The Best SSD for Gaming 2021 – Buyers Guide & Reviews
From booting up your gaming PC in seconds to cutting down on the load time of your favorite games by ten-fold, SSDs have become the natural replacement for HDDs for the large majority of gamers around the world.
Finding the best SSDs in a market with thousands of options to pick from can be a very time consuming and challenging process.
To save you all this hassle, we did all the research for you. We compiled a list of over a hundred great solid-state drives by considering their:
- Value for Money
- Form Factor
- Reading & Writing Speed
Then, we narrowed down our extensive list to the best ten SSDs. You can find those below as we unfold and review each one in more detail. Without further ado, let’s dig deeper and hopefully, by the end, you will have found the perfect SSD for your gaming PC.
When picking the best SSD’s on the market, we considered a number of aspects including the value for money, form factor, drive size, and the read & write speed of the different SSD’s that we decided to include as part of our final selection.
Below, you can read more about each of those aspects to find out exactly how we picked each of the solid-state drives that you will see in today’s guide and review.
Value for Money
During our research process, we noticed that a large number of SSD’s are actually quite overpriced for what they had to offer. We could quite literally find better performing SSD’s for cheaper.
Because of that, we decided to ensure that ever product that you will come across today is worth its value for money. We personally wouldn’t want to spend more money than we need to, so why should you?
After finalizing our community research, we found out that almost every gamer that we spoke with makes use of an M.2 form-factor SSD. This is because M.2 SSD’s are not only much faster but are also very small. On some occasions, gamers also made use of 2.5-Inch SSD’s.
Thus, to meet the demand of the market, we have ensured to add a number of M.2 SSD’s and 2.5-Inch SSD’s.
During our community research, we noticed that a large number of gamers make use of 512GB and 1TB drives with the rare occasion of gamers using 2TB of SSD and more.
Thus, to ensure that there is a wide range of options in terms of SDD size, we decided to include a number of 512GB, 1TB, and even 2TB solid-state drives.
Note: We decided not to include any 256GB SSD’s as they are generally not really worth their value for money since you can buy a 512GB SSD for a pretty similar price.
The main reason gamers pick SSD over HDD is because of their speed. On average, an SSD offers up to 10x faster reading speed and up to 20x faster writing speed as opposed to a midrange HDD.
To ensure that you really get the best SSD, we’ve ensured to only include SSD’s with great reading and writing speeds. That’s right, if you are building a brand new setup using the best gaming monitor on the market, your games will start loading in seconds.
Upon finalizing our research, we concluded that the SAMSUNG 980 PRO is by far the best SSD for gaming that you can get on the market today.
The price at the time of writing was $199.99.
The 980 PRO by Samsung is one of the latest releases in the SSD market, and its absolutely nailing the pin on the head when it comes to solid-state drives. Upon concluding our research, we not only believe that this is the best PCIe 4.0 SSD but also the best SSD overall.
This SSD makes use of the Samsung Elpis controller and Samsung 3-bit MLC memory alongside the M.2 NVMe socket, which are solely responsible for delivering reading and writing speeds of 7,000MB/s and 5,000 MB/s respectively.
Thanks to the integrated cutting-edge thermal control algorithm, the 980 PRO is capable of managing the heat it produces alone for delivering a durable and reliable performance.
Upon concluding our research, we found that the Crucial MX500 is the best SSD for any gamer who is building a gaming PC on a budget.
The price at the time of writing was $89.99.
If you are building a gaming PC on a tight budget while still wanting to experience the benefit of faster reading and writing speed, reliability, and performance, the Crucial MX500 is an excellent option to start with.
Those who can’t really afford to go with NVMe SSDs due to specific budget allocations for their gaming PC parts are still able to enjoy a smooth and reliable gaming experience with this 2.5-inch SATA SSD.
Whether or not you use this as the primary drive or a secondary one, it still provides the much-needed boost in terms of loading times over an HDD, as it is leagues faster even if both use the same data transmission interface.
The Crucial MX500 SSD can deliver approximately 560 MB/s of reading, and 510 MB/s of writing speed. Despite its low price point, this SSD is an impressive step-up from an HDD in terms of response and seamlessness in your games and operating system.
Crucial is also known to manufacture some of the most reliable storage solutions in the market, with low failure rates to ensure your precious data is safe from corruption for years in the future.
Besides its affordable price point, this SATA SSD is also great for older systems that have no M.2 slots.
The Corsair Force Series MP600 is one of our absolute favorites for a number of reasons including value for money, reading and writing speed, as well as level of reliability.
The price at the time of writing was $174.99.
Corsair is a leading manufacturer in the gaming industry. From gaming accessories to gaming PC parts, picking up a Corsair product won’t disappoint.
The Corsair Force MP600 may come at a premium price, but tagging along it is performance and quality you can’t find anywhere else.
This Force series SSD makes use of an early-stage Phison memory controller and Toshiba memory chips as a base of its operations. It still uses the 3D TLC NAND setup that is designed for M.2 PCIe 4 slots, boasting future compatibility with the said data transmission standard.
PCIe Gen. 4 has double the bandwidth of the widely-used Gen. 3 – although the implementation is still on the slow side. But then again, it doesn’t hurt to get a future-proof solution for your gaming machine.
With these technologies in hand, the Corsair Force MP600 can deliver up to 4,950 MB/s of read and 4,250 MB/s of write speeds, far higher than what most Gen. 3 NVMe drives offer today.
Furthermore, it comes with a nifty heatsink unit with thin, raised fins that improve heat dissipation to keep the SSD cool even under the most demanding workloads, promoting consistent performance with the absence of thermal throttling issues.
Other Great SSD’s for Gaming
If you are looking for a middle ground as far as great SSDs go, you should seriously consider the Crucial P1 solid-state drive.
The price at the time of writing was $129.54.
If you are looking for one of the best internal SSDs for gaming and want to take advantage of that free M.2 slot on your motherboard without having to shell much per gigabyte, the Crucial P1 1TB SSD offers a considerable proposal for system performance improvements.
This NVMe SSD is one of the cheapest you can find in the market, especially in the highly-contested area of 1TB models.
Do note that the cost-cutting measure is due to Crucial’s decision to imbue the SSD with QLC memory instead of higher-end technology such as 3D NAND. While there is a significant performance difference between more advanced implementations like MLC and TLC, this SSD still offers a sizable margin versus, say, a SATA drive.
The Crucial P1 1TB SSD has a read speed of around 2,000 MB/s and write speeds of up to 1,700 MB/s, which is already relatively impressive in terms of the benefits it can provide to your gaming sessions.
It is important to remember not to fill the Crucial P1 1TB SSD’s storage capacity to full, however, as this can greatly reduce the speeds in which it runs. Overall, this SSD can be a great main drive for budget-oriented gamers or a secondary game drive for those that have the extra M.2 slot to spare.
It goes without much hesitation but the Patriot Viper VPR100 has come out to be one of our strong favorites in this top ten thanks to its pretty impressive design, specs, and performance features.
The price at the time of writing was $159.99.
Since the RGB craze a few years back, it’s hard to imagine gaming PCs and laptops without the ubiquitous lighting feature around. To keep up with the times, the Patriot Viper VPR100 offers excellent performance and storage capacity with a side dish of bling for aesthetic-concerned gamers out there.
The Patriot Viper VPR100 isn’t just all about looks, either, as this NVMe drive can push up to 3,300 of sequential reads and 2,900 MB/s of sequential writes – on par with some of the most reliable drives in the market.
The Patriot Viper VPR100 uses its integrated heatsink to house the RGB lighting accents, which you can tweak via the proprietary software to your desired color or pattern.
You don’t need to worry about the LEDs heating up the SSD as well as the lights output little to no heat at all, while the heatsink soaks all the heat from the drive and dissipates it with the help of ambient air moving over it to prevent thermal throttling and performance dips.
The WD Black SN850 proves to be one of the most reliable and well-performing SSDs ever released from Western Digital (WD).
The price at the time of writing was $195.64.
Despite being one of the more pricy picks on our list, the SN850 by Western Digital is worth every penny. Featuring a next-gen PCIe Gen4 technology, this SSD is fully optimized for top-tier gaming performance.
Moreover, this SSD features one of the fastest reading and writing speeds on the market, approximately around 7000MB/s for reading and 5300MB/s for writing. This would of course vary depending on the size of the SSD you decide to go for.
The small and compact M.2 2080 form factor further allows you the flexibility to fit and make use of this SSD in a range of gaming cases ranging from full tower cases to ITX builds.
Furthermore, the SN850 by WD is a level up from its previous generation, the SN750. This time around, WD have almost doubled the read and write speed of this SSD while the interface was upgraded from PCIe 3.0 4x NVMe 1.3 to PCIe 4.0 x4 NVMe 1.4.
After some extensive research, we concluded that the Sabrent Rocket is the best SSD when it comes to solid-state drives above 1TB.
The price at the time of writing was $329.98.
Those who want unmatched performance should be ready to dish out the needed compensation, especially with an SSD like the Sabrent 2TB Rocket. This top of the line SSD is part of the new breed of PCIe Gen. 4 units that offer premium-level performance, thanks to the advanced Phison E16 controller doing most of the work for it.
Along with the NVMe 1.3 adaptation, the Sabrent 2TB Rocket offers read speeds of up to 5,000 MB/s and write speeds of up to 4,400 MB/s, which is a good chunk faster than even the most powerful PCIe 3.0 drives around.
Apart from that, the Sabrent 2TB Rocket is one of the most rugged offerings in the SSD market, sporting a massive 3,600 Tbw or up to five years of limited warranty (when registered).
This makes the SSD resilient to multiple read and write processes, allowing it to take a beating on applications like benchmarks, network storage transfers, or running virtualization software at high machine counts.
If you are looking to add a little bit of spice into your RGB setup while pulling a great level of performance, then the XPG S40G SSD is a great choice for you.
The price at the time of writing was $129.95.
From an aesthetic standpoint, the XPG S40G features a very sleek design that is nicely complemented by RGB lights at the visible front of the SSD. Thus, if you are an RGB enthusiast looking to make every single part of their gaming PC RGB-enabled, then this SSD provides you with that opportunity.
As far as performance is concerned, the S40G by XPG features a PCIe Gen 3×4 interface with reading and writing speed of up to 3500MB/s and 3000MB/s respectively. The actual speed that you get will vary on the size capacity of the SSD that you decide to go for.
In terms of form factor, this SSD features an NVMe 1.3 interface that supports M.2 2280 form factor. To check if this particular SSD is compatible with your computer, you can either use an online tool or check your motherboard manual.
If you decide to make use of this SSD, you will also be to enjoy a 5-year limited manufacturer warranty.
For quite some time, the SAMSUNG 970 EVO Plus has been deemed as one of the best SSDs on the market. It is not only affordable for what it can bring to the table, but is also very reliable.
The price at the time of writing was $159.90.
One of the major players in the SSD field is Samsung, offering some of the most reliable and fastest drives in the market and has gained the trust of enthusiasts and neophytes alike with its no-nonsense product series.
The Samsung 970 EVO Plus is a cut above the rest in comparison to other SSDs in its price range – and probably even among its family members! It uses a premium in-house Samsung Phoenix controller along with Samsung 3-bit MLC to provide a high level of performance at the PCIe 3.0 standard, which is hard to beat even at the more top end of the spectrum.
The Samsung 970 EVO Plus offers terrific read speeds of 3,500 MB/s and write speeds of 2,500 MB/s to keep your gaming machine on its toes when loading some of the most storage-intensive applications and games without hiccups. Moreover, this M.2 NVMe drive has a decent write lifespan of 600 Tbw.
You can also benefit from Samsung’s SSD management software, Samsung Magician, for file transfers, cloning, and optimization options. The SSD also has automatic temperature monitoring thanks to Thermal Guard to help with throttling and other temperature-based issues.
The ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro is another fantastic SSD that provides a fantastic value for money thanks to its performance as opposed to price point in comparison to the average market value of SSD products.
The price at the time of writing was $119.99.
Another great bang for the buck options for speed-seekers is the ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro. We’re suggesting the 1TB model as it presents an excellent value for money at the capacity and speeds it runs at.
This SSD makes use of a 3D NAND implementation in an M.2 NVMe interface, allowing you to save a lot of internal space without sacrificing storage capacity and speed at the same time. More than that, your data is kept safe by LDPC ECC technology and E2E protection to avoid corruption or loss of vital information.
The ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro boasts read/write speeds of up to 3,500 MB/s and 3,000 MB/s, respectively. This performance is on par or even better than some of the most advanced drives on the market, endowing your gaming setup with blazing fast speeds that drastically improve loading times and level of system response as well.
Apart from that, you also get excellent after-sale support with the 5-year limited warranty or the 640 Tbw lifespan claim, whichever goes first. Match NVMe levels of performance with a price like that of SATA drives with the ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro.
Shopping for an SSD can be a challenge. So, we decided to share some of the knowledge that we acquired during the research of this guide, which should hopefully help you out with picking your SSD.
512GB to 1TB of SSD Size Is the Perfect Middle Ground
The perfect middle ground for an SSD is anywhere between 512GB and 1TB. The reason for that is because the SSD technology is still quite expensive as compared to standard drives. Because of that, it’s really not worth it going for a 256GB SSD since the 512GB options are only a little bit more expensive.
On the opposite side of the scale, 2TB drives might be a little bit too much for some people, causing them to overpay for storage they aren’t likely to use any time soon.
Ensure That You Pick a Compatible Model (M.2 PCIe, SATA, Add-in Card)
Before you click the buy button, ensure that the SSD you are looking to buy has the type of connection interface that your computer supports.
To do that, you can either check the user manual of your computer or use a database like the Crucial Memory Finder to find out the kind of SSD’s your gaming PC supports.
Stay Away From SATA SSDs if You Can
SATA is nowhere near as fast as an M.2 PCIe or a PCIe add-in-card solid-state drive. Thus, we generally wouldn’t recommend those to you unless you are trying to build the best gaming PC under 500 dollars or so.
Struggling with picking the right SSD for your needs? That’s pretty common, especially when you are presented with a great list of the best gaming solid state drives.
Besides compiling a great list of SSD’s, another goal of ours is to help you find and the perfect product for your individual requirements.
To do that, we have come up with three highly relevant scenarios, which you can take a look at below. Along with each scenario, we have also recommended the best SSD for the job.
Scenario 1: You are looking to build the best possible gaming rig on a budget. You don’t particularly want to settle on an HDD as you’d still like to get decent level of performance despite your price constraints.
For this case, we would highly recommend you our best budget-friendly pick, the Crucial MX500.
Scenario 2: You are building a mid to high-end gaming PC, and would really like the best possible SSD that you can get on the market so you can game with complete confidence that your SSD won’t fail in front of your eyes and corrupt all of your files.
For this case, we would suggest that you go for our best overall pick, the SAMSUNG 980 PRO.
Scenario 3: You are a streamer, YouTuber, or simply someone who likes to play a lot of games, and because of that, you require quite a lot of storage where you can store all of your games and access them within seconds.
In this scenario, we’d recommend you the largest SSD that we have recommended in our final selection, the Sabrent Rocket.
One of the reasons we didn’t the above over the SSDs that you’ve come across so far includes the lack of value for money as compared to performance.
As a general rule of thumb, whether you are buying a low-end gaming PC or a high-end powerhouse, we’d still recommend you to go for an SSD within the range of 512GB to 1TB as you will hardly need more.