Best SSD for gaming 2024: The best performing drives for your PC

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Samsung 990 PRO SSD

(Image credit: Future/Jeremy Laird)

1. The Quick List
2. Best overall
3. Fastest gen 4
4. Best budget
5. Best value
6. Best for PS5
7. Best SATA

The best SSDs for gaming are in an interesting position going into 2024. While we've seen over a year of low prices on top-performing drives, those prices are finally going back up. Whether it's chip shortage issues, manufacturers taking advantage of Gen 5 drives emerging, or something else entirely, it's quite sad to witness. Regardless, at least what you pay for in the SSD market is worth it. The speeds of modern SSDs are incredible compared to HDDs, and we've got a list of favorites down below. 

Upcoming Gen 5 PCIe SSDs can reach some sickeningly fast speeds, but while we wait for them to arrive in the international markets, what puts the current best SSDs for gaming way ahead of HDDs and SATAs? Without getting too technical, M.2 PCIe SSDs offer much faster read and write speeds because they don't rely on the traditional spinning discs of HDDs. Thanks to the extremely efficient motherboard interface of Gen 4.0 NVMe SSDs, a higher rate of input/output operations per second (IOPS) is possible.

Gen 4 M.2 NVMe SSDs are definitely still worth buying despite this new wave reaching the shore. Not only are they still excellent performers, but they're constantly discounted. These SSDs are also smaller than SATAs, which means they fit neatly into place - and now act as some of the best PS5 SSDs too. SATAs and Gen 3.0 NVMes are still good-value options to go for in 2023, especially if you're looking for larger capacities, although keep in mind Gen 4 is cheaper than it arguably should be. For reference, even some of the HDDs on our best external hard drive list would be lucky to clock 200 MB/s. 

The Quick List

The best SSD for gaming overall

WD SN850X SSD review

(Image credit: Future/Jeremy Laird)
The best SSD for gaming overall

Specifications

Capacities: up to 4TB
Interface: AIC PCIe 4.0 x4
Read/write speed: 7300 / 6300 MB/s
Random read/write speed: 1M / 720K IOPS
DRAM cache: 1GB DDR4
SLC cache: 300GB dynamic
Write endurance: 600TB
Warranty: 5 years

Reasons to buy

+
Much improved operating temps over the SN850
+
Improved suitability for PS5
+
A great all-rounder with solid speeds

Reasons to avoid

-
4K performance is little improved
-
Heat sink may not be relevant for PC

The WD Black SN850X may not be the purest performing Gen 4 SSD on the market, but when you take speeds, price, and versatility into account, the SN850X is the best overall at the moment. While we held off adding the SN850X to this list for a while, the price finally leveled out so that the extra performance you gain with this model compared to the SN850 is worth it. The SN850 is still a great option, although keep in mind it might get harder to find as it continues to age.

In all honesty, you won't find too many disparities between the SN850X and the SN850 in terms of performance. The SN850X improves upon the sequential read and write speeds we loved from the older model, and even runs cooler thanks to the integrated heatsink. This was a big problem with the SN850, as it tended to run pretty hot under pressure. The SN850X does a great job of dealing with that though, because WD says it's implemented a new thermal management profile that reduces performance throttling when it's working particularly hard.

One slight disappointment is that the 4K performance and random speeds underperformed compared to the older model in our tests. Regardless, the SN850X is one of the strongest all-rounders you'll find on the market, regardless of the platform you play on. 

The fastest Gen 4 SSD for gaming

The best SSD for pure speed

Specifications

Capacities: up to 2TB
Interface: PCIe Gen 4.0 x4
Read/write speed: 7,462 / 6,877 MB/s
Random read / write speeds: 1.2M IOPS / 1.5M IOPS
Warranty: 5 years

Reasons to buy

+
Maxes out the PCIe 4.0 protocol
+
Excellent write endurance
+
Is finally seeing discounts

Reasons to avoid

-
4K random performance is a touch disappointing
-
Can still be fairly expensive
-
The competition is just as good

The Samsung 990 Pro is the latest Gen 4 M.2 SSD from the brand and offers some top-contender performance for PS5 and PC. Like the SN850 and SN850X, it stayed off our recommendation lists for some time after launch because the 980's performance-price trade-off meant the older model was actually better value. That's started to change now though, and we're seeing the 990 get discounted further, and more regularly. 

Speaking of the SN850X, this is an excellent competitor to it. The 990 Pro 2TB knocked out 7,462MB/s reads and 6,877MB/s writes in our tests, which is as good as it gets for a Gen 4 drive. In terms of pure speed, this is the best SSD we've tested. Drives like this are now very clearly bumping up against the limitations of the PCIe Gen 4 interface, and Samsung is right up there with the best.

Like anything, the 990 Pro isn't perfect. We found that its single-queue-depth 4K random access performance was just a touch disappointing. The 80MB/s reads and 231MB/s writes are hardly bad by any means, but they don’t move the game on, which is what we’d been hoping for in a drive like this. When it comes to thermal performance, the 990 Pro tops out at 59 degrees C compared to the 980's 53 degrees.

Overall, this is one of the best SSDs for gaming you'll find before Gen 5 hits the shelves.

The best budget SSDs for gaming

Crucial P5 Plus

(Image credit: Crucial)
The best budget SSD (if the others aren't on sale for the same price)

Specifications

Capacities: up to 2TB
Interface: PCIe Gen4 x4 NVMe 1.4
Read/write speed: 6,600 / 5,000 MB/s
Random read/write speed: 630,000 / 700,000 IOPS
Write endurance: 600TB
Warranty: 5 years

Reasons to buy

+
Crucial quality in its DNA
+
Speedy
+
Latest SSD tech and innovations

Reasons to avoid

-
Heatsink required
-
Availability is limited

Crucial has newer models of the P5 Plus out, and these even come with heatsinks. We're actually testing one of these currently, but the older non-heatsink versions are constantly on sale and offer great value. Having said that, all of the SSDs on this list are on sale constantly at the moment, so if you can find any of the others on offer, you probably should go for those, because in a weird way, they're all budget prices just now (unless you look for more than 1TB). 

Built on Crucial's Micron Advanced 3D NAND tech, the P5 Plus offers - according to Crucial - speeds of up to 6,600MB/S which means it easily clears Sony's target speed for the PS5, while not going totally mental like the SN850 above - plus, it ticks every other box too. It comes in 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB capacities but, like most drives - of all stripes - we recommend the 1TB model based on overall bang for buck, and the storage space you get for your money.

As a fast but affordable option for adding significant storage, the Crucial P5 Plus should be on your shortlist.

Crucial P5 Plus review

The main caveat here is that you will need to attach your own SSD heatsink at home before installing it in a PS5. This isn't too much of a hassle, particularly if you're familiar with PC part tinkering, and don't mind some occasional electronic DIY. Just make sure you select one that fits Sony's criteria (like the ones below), and won't make your SSD oversized.
Read more: Crucial P5 Plus review

WD Black SN750

(Image credit: Western Digital)

WD Black SN750

An aging, and therefore cheap WD Black SSD

Specifications

Capacities: 250GB - 4TB
Interface: M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4
Seq. read (1MB): 3,108 MB/s (250GB)
Seq. write (1MB): 1,575 MB/s (250GB)
Seq. read (4MB): 2,474 MB/s (250GB)
Seq. write (4MB): 1,488 MB/s (250GB)

Reasons to buy

+
Fairly priced
+
One of the best performing M.2 SSDs on the market
+
Range of capacities available

Reasons to avoid

-
More expensive than SATA

One of the most popular M.2 SSDs on the market is the WD Black SN750. Now it's getting cheaper, and beginning to age, it's a great option to look at if you can't find the newer models which have faster read and write times at discount prices.

It doesn't innovate much over its predecessor – a kind of familiar theme with WD Black SSDs. It's worth noting that we've only tested the 250GB variant of the SN750 – the increased sizes seem to offer better performance, peaking at 1TB, before the 2TB option starts to decrease again.

In AnvilPro, the 250GB SN750 came back with 2,474 MB/s and 1,488 MB/s read and write scores in the sequential 4MB category but improved upon them slightly – as expected – in CrystalDiskMark's 1MB test, with 3108 MB/s and 1575 MB/s. These are incredibly hearty numbers and show that the drive has the chops to handle whatever you throw at it.

One of our previous reviewers used the SN750 for single-player games – Assassin's Creed Valhalla, Cyberpunk 2077, etc. – and the loading was reported as being impressively quick.

WD Black SN770

(Image credit: Western Digital)

WD Black SN770 1TB

A super affordable Gen 4.0 SSD

Specifications

Capacities: up to 2TB
Interface: PCIe 4.0 NVMe
Read/write speed: 5,150 / 4,900 MB/s
Random write / read speed: 740K / 800K IOPS
Warranty: 5 years

Reasons to buy

+
Achieves targeted read and write speeds
+
Decent sequential performance 
+
Competitively priced for a 1TB drive

Reasons to avoid

-
Random read speeds are average

The WD Black SN770 is the successor to the hugely popular mid-tier WD Black SN750 SE model. It features a vastly improved sequential and random performance and is usually at a very similar price point. Now it has multiple SN850 predecessors, it's constantly on offer, so it's one to look out for if you're a budget buyer.

While you're unlikely to be blown away by the raw numbers that the WD Black SN770 outputs, it is one of the best SSDs for gaming for those after an affordable, and consistent, Gen 4.0 drive in 2023. 

In our testing, we found that the WD Black SN770 achieved its respectable claimed sequential speeds, with CrystalDiskMark read and write benchmarks of 5,227.53 and 4,980.83 respectively. What's more, the Anvil Pro score was equally solid at 20,024.98, which is a figure normally reserved for more upmarket NVMe drives. 

With its aggressive original asking price MSRP of $129.99 / £142.99 for a 1TB model, the WD Black SN770 certainly positions itself as one of the more competitive offerings from the storage brand. If you're after a drive with a terrific price-to-performance ratio that'll do everything from quick OS boot times to lightning-fast in-game loading, then the WD Black SN770 is a hard proposition to beat for the money. 

The best value SSD

Samsung 980 Pro SSD

(Image credit: Future)
The best value SSD

Specifications

Capacities: up to 4TB
Interface: PCIe Gen 4.0 x4
Read/write speed: 7000 / 5100 MB/s
Random read / write speeds: 1,000,000 IOPS / 1,000,000 IOPS
DRAM cache: 2GB LPDDR4
Warranty: 5 years

Reasons to buy

+
Unbelievable performance
+
Matches the PS5's own SSD
+
Own proprietary heatsink

Reasons to avoid

-
Pricier than most

The Samsung 980 Pro is still one of the best SSDs for gaming on the market, especially considering that the heatsink model is now widely available, and frequently discounted, too. We've been spotting the non-heatsink model down as near as $60/£60, and if you can get it that cheap, please do.

While this drive may no longer be the absolute fastest Gen 4.0 unit that you can slot into your system, the overall stellar sequential rates of up to 7,000 MB/s read cannot be denied. 

The addition of this Heatsink model will be welcome for Sony PS5 owners for sure

Samsung 980 Pro review

Gen 4 drives running the likes of the Phison E18 controller are going to offer more consistent, and faster overall random performance, and the Samsung 980 Pro matches the PS5's internal storage with ease and is usually available substantially cheaper than newer drives on the market. The addition of a dedicated heatsink custom-made for the system is going to be ideal for anyone preferring the plug-and-play approach as opposed to having to go all DIY, too. 

It's still one of the fastest drives going, offering speeds that can surpass the 7,000MB/s mark.
Read more: Samsung 980 PRO Review

Kingston Fury Renegade SSD

(Image credit: Kingston)
The best value SSD if you can't get the 980 Pro on the cheap

Specifications

Capacities: up to 4TB
Interface: PCIe 4.0 NVMe
Read/write speed: 7,300 / 7,000 MB/s
Random read/write speed: 1,000,000 / 1,000,000 IOPS
Warranty: 5 years

Reasons to buy

+
Stellar built-in heat spreader 
+
Amazing sequential read speeds 
+
Double-sided

Reasons to avoid

-
Pricey in higher configurations

The Kingston Fury Renegade impresses across the board as one of the best SSDs for gaming on the market right now. With its stated speeds reaching upwards of 7,000 MBS, we're happy to report that this drive really is the real deal when it comes to blazing-fast performance perfect for DirectStorage. 

Our benchmarks don't lie, and neither did Kingston. The Fury Renegade achieved read and write speeds of 7,344.99MB/s and 6,873.21MB/s respectively through CrystalDiskMark, and a stellar Anvil score of 21,649.35 for some seriously impressive performance. Of course, raw numbers mean nothing if the in-game performance can't back it up. Fortunately, loading and transfer times were as close to instant as you would hope for from a drive of this caliber. 

Briefing touching on transfer times, we noted that CyberPunk2077, a 64.88GB game, took only 22.66 seconds being written from one NVMe drive to the Kingston. It's a similar story with Destiny 2, and its 73.5GB of content, which made the jump between drives in just 28 seconds. Loading times were all but non-existent as well, as we were able to jump into Halo Infinite's main campaign in a mere 18 seconds - straight into gameplay.

The best SSD for PS5

Seagate FireCuda 530

(Image credit: Future/Jeremy Laird)
The best SSD for PS5

Specifications

Capacities: up to 4TB
Interface: AIC PCIe 4.0 x4
Read/write speed: 7,300 / 6,900 MB/s
Random read/write speed: 1M / 1M IOPS
DRAM cache: 2GB DDR4
SLC cache: up to 450GB (model dependent)
Write endurance: 2550TB
Warranty: 5 years

Reasons to buy

+
Super all-round performance
+
Epic endurance
+
PS5 compatible

Reasons to avoid

-
Good rather than great 4K throughput
-
One of the most expensive on the market

Seagate is one of the biggest names in storage and the Seagate Firecuda 530 2TB is absolutely up there with the big boys. This is partly due to the use of its excellent Phison E18 controller.

We found in our testing that the Firecuda 530 2TB lived up to the claimed figures of 7,300 MB/s and 6,900 MB/s read, making this drive one of the faster Phison E18-based SSDs around. We clocked just over 7GB/s and just shy of the 6.9GB/s read figures. 

The random performance of the Firecuda 530 2TB isn't quite as strong as its sequential offerings, though. Simply put, this drive offers good rates but doesn't quite excel in the same fashion as other Phison E18 units. We clocked 83 MB/s 4K reads and 251 MB/s writes, which still offers a great experience, however, doesn't quite hit that 300 MB/s figure that the WD Black SN850 can.

If you can say all that of most drives based on the Phison E18 controller, the Firecuda’s epic 2,550TB write endurance rating is something really exceptional. It’s also worth noting that this drive is fully compatible with the Sony PS5 and is optionally available with a PS5-optimised heatsink. All told, it’s one heck of an SSD that also happens to be one of our favourite PS5 SSDs.

Editor's note:

Editor's note: Seagate has launched a brand new officially licensed Star Wars version of the Firecuda 530 for PC. These cleverly designed drives have heatsinks and swappable faceplates with RGB lighting that, when powered up, look like the ignited lightsabers of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Luke Skywalker, and Darth Vader.

2TB Amazon US
2TB Amazon UK

The best SATA SSD for gaming

Crucial MX500

(Image credit: Crucial)

6. Crucial MX500

A top-performing SATA SSD

Specifications

Capacities: 250GB - 2TB
Interface: SATA 6Gbps
Seq. read (1MB): 561 MB/s (1TB)
Seq. write (1MB): 468 MB/s (1TB)
Seq. read (4MB): 524 MB/s (1TB)
Seq. write (4MB): 482 MB/s (1TB)

Reasons to buy

+
The best SATA SSD available
+
Cheap compared to M2 SSDs

Reasons to avoid

-
SATA is much slower than other formats

SATA-type drives are the oldest form of SSDs on the market. And while they can't quite compare against the M.2 form storage devices, they're sometimes still required when it comes to extra storage because not all motherboards have space for more than one M.2 drive. 

The good news is, nowadays, they are remarkably cheap. I would issue the caveat though that these aren't all that much cheaper than NVMe SSDs now, with prices being what they are. And most of the time, you can have multiple SATA drives in your PC, provided you have the cables and setup, and for a bargain price. These drives can really shine as great backup drives for games and storing files and the Crucial MX500 is the best of the lot, so you can't go far wrong. Especially since it costs considerably less than other SATA SSD models at just $50 or £40 for 250GB, or around $225/£200 for a 2TB bad boy.

On the benchmarking front, the Crucial MX500 doesn't 'impress' much compared to the other SSDs in this guide, but as explained above, that's due to the SATA connection - everything is relative, after all. In the sequential 1MB test, it provides 561 MB/s read and 468 MB/s write – almost identical to the 4MB test with 524 MB/s and 482 MB/s respectively.

If you're looking for a main SSD, then, budget-dependent, one of the above SSDs are likely your best bet, but if you're looking for a secondary drive, or are building a budget rig, then the Crucial MX500 is certainly one of the best of the rest. I currently use it for all the games I can't fit on my other drives and while the loading speeds aren't quite the same, it's still far better and faster than any HDD would be (and most other SATA SSDs, for that matter).

Best SSD for gaming: Frequently asked questions

What is a good size for a gaming SSD?

As games continue to get larger, we generally recommend either a 1TB or 2TB model over anything smaller in the NVMe form factor. This is to give you enough headroom to load up titles from your virtual game libraries (such as Steam, Epic, or Origin) without having to constantly make room for new releases. Also, 1TB / 2TB drives tend to run slightly faster than their smaller siblings in the same product line. 

Is NVMe or SSD better for gaming?

We'd argue that the best SSDs for gaming are NVMe (non-volatile memory express) is the one to buy if you're looking to get the fastest load times and best performance in PC games. These types of drive are faster than SATA SSDs, but are another form of solid state drive that offer even better performance and take up much less space.

Is SSD recommended for gaming?

With PC games continuing to become more demanding in terms of bandwidth and file sizes, SSDs are the way to go to minimize loading times and have faster boot-up speeds. A Gen 4.0 SSD especially is fast enough to load in HD textures and the larger game worlds that modern titles utilize in a flash. Like we mentioned earlier, when compared to HDDs, the read and write speeds aren't even close or remotely comparable.

What is a good SSD speed for gaming?

While there's no hard and fast rule as to the quickness of an SSD, we would strongly recommend a minimum of a Gen 3.0 drive in your gaming PC as it has rates of up to 3,500 MB/s read and write respectively. However, should you want the best of the best, then we're seeing sequential performance exceeding 7,000 MB/s from flagship Gen 4.0 drives at the moment. Our advice is to go with the fastest drive that your budget allows, but ideally, you'll want to go NVMe over the slower SATA and HDD models online. 

What brand of SSD is best for gaming?

Why you can trust GamesRadar+ Our experts review games, movies and tech over countless hours, so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about our reviews policy.

From the list above, two brands stand out to us as the go-to SSD manufacturers. Seagate and Western Digital.

WD (which owns SanDisk, if you didn't know), was founded back in 1986 and is now one of the most trusted names in all of storage. Their WD Black products in both SSD and HDD are stellar, and their popularity speaks for them. 

Seagate, which is perhaps more of a household name than WD, has always been at the peak of the storage mountain. Their FireCuda 530 was the first SSD confirmed for the PS5, and it's easy to see why.

With that in mind, we stand by what we said earlier on in our list. You don't have to go to big brand names to find exceptional read and write speeds. When it comes to SSD, you can trust the technology.


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Duncan Robertson
Hardware Editor

Ever since playing Journey at the age of 15, I’ve been desperate to cover video games for a living. After graduating from Edinburgh Napier University with a degree in Journalism, I contributed to the Scottish Games Network and completed an Editorial Internship over at Expert Reviews. Besides that, I’ve been managing my own YouTube channel and Podcast for the last 7 years. It’s been a long road, but all that experience somehow landed me a dream job covering gaming hardware. I’m a self-confessing PlayStation fanboy, but my experience covering the larger business and developer side of the whole industry has given me a strong knowledge of all platforms. When I’m not testing out every peripheral I can get my hands on, I’m probably either playing tennis or dissecting game design for an upcoming video essay. Now, I better stop myself here before I get talking about my favourite games like HUNT: Showdown, Dishonored, and Towerfall Ascension.
Location: UK Remote

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