Best Gaming SSD 2021 – If your PC is feeling a bit slow or takes ages to load your favourite game, then you need to consider installing one of today’s best SSDs.
They’re one of the most important upgrades you can make when building a new PC, as they not only make Windows feel much zippier and more responsive, but they also dramatically speed up game loading times as well. So to help you buy the best SSD for gaming.
Regardless of whether you just need some space for that all-important game download or you’re about to build a new PC from scratch, here are the best SSDs for gaming you can buy today.
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What is a SSD?
A solid-state drive (SSD) is a new generation of storage device used in computers. SSDs replace traditional mechanical hard disks by using flash-based memory, which is significantly faster. Older hard-disk storage technologies run slower, which often makes your computer run slower than it should. SSDs speed up computers significantly due to their low read-access times and fast throughputs.
Top Picks for theBest Gaming SSD 2021
Blazing-fast PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSDs have become common, and will likely become more mainstream now that Intel has finally joined the PCIe 4.0 support party with Z590 and 11th Gen Rocket Lake CPUs.
These drives indeed up sequential speeds dramatically (thanks to a doubling of the PCIe bus bandwidth), making them the best SSDs for those who need the fastest speed possible.
For example, the Samsung 980 PRO can read and write at 7,000 and 5,000 MBps respectively, and drives based on Phison’s second-gen controller promise up to 7,400 / 7000 MBps sequential speeds.
The best SSD for gaming
Capacity: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB | Controller: Phison PS5012-E12 | Memory: Toshiba 3D TLC | Interface : M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 | Seq. read: 3,400 MB/s (512GB version) | Seq. write: 2,000 MB/s (512GB version)
Addlink tapped Phison’s E12 controller with support for AES 256 encryption to drive the S70. A 512 MB DDR3L cache made by SK Hynix is clearly visible on the bottom surface to buffer write operations.
Some lower-priced SSDs skip the DRAM cache, but a high performance drive will benefit from it, particularly to speed up a burst of writes. The DRAM cache likely explains why the S70’s write IOPS rating is higher than the reads, in fact.
For permanent storage, the S70 has 1 terabyte of Toshiba 64-layer 3D BiCS TLC NAND, which is a more mature product than Toshiba’s newer 96-layer flash.
The best 1TB SSD around
Capacity : 1TB | Controller: Western Digital | Memory: SanDisk/Toshiba 3D TLC | Interface: M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 | Seq. read: 3,470 MB/s | Seq. write: 3,000 MB/s
Western Digital is one of the largest HDD manufacturers on the market, a veteran in the sector, where it was difficult for them to enter the NAND Flash market and therefore the SSD market in general.
But being late does not have to mean arriving badly, and it is that in the case of Western Digital we could say that it came pressing other manufacturers.
Said SSD can be purchased in four versions according to their total size, where performance varies between them, the fastest being the 1 TB version with up to 3470 MB / s of reading and up to 3000 MB / s of writing.
The PCIe 3.0 performance option
Capacity: 500GB | Controller: Samsung Phoenix | Memory: Samsung 3-bit MLC | Interface: M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 | Seq. read: 3,500 MB/s | Seq. write: 3,200 MB/s
It is the unit that is located below the Pro series of Samsung, so it is competing in the high range and with its older brother in performance, although in this case we have 92-layer V-NAND TLC memories instead of MLC.
In it Samsung opted for the first time to introduce the new 92-layer V-NAND 3D memories. A self-built memory that was intended to compete with the new 96-layer 3D NANDs manufactured by Intel, Micron, SK Hynix and Toshiba.
And not only did it match them, but it once again surpassed its rivals, emerging as the best SSD of the generation with high-density TLC memory.
The best PCIe 4.0 SSD right now
Screen size: 27-inch | Panel type: TN (Curved) | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 2560×1440 | Response time: 1 ms | Refresh rate: 165 Hz | Weight: 18.7 lbs | Adaptive Sync: NVIDIA G-Sync
Western Digital doesn’t give us detailed performance specifications the way Samsung does, but the basic specifications make it clear that this drive is aimed at the very top: sequential reads up to 7GB/s are pushing the limits of the PCIe 4.0 x4 interface that is still catching on in the consumer market, and random reads at 1M IOPS from a single M.2 drive were just a dream a year ago.
Overall, these peak performance specs line up pretty well with the Samsung 980 PRO: Samsung quotes higher random write performance, and WD quotes slightly faster sequential writes.
To reach this level of performance, Western Digital has introduced the second generation of their in-house NVMe SSD controller design. We don’t have details of how this controller differs from their first-generation design, but it’s a safe bet that almost every part of the chip was substantially upgraded.
Compared to the preceding WD Black SN750, the SN850 also benefits from an upgrade to the NAND flash memory, from 64-layer to 96-layer TLC. Western Digital’s client OEM SSD product line had already adopted the 96L TLC with the PC SN730, but their retail consumer Gen 3 drives didn’t get a matching refresh.
A great secondary storage drive
Capacity: 1TB | Controller: Silicon Motion SM2258 | Memory: Micron TLC | Interface: SATA 6Gbps | Seq. read: 560 MB/s | Seq. write: 510 MB/s
The Crucial MX 500 1TB (model CT500MX500SSD1) uses the SATA 6.0 Gb / s interface which guarantees speeds of up to 540 MB / s read and 510MB / s write. The size of this SSD is 2.5 inches, so we can place it without problems in any tower and laptop with hard drives of this size.
This SSD has the new 64-layer Micron NANDs (Micron 64-layer 3D NAND), next-generation memories thanks to which it has been possible to improve the performance of the entire storage unit, practically reaching the limit of the bandwidth of the SATA port, in addition to significantly reducing manufacturing costs.
QLC performance, low price, and high capacity
Capacity: 1TB | Controller: Silicon Motion SM2263 | Memory : Micron 3D QLC | Interface: M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 | Seq. read: 2,000 MB/s | Seq. write: 1,700 MB/s
The P1 breaks the SATA 6Gb/s barrier with its NVMe interface and delivers sequential throughput of up to 2/1.7 GB/s read/write, but we found that its real-world application performance is similar to the company’s SATA MX500 SSD.
Coupled with higher-than-anticipated launch pricing, the P1 was a tough sell in the ultra-competitive SSD market when it was brand-new.
Its street price has slid down rather dramatically in the last several months, but so has that of its silicon sibling, the Intel 660p, as well as other competing drives.
So despite lower prices the P1 is still tough to recommend, unless you see it on a sweet sale that brings the price down even further.
Best Overall / Best M.2 SSD
Capacities: 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB | Form Factor: M.2 2280 Single-sided | Transfer Interface/Protocol: PCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe 1.3c | Sequential Reads/Writes: 7,000 MBps / 5,000 MBps | Warranty/Endurance: 5 Years / Up to 1,200 TBW
The Samsung 980 Pro has been presented as a natural successor to the 970 Pro to obtain the highest performance on the market. Although later we will see in the technical section that it would be more correct to define it as a successor to the 970 Evo Plus due to the type of memory it uses, but in any case, it outperforms the existing PCIe Gen4 units so far.
Its cost is obviously also higher than the competition, reaching 222 euros for the 1 TB version.
But if we focus on its exterior design, this SSD arrives in an M.2 2280 form factor, being exactly the same for all sales versions.
It is available in 250GB, 500GB and 1TB storage, although a 2TB version is expected to compete with its rivals not only in speed, but also in capacity.
Best Value PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSD
Capacities: 1TB, 2TB, 4TB | Form Factor: M.2 2280 Double-sided | Transfer Interface/Protocol: PCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe 1.4 | Sequential Reads/Writes: 7,200 MBps / 6,900 MBps | Warranty/Endurance: 5 Years (with registration) / Up to 2,800 TBW
Sabrent recently released the Rocket 4 PLUS M.2 NVMe SSD series, the new NVMe 1.4 storage unit is set to shatter records as it passes 7 GB/sec in reads and a number close to that in writes.
Paired with a high-speed PS5018-E18 controller, this little rocket seems to become one of the most compelling SSDs we’ have tested in a while. If you like endurance and brutal PCIe 4.0 performance levels, of course. Sabrent is a US-based company that is trying to inject note-worthy SSD onto the market for a while now, and hey … they’ve slowly been expanding towards the EU as well.
You can find them predominantly active at Amazon, and here’s where today’s tested product can be spotted for 449 USD/EUR for 2TB. That number rounded up to equals close to 20 cents per GB.
And while that might seem a tad on the high side for NAND storage these days; you need to realize this is a TLC written NVMe SSD that has been fitted with Phison’s fastest Phison E18 controller, capable of reaping havoc inside that storage array of yours.