The necessity of having a Solid State Drive (SSD)
Nowadays, we own a plethora of devices that give us the ability to connect to the internet and perform tasks. Besides computers, smartphones have become the tools we use daily to get things done. With the evolvement of technology, devices become more responsive and the demand for them to be able to perform as many tasks as possible in a specific time frame has increased significantly. Computers, especially, are supposed to be multitasking machines and provide us with enough power to render and stream videos besides casual gaming.
What is the point of having great hardware inside your Pc when your hard drive does not provide you with adequate Windows operating speeds? Make no mistake, the hard drive is the most important Pc part that ensures that your system boots up quickly and is able to multitask. Since the introduction of Solid State Drives (SSDs) a couple of years ago, the casual Hard Drive Disk (HDD) has been replaced by the newer technology which allows for better writing and reading speeds which, in return, provide better loading times for the operating system as well as apps and programs.
An SSD has become essential no matter the budget of your build. Not including an SSD would be a big mistake as there are SSDs for around 50$. The performance you get for that 50$ is immense. Even the cheapest SSD will perform better than any Hard Drive. There is no excuse even for 500$ builds to not include one, as their prices have dropped significantly.
What is the best SSD for gaming? Depends on the budget
In case you have been looking to buy an SSD for your gaming Pc but feel overwhelmed by the huge variety on the market and have been asking yourself ” What is the best SSD for gaming?” this post will help you out. I will tear it down for you and tell you exactly what to look for at each budget. Ultimately, everything comes down to how much money you are willing to spend. Just remember that whatever you choose out of this list, even the cheapest one, will give you far superior performance than any conventional hard drive. It is recommended to use a Hard Drive, however, but only as a storage device exclusively for music, games, and videos and not for your operating system and important apps you use every day.
NVMe SSD drives are not recommended for gaming
Besides SSDs, a newer technology for storage devices has been developed which, theoretically, offers 5x the performance of SSDs. This technology is called NVMe and the best drives offer astonishing writing and reading speeds of 3000+ MB/s. While these numbers look exceptional on paper compared to the 300-550 MB/s writing and reading speeds of SSDs, you have to ask yourself what you intend to do with your Solid State Drive. The only scenario where the additional price of an NVMe drive would be useful for you is if you compress and decompress a ton of files every day. For casual use like gaming or surfing the net, you will not see any benefits and it is definitely not worth buying an NVMe storage drive.
Below, you can see a video by NCIX Tech Tips who compare NVMe SSD vs SATA SSD and there is almost no difference performance-wise for gaming. NCIX Tech Tips are a great Youtube channel covering all sorts of computer related stuff. I recommend checking them out and subscribing to their channel. If you can afford it and use your storage for other things besides gaming, go for it, but for budget-oriented builds, keep in mind that you can save a good amount of money and still get the desired performance with a SATA SSD.
Check out the video below:
What should I buy for gaming? SSD, HDD or both?
While a few years back this was a tricky question because SSD prices were extremely high when they first came out, this question is much easier to answer today. For the majority of users (including myself), a 250 GB SSD for your operating system, important apps, and programs in combination with a 1TB HDD is the best option. If you want bigger capacity for your operating system, go for the 500GB capacity SSD. If you need more storage for music, videos, and games, buy a 2TB hard drive. You will be amazed by how cheap HDDs are nowadays.
To sum it up:
- 250GB SSD/1TB HDD (the majority of users)
- 500GB SSD/1TB HDD (more capacity for windows)
- 250GB SSD/2TB HDD (more capacity for music, videos, and games)
- 500GB SSD/2TB HDD (more capacity for windows and games)
There is no wrong combination, it all depends on your needs. For gamers and casual users, I do not recommend buying higher capacity storage than 500GB for your primary SSD and 2TB for your HDD as the price does not justify it. I am sure you can fit your necessary windows applications and essential programs on a 500GB SSD and a 2TB SSD should be adequate for all the rest. 120GB SSDs may be sufficient for some people, but you may run into storage issues when starting to install applications and programs after installing Windows. The price difference between a 120GB and 240GB SSD is rather small and you will be better off choosing the 240GB SSD which will give you some extra space for your favorite game, for example, which you want to boot more quickly.
With no further ado, let us jump right into the SSD lists:
Best SSD: Samsung 850/860 Evo 250GB
Since the release of the Samsung Evo series, it is hard to recommend anything else. Samsung is undeniably one of the best SSD producers and their Evo series offers impressive performance for the price. The 850 Evo is not only lightning fast but price-friendly as well. With 540 MB/s reading and 520MB/s writing speed, your gaming Pc will boot blazingly fast. You do not break the bank while still getting impressive performance. The Samsung 860 Evo has just been released but performance differences are practically non-existent. Just buy the cheapest of the two. The 860 Evo offers 10 MB/s more reading speed, which is something you will not notice at all.
Alternative: Samsung 850/860 Pro 256GB
The Pro series supposedly has better endurance due to superior build quality. The only real difference is the warranty. While the Evo series offers a 5-year warranty, the Pro series extend it to 10 years. Write and Speed times are the same and both compete in terms of performance. If you are interested in an extended warranty and prepared to pay the premium, go for the Samsung 850 Pro 256GB or Samsung 860 Pro 256GB.
The middle ground: Crucial MX500 250GB
The Crucial MX500 is a great SSD if you want the same kind of performance but spend a little less compared to the Samsung 850 Evo. 560MB/s reading and 510MB/s writing speeds, make this a fierce competitor to our best SSD. Reviews have been positive about it too which is something important to consider.
Alternative: Kingston SSDNow UV 240GB
Kingston is known for producing excellent products for hardware enthusiasts and this includes SSDs. The Kingston SSDNow UV is a great alternative to the crucial MX500 with 550MB/s reading and 490MB/s writing speed, your PC will definitely get its needed speed boost.
A cheap but reliable SSD: Sandisk SSD Plus 240GB
The Sandisk SSD Plus is the most budget-friendly option but still a very solid product. With slightly lower read and write speeds at 530MB/s and 490MB/s respectively, you get almost the same performance compared to other more expensive SSDs but at a much lower price. Consider this the SSD for your gaming PC if you are on a tight budget build, but still, want excellent performance for the price.
Alternative: Transcend SSD220S 240GB
The transcend SSD220S 240GB is a great alternative to the Sandisk as it hovers around the same price point and offers the same performance with slightly increased reading and slightly reduced writing speeds at 550MB/s and 450MB/s respectively.
There is a plethora of SSDs on the market and it would be impossible to list them all here. However, I will include some more alternatives for each Tier category so that you have more options to choose from. Keep in mind that I will only list SSDs with 240GB capacity. In case you need more than that, simply choose the 500GB variant.
Hard Drive Disks Buying Guide
HDDs may have been replaced by SSDs for windows applications, but still are extremely valuable for storing large quantities of data. They are really cheap, too and a quality HDD will keep your data safe for many years and even if they are about to fail you, you will notice it and have time to backup your data in time. Keeping your music, videos and games on a separate hard drive is particularly useful when your operating system needs formatting so that you do not lose all your data. Storing everything on a 1 or 2 TB SSD is not only expensive but will also lead to major data loss if the disk strats malfunctioning for some reason.
Below, I will provide 3 excellent Hard Disk Drives (HDD) which have been proven over time to be effective and reliant. You want to choose a quality hard drive for your additional storage needs.
Best and most expensive: Western Digital Black 1TB
Choose the Western Digital Black version if you want the best HDD you can get. Western Digital has different color versions including black, gold, blue, purple and green and every color represents a different purpose. While the cheapest are the blue ones, Western Digital Black is by far the most reliable but they cost a little bit extra.
Western Digital Blue was for many years on my list for the best value for money HDD. However, after the release of Seagate Barracuda, it outperformed the Western Digital Blue not only in terms of performance but also pricing. It is cheaper, quicker and equally reliable to the Western Digital Blue HDD, so Seagate Barracuda is the clear winner.
While the Seagate Barracuda outperforms it (although slightly) the Western Digital Blue HDD is still an excellent choice. If you find it at a discount or if the Seagate Barracuda is not available, the Western Digital Blue is a no-brainer. I have two of them on my gaming rig, one 1TB, and one 2TB variant and they both are excellent. No issues so far.
Never underestimate the value of an SSD
Many times when we choose Pc parts and categorize them according to their importance we usually consider the graphics card and the processor to be the most important. While it is true that those two parts have the biggest impact on gaming performance, we often forget the significance of a computer that quickly boots up and lets us enjoy our favorite games as fast as possible. That is why an SSD is considered to be of equal importance. Along with the power supply, SSDs are the most undervalued Pc components people forget to invest in. Do not make that mistake for your gaming Pc
If you are thinking of assembling a gaming rig and are not sure what the best SSD for gaming is, I hope that this buying guide will prove to be helpful. No matter the budget, an SSD is just as important as your graphics card or processor. Do not build a rig without leaving some budget for the SSD. Even with 50$, you will get a capable SSD which will make your Pc boot faster, load programs and apps more efficiently and give you the ability to multitask without the frustration of having to wait for multiple progarms to open. Ultimately, what is the point of buying a 200-300$ CPU and a 200$+ GPU if your Pc is not even able to boot quickly?
If you are still not convinced how important the impelementation of an SSD is, go to the nearest PC store or ask a friend who recently changed out his HDD for an SSD and check it out yourself. Here is a video on Youtube that compares Windows booting times of an SSD vs an HDD.
If you liked my review, feel free to share it with friends who want to buy an SSD for their computer or laptop. What is your opinion on SSDs? Do you consider them necessary? Do you have one in your system? Leave a comment down below and let me know.