Solid state drives (SSDs) are awesome. If you load up your operating system on to one of these drives you’ll be amazed at how quickly your PC boots up. Seriously, if you’re still using mechanical-style hard drives you will notice a MASSIVE improvement, and you’ll save a tonne of time too. So what is the best SSD?
Just think what you could do with that extra two minutes you normally spend twiddling your thumbs as your computer crawls into life? The opportunities are endless.
In this guide I’m going to set out the best SSD devices that are available now at four price points, and try and convince you why investing in an SSD is one of the best upgrades you can make for your gaming PC.
Click the below links to jump straight to the tables.
No more load times!
While installing an SSD won’t increase the frame rates of your favourite games, what it will do is allow you to get into the action faster, and SIGNIFICANTLY reduce waiting times. Which is good news, right?
So, on with the guide. I’m going to break this down into four sections, that should cover all sorts of PC builders: SSDs available for under $50 (yes, they’re that cheap now!), SSDs for under $100, SSDs for under $200 and SSDs for over $200.
I’ve included five different options at each price point. As I mentioned above the price of SSDs has dropped rapidly, so anyone who’s building a gaming PC for the first time, whether it’s a low-budget build or a 4K-slaying monster should be able to find something that fits their budget.
Be aware the below prices are all subject to daily fluctuations.
Please check back if you’re unsure on prices.
Drop me a line if you have any questions.
Here are the best SSDs under $50
A few years ago the idea you could get a solid state drive for under $50 would have seemed ludicrous, but here we are!
And there’s now a wide range available on the market you can buy that would make a perfect boot disk for a budget or mid-range PC build.
The cards in this list all offer 120GB storage.
While this isn’t a tonne of space, it’s enough to install your operating system and several of your favourite programs or games.
A Windows 10 installation will take up around 8-10GB of storage, leaving you with a good chunk of space remaining.
Obviously once you start install lots of programs storage will disappear fast, but a 120Gb drive is definitely a good way to benefit from the speed of an SSDs on a budget.
Solid State Drives under $50 (CLICK ‘READ REVIEW’ TO EXPAND)
Here are the best SSDs under $100
An extra $50 buys you double the storage. While 240GB is not mega space, it is pretty good for a budget gaming PC.
You will need to be economical in what you install and use, but a 240GB drive should allow you to install most of your favourite programs, until you can afford to buy a bigger SSD, or until you save up for a 1TB traditional mechanical hard disk.
Using the combination of the SSD and a hard drive is common practice, with plenty of gamers out there using the SSD as their main boot disk and a 1TB drive as their main data disk.
A terabyte offers a lot of space for games and all sorts of other programs.
Remember to check back regularly for prices as they can go up or down each day.
Solid State Drives under $100 (CLICK ‘READ REVIEW’ TO EXPAND)
Here are the best SSDS for under $200
Your $200 will net you a 500GB drive, or bigger.
The question is which one do you go for?
There’s so many options at this point it can seem a little overwhelming.
Of the SSDs on offer I believe Crucial’s new range of MX300 series SSDs offer the best value and capacity for their price.
The MX300 is a comparatively new addition to Crucial’s product line, and uses the latest range of 3D NAND flash storage to boost already fast SSD speeds much higher.
The MX300 is available in a number of storage capacities with the 750GB SSD well within the $200 bracket of this price point.
At this price you can start to think about storing photos, programs and videos on your SSD and still have a little space to play with.
The extremely fast transfer rates of SSDs will mean all of your media is available to you almost instantly, making your PC a pleasure to work with.
Solid State Drives under $200 (CLICK ‘READ REVIEW’ TO EXPAND)
Here are the best SSDS for over $200
At this price point you can net yourself a 1TB SSD or bigger.
The idea of getting this much flash storage at this price would have been crazy a couple of years ago, when a 1TB SSD would have set you back a $1,000 or more.
Gotta love progress!
This option is for anyone with a large budget, looking to build a top-of-the-range gaming PC.
The 1TB will allow you to store a huge amount of games, software and photos, and will allow you to access them almost instantly.
Solid State Drives over $200 (CLICK ‘READ REVIEW’ TO EXPAND)
So what is an SSD?
Firstly, what are SSDs? Well, you know that phone/camera in your pocket?
Well, think of an SSD as a larger and more advanced version of the flash memory card that stores your photos on your phone/camera.
Data can be accessed extremely quickly allowing super fast read and write speeds that are around 100 times quicker than a traditional hard drive.
Capacity of SSDs over the past few years had been way down on hard drives, mainly because of the cost, but that’s changing now and more and more SSDs are available with large capacities and at cheaper prices.
The benefits of using an SSD are increased loading times, and faster opening times for programs and games.
There’s also the added benefit that SSDs operate considerably quieter than their old-fashioned mechanical cousins, which click and whirr their way through even the simplest task.
You should also be aware that SSDs generally come with a three-year warranty, which is good news if your drive packs up just after you start using it.
What’s right for you?
As with any other PC component, when building a gaming PC, keep a close eye on your budget.
Make a note of how much you have to spend and try and stick to it.
Building a PC is great fun, but going over your budget is a surefire way to put a dampener on things.
Plus, remember the beauty of building a PC over buying one is that it can easily be upgraded as you save more money, or change your requirements.
Hopefully the above lists will give you some idea of what’s out there and encourage you to try out an SSD drive for yourself.
The benefits of using one really are worth it, especially when you consider how much time you could save by using one every day.
As ever, if you have any questions send a message or tweet me directly.
Building a Gaming PC
Building a gaming PC is a great skill to have, and if you’re planning on including the best SSD you can find in your new system you should definitely take a look at my guides.
If you’re new to building PCs, and are a little unsure about where to start, take a look at the below video playlist.
It’s designed to be as simple and straightforward to follow as possible.
There’s tips in there on how to install a video card, among other things.
Click the menu box in the top left of the below window to cycle through all the videos.
I deliberately made the videos short and clear, to help make the learning process as straightforward as possible.
If you need tips and hints about installing a video card for your new PC build, hit me up in the comments section, or tweet me directly.
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But Why Build?
As PC games get better and better and the hardware to run them advances at an ever quicker rate you may be tempted to buy a pre-built custom gaming PC.
STOP! Don’t do it. There’s a range of benefits to building your own PC:
- you’ll save a tonne of money
- you can customize it exactly as you want
- you avoid ‘bloatware’ that comes bundled with pre-built systems and clogs up performance
The good news is it’s a buyer’s market with a massive range of components available to builders and building a gaming PC is easier than many realize.
If you can put together a Lego kit you can build a computer. It’s that easy.
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If you’re interested in other PC gaming components and builds head to the blog.
There’s so many different PC systems you can build. Check out a few ideas below.