We rated, reviewed, & compared 23 of the best SSDs for gaming across various budgets. These top solid state drives and NVME M.2 drives are perfect for gamers or anyone else looking for incredibly fast computer storage.
If you’ve been living in a cave for the past five years and you’ve just re-entered into society, then you probably haven’t heard of solid state drives. Don’t worry… I’m here to get you back up to speed… Solid state drives are basically storage devices much like mechanical hard drives. They hold large amounts of data and information for your computer.
Where SSDs stand out is the speed in which they are able to retrieve data for you. In fact, SSDs are able to hit sequential read speeds of 10-100 times faster than traditional hard drives.
All that extra speed means that your computer will boot up faster, your files will be opened more quickly, and your programs, applications, and games will load up in a fraction of the time.
While in most cases, a Solid State Drive won’t increase your frame rates, it will dramatically increase the speed in which programs and applications open up, data will load (and your games, too, if they’re stored on your SSD), which willl significantly cut down on waiting time.
Does this give you a direct boost to your in-game gaming experience? Not really… Does it make the overall functionality of your computer better? Absolutely.
In any case, if you don’t have an SSD, then you strongly need to consider getting one…
In this post, I will go over the best SSDs for gaming computers in 2018 at various price ranges for different budget sizes. I’ve broken down the categories into four different price ranges: SSDs under $50, SSDs between $50-$100, SSDs between $100-$200, and SSDs over $200. I’ve also added a section dedicated specifically to the best NVME SSDs on the market, which are an even faster type of SSD.
I’ve listed a few different SSD options for each price range and while there are definitely some other worthy solid state drives in these price ranges, I felt these offered the best returns for PC gamers.
In the span of 4-5 years, SSDs have completely revolutionized how we store our files and programs not just once, but twice. First, with the introduction of Solid State Drives themselves and, now, with the rapid rise of M.2 NVME modules.
Where solid state drives brought a huge increase in drive performance when they were initial introduced (through higher read/write speeds) M2 NVME module have brought just as significant of a performance increase over their disk counterparts.
In fact, whereas some of the best disk-oriented SSDs on the market offer read and write speeds of over 500 MB/s, the top M2 NVME SSDs offer read speeds over 3000MB/s and write speeds over 2000MB/s.
And, the good news is that they don’t cost that much more than the standard SSDs. However, you will need to ensure that your motherboard has an M.2 port in order to get one.
If you are looking for one of the better M.2 NVME SSDs out there, though, the options below will give you a range of choices to choose between.
M.2 NVME SSDS (CLICK ‘READ REVIEW’ TO EXPAND)
In the span of a couple of years, 1TB SSDs have gone from being close to $1,000, to now just over $200.
That’s right, you can now get a full terabyte of solid state drive storage for just a little over $200.
So, if you have a large budget and you don’t even want to have to deal with the slower speeds of a traditional hard drive, then you can rely solely on an SSD, because the five options listed below will give you all of the storage you will ever need.
In my opinion, the best option here is probably the SanDisk Ultra II, simply because of the price. The performance between all of these drives are so similar that you probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference in real-world use anyways, so you might as save some money.
However, if you’re looking for the fastest SSD for gaming, you might want to go with the higher end Samsung 850 Pro, which has half the storage capacity, but outperforms the other options on this list.
SOLID STATE DRIVES UNDER $500 (CLICK ‘READ REVIEW’ TO EXPAND)
In the $100-$200 price range you are looking at getting a ~500GB SSD with excellent performance.
It wasn’t too long ago that 500GB SSDs cost a few hundred dollars or more, but now with prices continuing to drop, you can get a high-end 500GB SSD for under $200 (including quite a few options for a little over $100.)
In my opinion, the Samsung 850 EVO is again the best option in this price range, but the PNY CS1311 480GB unit isn’t far behind, and with a much better price, the PNY SSD is probably the best price-to-performance SSD in this price range.
Ultimately, though, unlike the other price ranges listed above, all of the SSDs in this price range are pretty similar to each other in terms of performance and there really isn’t a bad option.
SOLID STATE DRIVES UNDER $200 (CLICK ‘READ REVIEW’ TO EXPAND)
In the $50-$100 range, you’re essentially looking at getting a 240-250GB SSD. In my opinion, this is the current sweet spot for SSDs.
The reason is that, while ~250GB isn’t a monstrous amount of space, it is enough space to hold most people over for a while until they can add an additional drive.
And, 250GB SSDs have come down quite a bit in cost as well so they won’t break your budget as well.
Ultimately, if you have a moderate budget or larger and you’re building a high-end gaming PC you probably have enough room to fit in a 250GB SSD… so why not do so?
What follows is a list of five of the best gaming SSDs between $50-$100.
SOLID STATE DRIVES UNDER $100 (CLICK ‘READ REVIEW’ TO EXPAND)
While I have broken down this guide into price range categories, I could have just as easily broken it down into storage capacity categories as well.
The reason is that the performance difference doesn’t change too much as capacity increases (although, it does to a point).
However, I decided price range would be the best way to break it down… especially for beginners.
The good news, though, is that just a few years ago there weren’t really any SSD options for ~$50. And, back then, 120GB SSDs were going for over $100. Now you can get a 120GB SSD for ~$50.
While 120GB isn’t a ton of space, you can definitely use a 120GB SSD as your boot drive and for a few of your most-used programs and you can use a traditional hard drive for everything else.
SOLID STATE DRIVES FOR $50 (CLICK ‘READ REVIEW’ TO EXPAND)
No, a solid state drive isn’t going to help you get higher framerates and it won’t improve your crappy laptop to the point to where you can actually start playing a game yyou weren’t able to play previously.
However, an SSD can significantly improve your system’s performance (outside of gaming), dramatically reduce your boot and load times, and just make your computer feel faster in general.
And, seeing as how prices have come down quite a bit, it has never been more affordable to add an SSD to your new gaming computer. So, if you’re in the market for a new SSD, you can use the 20 different options listed above as a guide to help you make your decision.