The Best SSDs For Gaming and General Use in 2021

SSDs offer significant advantages over HDDs for your PC or any other device. It wouldn’t be an understatement to say that SSDs are one of the biggest upgrades you can give a PC. This is especially true if you get the right one, the best SSDs can make a huge difference.

SSDs can significantly improve processing times and power, give more storage, and they’re much quieter than HDDs. On top of this, they won’t have that big of an impact on cooling or power consumption.

Quality SSDs for gaming can even make your games run a lot better, with a better FPS to give you that split-second advantage. This can even apply to consoles, with the best SSDs for PS being able to reduce your load times.

When you’re looking to get an SSD, you want to make the most out of the upgrade. They’re a bit expensive to constantly switch one in and out. So, you need to make sure you make the right choice.

Whether you’re looking for a budget SSD or paying for a powerhouse piece of equipment with all the trimmings, you need to know you’re getting something that will last. These are some of the best SSDs available at the moment, which one to suit everyone.

samsung 870 evo
  • 250GB/500GB/1TB/2TB/4TB storage options
  • 560/530MB/s read/write speeds
  • Up to 2400 TBW
  • Standard 2.5’’ SSD

At this point in time, everyone knows that Samsung produces a bunch of high-quality SSDs that are not only reliable but also offer unrivaled performance. This is also the case if you are specifically looking for a SATA SSD for gaming.

The Samsung 870 EVO is a 2.5’’ standard SATA SSD that can just be plugged in and used as a storage device or boot device. The SSD has a solid 560MB/s read speed and 530MB/s write speed. This type of performance is more than enough for most things you would be doing on a computer as a regular user (especially for just storing and opening games).

The 870 EVO SSD also has a long lifespan with the medium-sized 500GB option having 600TBW and 5 years of warranty. Additionally, you can also download the Samsung Magician software that will help you maintain your SSD but it is not a necessary requirement for the SSD to work as intended.

Pros:
  • Great read/write performance for a SATA SSD
  • Great reliability with a 5-year warranty included
  • Additional software
  • Plug-and-play device
Cons:
  • Might be more expensive than other SATA SSD options

Crucial MX500

Affordable SATA SSD

crucial mx500
  • 250GB/500GB/1TB/2TB/4TB storage options
  • 560/510MB/s read/write speeds
  • Standard 2.5’’ SSD
  • 6-year warranty

If on the other hand the main criteria for your research on good SATA SSDs for gaming is the price, then you should take a look at the Crucial MX500. This is a more budget-oriented 2.5’’ SATA SSD that still has decent performance with 560/510 MB/s read and write speeds.

This once again means that this SATA SSD is well suited for 99% of the people that are using a computer for casual tasks like gaming. The only exception is of course people that are moving TBs of data around, but they would definitely not even look at the MX500.

This is a standard 6GB SATA drive with a 5-year warranty that will fit very well in any laptop or PC that can be purchased for a good price. A very good deal indeed.

Pros:
  • Great value proposition
  • The lower price does not mean that the SSD is unreliable
  • Great read/write speeds
  • Easy installation
Cons:
  • No extra software or options come with the SSD

Samsung 980

The Old Reliable Gen3 M.2 SSD

samsung 980
  • 250GB/500GB/1TBstorage options
  • 3500/3000MB/s read/write speeds
  • 600 TBW
  • Gen3 M.2 NVMe SSD

It would not be an exaggeration to say that some of the newer Gen4 drives operate at exaggerated speeds that nobody will be able to fully exploit. There are also people that are still on motherboards that do not support Gen4 drives as well.

For the people that do not care about the extreme speeds of Gen4 or simply cannot use one yet we would recommend the Samsung 980 M.2 NVMe SSD. This is a solid Gen3 drive that is by no means slow. The read/write speeds on this SSD are 3500/3000 MB/s which are still insanely high.

The biggest advantage of Samsung SSDs though is reliability as they are often built for professional work. The 980 is rated for 600 TBW with an advanced V-NAND controller and the newest firmware.

If you do not want any of the frills that come with newer tech just go for the ol’ reliable.

Pros:
  • Plenty of read/write speeds
  • Long-term storage device with 600TBW
  • Additional software – Samsung Magician software
Cons:
  • No DRAM

SK hynix Gold P31

The Gen3 Samsung Alternative SSD

sk hynix gold p31
  • 500GB/1TB/2TB storage options
  • 3500/3200MB/s read/write speeds
  • 750 TBW
  • Gen3 M.2 NVMe SSD

If you are fine with a Gen3 NVMe SSD but want something a bit more premium than a Samsung 980 then you should try the SK hynix Gold P31 drive. This is another PCIe NVMe 3 drive with 3500/3200 MB/s read/write speeds.

The more impressive part about this drive specifically is the fact that it has 750 TBW which means your data will be safe on the SSD for a long time. As with most of these SSDs, you also benefit from a 5-year warranty in case something does go wrong, but in most cases these NVMe drives are rock-solid.

One cool bit about purchasing the P31 is that you also get the Macrium cloning software which means you can simply clone your entire boot drive with no losses and just use your new fast NVMe drive as your main C drive.

Pros:
  • Fast read/write speeds
  • Amazing 750 TBW
  • 5-year warranty in case something does go wrong
  • Cloning software for easy setup
Cons:
  • The black PCB is only available for the 2TB model

TEAMGROUP T-Force CARDEA Zero

A More Realistic Approach to Gen4 SSDs

teamgroup t-force cardea zero
  • M.2 Gen4 NVMe SSD
  • 3500/3000MB/s read/write speeds
  • 200-400 TBW
  • Graphene heat spreader

If the Corsair MP600 PRO XT is absolutely off the charts and simply represents one of the highest-end products, the Teamgroup T-Force Cardea Zero M.2 Gen4 SSD is more of a realistic approach to the newest tech on the market.

This is indeed another Gen4 M.2 SSD but the read and write speeds (which are 3500/3000MB/s) are somewhat more realistic (although even these types of speeds cannot be fully used under 99% of circumstances). The truth about these Gen4 drives is that we are reaching speeds that are simply so high that no human would ever need them.

A simple SATA SSD with its 500/500 MB/s would already be fast enough for everything a normal person would do on a PC (including workloads). But if you are an enthusiast and want the latest and greatest tech in your PC then the Teamgroup SSD is a good choice to invest in without having to break your bank.

Besides the fast read/write speeds the SSD has a solid 200 to 400 TBW and a 5-year warranty included. This specific model also comes with a graphene heatsink that ensures the cool operation of the component even under high loads. The Teamgroup T-Force Cardea Zero also comes with smart monitoring software that will ensure that the drive is in optimal health.

Pros:
  • Still, insane read/write speeds
  • A more realistic price for a drive
  • Good durability and 5-year warranty
  • Uses Gen4 technology
Cons:
  • Lower speeds and TBW compared to the higher-end Gen4 drives

Crucial P5 Plus

Crucial’s Entry Into the gen4 Market

crucial p5 plus
  • 500GB/1TB/2TB/ storage options
  • 6600/5000MB/s read/write speeds
  • Gen4 M.2 NVMe SSD

It is obvious that all companies that are players in the storage device market will need to compete in the newest Gen4 SSD category. Crucial’s entry is the P5 Plus Gen4 M.2 NVMe drive. This is a standard 2280 M.2 drive with blazing-fast read/write speeds (6600/5000 MB/s) that will help you get your work done faster and load your games in a snap of your fingers.

The P5 Plus also has a decent life expectancy with 600TBW and a 5-year warranty that will give you some peace of mind as well. Overall this is a solid choice for someone that does not want to spend too much money on a new Gen4 drive but wants to benefit from the newest tech.

Pros:
  • Great read/write speeds that can tackle anything
  • 600TBW
  • 5-year warranty
  • Micron Advanced 3D-NAND technology
Cons:
  • A bit slower spec-wise compared to the competition

Corsair MP600 PRO XT

Flagship Gen4 M.2 NVMe SSD

corsair mp600 pro xt
  • M.2 Gen4 NVMe SSD
  • 7100/6800MB/s read/write speeds
  • 3000 TBW
  • High-density 3D TLC NAND

The truth about the Corsair MP600 PRO XT is that 99.9% of people would never need this type of drive and are incapable of using it to its full potential. The main reason for this simple conclusion is the fact that we are dealing with an M.2 Gen4 SSD, which is the newest standard for storage devices.

This means that not only is this SSD tiny in terms of physical dimensions (2280 form-factor) but oh boy is it fast. The MP600 PRO XT is capable of 7100MB/s read and 6800MB/s write speeds. These numbers are absolutely absurd even in comparison with Gen3 M.2 NVMe SSDs so you can understand just how overpowered this drive is.

Besides the incredible speed, the MP600 also has 3000TBW which means that it will be able to store your data for a very, very long time. If you have the money and just want one of the fastest, most reliable drives then you know where to look.

Pros:
  • There is nothing humanly possible that can push this SSD to the limit of its speed
  • Incredible reliability
  • M.2 2280 form-factor means it takes no space in your build
  • Uses the latest and greatest technology on the market
Cons:
  • The price of such a drive will obviously be higher than most other SSDs you can find

WD_BLACK SN850

A Great Gen4 Drive From WD

wd black sn850
  • 500GB/1TB/2TB/ storage options
  • 7300/5300MB/s read/write speeds
  • Gen4 M.2 NVMe SSD

Another great option to look at if you are interested in a blazing fast Gen4 drive is the WD_BLACK SN850 drive. Western Digital is known for making storage devices for a long time and this drive does not disappoint either.

You have 3 storage options that will cater to most people and their necessities – 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB. Since this is a Gen4 drive the read and write speeds are 7000/5300 MB/s which are simply stellar.

The only thing to be aware of when purchasing this drive is that you most definitely want the option with the heatsink. Operating at such high speeds means your NVMe drive will produce a lot of heat, and without the heatsink, this storage device can get toasty.

Besides this small recommendation, this WD drive is an excellent option for anybody interested in the fast speeds of Gen4.

Pros:
  • Fast read/write speeds
  • 3 main choices of storage configuration are present
  • Software for maintaining the health of your drive
Cons:
  • Can get hot if you have purchased the drive without the heatsink

Seagate FireCuda 530

The Gaming Gen4 SSD From Seagate

seagate firecuda 530
  • 500GB/1TB/2TB/4TB storage options
  • 7300/6000MB/s read/write speeds
  • Up to 5000 TBW
  • Gen4 M.2 NVMe SSD

A good option to look at if you are searching for one of the fastest Gen4 NVMe drives is the Seagate FireCuda 530. Why? Well, it has gaming in its name so it must be good right? Jokes aside the FireCuda 530 is an impressive drive with insane 7300/6000 MB/s read/write speeds.

The even more impressive part is that this drive depending on the capacity configuration you have chosen can reach 5000 TBW. Even at the most popular 1TB storage size, the 1275 TBW represents incredible endurance in terms of long-lasting products.

The drive also comes with a 5-year warranty so you can rest assured that even in the worst case you can always salvage your drive. The drive does come with the Seagate DiscWizard software which you can use to monitor the health of your drive, but that is not necessary whatsoever for the smooth operation of your SSD.

Pros:
  • Insanely fast read/write speeds
  • This drive won’t die considering the specs for the TBW
  • 5-year warranty
  • Software for maintaining the health of your drive
Cons:
  • Costs a pretty penny

How to Choose an SSD

Comparing solid state drive with nvbme disk

Installing an SSD can significantly improve your PC’s performance, but it can be difficult if you’re not sure which is for you. This buying guide covers everything you need to know about choosing an SSD and which is right for you. Boosting your performance shouldn’t be limited to only those who enjoy physically building PCs.

What You Need to Know Before Buying

If some of those terms in this article have left you confused, you might need to know some things before deciding. If you fully understand the qualities, you can make an informed choice of the best SSD for you.

  • SSDs are for More Than Storage – PCs use internal storage for more than just storing files, it is vital for performance and your PC running at an optimal speed. Typically, when a PC slows down, it doesn’t need replacing, but its internal drive probably does. An SSD is significantly faster than your standard HDD.
  • NVME – This is a new type of SSD that offers an even higher boost to speeds and performance. These are likely to become more prominent in the next few years.
  • You Need a Specific Size – If you want to install the SSD it needs to be the right physical size for your PC. You can check this by looking up your exact brand of PC.
  • Interface – Different SSDs use different interfaces. The majority of consumer PCs need SATA or M.2, so you need to find which one is right for your PC.

What You Need to Consider Before Purchasing an SSD

Once you’ve decided you need to get an SSD and learned all of the terms and details involved, you need to find which one is completely right for you. This is going to come down to a few things. When you’re looking through the best SSDs, you need to make some comparisons and compare that to your needs to find the one that is exactly right for you.

  • Do You Need Extra Storage? – An SSD can do a great job of boosting performance in your PC and giving extra storage. Although, they’re mainly for performance. You should consider pairing an external or internal HDD and internal SSD if you’re after storage too.
  • What Size and Format? – While you can buy extra components to help an SSD fit your PC, you’ll largely need to get the right size to match your PC. Check the size you’ll require first.
  • Power Consumption – If you’re concerned about extra power consumption, go for an SSD with power-saving features.

About The Author

XbitLabs Team

We are a team of enthusiasts thriving to provide you with helpful advice on buying tech.

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