Best SSD for Gaming Tested & Reviewed, November 2018
Best SSD for Gaming

Best SSD for Gaming 2018 (October Update)

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Olivia Huntington

Editor

If your computer or laptop is a couple of years old or you're thinking about adding a second drive for game storage, upgrading to an SSD drive will improve the performance of your gaming pc/laptop considerably. With your operating system and ideally your steam games stored on a large capacity SSD you'll improve game loading time and over all system performance. Below we have selected the top 5 best SSD's for gaming that 2018 has to offer.

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When it comes to storing and installing games in your personal gaming computer, you have two options: cheap and large HDD (hard drives) or more expensive but much faster solid state drives (SSD's). High quality premium SSD drives ensure that disk IO related tasks (such as loading games!) are performed much faster. For example, with your operating system on an SSD drive, programs will open instantly, files will copy in seconds etc. The same applies to storing games on your SSD, they will load faster, and with games getting bigger and more complex with larger textures storing your games on a large capacity SSD will improve load performance (and everyone hates loading time!).

The Top 3 SSD's for Gaming

1. Samsung 960 Pro (Best SSD for Gaming 2018)

PROS  & CONS

  • Amazing performance
  • Small form factor
  • Costly
  • Only 3 size options
  • thumbs-down
    Samsung reduced the warranty from 10 years to five
Overview

The 960 Pro SSD from Samsung is ridiculously FAST. It provides rapid speeds, which comes at an extremely costly price per GB and is the drive of choice for those who need the best SSD drive 2018 has to offer, think of it as the Ferrari of the SSD world. With this solid state drive, high-intensity tasks such as gaming and video editing are extremely fast, it's an ideal choice if you're performing other IO heavy tasks along side gaming. The magician software from Samsung guarantees that the management of the drive is also simple. Just like the 860 EVO, 960 Pro comes with a five-year warranty from the manufacturer. However, it is costly than the 960 EVO but up to five times faster!

Specifications

When it comes to the storage, the SSD is available in 2TB, 1TB, and 512 GB. It boasts an incredible fast read/ writes speeds of between 2100 MB/s and 3500 MB/s. Which is extremely fast in comparison to other SSD's on the market. The higher throughput supported by the M.2 slot allows the SSD to achieve the high read/write speeds.

Conclusion

The 960 Pro is much better in terms of performance when compared to the 860 EVO. Samsung  estimate the 960 Pro SSD has a lifespan of over 1.5 million hours and provide a 5 year warranty for the device. The mind-boggling performance is first class, but is it worth if you're only gaming... Probably not, if you're looking for the best bang for buck drive we recommend the 860 Evo below, but if you want the best then check out the 960 Pro. 

2. Samsung 860 Evo (Best Value Gaming SSD 2018)

PROS  & CONS

  • Excellent life span
  • Good performance
  • Best value SSD for gaming (per Gb)
  • Performance lacking compared to modern SSD's
  • Not rechargeable
  • Paddles aren’t macro buttons
Overview

The Samsung 860 EVO is an upgrade of the previous Samsung 850 EVO. This SSD possess what most users expect from an SSD that is, clean, minimal, and a width of 2.5 inches. The 850 Evo comes in a matte black finish and Samsung offer a 5 year warranty on the device. In our opinion this drive has the perfect price to performance point for storing games. 

Specifications

The 860 EVO is available in a variety of different storage options, 4TB, 2TB, 1TB, 500 GB and 250 GB. It also boasts a 520/540 MB/s read/write speed, which is tremendously fast in comparison to the HDDs but it is somehow average for SSDs in this category. Additionally, the 860 EVO incorporates a SATA III connection that allows an optimal theoretical bandwidth of about 6GB/s. However, this disk is standard compared to the modern SSDs.

​Conclusion

Although the 860 EVO is not the fastest SSD in the market, it is plenty fast enough for storing games and general PC use, we wouldn't use it for workstation / power users. But it's perfect for the gamer and the 860 has significantly improved in terms of durability as opposed to its predecessor, 850 EVO. In a nutshell, this is a great SSD for gaming that is both affordable, reliable and offers good performance along with the five year warranty by Samsung it gets our vote for the best value gaming SSD for 2018.

3. WD Blue 3D NAND (Good Quality Cheap SSD for Gaming)

PROS  & CONS

  • Two form factors available
  • Very low price per GB
  • Excellent cheap SSD for gaming
  • Performance not as good as a high end SSD
Overview

Western Digital is among the leading HDD manufacturers presently, but unlike its major rivals in this field, Seagate, WD has managed to invent a valuable SSD storage device that succeeded in achieving relative acceptance amongst the gamers. The WD Blue 3D NAND has taken after the tradition of WD where they color codes their products with the blue color. It also integrates a 2.5-inch factor that is common with several other internal SSDs that depend on SATA III as a method of connection.

​Specifications

The WD Blue 3D NAND is available in four storage options: 2TB, 1TB, 500GB, and 250 GB. The users can get up to 560 MB/s, and the sequential write speeds of up to 530MB/s can be realized. The fact that this device depends on the SATA III connection makes it have the high speeds.

Conclusion

If you need an SSD that boasts both excellent price and quality, then you will be happy to realize that WD 3D NAND lives up to its expectation. Aside from acquiring a fast SSD at a low price per gigabyte, you will also have the option of selecting between an M.2 variant and SATA of the same product on the basis of which suits your requirements much better. Besides, affordability is the main selling point of this gadget. Thus, if you need storage and affordability in an SSD drive, this is the gadget to buy.

4. Kingston A400 (Good Budget SSD for Gaming)

PROS  & CONS

  • Vibration protection
  • Very low price per GB
  • Reliable
  • Poor performance (budget choice)
Overview

The A400 from Kingston sets the standard for an excellent yet affordable SSD. The Kingston A400 is a 2.5 inch SATA SSD that has a dark grey exterior and three storage capacity options.

Specifications

This SSD is available in various storage options, 480 GB, 240 GB, and 120 GB. While the storage may seem unpromising, you should keep in mind that SSDs that have capacities of over 1TB is extremely expensive. The A400 has a read speed of 500 MB/s with a write speed between 320MB/s to 350 MB/s and 450 MB/s for every model.

Conclusion

With the info outlined above, the Kingston A400 may not be what most gamers need due to its lower writing speeds in comparison to the WD Blue SSDs and the Samsung SSDs. Nonetheless, the A400 is a go-to SSD if you are searching for a high capacity because they are resistant to external shock and are also highly reliable. Additionally, if you have a limited budget, purchase this SSD because the low-capacity variants are offered at a reasonable price. While it may not be the cheapest SSD in the market, this is the best budget gaming SSD, with the brand assurance that Kingston offers.

5. Kingston UV400 (Don't Buy)

PROS  & CONS

  • Offer an extra high capacity model
  • Vibration resistant 
  • Shock resistant
  • The 850 Evo is a much better drive
Overview

The Kingston UV400 is an enhanced and more gamer-oriented solid state drive from Kingston. If you have little knowledge concerning the SSDs, you can confuse this drive with the Kingston A400. This is due to both drives using the 2.5-inch form factor with the Kingston signature logo on the top. The only notable difference between the A400 and UV400 is that it has a light grey exterior as opposed to the dark grey color possessed by the Kingston A400.

Specifications

This beast from Kingston has the same storage capacity as its cheaper colleague, but it adds an extra expansive variant. Kingston V400 is available in four varying storage capacities, 960GB, 480GB, 240GB, and 120GB. Just like the A400, the write speed varies on the basis of the drive’s capacity, but the read speed remains constant. The first two sessions have to write speeds of 350MB/s and 490 MB/s respectively, while the latter share a write speed of 500MB/s.

Conclusion

Although the UV 400 shares some of the cons with the A400, it boasts some enhancements in other areas. The primary reason why you need to acquire this SSD is that it is more responsive and faster, all while maintaining the affordable price per gigabyte on the low-capacity models. The shock and vibration resistance is another aspect that most gamers look for in an SSD.

Conclusion

The Samsung 860 EVO is the best SSD in this list when it comes to the best general purpose SSD. The SSD is excellent, offers essential performance, has sufficient storage capacity, as well as a five-year warranty from the manufacturer. Luckily, you may not even use the warranty since Samsung are known to produce the most reliable SSDs in the market. Thus, if you need a cheaper SSD, you can purchase any from the list above, but your budget should be highly considered.

Buyers Guide

The solid state drives are the latest in the high-performance storage for the computer systems. They provide incredibly high data transfers rates in comparison to the traditional HDD's while consuming little energy. As the name suggest solid state drives do not have any moving parts making them considerably more reliable than their mechanical cousins. Making them an excellent choice for your next gaming rig (hands up whos spent hours downloading all their steam games after a HDD failure!).

The performance and features can significantly vary from disk to disk. Therefore, it's essential to consider things carefully when purchasing a solid state drive for a gaming computer. In this guide, you will learn more about some of the crucial features to look out for in an SSD. The features, quality and reliability do influence on the cost and performance of the drive, but we attempt to de-mystify this below and help you make an informed buying decision.

The first thing to understand is the interface, SATA or M.2. The interface of the SSD in most cases for a PC is SATA and for a laptop M.2. SATA 3 has a throughout of 6 GB/s, you should check your motherboard or laptop manual (google the model number) to confirm it supports the SATA speed of your new drive. SATA is backwards compatible, but it's good information to know as you may wish to upgrade your motherboard or at least understand why it's not performing as well in benchmarks. 

SATA 1, 2 and 3 speeds for reference:

  • SATA I (1.5 GB/s) or 187.5 MB/s
  • SATA 2 (3GB/s) or 375 MB/s
  • SATA 3 (6GB/s) or 750 MB/s


SSD Size Matters...

Another feature to look out for is the size of the disk. While most SSD sizes start as low as 120 GB, it is not recommendable to get this small size especially if you are looking to store games and using an OS like Windows 10 which takes up a fair amount of space as time goes on with windows update cache. The ideal SSD size of a gaming machine is as much as you can afford, typically we recommend 1Tb, although you can purchase as large as 2TB if you have a vast budget. If you have fewer games installed on your PC at any one time then you can get away with a small drive, but lets face it's not worth your time deleting and uninstalling games you regularly play. Pro tip, check out steam for the games you play and see how much disk space they need. 

SSD Speed

The speed of the SSD is another feature to look out for. Normally, all SSD drives are faster than mechanical HDDs. However, the read/write speeds can significantly or slightly vary between the SSD models. For your gaming machine, you will need an SSD with high write speed, preferably 500MB/s and above. The Samsung 960 Pro with over 2100MB/s may seem appealing for you as a gamer, but it's overkill for a gaming PC (unless you're performing other tasks, or want the best for future proofing). High end SSDs are suitable for the servers and workstations that require reading and writing large amounts of data frequently (video editing, virtual machines etc).

SSD M.2 vs SATA


Additionally, you should check whether the SSD is M.2 or SATA. Presently, the internal SSDs connect to the PC’s motherboard via the M.2. or SATA interface. If you have both option and are wondering which is better, it is proven that M.2 has a higher theoretical throughput but SATA is more than enough for game storage and typically offers a better price per GB than M.2. SATA SSD's are similar in appearance to 2.5 inch HDD's found in laptops, and M.2 SSD's are much smaller, and can easily fit notebooks, laptops and smaller form factor PC cases. If the physical size is not an issue, at the time of print we would advise you go for the largest capacity SATA drive for game storage.


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