After spending a chunk of time downloading and installing that new game you’ve been dying to play, the last thing you want to do is wait through some gruelling load times because your PC’s internal storage isn’t up to scratch. There’s an easy way to avoid those strenuous waits, and that’s to grab yourself a reliable solid-state drive (SSD).
Before you grab a new SSD, it’s also helpful to first make sure that your motherboard can actually support them — both in terms of compatibility and physical room in your PC case. The last thing you want is to drop a few hundred dollars on an SSD that won’t work or fit in your PC.
To help you get your gaming PC up to snuff, here are a few SSDs that are worth your time, broken down by price range.
This article has been updated since its original publication.
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Budget SSDs (Up to $100)
Crucial MX500 SATA 2.5-inch SSD, 250GB
2.5-inch SATA SSDs are somewhat on the outs, considering that these days you don’t have to spend that much more to get their M.2 equivalent. However, the Crucial MX500 SSD is a great option if you’re shopping on a budget. If you’re just after a little bit of extra storage for your gaming PC and don’t want to go too crazy with spending, you can pick up the 250GB MX500 for an absolute bargain. Even if you don’t need one that bad, it’s a very justifiable price.
It’s an SSD that is both consistent and reliable when it comes to performance. Upgrading to the 500GB, or even the 1TB capacity version of this Crucial SSD isn’t a bad idea, either. With the latter, you’ll be paying roughly around the same amount for the 500GB M.2 drives on this list.
WD Black SN770 NVMe M.2 PCIe Gen4 SSD, 250GB
If you’re upgrading or building a mid-level gaming rig, I’d suggest looking at Western Digital’s Black SN770. This WD Black SSD stands toe-to-toe with some of the more high-end M.2 drives when it comes to transfer speeds, but with the added bonus of a cheaper price. The 250GB drive is a good choice for having a dedicated OS drive.
You can also currently get the 500GB WD Black SN770 for roughly $20 more than the 250GB over at Amazon, so if you’re looking to grab a great deal on top of a good SSD, look no further.
Mid-Range SSDs ($100-200)
Samsung 870 EVO SATA III 2.5-inch SSD, 500GB
Samsung’s 870 EVO is an inexpensive SATA SSD that offers one of the strongest sequential reading and writing rates of any SATA drive. It doesn’t hurt to have more than one SSD installed in your computer so having this as an extra drive isn’t a bad idea, especially if you’ve got a large collection of games with big install sizes.
Adata XPG SX8200 Pro NVMe M.2 2280 PCIe Gen 3×4 SSD, 512GB
Adata’s XPG SX8200 Pro was designed to work under pressure, so it’s not a bad option if you spend your time playing system demanding games. Where it really shines is its speed. This SSD can sequentially read up to 3,500MB/s and sequential write up to 3,000MB/s. That’s a fantastic rate of performance, especially when you factor in the very affordable price tag.
Samsung 970 EVO Plus PCIe Gen 3 x4 M.2 SSD, 1TB
The Samsung 970 EVO Plus is a reliable SSD that can hold its own while running some of the more system demanding games. If you also do a fair share of video editing or graphic design work, this thing will make sure you aren’t stuck with long load times.
Grabbing the 1TB version isn’t a bad idea if you’re after a good install drive or scratch drive. You should definitely consider leaning towards more storage space if you have a few Modern Warfare-sized games installed at any given time.
For The Big Spender ($200+)
Samsung 980 Pro NVMe M.2 SSD, 1TB
If you’re after top of the line performance, Samsung’s 980 Pro really swings for the fences.
With 7,000MB/5,000MB read and write speeds, Samsung’s 980 Pro can handle any game that you want to throw at it. If you’re looking for an SSD with low latency and enhanced bandwidth, that will help you reach some high-end performances with your games, then this is the one you want.
It’s on the more expensive end of the SSD spectrum, but a solid investment nonetheless. If you can’t justify going that big, maybe drop the storage size down to the 500GB version.
Sabrent Rocket Q4 NVMe PCIe 4.0 M.2 2280 SSD, 2TB
If you want to go big with your SSD but still want value for your money, the Sabrent Rocket Q4 might be what you want. You’ll get some solid performance when it comes to gaming, with read and write speeds of 4,800MB/s and 3,600MB/s. It’s also not a bad option if you spend a lot of time editing videos.
The 2TB of storage should be more than enough to meet your needs, even if you feel it necessary to have a lot of big install games on your drive at any one time.
Even though you’ll be dropping a few hundred dollars to pick this up, you’ll still be spending less than you would on the equivalent SSD for most competitors.
Where to buy: Amazon Australia ($349.99)