The Best SSDs for Gaming [July 2021]
Solid-state drives – SSDs – are a great way to not only store data but also read it quickly. Initially, internal SSDs were quick but had little storage space compared to HDDs, or hard disk drives. Today, technology has gotten much better, and SSDs are now capable of holding massive amounts of data.
For gamers, having an SSD is like getting rocket boosters for their games. In this article, we’ll talk about the best SSDs for gaming. You’ll learn all you need to know about these speedy drives that make gaming fast and smooth.
The Crucial P1 SSD is our budget pick today, and you can say it’s the cheapest NVMe SSD you can get for a PC. It’s a solid SSD for its type and outperforms older SATA-based SSDs. For a budget option, it works very well, as long as you don’t let it get too full.
With 1TB of storage space, you have enough room to store some big games, such as the latest AAA titles like Red Dead Redemption, which require up to 150GB. That’s not a surprise, considering how much content and graphics these games involve. As such, you’ll need more than a few gigabytes to store these games in your SSD, and this one has enough for at least five games.
The NVMe technology in this SSD allows it to reach speeds of 2,000MB/S for reading and 1,700MB/S for writing. These speeds are much faster than older generations of SSDs, particularly the SATA-based ones from years ago. With the help of Hybrid-Dynamic Write Acceleration technology, the Crucial P1 can achieve these speeds. This is Micron’s proprietary firmware as well, optimized to yield the best performances. While many SSDs require a lot of power, the Crucial P1 is known for its efficiency.
When working in low power states, it’s rated to consume 100mW, and the most it will go beyond that is 8W. When idle, it’s rated to consume about 80mW. When resting, the Crucial P1 has data loss protection, courtesy of the Adaptive Thermal Protection. This feature prevents the SSD from overheating, but even so, it can get pretty warm.
Another layer of protection is the Redundant Array of Independent NAND (RAIN), which gives the P1 device-level data redundancy. Your data will be safe at all times. While you have a five-year warranty, the Crucial P1 isn’t known for its endurance, and you may need to have a few more SSDs after a few years. The P1 also doesn’t spread heat very well, which can be risky even with the data protection features. But if you want an entry-level SSD for lower-level gaming, the Crucial P1 is still a good choice.
- • Power efficiency
- • Excellent data protection
- • Five-year warranty
- Not as fast as high-end and medium-end SSDs today
- No heat spreading
- Lower endurance rating
The WD Black SN750 SSD is one of the best 1TB SSDs on the market right now. It’s a very powerful SSD with high speeds, and you can even upgrade it. If you want the best in the 1TB class, this is the perfect pick for you.
The 1TB of space is more than enough to install multiple AAA title games and downloadable content (DLC). Even if you’re not getting large titles, you still have more than enough space to get an incredibly packed Steam library on there. In fact, 1TB is more than enough for hundreds of games, as many simpler games don’t tend to take up a lot of storage space.
The SN750 is also an NMVe SSD, but it’s a high-tier example, achieving high reading and writing speeds. It can read up to 3,470MB/S and write around 3,000MB/S. This is sufficient for your gaming needs, and you’ll find that your games load quickly compared to other SSD types. WD’s custom firmware is what grants the SN750 its high speeds. It also allows it to achieve high random read and write IOPS, at 515,000 and 560,000 IOPS, respectively.
We mentioned that you could upgrade the SSD, and other than choosing the storage space, you can also choose to add a heat sink to the SN750. This provides added protection against overheating. The included gaming mode allows you to play games at even faster speeds. You’ll experience lower latency and improved overall performance. The gaming mode does disable device-level low-power settings, so you need to remember that. Other than the gaming mode, the SN750 is also packed with other software features.
It can support SMART and TRIM, has thermal throttling, tiered SLC write cache, error correction management, and NAND management. Sadly, it doesn’t have hardware encryption and secure erase features. The SN750 comes with a five-year warranty, though it’s not particularly famous for its endurance. However, for most users, it’s more than enough to last for a few years before you need an SSD change. For one of the best 1TB NVMe SSDs out there, the WD Black SN750 is a strong choice for gamers. You can play all your games with high performance and have many of them ready at your fingertips. It has very few flaws too, other than price and no encryption.
- High speeds
- Many software features
- Five-year warranty
- Sleek and tough design
- Can be upgraded with a heat sink
- No encryption features
- Can be a bit expensive
- High idle power consumption
The Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus is an NVMe SSD that has a PCIe 4.0 controller. The previous SSDs we covered have a PCIe 3.0 controller, and the newer controller also grants it some incredible speeds. If you want one of the best PCIe 4.0 SSDs around, you can’t go wrong with this one. Storage space for the Rocket 4 Plus starts at 1TB and goes up to 4TB, though we find that 1TB is enough for most needs.
Having 4TB might be extremely spacious and capable of handling all the large AAA titles you want, but it’s also more expensive. Even at 1TB, the Rocket 4 Plus has some blistering read and write speeds. It’s almost double that of the SN750, reading at 7,000MB/S and writing at 5,300MB/S. If you thought that 3000MB/S made your games feel like a sports car, then the Rocket 4 Plus will let your games load at the speed of a race car.
In addition to the fast read and write speeds, the Rocket 4 Plus also boasts high IOPS. It can read at 350,000 IOPS and write almost double that at 700,000 IOPS. Sabrent based the Rocket 4 Plus on the Phison E18 design, which is known to grant SSDs increased longevity and endurance ratings. You get a five-year warranty, and you can be sure this SSD will perform well all five years. To get the five-year warranty, you must register it within 90 days, or it will decrease to a year only. The Phison E18 design comes with a fourth-generation LDPC ECC engine, data path protection from end to end, wear-leveling, bad block management, and more. This superior design is the basis of many other highly-acclaimed SSDs as well. You can trust these features to protect it from all the abuse that will come from frequent use.
If you want to clone your SSD, you can use the included Acronis True Image for Sabrent software to do so. With speeds like this, it’s not hard to see why the Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus is at the pinnacle of PCIe 4.0 SSDs. It also comes with some powerful features that make it last longer.
- • Very high speeds
- • Many hardware features
- • Excellent design
- • Competitive price
- No encryption features
- Not as responsive as some competitors
- Warranty can decrease if you don’t register in time
The SK hynix (yes, without a capital H) Gold P31 is an SSD designed for laptops. It’s not going to be enough to compete with high-end SSDs for gaming PCs, but you’ll find it sufficient for gaming laptops. It’s even faster than the Crucial P1.
You can find the Gold P31 in two sizes, 500GB and 1TB. This might be a downer for some of you, but we urge you to give it some slack. After all, this is meant for gaming laptops, not gaming PCs that have more space for hardware. You might find it less convenient if you want to download many large games, which necessitates external SSDs or a larger laptop SSD. Despite this, you’re most likely not going to end up filling the Gold P31 to maximum capacity.
At reading speeds of 3,500MB/S and writing speeds of 3,200MB/S, you’ll find your laptop capable of competing with low-end gaming PCs. Being an NVme PCIe SSD, it’s already around six times faster than normal SATA SSDs. It’s a durable SSD even if it’s made for laptops, lasting 750 terabytes written (TBW). You might notice that 750 TBW is a very high number, and it’s more than some award-winning SSDs. As such, you’re more likely to swap it out for a new one before it starts failing. You get a five-year warranty, which should be quite sufficient for your needs. This is the industry standard as well, though some companies only offer three-year warranties.
The software department of this SSD isn’t very good, as it has no encryption or boosting features. You can clone it to another SSD, but beyond that, you don’t have much else. But if you’re using your laptop for gaming, this wouldn’t be too much of an issue. SK hynix is a rather new contender in the branded SSD market, but it has been making memory chips for many years. As such, it isn’t an inexperienced newbie but a worthy adversary to consider. If you want a speedy and reliable SSD for your laptop, the SK hynix Gold P31 is an excellent pick. It’s not packed with features, but it gets the job done. Its speeds and endurance will make it worth every dollar you spend on it.
- Very high speeds for a laptop SSD
- Long-lasting design
- Good discount price
- No encryption and any other software features
- No sizes above 1TB
- The base price is very high
The Crucial MX500 is a SATA SSD, and while other technologies like PCIe far outpace it, you can still use it as a secondary SSD in your gaming PC. It’s nowhere near what people would call speedy today, but it’s still reliable. Even after two years, it remains the best in this category in both performance and price. Powered by 64 layers of 3D NAND, the MX500 was new for its time.
Other than boosting its speeds, the NAND also has a smaller size than previous generations, which allows you to free up some physical space. With this technology, the MX500 was able to achieve speeds of 560MB/S for reading and 510MB/S for writing. Random performance can go up to 95,000 and 90,000 read/write IOPS, respectively. Originally, the SSDs had SLC buffers, which explains why they used the term “up to” in their descriptions. While it comes with an older SMI SM2258 controller, it’s good enough to support the new 64-layer 3D NAND. Its Low-Density Parity-Check (LDPC) algorithms are strong enough to handle the newer NAND.
All capacities – 250GB, 500GB, and 1TB – have the same speeds, which means whatever size you choose for your PC depends on how much extra storage space you want. Note: there’s a 2TB version that came out recently as well. While you won’t be using the Crucial MX500 as your main SSD today, you’ll find it useful as a secondary SSD.
- Still a reliable drive today
- Worth its price tag
- Very long-lasting
- No encryption or any other software features
- Some examples failed early
- Has a dated design even if it’s reliable
All of the SSDs we reviewed above are great, but they don’t have the flashy RGB functionality that some gamers like in their PC builds. The Patriot Viper VPR100 comes with RGB lights and decent speeds. If you want a rainbow light show with your SSD, pick this one.
The VPR100 has sizes from 256GB to 2TB, and for today’s gaming PC needs, you’ll find that 1TB is the bare minimum for most gamers. Anything lower isn’t bad, but it may not be enough to store more than two big video games. With speeds of 3,300MB/S for reading and 2,900MB/S for writing, you’ll notice an improvement in game loading times. However, if you turn the RGB on, the speeds might lower somewhat.
The software features of the VPR100 are decent. It comes with Phison’s SmartECC, LDPC error correction, and even AES256 encryption. The other drives we reviewed don’t have encryption capabilities, making this SSD attractive to those who like increased security features. However, there are no cloning capabilities or a toolbox. The RGB is highly adaptive, capable of being paired up with the RBG controller software of other companies. You can easily download them if you want to spice the colors up a notch.
Having average power consumption levels, the VPR100 will heat up slightly more if you turn the RGB lighting on, but that’s normal. Turning it off will reduce it to a level most other competitors have. If you want an attractive SSD with RGB lighting functionality and decent speeds for gaming, the Patriot Viper VPR100 is a solid pick. You get to have a cool gaming PC on top of great loading times.
- Comes with RGB lighting functionality
- Decent speeds
- Has encryption
- No cloning or toolbox functionalities
- Lighting affects performance
- Small write cache