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Install sizes for games have ballooned in recent years, investing in one of the best SSDs for gaming can help take some of the edge off, while simultaneously speeding up the load times for your favorite applications. And since their inception, SSDs have dropped drastically in price, making them a much better value than the older, standard HDDs.
There are currently two different flavors of SSDs to choose from. SATA SSDs like the Crucial MX500 at Amazon are more affordable but tend to have slower transfer speeds due to their older SATA interface. The pricer option is M.2 SSDs like the Western Digital Black SN750 at Amazon. These offer less space at a higher price but have drastically improved speeds. Another factor to consider is whether your motherboard supports an M.2 interface, and while they have become increasingly common, there's nothing more disappointing than investing in a shiny new SSD with no place to put it.
If you need a little help figuring out which end goes where make sure to read our guide to how to install an SSD in your computer before taking a look at our top picks for SSDs for gaming.
When we’re talking about the best overall SSD for gaming, we want to hit on a perfect combination of price point, speed, performance and reliability. And the Crucial MX500 does just that. From 500GB to 2TB, Crucial’s MX500 offers one of the best overall prices while delivering maximum performance on minimal power.
The Crucial MX500 is built with a next-generation Micron 3D NAND, making it run cooler and quieter without using too much power for your everyday gaming computing use. It pushes a read speed of up to 560MB per second — this means if you’re streaming Counter-Strike: Global Offensive online with 4K HD video and high-quality audio, you’ll have no worry of a hiccup. The MX500’s write speed pushes to about 510MB per second, so you can quickly drag and drop huge files and store them in a flash. It comes with a five-year limited warranty and is compatible with both Mac and PC.
If there’s no more room left in your gaming PC, you can always outfit it externally with the Samsung T5 Portable SSD. The best external SSD for gaming won't take up too much desk space and has a sleek look but powerful performance.
The Samsung T5 Portable SSD measures 0.4 x 2.3 x 3 inches and it's top-to-bottom, shock-resistant, metal design weighs a total of 1.6 ounces. It’s compatible with PC, Mac and Android OS, with both a read and write speed of up to 540MB per second, meaning you can count on quick access to data and programs across multiple platforms. The T5 comes with an optional password protection setup along with AES 256-bit hardware encryption and a three-year limited warranty. You can purchase it in 250GB, 500GB, 1TB and 2TB size models.
The handy SanDisk 1TB Extreme Portable SSD is the best option on the list if you have a handful of games that you'd like to take over to your friend's house. Weighing just .64 ounces and measuring 3.8 x 1.9 x 0.3 inches, the ruggedly designed SSD fits right in your pocket, so you can take it anywhere, anytime.
Did we mention its durable? The SanDisk 1TB Extreme Portable SSD has an IP55 rating, meaning its water-, shock- and dust-resistant and can be dropped from up to two meters on a concrete floor. The USB Type-C and USB-A connected SSD works with both Macs and PCs and is able to read at 550MB per second and write at 500MB per second. It comes in 250GB, 500GB and up to 2TB models and has a three-year limited warranty.
The Western Digital Black SN750 solid-state drive is ideal for gamers looking to build a serious rig or update their current build to keep up with data demand. This iteration of Western Digital SSDs is six times faster than previous models. This SSD can read data at up to 3470MB per second, providing gamers with the competitive edge that they need. It features 64-layer 3D NAND programming to utilize more of the drive’s storage space than ever before.
The SN750 uses Western Digital’s exclusive SSD dashboard desktop application, with a dedicated gaming mode for ultimate control over performance and data transfer. This SSD has a sleek and minimalist design that goes well with almost any gaming rig build, including those with addressable or non-addressable RGB components. A compatible heatsink is available for enhanced cooling and heat dissipation to prevent malfunction due to high temperatures and keep you in the game, worry-free. This SSD also comes with a five-year limited warranty, so you can rest assured that your drive is covered for common defects.
The Samsung 960 PRO is like a fast pass at Disney World, with a lighting fast read speed of up to 3,500MB per second. Wait, now, slow down, the Samsung 960 PRO is an M.2 SSD, so you’ll want to first make sure that your motherboard is compatible with it in order for it to run. Besides its read speed, this gaming SSD writes at 2,100MB per second and includes Samsung’s Magician software that delivers both in sustainable management and automatic firmware updates to keep it fresh and ready. Its lifespan reliability will last you about 1.5 million hours, and if that’s not enough time, you’ll be covered by its five-year limited warranty. It comes in 512GB, 1TB and 2TB models.
Though not as fast as our top pick, the Samsung 960 EVO earns the spot of the best runner-up for speed when it comes to gaming SSDs because it has a more affordable price point. The NVMe M.2 SSD will power you through your load screens for graphic- and memory-heavy games with a whopping 3,200MB per second read speed.
With a sequential write speed of 1,800MB per second, the 960 EVO will store an 18GB video game in roughly 10 seconds flat. It also features a Dynamic Thermal Guard that automatically adjusts its temperature during heavy use in order to prevent your system from overheating. The Samsung 960 EVO comes with a three-year limited warranty and in 500GB, 1TB or 2TB models.
If you're looking for a cost-effective way to expand the internal storage of your desktop, the Crucial MX500 is an inexpensive way to improve storage and performance. However, if you have a little more cash and a spare M.2 slot, the WD Black SN750 is a better choice.