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Best SSD for gaming 2024

The best SSD for gaming will boost your PC speeds and gameplay. We've tested top gaming SSDs from WD, Samsung and Corsair to help you buy the right one.

The best SSD for gaming - three SSDs on a colorful gradient background

Having the best SSD for gaming will seriously improve your gaming experience, and give your system a speed boost when running and loading the latest PC games. A solid-state drive (SSD) runs off flash memory to write and read data digitally, and any system can benefit from swapping from an aging mechanical drive to a more modern SSD. Since the advent of the NVMe protocol, high-capacity M.2 drive storage has never been so small or affordable. But which gaming SSD is right for your needs?

There are plenty of excellent gaming SSDs on the market, from well-known brands like Samsung, Corsair, and Western Digital, as well as more niche options that still perform well. To help you choose the best SSD for gaming, we’ve benchmarked the latest solid-state drives, comparing their read and write speeds against and reporting on their real-life performance compared to the manufacturer’s claimed specs.

The latest PC games can require high storage requirements, meaning it’s more important than ever to ensure your gaming PC or gaming laptop has plenty of available space. Using years of PC gaming experience and our in-house testing, we’ll help you find the best SSD for gaming.

Why you can trust our advice ✔ At PCGamesN, our experts spend hours testing hardware and reviewing games and VPNs. We share honest, unbiased opinions to help you buy the best. Find out how we test.

WD Black SN850X

Best SSD for gaming overall

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WD Black SN850X specifications:
Sizes 1TB, 2TB, 4TB
Form factor M.2 Type-2280
Interface PCIe 4.0 x4
Seq. read Up to 7,300MB/s
Seq. write Up to 6,600MB/s
Reasons to buy
  • Fastest PCIe 4.0 gaming SSD
  • Optional RGB heatsink
  • Good capacity choices
Reasons to avoid
  • Can run hot without a heatsink

The WD Black SN850X is the fastest SSD you can buy, fully making use of its PCIe 4.0 interface with lightning-fast sequential read and write speeds of 7,300MB/s and 6,600MB/s, respectively.

This level of performance not only improves game loading times, but you should notice your gaming PC boots faster and more quickly handles general tasks. You’ll always get the most out of the drive while playing games, thanks to its Game Mode 2.0 toggle in the included software.

If you’re worried about potential thermal throttling impacting the WD Black SN850X, you can pick it up with an optional heatsink for peace of mind. Better still, the heatsink comes with a splash of RGB, so it can look cool while staying cool.

Read our WD Black SN850X review.

Samsung 980 Pro

Best value PCIe 4.0 SSD for gaming

Today’s best deals (1TB)
Samsung 980 Pro specifications:
Capacities 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB
Heatsink Yes (passive, optional)
Form factor M.2 2280
Interface PCIe 4.0 x4
Seq. read Up to 7,000MB/s
Seq. write Up to 5,000MB/s
Reasons to buy
  • Fast read speed for a PCIe 4.0 drive
  • Big price drop since launch
  • Decent software package
Reasons to avoid
  • Write speed could be quicker
  • New PCIe 5.0 SSDs are faster
  • Needs a heatsink

Now a long-standing veteran of the SSD market, the Samsung 980 Pro can often be found at a bargain price, and it’s still fast enough for most people’s needs. Making full use of the PCIe 4.0 interface, Samsung says this drive can read at up to 7,000MB/s, and it hit a solid 6,866MB/s in our tests.

The WD Black SN850X above is quicker for write speeds and game loading times, but the 980 Pro is often available for a cheaper price, and you’ll barely notice the difference between the two drives in most real-world use. Besides, the top write speed of 5,000MB/s still puts the Samsung 980 Pro well ahead of any PCIe 3.0 SSDs. Samsung offers a useful software package, including migration software for easy transfers from your existing Windows installation to your new drive.

This drive throttled without a heatsink in our tests, so make sure you either buy a model with a heatsink pre-fitted or use one of your motherboard’s M2 heatsinks if it has them. Keep an eye on prices, though, as they often fluctuate. If the WD Black SN850X is on offer and cheaper than the Samsung 980 Pro, it’s the better SSD to buy.

Read our Samsung 980 Pro review.

Crucial T705

Fastest PCIe 5.0 SSD

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Crucial T705 specifications:
Capacities 1TB, 2TB, 4TB
Heat sink Yes (passive)
Interface PCIe 5.0 x 4
Seq. read Up to 14,500MB/s
Seq. write Up to 12,700MB/s
Reasons to buy
  • Blazingly fast read and write speeds
  • Sensibly-sized heatsink
  • Good endurance rating and warranty
Reasons to avoid
  • Thermally throttles under load
  • No active cooling options

Speed above all else is the priority of the T705, as the Crucial SSD barrels ahead of its competition with power to deliver the fastest speeds we’ve seen yet from PCIe 5.0 storage. While it’s quick, though, it does come with some caveats.

The T705 is staggeringly speedy, with read and write performance of up to 14,500MB/s (14.5GB/s) and 12,700MB/s (12.7GB/s), respectively. While it can hit these speeds in short bursts, prolonged stress can see the passive heatsink falter, bringing the Crucial SSD’s sky-high ambitions crashing down in an Icarus-like fashion.

These problems don’t affect gaming performance, which is naturally of a high standard. That said, the T705 suffers from the same problem as all other PCIe 5.0 SSDs, in that higher speeds don’t have any tangible benefit in games relative to PCIe 4.0 drives (at least for now).

Class-leading performance naturally comes with a higher price too, and the T705 is no exception, with its price coming in much higher than slower PCIe 5.0 SSDs. You can knock off a few bucks by opting for a model without a heatsink, but this drive needs some form of cooling to be considered worth using.

Read our Crucial T705 review.

Samsung 870 EVO

Best SATA SSD for gaming

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Samsung 870 EVO specifications:
Sizes 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB
Form factor 2.5-inch
Interface SATA
Seq. read Up to 560MB/s
Seq. write Up to 530MB/s
Reasons to buy
  • Still plenty fast for PC games
  • High capacity options
Reasons to avoid
  • Slightly lofty price tag
  • Much slower compared to NVMe drives

NVMe SSDs will undoubtedly replace their SATA brethren, but there’s still plenty of value to be had in drives that use the ageing interface like the Samsung 870 EVO. While its sequential read and write speeds may seem paltry in the face of PCIe storage, it’s still plenty fast for most games and is undeniably faster than any hard drive.

If you prioritize capacity over speed, opting for the Samsung 870 EVO could be a smart move. You can pick it up in sizes that go all the way up to 4TB, meaning you won’t have to worry about rehoming your Steam library and it costs much less than any M.2 SSD with the same amount of space.

Corsair MP700 Pro

Best PCIe 5.0 SSD for gaming

Today’s best deals (1TB)
Corsair MP700 Pro specifications:
Capacities 1TB, 2TB, 4TB
Heatsink Yes (active, water-cooled)
Interface PCIe 5.0 x 4
Seq. read Up to 12,400MB/s
Seq. write Up to 11,800MB/s
Reasons to buy
  • Good balance of price to performance
  • Active heatsink eliminates thermal throttling
  • Five-year warranty
Reasons to avoid
  • PCIe 5.0 speeds don’t benefit games yet
  • Fan curve can’t be configured
  • No passive heatsink option

PCIe 5.0 SSDs like the MP700 Pro push storage speeds well above PCIe 4.0 but, for the moment, their performance often comes with added cost and thermal considerations. Corsair’s MP700 Pro makes dealing with these difficulties the easiest of any drive we’ve tested, with active cooling in place of an enormous passive heatsink and a price that doesn’t break the bank.

Featuring respective read and write speeds of up to 12,400MB/s (12.4GB/s) and 11,800MB/s (11.8GB/s), the MP700 Pro is one of the fastest SSDs you can slot into your system. These specs naturally make the drive an excellent choice for gaming, but improvements compared to cheaper, competing PCIe 4.0 drives are minimal, even in games that support DirectStorage.

For those that require a dual-purpose drive, though, particularly for scenarios where prolonged read and write speeds are a priority, the MP700 Pro emerges a cut above all other PCIe 5.0 SSDs thanks to its active heatsink. While its fan curve sadly can’t be configured, the out-of-the-box performance ensured the temperature of Corsair’s drive peaked at just 65°C in our testing.

Corsair also offers the MP700 Pro with a Hydro X Series water block, for enthusiast builders rocking a custom water-cooling loop. While there is sadly no passive heatsink available for the SSD, you can grab it without any heatsink whatsoever and place your speeds at the mercy of your motherboard heatsinks if you wish. However, given how hot PCIe 5.0 storage gets, we strongly recommend opting for the model with the active cooler, especially as it only costs $10-20 extra.

Read our Corsair MP700 Pro review.

WD Blue SN580

Best cheap PCIe 3.0 SSD

Today’s best deals (1TB)
WD Blue SN580 specifications:
Sizes 250GB, 500GB, 1TB (tested), 2TB
Form factor M.2 Type-2280
Interface PCIe 4.0
Seq. read Up to 4150MB/s
Seq. write Up to 4150MB/s
Reasons to buy
  • Good sequential speeds for the cash
  • Excellent value and low cost per gigabyte
  • No need for a heatsink
Reasons to avoid
  • Much faster PCIe 4.0 SSDs only cost a bit more
  • Few benefits over previous generation
  • No 4TB option

Building on the affordable SN570, Western Digital’s Blue SN580 NVMe SSD is a capable gaming SSD with up to 2TB of storage and a solid 900TBW endurance. It offers you respectable read and write speeds for one of the lowest prices on the market.

During testing, our reviewer found that the random 4K performance of the SN580 was a fair bit slower than the fastest PCIe 4.0 SSDs we tested. But it’s the best you can get under $100 without sacrificing capacity, speed, or both. It’s the top option for building a gaming PC on a budget.

Read our WD Blue SN580 review.

SK Hynix Platinum P41

Best M.2 SSD for laptops

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SK Hynix Platinum P41 specifications:
Sizes 500GB, 1TB, 2TB
Form factor M.2 Type-2280
Interface PCIe 4.0 x4
Seq. read Up to 7,000MB/s
Seq. write Up to 6,500MB/s
Reasons to buy
  • Compact form factor
  • Five-year warranty
  • Extraordinary 1,200TBW rating
Reasons to avoid
  • No heatsink

Even the best gaming laptop benefits from more storage, and the SK Hynix Platinum P41 SSD is perfect for increasing your on-the-go storage without compromising on spec. Featuring an in-house Aries controller, this drive is capable of read speeds up to 7,000MB/s, meaning it’ll run rings around SATA SSDs and many NVMe options.

Despite its impressive speeds, the Platinum P41 features an equally impressive power efficiency rating, something that helps maintain peak performance within a toasty laptop environment. Naturally, this also means it’ll be kinder to your portable powerhouse’s battery, which could help you spend less time gaming next to a power outlet.

Sabrent Rocket 2230

Best Steam Deck SSD

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Sabrent Rocket 2230 specifications:
Sizes 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
Form factor M.2 Type-2280
Interface M.2 PCIe 4.0 x4
Seq. read Up to 5,000MB/s
Seq. write Up to 4,300MB/s
Reasons to buy
  • Right size for Steam Deck
Reasons to avoid
  • Inconsistent performance
  • Easy to install

If you’ve already had a peek inside Valve’s handheld, you’ll already know that a standard M.2 SSD isn’t going to fit. Thankfully, the Sabrent Rocket 2230 is exactly the right size, so you won’t have to make any weird modifications to expand your on-the-go storage.

The Sabrent Rocket 2230 might be dinky enough to fit inside the Steam Deck, but it still packs a solid-state punch. The PCIe 4.0 drive boasts up to 4,750MB/s read speeds, and you’ll be able to write up to 4,300MB/s to the compact SSD. Despite its size, 1TB models are also available, meaning you could bring an even greater chunk of your Steam library with you on your travels. It’s one of the best Steam Deck accessories list to increase the storage on your handheld gaming PC.

Best SSD for gaming FAQ

What are the benefits of using an SSD?

Solid-state drives are inherently faster than traditional mechanical drives, mostly due to the fact they feature no moving parts. So, by replacing your old hard drive with even the cheapest SSD, you can expect fast boot times, speedy file transfer rates, and even enhanced gaming performance. However, installing a new storage drive won’t make your gaming PC faster if you’re still rocking old components elsewhere.

SATA vs NVMe SSDs

SATA drives have been around for a while longer, and while they offer lower read and write speeds than you’ll find on an NVMe-based drive, the price per GB is much lower. This makes them the perfect choice if you want a high-capacity solid-state drive for storing your Steam library, or if you’re going for a budget PC build. Plus, the speeds are still significantly better than a conventional hard drive.

What is an add-in card SSD?

Add-in card SSDs look a little bit like graphics cards, and they connect to your PC via PCIe. While they use the same standard as M.2, PCIe options boast compatibility over M.2, as you won’t need a motherboard with a newer socket type to upgrade from SATA.

Which capacity SSD should I get?

A higher-capacity SSD will cost more, so consider how much you want to spend. Not all of the best PC games benefit from being installed on an SSD, so you don’t necessarily need a drive as big as your secondary storage. Some of the SSD options in this guide start at 250GB capacity, but if you can afford it, we recommend getting a 1TB SSD to future-proof your system for longer. You can get an SSD up to 4TB, but this is expensive. If you just want an SSD to install Windows onto, then a 512GB capacity is sufficient.

What’s the best SSD brand?

We trust all of the SSD brands in our guide (otherwise we wouldn’t have included them). Western Digital and Samsung are well known for being reliable and long-lasting, but we also recommend checking the retailer and manufacturer warranty when you buy an SSD, as some will offer extended warranty periods of up to three or five years – providing peace of mind in the unlikely event that your gaming SSD fails.

Can you put a PCIe 5.0 SSD in a PCIe 4.0 slot?

PCIe 4.0 is backward and forward compatible, meaning you can use a PCIe 3.0 drive with the newer format and vice versa. It’s worth noting in both instances, your performance will be constricted by the 3.0 standard’s limitations.

For more help building your ideal gaming PC, check out our list of the best gaming cards, which will help you find the right graphics card.

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