMe SSD in a Gen 3 NVMe slot, they are totally compatible but the SSD will operate at the maximum speed of the Gen 3 slot. Vice versa is also true; the Gen 3 NVMe SSD in a Gen 4 NVMe slot will operate at the speed of the Gen 3 NVMe SSD.

In summary, NVMe SSDs are capable of providing blazing-fast read and write speeds, making them an excellent choice for users who need high-performance storage for tasks such as video editing, gaming, or data processing. If you want the fastest SSD possible, an NVMe SSD with a high number of PCIe lanes and an advanced controller is the way to go.

External SSD – who cares? Do You?

The nomad of the group. It’s like a backpacker – always on the go, always ready for an adventure. These SSDs are housed in an external enclosure and connected to a computer via USB or Thunderbolt. They offer a portable, high-speed storage solution for users who need to transfer large files between devices. Take it with you wherever you go, and you’ll have fast, reliable storage at your fingertips.

Heat Spreaders – Yeah they come on SSD too

It’s like a superhero cape for your storage drive, except instead of fighting crime, it’s fighting against heat.

Picture this: your SSD is a hot potato, and you’re playing a high-performance game. As you get more into the game, the potato starts getting hotter and hotter, until it’s practically scorching your fingertips. That’s where the heat spreader comes in – it swoops in like a cool breeze on a hot summer day, and spreads that potato’s heat all around so it doesn’t just burn up in one spot.

But seriously, SSD heat spreaders are important. When your SSD generates heat, it can cause damage to the drive over time, which can lead to data loss and other problems. Heat spreaders help to dissipate that heat and keep the drive cool, so you can keep on gaming or working without worrying about your SSD frying up like a piece of bacon.

So, if you’re someone who likes to push their system to the limits or just wants to make sure their SSD stays cool and happy, consider adding a heat spreader to your drive. Some motherboards come with inbuilt heat spreaders for NVMe drives so check that out before buying one for yourself before you go spoil the aesthetic of your gaming computer.

It might not have a flashy costume or catchy theme song, but it’s a vital part of your system’s superhero team, protecting your precious data from the evil forces of heat.

RGB on SSDs? You betcha! It’s like a disco party for your storage drive – who says your computer can’t have a little fun?

But in all seriousness, RGB lighting on SSDs is a real thing, and it’s exactly what it sounds like – colorful lights on your storage drive that can be customized to your liking. It might not make your computer faster, but it sure does look cool.

Now, you might be thinking, “Why in the world would I want my SSD to light up like a Christmas tree?” Well, for starters, it’s a great way to add a little personality to your build. Whether you’re going for a sleek, modern look or something a little more flashy, RGB can help you achieve the vibe you’re going for.

Plus, let’s be real – who doesn’t love a good light show? Seeing those colorful lights dance around on your SSD can be a real mood booster, especially during those long gaming sessions or work marathons.

Of course, RGB lighting isn’t for everyone, and that’s totally okay. If you’re more of a minimalist, you might prefer a sleek, understated SSD without all the bells and whistles. But if you’re someone who wants to add a little extra flair to their build, RGB lighting is definitely worth considering.

In summary, RGB lighting is a fun way to add a little personality to your build and make your computer feel like a party. All you need to do is download the software from your motherboard manufacturer’s website and you are good to go. Whether you’re a fan of flashy lights or prefer a more understated look, there’s an SSD out there for you. So go ahead and let your SSD shine – after all, life’s too short to not have a little fun with your tech.

We hope these pointers will have provided you with sufficient know-how regarding SSDs. So when you make a purchase next time, you would know what to look at. Here is a link from Tom’s Hardware, this post gives some more insights but in too technical a way. You can look into it if you need more information before making a purchase.

If you are interested in any other buying guides you can check us out here. We upload on regular basis and keep all these guides updated to help consumers make better decisions.

Frequently asked questions

To determine the best SSD for your gaming computer, consider factors like the interface type, storage capacity, speed, and endurance rating. Determine your specific needs and budget, and compare the different models available in the market. Our guide can help you make an informed decision. As a general rule, a 2.5″ SATA SSD is supported in all kinds of the systems but you need to see if your motherboard will support an M.2 Drive. Just go to your motherboard manufacturer’s website and check it out before buying one.

SATA, M.2 SATA, U.2. SATA SSD’s are the ones which are most common. SATA SSD’s are the most common and can fit on any desktop and most of the laptops. The M.2 SATA and NVMe is also becoming common now. They look like small chips or RAM sticks and get installed directly on your motherboard. They tend to be faster and are recommended for a gaming PC. U.2 are a bit thicker than normal SATA SSD’s but are costly and are usually used in work stations or servers.

Gigabyte Aorus 10000 M.2 NVMe Gen 5 is currently the fastest SSD around. With sequential read and write speed of 9500 MB/s and 8500 MB/s. More Gen5 NVMe are on the way but currently Gigabyte Aorus 10000 is the king of speed.

Two factors will decide your choice –

  • Purpose – If you just want to decrease the boot time of your operating system and are using your PC for a bare minimum workload 120GB is minimum and 250GB is recommended. For gaming PC and other multimedia activities 500GB to 1TB is recommended
  • Budget – Depending on your budget you can opt-in for 250GB NVME drives or a 500GB SATA SSD Drive instead. One gives you performance and the other gives you capacity but they are priced similar

The best SSD for your motherboard will depend on your motherboard sockets. If your motherboard has an M.2 NVMe SSD Slot then go for NVMe preferably Gen4 and if you only have a SATA Slot then go for SATA SSD. Try to go for a series that has higher speed like Crucial MX Series or WD Blue etc. They are SATA SSD but they run at better speeds.

NVMe is better than any other kind of SSD. Since it can connect directly to PCIe slots the latency or slowness caused due to SATA cable gets rectified. The screen tearing, loading times and lags are some of the issues that can get rectified by moving to NVMe drives. Gen 4 NVMe SSD is recommended for a gaming computer.

SSD was created to speed up the data transfer time. SSD help reduce load time and increse booting speed considerably. You can save more than a few hours if you have to keep transfering data as your day to day job. If speed is not a matter for you then stay with hard disk but SSD’s have become so cheap now that it is foolish to not get a SSD for atleast your OS.

Usually, the standard SATA SSD speed comes at around 450 MB/s and it is considered good. When it comes to NVMe SSD 3500 MB/s is considered good enough

It is enough for a low-end gaming PC. It will run most of the games at low settings provided you have supporting processor and graphics card.

No. It is not enough if you are going with just an SSD. If you have a hard disk along with an SSD then it is fine. If you just have an SSD we suggest you get a bare minimum of 512GB. For a gaming computer, a minimum of 500 GB is recommended alongside a hard disk or a 1TB SSD straight.

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