Best Gaming SSD Buying Guide

The process of loading programs and writing data to your hard drive is slow, but on an SSD, it gets faster. If you’ve never had one on your computer, get ready to be impressed.

SSDs do not have moving parts like traditional hard drives. They are better than standard hard drives in almost every field. They consume less than conventional hard drives, emit much less heat and do not vibrate. They are three or four times faster in sequential reading and writing.

More importantly, SSDs have super-fast random access times. The random access time is used to measure the amount of time it takes for a disk to access a random bit of data. A hard disk must physically move a magnetic head on a specific part of the rotating disk to read the data. It takes between 17ms on a fast classic hard drive. On an SSD, however, it may take less than 0.1 ms. This speed is improving.

The type of SSD you have is important but not as good as having any decent SSD compared to a standard hard drive. Most people will never notice the difference between a high-end SSD and a standard SSD, but you will definitely see the difference between an SSD and a mechanical disk.

If you have a computer with a standard hard drive, this is the slowest part of your system. The rest of the computer must wait for the information to be read or written to the hard disk.

Everything you do requires access to data on your hard drive. This operation is faster with an SSD.

They are so fast that they overdeveloped the interface that connects them to the computer. The latest generation of SSDs has saturated the bandwidth of the SATA interface, and the industry is evolving on the PCI Express. PCI SSDs are already available, but they are not cost-effective or necessary for most users. Some companies, such as Apple and Acer, use PCI SSDs in some laptops, but these SSDs are usually not replaceable to the user.

The only areas where standard hard drives exceed SSDs are price and capacity. SSDs are always more expensive than standard hard drives. And larger hard drives may contain more data than the best performing SSD. You can get a 6 TB desktop for four cents of gigabyte and a laptop hard drive for seven cents of a gigabyte. The Crucial BX100 1TB is 370 euros. The HGST Travelstar 7K1000 1TB, a mechanical disk of the same capacity is 60 euros. It’s huge storage capacity for a low cost.

The price gap is also particularly small because people keep more data in the cloud and less on their computers. A basic SSD cost 3 euros per GB in 2010 and 1 euros per GB in 2012. Today, in 2016, you can have a good SSD for less than 40 cents per GB.

Who should have an SSD?
You can have an SSD like the Samsung 500 EVO of 500 GB if you have a computer that is three years old and has a standard or old hard drive. But this only applies if you plan to keep your computer at least a year older or want to put your SSD on your new computer. There is no logic for improving a computer that you will replace.
If your computer has an SSD, the only reason to have another SSD is if you have no more room in the first one. You’ll never notice a difference in speed unless you want to write a huge file on your hard drive every day, and it’s important that you have a few seconds faster. The SSDs on my desktop are both outdated by three years and the only time I noticed a lag is when I accessed something in the hard drive.

You should also improve your RAM if your computer is 4GB or less. 8 GB of RAM can make a huge difference in everyday use; 16 GB is way too much for most people.

The desktop SSD market is changing from SATA to PCIe, but you still have SATA ports on the new computers. For laptops, look at your manufacturer’s website or use Crucial’s upgrade advisor tools to understand what kind of hard drive your laptop can support and if you can replace it. Most laptops use 2.5-inch SATA drives for less than $ 600 or more than 15 inches. The newer ones, especially the ultrabooks, use mSATA or M. 2 standards (see below), and others, like recently MacBooks, cannot be improved. The Samsung 850 EVO is 2.5 inches SATA, mSATA and M. 2, so there is probably one that will fit your computer.

What’s the best SSD size?
Because SATA SSDs are opposed to the edge of their interface, the capacity of your hard drive is as important as the choice of hard drive. It is generally advisable to take the SSD of greater capacity than you can find. From now on, most people should have a 500GB SSD (because different types of SSDs use different amounts of overbudgeting, the listed capacities can range between 480GB, 500GB, and 512GB). If you buy a new computer, the SSD option of around 500GB should cost hundreds of dollars more than the 256GB SSD. In fact, it’s almost always cheaper to have your laptop with a hard drive and replace it with a larger SSD than buying a small SSD. But if you buy a single SSD, 500 GB is the one that will work best. A smaller hard drive will be slower and often more expensive per GB.

Discs with larger capacities tend to be faster. Indeed, much of the advantage of the speed of an SSD comes from parallelization. As AnandTech said, “A simple NAND chip is not very fast, but when you put a dozen or more in parallel, the performance adds up.” If your drive has less module than your controller can write at a time (e.g., if you have a small capacity), it will not go as fast as it should go. With today’s SSDs, you’ll get the best speeds with 500GB or 1 TB drives. Smaller drives often have a slower write speed, compared to the number of NAND modules. The 850 EV0 mostly escapes this thanks to its TurboWrite feature, but higher capacity versions are always faster for heavy duty jobs.

I would not take an SSD with less than 250GB of storage. 128GB SSD (and smaller capacity drives) are not cost effective and do not have enough space for what people have to do.

Our Recommendations for the best Gaming SSDs

Samsung 850 EVO 250GB
Key aspects
• Constantly fast reading and writing
• Reasonable guarantee period
• Cheaper than Samsung high-end hard drives

This is another Samsung’s latest generation hard drive, and like its counterparts, it also uses the 3D V-NAND technology that allowed the 850 Pro to be placed above the competition. The 850 Evo is cheaper because it uses TLC (Triple-level cell) instead of MCL memory – an economical design but with reduced performance and endurance.

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Despite this, the 850 Evo was not far behind the 850 Pro in several tests. These scores of 510MB / sec and 499MB / sec respectively for reading and writing are only at 17MB / sec and 3MB / sec behind the most expensive Samsung device, and he held the lead in the 850 Pro with the test of small files – he was better at reading but less good at writing.

The 850 Evo proved to be effective with small file tests at the ATTO benchmark but was far behind in the biggest tests, then it was average with IOMeter – unable to beat the 850 Pro, but still far in front of several disks of similar range.

The Evo’s five-year warranty is one of the most generous we’ve seen, though it does not match Samsung’s great ten-year warranty with the 850 Pro.

The 850 Evo makes a perfect compromise between price and performance – a little slower than the 850 Pro, of course, but a lot more affordable. If you are looking for a fast SSD and you refuse to bet on an entry-level disk, this is probably the best alternative.

Kingston SSDNow UV400 480GB
Key aspects

• A variety of accessories in the box
• Reasonable performance, especially for reading
• Unable to reach Samsung’s speed

Kingston produced this hard drive to meet the needs of new users and low-budget developers, so I was surprised to discover that the box contained: a 3.5-box bracket, an external carriage, a SATA cable, and a power adapter. MOLEX / SATA current.

This range of accessories is no longer included with high-end hard drives, but provided only with low-budget SSDs – it was an excellent step back in the early days of SSD where all manufacturers included accessories with their own. HDDs.

The hard drive itself is pretty, with a sandblasted metal design and bold black logos, but it’s more conventional on the inside, with a familiar Marvell four-channel Toshiba 15nm TLC NAND controller, with a bit of space left aside for SLC functionality – a step that is supposed to improve writing speed.

The 3-year warranty is quite common, and the drive is also protected with up to 200TB of file writes – an average achievement with 20TB less than the Crucial MX300 but which exceeds the 150TB endurance test of Samsung 850 EVO.

The hard drive supports normal features like TRIM and SMART monitoring, but without any other surprises. This may be why the UV400 did not show anything extraordinary in the performance tests. A trend quickly emerged with the UV400, which excelled in reading speed tests but was poorer in writing benchmarks.
Its sequential reading speed of 529MB / sec and far behind the Crucial MX300, for example, but its write speed of 488MB / sec comes just behind its rival. It remains inconsistent compared to the Samsung 850 EVO, which exceeds 500MB / sec in both tests.

This trend continues with the CrystalDiskMark. The UV400 was more than 50MB / sec in front of the Crucial in read mode but only 2MB / sec in writing, lagging behind the MX300 in some small file writing tests. A problem he never had in the benchmark reading small files. Samsung’s drive, meanwhile, was consistently faster in all CrystalDiskMark tests.

The UV400 outperformed both rivals in the Atto small file test, and it continued with good results here: its best 560MB / sec read speed exceeded the competition, although the Samsung was only 13MB / sec behind. The three, on the other hand, had close results in writing tests – the maximum UV400 output of 530MB / sec has caught up with the Samsung.

There is also another benchmark concern: Access time. The UV400’s SSD AS produces read and write access delays of 0.128ms and 0.134ms that are rarely slow, but they are a bit behind compared to any rival. Kingston’s average access time to the IOMeter of 2.2458ms was similarly lazy in comparing it to the competition.

So it’s an irregular set of benchmark tests, The UV400 is faster than the MX300 in many large file tests, and it goes ahead for writing too – but the speed is weakened by the slow access times and by the hegemon Samsung 850 EVO.

The Kingston UV400 is one of the cheapest SSDs I’ve seen, and it remains a good option if speed is not as important as value. However, the Samsung 850 EVO remains the best choice for speed at a good price.

Crucial MX300 525GB
Key aspects

• Decent and consistent speeds, but a little slow in reading tests
• Generous endurance rate
• Cheaper than his two rivals

Crucial has developed a strong reputation for these affordable SSDs, and the MX300 is the third generation of one of its flagship series.

The new hard drive witnessed the start of Micron’s flagship 3D Flash chips – Crucial’s parent company, which means its technology matches that of Samsung and SK Hynix. 3D chips deploy transistors across four levels, which means that chips can be much denser and therefore less expensive. The MX200 silicon matrices that can support 256GB of data, but the same matrix on the MX300 supports 384GB.

Price is not the only benefit. The floating gate transistors used to reduce electrical disturbances and wastage of neighboring cells, which limits power consumption and can, therefore, contribute to prolonging the life of the hard disk.

I tested the 525GB version of the MX300. It’s bulky. But fans of technology will know that there is a break with standard products 500GB and 512GB. Indeed, the new matrices have a size of 48GB, which allows Crucial to developing the MX300 with eleven matrices with a bit of over-provisioning.

The MX300 includes TRIM support, 256-bit AES encryption, and SMART monitoring in parallel with the data path and power loss protection which remains a decent feature pack at this price. Samsung’s hard drives offer more customizable over-provisioning and cache memory, but these are niche options.

Crucial provides a 3-year warranty at 220TB with the MX300. That’s two years less than Samsung’s disc, but with better endurance – the 850 Evo is only covered for 150TB of writing. The big brother MX200 also had 160TB of endurance rate. This means that the MX300 might be a better solution if you plan to write a lot of data on the disk.

The MX300’s new 3D Flash suggests that prices may still go down, but benchmarks indicate that performance has not improved – especially reading performance.
The write speed of 482MB / s of the new hard drive is slightly better than that of its big brother, but the result of reading at 470MB / s is after the MX200 and 850 Evo. This trend continues: The MX300 SSD 4K and MX300 4K-64 write results are both faster, but reading results have been slower again.

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This same trend has been confirmed CrystalDiskMark with a better rendering in writing and a reading speed lower. However, the MX300 has never been very successful: None of the results has crossed the 500MB / s mark, while the Samsung disc has exceeded this speed in sequential reads and writes.

The Atto benchmark revealed more about the strengths and weaknesses of the MX300. Its results of reading and writing small files respectively of 378MB / s and 404MB / s were better than those of the MX200, and also faster than the Samsung in writing. On the other hand, the new hard drive has run out of steam with the big files: behind its predecessor in reading and behind the Samsung reading and writing.

The MX300 has recovered with the IOMeter. Its total I / O result of 7006 is better than that of its two rivals, and its average speed of 268MB / s also beats the other two discs. Its average response time was nevertheless lower, suggesting that this hard drive may be soft in action.

The latest Crucial hard drive delivers a mixed performance compared to the MX200 and Samsung – but it’s important to remember that the MX300 is never slow. Its price is attractive, and its endurance rate is better than that of its two rivals with also a larger volume. It is not likely to beat the speed records, but it remains a reliable and affordable SSD.

Crucial MX200 500GB

Key aspects

Speed improvements in most tests compared to previous generations
Several form factors available
Price just above the cheapest SSD in the market
It is the successor of the MX100 that has proclaimed the new era of cheap and smooth SSDs from Crucial. It contains Micron’s memory chips, just like the first hard drive, which is not a surprise – after all, Micron holds Crucial.

There was a bit of innovation in the design of the MX200. It has the same Marvell controller and the NAND 16nm of its predecessor, with a boost for performance provided by an improved cache rather than a component update.

The 80TB endurance rate of the MX200 and improved, and encryption is included too. The three-year warranty is the standard offer.

The cache allows the MX200 to outperform its predecessor with a marginal speed boost in sequential reads and writes and a huge jump of about 150MB / s in the write benchmark, followed by the test of small files, where either he equals his big brother or he comes strangely behind.

Improved performance in the ATTO test reveals the ability of the MX200 in almost every test, as it curls up again in the long-term IOMeter test – it was one of the poorest in the group.

With hardware identical to the previous hard drive, the MX200 could not deliver a huge feat against the MX100, but it keeps one step ahead of the cheapest SSD on the market. If you are looking for a good total solution and you do not want to lower yourself to cheaper products, it deserves to be taken into consideration.

Samsung 850 Pro
Key features

• Incredible benchmark performance
• Huge capacity
• Great endurance rates and guarantee

Samsung’s current flagship SSD is reaping the rewards of controlling all stages of production by the company.

This is the fastest SATA hard drive we have seen in the sequential write benchmark, and its speed of reading small files has not been beaten by any SSD in this group. In 4K-64 tests, the dominance is the same, and it is the only recent disk to go beyond 500MB / s during CrystalDiskMark’s sequential reading and writing tests.

In the overall ATTO test, the 850 Pro led the way in almost every benchmark, and its 7826 IOMeter long-term test result was the best we’ve seen with a significant margin.

The 850 Pro’s ten-year warranty is also longer than those offered by its rivals, and its 7mm case is sleek and sleek. It also has a great endurance rate of 150TB – thanks to Samsung’s improved 3D V-NAND system, which deploys the transistors in a layout that reduces wear.

The only downside is the lack of extras in the box, but it is not very serious when the 850 Pro is excellent at all levels. If you are looking for the fastest drive, and money is not a problem, then here is the best option.

SanDisk Extreme Pro 480GB
Key aspects:

Fast in most benchmark
Long 10-year warranty
Does not quite match the Samsung 850 Pro

The latest SanDisk hard drive is designed for peak performance – for gaming PCs and those loaded with demanding productivity tools.

For this, SanDisk boosted his disk with an update of its flash memory. Home chips are now 19nm MLC units with over-provisioning space, and SanDisk’s nCache Pro can be used to process part of the disk as SLC – The cell structure delivers better performance at the expense of density and longevity.

There is no sign of 3D NAND yet, but SanDisk has already announced a partnership with Toshiba to build a production plant.

Extreme Pro relies on the same controller as SanDisk’s older generation drives, but the manufacturer’s engineers have improved the firmware to deliver better performance.

The SanDisk drive includes SMART & TRIM support, but there is no sign of power loss or encryption protection. This will not bother the vast majority of users, but it’s worth remembering if you’re looking for a disk that will host sensitive data.

The Extreme Pro is protected by a 10-year warranty, which matches those of Samsung’s best hard drives. However, the SanDisk has an endurance rate of only 80TB. This is enough for the majority of consumers and gaming PCs, but it remains half of the offer of its rival.
However, there are not many differences between the two in the benchmarks. The SanDisk AS SSD’s read speed of 524MB / s is three megabytes higher than the Samsung’s, but the Extreme Pro comes behind with a slower write speed of 469MB / s. The lack of 3D NAND seems to hinder it in other AS SSD tests too, with a Samsung faster in small file tests and with relatively better access times.

There were only two megabytes between the two drives in the CrystalDiskMark sequential tests, where SanDisk gained writing and lost reading. However, once again, Samsung has confirmed its lead in benchmarks of small files, with about 100MB / s ahead in the 512KB reading test and a 50MB / s advantage when writing.

The Extreme Pro proved at first its speed in the Atto tests for small files, but its results quickly won against Samsung. Its maximum read and write speeds of 562MB / s, and 528MB / s are fast, but not as fast as the 850Pro. There is also a big gap between the two during the IOMeter test. The overall result of the Extreme Pro 5560 is good, but the 850 Pro has achieved an outstanding score of 7826.

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The Extreme Pro is a fast hard drive with a long warranty, but it is not able to match the Samsung 850 EVO. This hard drive is a bit pricey, but if you can afford the difference, it’s worth it.

Other models
For desktop computers

I would still be for the Samsung 500 EVO of 500GB, although it is a bit more flexible on its capacity since you have a place for large 2TB storage units. You can also consider the OCZ hard drive as the Arc 100 or Vector 180 which should normally be eliminated because of their high consumption. As said before, you should always buy at least 256GB of capacity at the price mentioned above and write speeds of the same order as small hard drives.

For laptops with mSata drives

Fewer and fewer manufacturers are choosing SATA drives than standard SATA SSD, but here your best choice will be the Samsung EVO 850 mSata (Details on Amazon) or the Crucial MX200 mSata (Details on Amazon).

For laptops with M. 2 discs

The new M.2 standard is complicated. You need to determine if your M2 slot is SATA or PCIe (the most is PCIe) and with what disk size it can go, then, determine which drives can be compatible. The best way to determine it is to look at this list. Once you know what kind of disc is going on your computer, try to find a Samsung SSD, Crucial, Intel or Plextor that are compatible. The M.2 version of the EVO 850 gets good reviews. The M.2 standard is new, so any computer you own with this standard is expected to have a pretty decent SSD that is best to wait before an upgrade. (Details on Amazon).

My recommendation:

M.2: Samsung 850 EVO M.2 250GB
Key aspects:

• Imitate 2.5 discs with 3D V-NAND
• Competetive price
• Constant, fast performance

The small Flash chips and controllers used in modern SSDs make it easy for manufacturers to reduce M.2 disks, and that’s exactly what Samsung did to design the 850 Evo 250GB.

This is the result of a 3D V-NAND feature that vertically stacks memory layers to ease pressure on small manufacturing processes elsewhere. It also features a dual-core controller with low power adjustments designed for M.2 operation.

Samsung’s 3D V-NAND has proven its efficiency in the past, and it has demonstrated reliable performance here. These 512Mb / s and 497MB / s sequential read / write scores swap with the Crucial MX200, and its 4K-64 sequential speed of 374MB / s places the Samsung well ahead of its closest rival.

The Samsung drive has been more consistent in the ATTO test: Its 8KB read-write speeds of 434MB / s and 398MB / are both better than the MX200, although the fastest read speed of the 850 Evo of 547MB / s ranked a little behind.

The 850 Evo took the first place in the IOMeter test with a final result of 5202 IOPS: superior to the Crucial and also to the Plextor hard disk based on PCI.

It is not able to match the overall speed of PCI-based M.2 SSDs, but it remains better than the Crucial MX200 in many tests and more consistent at all levels. It is a bit more expensive, but we will be willing to pay the extra for its improved consistency.

M.2: Samsung 950 Pro SSD M.2 512GB
Key aspects:

Dazzling benchmark speed
High capacity
Expensive, but still cheaper than some rivals

Samsung has come a long way with its speed, innovation and the value of its traditional SSD, and this trend continues with its latest hard drive. It is one of only two drives in this group that take full advantage of the speed offered by the PCI M.2 interface. However, it does not use the 3D V-NAND available in Samsung’s larger SSD products; on the other hand, and it has the NAN 19nm MLC that we are used to find in a wide range of products.

It has boot support, which is an improvement over its predecessor, and it is valid in 128GB and 256GB in addition to the 512GB model that we tested here.
The extent of his performance was emphasized on ATTO: His 8KB read and write speeds of 830MB / s, and 791MB / s surpass those of any other M.2 disc, and his numbers are only getting better by dealing with more big pieces of data. With 8MB, reading and writing results of 2.253MB / s and 1.594MB / s are dominant.

In our final IOMeter benchmark, the Samsung reached 7193 IOPS – which is ahead of the competition.

It’s impossible to deny the record speed of Samsung’s latest SSD, but you can not deny its price either – and the need for a state-of-the-art motherboard or additional PCI card for optimal use of this hard drive.

The SM951 returns stunning results to the benchmark. These read and write subsequent readings of 1.94MB / s and 1.50MB / s are far better than those of traditional SSDs, and its 4K-64 speeds of 685MB / s and 368MB / s are correct – still ahead of rivals but not too much.

Crucial MX200 250GB
Key features

The cheapest M.2 disk in this group
Correct and constant speed
Similar to the larger MX200 SSD

Crucial has monopolized the low-cost SSD market over the last 18 months – just as Samsung has monopolized the high-end category – and has now turned its attention to the growing M.2 segment with a thinned version of its popular MX200.

It is identical to the MX200 version 2.5, which means a Marvell and NAND 16nm controller in addition to the cache technology that allows the regular backup of frequently open files to improve performance.

This characteristic generates a solid and sometimes not spectacular performance. A sequential read speed of 522MB / s is not far from the 600MB limit of the SATA bus, and its sequential write speed of 478MB / s is not far behind the best SATA drives. These two results are virtually similar to those of the MX200.

The MX200 has maintained this performance in the CrystalDiskMark tests, and it has been consistent in the ATTO benchmarks: its reading speed has quickly exceeded 500MB / s and has reached 561MB / s in various other tests, and its speed writing has been beyond 500MB / s many times.

The performance of the MX200’s small files was not as fulfilling. With average results at all levels. However, its consistency elsewhere, combined with the price of only $50 for the 250GB version tested here, makes it the cheapest M.2 SSD we’ve seen – and therefore it will be our low budget recommendation.


Hi, My name is Kennedy - a gamer, and blogger. I write everything about gaming from the high-end Intel processors and graphics cards to reviews of the latest AAA games. I am also interested in cryptocurrency (Ripple & Bitcoin Cash). When I'm not on my rig gaming or blogging, you will find me outdoors on my dirt bike!

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