Best SSD for gaming 2022: Top performing drives for your PC

The best SSDs for gaming on the market are those models which offer exceptional sequential read and write performance. In 2022, many of the fastest Gen 4.0 NMVe drives are far exceeding 7,000 MB/s, and are continuing to get faster as more brands explore the limits of the hardware. 

Of course, many of the best SSDs for gaming are Gen 4.0 NVMe drives, however, SATAs and Gen 3.0 models are also worth considering, too. We think that heavy a healthy mix of M.2 drives and SATAs is a great way to give yourself enough overhead for all of your games, media and files in your gaming PC. While Gen 3×4 internal drives are capped at around the 3,500 MB/s mark, this is still close to 7x faster than a SATA at a similar cost. 

With that said, we’re close to the widespread adoption of PCIe 5.0, as Gen 5.0 NVMe drives are rumored to run up to 13,000 MB/s sequential rates due to the added extra bandwidth. The future is very fast indeed, and we’re expecting big things once these models launch at the end of the year. Should you be interested in portable storage, we’re rounding up the best external hard drives and if console gaming is your thing, we’re also bringing you the best PS5 SSDs, too. 

The best SSD for gaming in 2022

WD Black SN850

(Image credit: Western Digital)

1. WD Black SN850

The best overall SSD for gaming

Specifications

Capacities: up to 4TBInterface: AIC PCIe 4.0 x4Read/write speed: 7000 / 5300 MB/sRandom read/write speed: 1M / 720K IOPSDRAM cache: 1GB DDR4SLC cache: 300GB dynamicWrite endurance: 600TBWarranty: 5 years

Reasons to buy

+Excellent all-round performance+Exceptional 4K QD1 write speed+Large SLC cache

Reasons to avoid

-Can get hot under sustained loads-Lacks the Phison E18 controller

Right now, cutting-edge contenders for the best SSD for gaming don’t deliver big benefits over cheaper drives, in-game. 

Tested here in 1TB form and also available in 500GB and 2TB capacities, the SN850 is an absolute screamer thanks to its quad-lane PCIe Gen 4 interface, shiny new controller chipset, and a large 300GB chunk of its SanDisk 96L 3D TLC flash memory running in super-fast SLC cache mode. WD claimed that the SN850 can push 7,000 MB/s and 5,000 MB/s read and write respectively; our testing found that the WD Black SN850 lived up to the claimed figures with 6,996 MB/s read and 5,205 MB/s write – actually surpassing the quoted figures! 

This drive does a pretty decent job of blitzing our benchmarks

WD Black SN850 review

Where it really scores, however, is in 4K random performance, which is arguably more important in terms of how responsive your PC feels. At 250MB/s, it’s the fastest flash drive we’ve seen for 4K random writes at queue depth one. Impressive.

As you’d expect given the SLC cache provisioning, sustained performance is excellent, too, maintaining peak performance right up to that 300GB marker, which should be plenty for most people. WD’s confidence in the SN850’s broader longevity is likewise indicated by the five-year warranty and 6TB write rating. All of which means our only reservations with this excellent SSD involve cooling and pricing. For the former, there is none as standard, which is a slight concern given this SSD can run hot. 

Silicon Power US70

(Image credit: Silicon Power)

2. Silicon Power US70

The best budget Gen 4.0 NVMe SSD

Specifications

Capacities: 1TB – 2TBInterface: AIC PCIe 4.0 x4Read/write speed: 5,000 / 4,400 MB/sRandom read/write speed: 750,000 / 750,000 IOPSWarranty : 5 years

Reasons to buy

+Great price-to-performance ratio+Affordable for its capacity +Easy to install and setup

Reasons to avoid

-Gets hot under stress 

The Silicon Power US70 is one of the more affordably priced Gen 4.0 NVMe drives that you can get your hands on in 2022, and this is due to the more modest targeted figures of 5,000 MB/s read and 4,400 MB/s write. In our testing, we found that the drive yielded respectable figures of around 3 GB/s read and 3.3 GB/s write respectively which is solid considering the quoted numbers, but a little away from what was possible. 

What it will offer you is a decent M.2 SSD that’s capable of everything you need it to do for a pretty great price

Silicon Power US70 review

AnvilPro gave us the score of 16,591.33 which positions the Silicon Power US70 in league with some of the humbler Gen 4.0 SSDs on the market right now. Thermal performance was particularly impressive, as the hottest the US70 got when being benched and enduring lengthy file transfers hovered between the 40 and 44-degree mark. This means that the drive ran nice and cool, which is something we cannot say for every Gen 4.0 SSD that passes by our test rigs.

The Silicon Power US70 is unlikely to set the world of gaming PCs ablaze with its lightning fast rates, however, if you’re after a strong performer at prices starting from around the $100 / £100 mark then there’s little more you could ask for. That price-to-performance ratio is the all important factor here. 

Samsung 980 Pro SSD

(Image credit: Future)

3. Samsung 980 Pro

Still an amazing SSD for gaming in 2022

Specifications

Capacities: up to 4TBInterface: PCIe Gen 4.0 x4Read/write speed: 7000 / 5100 MB/sRandom reads: up to 1,000 IOPSRandom writes: up to 1,000 IOPSDRAM cache: 2GB LPDDR4Warranty: 5 years

Reasons to buy

+Blisteringly fast speeds+Consistent performance +Long warranty

Reasons to avoid

-Outdone by newer drives 

The Samsung 980 Pro is one of the best SSDs for gaming at the Gen 4 end of the spectrum that’s on the market right now, and it’s made even more appealing by the fact that it’s regularly on sale. Keep in mind that this particular NVMe drive only goes up to 2TB capacity, but if you’re wanting to operate within that 1TB-2TB range, then you can’t go wrong with the performance on offer. 

Our testing found that the Samsung 980 Pro very much lived up to those claimed 7,000 MB/s read and 5,000 MB/s write claims; we clocked the drive at 6.7 GB/s read and 4.9 GB/s, so you’re getting one of the faster models on the market in terms of the sequential read figures, with still respectable write numbers. 

Once the king of the SSD hill, the Samsung 980 Pro does remain fairly compelling, in part due to its competitive pricing

Samsung 980 Pro review

The highlight of the Samsung 980 Pro NVMe SSD is the Intelligent TurboWrite 2.0 feature, which essentially acts as a boost to write more data than its predecessors (including the 970 Evo Plus) at much faster, more consistent rates.

It should be noted that the SSD comes with specialist software (Samsung Magician) in order to track the health of your drive, as well as tweak any settings to your liking, which could be particularly important if you’re not using a heatsink (but we definitely recommend using one to keep those core temperatures down). It’s worth pointing out that you can also buy the coveted SSD with a built-in heatsink, too, though it’s significantly more expensive than the drive on its own.  

Seagate FireCuda 530

(Image credit: Future/Jeremy Laird)

4. Seagate FireCuda 530

The best premium SSD for gaming

Specifications

Capacities: up to 4TBInterface: AIC PCIe 4.0 x4Read/write speed: 7,300 / 6,900 MB/sRandom read/write speed: 1M / 1M IOPSDRAM cache: 2GB DDR4SLC cache: up to 450GB (model dependent)Write endurance: 2550TBWarranty: 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, one of the biggest names in storage, has been a long time coming to the very top rung of the best SSDs for gaming. But with the Seagate Firecuda 530 2TB, it’s absolutely up there with the big boys, in part thanks to the use of the 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 figure. 

When it comes to peak storage performance, there’s probably little if anything quicker than the Seagate Firecuda 530

Seagate Firecuda 530 review

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, albeit available for one helluva lot of money.

Kingston Fury Renegade SSD

(Image credit: Kingston)

5. Kingston Fury Renegade 2TB

The best SSD for seriously fast sequential performance

Specifications

Capacities: up to 4TBInterface: PCIe 4.0 NVMeRead/write speed: 7,300 / 7,000 MB/sRandom read/write speed: 1,000,000 / 1,000,000 IOPSWarranty: 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 7,344.99 and 6,873.21 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. 

We can wholeheartedly endorse the Kingston Fury Renegade SSD as one of the best gaming SSDs

Kingston Fury Renegade review

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.

Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus

(Image credit: Future)

6. Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus

Massive amounts of super-fast SSD storage

Specifications

Capacities: Up to 4TBInterface: PCIe 4.0 x4Read/write speed: 7,100 / 6,600 MB/sRandom read/write speed: 650K / 700K IOPSWrite endurance: 700 TB (1TB); 1,400 TB (2TB); 2,800 TB (4TB)Warranty: 5 Years

Reasons to buy

+Aggressively priced +Stellar performance +5 Year warranty and long lifespan 

Reasons to avoid

-Thermal throttling is common -4TB certainly isn’t cheap

The Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus offers phenomenal sequential performance and comes with advanced software to push the drive to its very limits. The brand claims that the drive can reach sequential speeds of up to 7,000 MB/s read and 6,850 MB/s write depending on the capacity. In our testing, the Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus absolutely flew when benched through CrystalDiskMark, with 7.1 GB/s read and 6.6 GB/s write respectively – exceeding the quoted read figures and coming very close to the projected write rates.

Random figures are equally strong, with our testing clocking the Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus at 285 MB/s for 4K writes and 73 MB/s reads. That’s surpassed only by the Gen 4 drive which takes our number one slot, the WD Black SN850. 

All told, this is a very quick SSD

Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus review

As far as downsides go for the Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus, there’s ultimately little to report other than the thermal performance, as this model can get a little warm when under stress. We noticed the drive reached 65 degrees at one point, which is noticeably warmer than some other units we’ve had pass our rigs in the past. Some other Phison E18-based SSDs run cooler than this, but as long as you’ve got a good heatsink onboard, it’s unlikely to be much of a problem in the grand scheme of things. 

Really it’s in the largest size available that the Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus shines the brightest, especially when considering that the Samsung 980 Pro and WD Black SN850 Gen 4.0 drives currently don’t come close to that kind of size range. On the performance front, however, the Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus can indeed hit those promised 7,100 MB/s read and 6600 MB/s write, making it one of the top-performing Gen 4.0 drives out on the market right now. 

WD Black AN1500

(Image credit: Western Digital)

7. WD Black AN1500

The best expansion card SSD

Specifications

Capacities: 1TB – 4TBInterface: AIC PCIe 3.0 x8Read/write speeds: 6500 / 4100 MB/s

Reasons to buy

+Expansion card form, easily slots below your GPU+Insanely fast sequential read/write speeds+WD_BLACK gaming pedigree

Reasons to avoid

-Can get really expensive in higher configurations 

When you think of the best SSD for gaming, the first thing that comes to mind absolutely isn’t one in the form of an expansion card. The WD Black AN1500 is one of the first and best of this type on the market though, and while the speeds are utterly astounding, unfortunately, you do need to pay for the privilege. The smallest capacity for this bad boy is 1TB which will set you back around $330/£270, while the largest capacity available – the 4TB – is a staggering $999/£840. This is arguably the fastest SSD on the market for any gamer, but it’s only worth it for true PC gaming enthusiasts.

In terms of some benchmark numbers, the AnvilPro tool has the sequential 4MB read and write scores for the 2TB AN1500 as 4,231 MB/s and 3,448 MB/s respectively, which is far higher than the other SSDs we tested (although also a bigger capacity). In CrystalDiskMark, the sequential 1MB read and write scores were 6511 MB/s and 4412 MB/s.

On a more practical level, however, this has been my main SSD for gaming recently and I’ve been mightily impressed: loading my multiplayer games like Valorant and Rainbow Six Siege takes no time at all. There’s more than enough room on the AN1500 variants to store the majority of your games and then some. But be braced for impact when you see the price – this one is ripe for saving for or watching out for sales.

Addlink AddGame A95 2TB

(Image credit: Addlink)

8. Addlink AddGame A95 2TB

Makes the most out of demanding modern games

Specifications

Capacities: up to 4TBInterface: PCIe Gen 4×4 NVMe 1.4Read/write speed: 7,400 / 7,000 MB/sRandom read/write speed: 1,000,000 / 1,000,000 IOPS

Reasons to buy

+Superfast sequential speeds+Excellent built-in heat spreader +High durability compared to competition

Reasons to avoid

-Far from the cheapest Gen 4×4 drive

The Addlink AddGame A95 2TB is one of the fastest Gen 4 NVMe SSDs that we’ve put through its paces in recent memory, not to mention the fact that its built-in heatsink is one of the most effective we’ve seen, too. With its proposed sequential speeds of 7400 MB/s and 7000 MB/s read and write respectively, there really isn’t much more that you can ask from a storage drive for the money here. However, while loading times are, expectedly, impressive, it’s the file transfer speeds that deserve a closer inspection here. 

Transferring titles from your Steam library to a new drive is an arduous process that few of us like to go through, though, it’s not much of an issue at all for the Addlink AddGame A95 2TB model. We were blown away to see both Battlefield 2042 and Halo Infinite, two games which thrive on modern SSDs, being written onto the Addlink AddGame A95 2TB in no time at all. Battlefield 2042 especially, with its 48.33 GB file size was copied onto the M2 drive in just 6 minutes and 43 seconds, which is impressive knowing it was coming off a 4TB HDD and not a similar spec SSD. How does it fair transferring games from another Gen 4.0 NVMe drive? The same games took under 30 seconds. 

The Anvil scores are pretty solid as well. The AddGame A95 tallied up a respectable 16,849.40 overall, which positions it as one of the faster Gen 4 drives when it comes to those sequential times especially. If you’re after one of the fastest, and sleekest, Gen 4×4 sticks that you can throw into your rig, then this deserves your attention. 

WD Black SN770

(Image credit: Western Digital)

9. WD Black SN770 1TB

The best affordable Gen 4.0 NVMe SSD

Specifications

Capacities: up to 2TBInterface: PCIe 4.0 NVMeRead/write speed: 5,150 / 4,900 MB/sRandom write / read speed: 740K / 800K IOPSWarranty: 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 but at a similar price point. 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 2022. 

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 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. 

Patriot Viper VP4300

(Image credit: Patriot Viper)

10. Patriot Viper VP4300 1TB

Superfast read speeds at a great price

Specifications

Capacities : up to 2TB Interface: PCIe Gen4 x4 NVMe 1.4Read/write speed: 7,400 / 5,500 MB/sRandom read/write speed: up to 800,000 IOPSWrite endurance: 1000TBWarranty: 5 years

Reasons to buy

+Lightning-fast seq read and write speeds+Two included heatsink solutions+Competitively priced 

Reasons to avoid

-Random speeds aren’t as strong

Having been pleasantly surprised by the Viper VP4300 when we put it in a PS5, we are once again very pleased having seen its lofty speeds revealed themselves on PC. Games booted up in mere moments, which was particularly impressive when running titles such as Deathloop (which otherwise has fairly lengthy loading times on the platform when running on either a SATA III SSD or traditional HDD.

One interesting inclusion with the Patriot Viper VP4300 is the two included heatsink solutions available to you, and while we personally didn’t try the thin graphene heat spreader in our system, we did note that the aluminum heatsink did a decent job of keeping those core temperatures down when stress testing the unit, something that we cannot say for some drives we’ve put through their paces in the past six months or so. 

If you’re after an all-in-one solution that promises consistent performance, with the sequential speeds to match, then you really can’t go wrong considering the asking price here. We will say that 1TB appears to be the sweet spot from a price-to-performance ratio, as the 2TB configuration is a little on the expensive side, but you’re getting a more-than-proficient drive all things considered for either PS5 or PC here. 

ADATA XPG Gammix S50 Lite

(Image credit: Adata)

11. ADATA XPG Gammix S50 Lite

An affordable PCIe Gen 4 drive with plenty of TLC

Specifications

Capacities: 1TB or 2TBInterface: PCIe 4.0 x4Read/write speed: 3900 / 3200 MB/sRandom read/write speed: 490K / 540K IOPSDRAM cache: 1GB DDR4SLC cache: 296GBWrite endurance: 1480TBWarranty: 5 years

Reasons to buy

+Micron TLC flash memory+Runs pretty cool+Five-year warranty

Reasons to avoid

-Limited to four memory channels-Slower than most Gen 4 drives

A relatively cheap 2TB PCI Express Gen 4 SSD? Uh oh, what is the Adata XPG Gammix S50 Lite 2TB hiding? Well, it’s not that nasty, slow QLC flash memory – this thing has the good stuff, namely 96-layer Micron-made TLC NAND chips. Phew. It also packs 1GB of DDR4 cache, so it’s not one of those budget DRAMless duds, albeit more expensive 2TB SSDs tend to go with 2GB.

Drill down into the performance figures, however, and you’ll find that this is not a full-speed PCIe 4.0 M.2 drive. Rated at 3,900MB/s for reads and 3,200MB/s for writes, it’s well off the circa 7,000MB/s of the fastest drives (and also doesn’t meet the recommended 5,500MB/s reads for the Sony PS5). IOPS of 490K and 540K for reads and writes, respectively, are likewise down on the best by about the same margin. 

The reason is largely thanks to the use of Silicon Motion’s budget PCIe Gen 4 controller, the SM2267. It’s not bad, per se, but it is limited to four memory channels where the big boys have eight. However, the Gammix S50 Lite is still rated for a healthy 1,480TB of write endurance and comes backed by a five-year warranty. So, it’s a safe long-term bet if you’re looking for a value-busting best SSD for gaming contender.

SK hynix Gold P31

(Image credit: SK Hynix)

12. SK Hynix Gold P31

Gen 3.0 performance at a great rate

Specifications

Capacities: up to 1TBInterface: M.2 2280Read/write speed: 3500 / 3200 MB/sRandom read/write speed: 570K / 600K IOPSDRAM cache: 1GB DDR4SLC cache: 92GB dynamicWrite endurance: 750TBWarranty: 5 years

Reasons to buy

+Good all-round performance+A proper TLC rather than QLC drive+Five-year warranty

Reasons to avoid

-‘Only’ a PCIe 3.0 drive-Slightly patchy 4K performance-Lack of AES 256-bit encryption (if you’re being picky)

How much SSD do you actually need for a gaming-centric PC? Probably about as much as the SK Hynix Gold P31 offers in 1TB format. That’s enough storage to keep a fair few of your favorite titles stored for quick access. As for performance, this is a PCIe Gen 3 rather than Gen 4 M.2 SSD. So, it’s limited to half the interface speed of the very best drives. But it’ll still knock out around 3.5GB/s of both read and write performance, which will be plenty for most gamers. 

Anyway, if you don’t have a PC with PCIe 4.0 support – and that’s most of us – it’s something of a moot point. Elsewhere, performance is mostly strong, with sustained throughput never drooping below 750MB/s even when filling the drive to capacity, no doubt thanks to the use of TLC rather than cheaper QLC memory chips. 4K random access performance is a tiny bit patchier, but not to the extent that you’ll feel it subjectively in use.

The same goes for game-level load times. Yes, the very best SSDs for gaming are quicker. The fastest available drives deliver double the peak bandwidth, but only around 15 to 20 percent faster load times. 

WD Black SN750

(Image credit: Western Digital)

13. WD Black SN750

A familiar name and model is a go-to NVMe SSD

Specifications

Capacities: 250GB – 4TBInterface: M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4Seq. 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 best performing M.2 SSDs on the market is the WD Black SN750. It doesn’t innovate much over its predecessor – it’s still on the same hardware, after all – but the performance tests prove that you don’t need to fix what ain’t broke. 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. However, at just £45/$55 for the 250GB model, you’re not breaking the bank for an SSD that can hold a good few games.

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.

I’ve been mainly using the SN750 for my single-player games – Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Cyberpunk 2077, etc. – and the loading is impressively quick, to the point where this SSD – especially at this price – would easily take the number one spot in this buying guide were it not for the incredible speeds of the AN1500.

PNY XLR8 CS3030

(Image credit: PNY)

14. PNY XLR8 CS3030 1TB

A respectable Gen 3.0 NVMe drive for a great price

Specifications

Capacities: up to 2TBInterface: PCIe 3.0 x4 Read/write speed: 3,500 / 3000 MB/sWarranty: 5 years

Reasons to buy

+Affordably priced +Low core temperatures +Efficient performance

Reasons to avoid

-Outperformed by Gen 4.0 drives

While it’s unlikely to turn many heads when compared to some Gen 4.0 models, the PNY XLR8 CS3030 is one of the best SSDs for gaming for its reliable nature and affordable price point. In our testing, we found that this drive very much lived up to its humble figures, but it’s in the consistency where the PNY XLR8 CS3030 finds its footing most. 

In our testing, we found that the PNY XLR8 CS3030 clocked its Gen 3 limit of 3,500 MB/s read and 3,000 MB/s write, positioning it as one of the more solid performing NVMe drives in its lane. The biggest strength of this drive, however,  is in its affordable nature for the capacity, as a more convenient, and faster, replacement for a traditional 1TB SATA. 

You have far less to worry about with reaching for the specific cables for your motherboard, or sliding that side panel off. With the PNY XLR8 CS3030, it’s just a case of screwing down into your M.2 slot and you’re away. You can find this model for around $100 these days, and it’s frequently on sale, too. 

We also had our hands on the Gen 3.0 PNY CS1030, tested in a 500GB capacity, which lived up to its entry-level claims of 2,100 MB/s read and 1,900 MB/s write respectively, which comes in at just $59.99 (opens in new tab), for the model we had our hands-on. 

Crucial MX500

(Image credit: Crucial)

15. Crucial MX500

A top-performing SATA type SSD

Specifications

Capacities: 250GB – 2TBInterface: SATA 6GbpsSeq. 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 are still worthy of their place in the best SSD for gaming conversation – almost purely on value alone.

Simply put, nowadays, they are remarkably cheap. And 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 on 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).

WD Blue SN750

(Image credit: Western Digital)

16. WD Blue SN570 1TB

Solid performance at budget prices, even for Gen 3.0

Specifications

Capacities: up to 4TBInterface: PCIe Gen3 x4 NVMe v1.4Read/write speed: 3500 / 3000 MB/sRandom read/write speed: 460K / 450K IOPSWrite endurance: 600TBWarranty: 5 years

Reasons to buy

+Solid performance for general navigation+5 year warranty +Aggressively priced for the performance

Reasons to avoid

-Average sequential performance-It gets surprisingly hot

For the asking price, the WD Blue SN570 offers exceptional value for money, with the trade-off being fairly average sequential speeds even by Gen 3.0 standards. Its asking price overall though is what elevates this particular drive above its competition, with the 1TB configuration we tested coming in with an MSRP of only $125 (though its frequently on sale for under $100) making it one of the better all-rounder performers we’ve seen at this capacity. 

You’re not going to witness the blistering speeds of Western Digital’s flagship Gen 4.0 range, such as the WD Black SN850, but for the money, you’re getting a very solid drive with more than respectable read and write figures, as well as decent transfer times. Make no mistake, while not face-meltingly fast, the WD Blue SN570 is still quicker, and cheaper, than most SATA III style drives on the market, while offering performance comparable to the SK Hynix Gold S31 in many respects. 

Best SSD for gaming: Frequently asked questions


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Next-gen Steam Decks will be “more open and capable,” Valve says

Valve has confirmed that there will be new iterations of the Steam Deck and teased a couple of ways they’ll improve on the original. In a new e-book (opens in new tab) (thanks, GamingOnLinux (opens in new tab)) launched in coordination with the handheld’s launch in Asian territories, Valve made crystal clear that there will …

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