The Best SSDs for Gaming – Buyer’s Guide 2017

The Best SSDs for Gaming – Buyer’s Guide 2017

We've reviewed and rated 20 of the best SSDs for gaming that are on the market in 2017. If you're wondering which SSD will give you the best gaming performance for the money no matter what your budget, then look no further!

If you'd like to skip straight to our picks and reviews for the best SSDs, check out the comparison tables below. Otherwise read on for some more information about SSDs and what you should consider when buying one, either for gaming or other uses.

The best SSDs for under £50/$55

SSD Model Avg. Price View
Integral V Series SSD - 120GB £40/$45 Check Price Read Review
PNY CS1311 SSD - 120GB £40/$40 Check Price Read Review
SanDisk SSD PLUS - 120GB £50/$44 Check Price Read Review
Kingston Technology V300 SSD - 120GB £51/$39 Check Price Read Review

The best SSDs for under £90/$100

SSD Model Avg. Price View
SanDisk SSD PLUS - 240GB £70/$75 Check price Read Review
Kingston Technology SSD - 240GB £81/$129 Check Price Read Review
Crucial MX300 - 275GB £84/$95 Check Price Read Review
Samsung 850 EVO - 250GB £90/$85 Check Price Read Review

The best SSDs for under £200/$210

Currently in 2017 this category generally offers the best value in terms of cost per gigabyte, with the prices for SSDs staying below £200 for capacities as high as 750gb.

SSD Model Avg. Price View
SanDisk Ultra II SSD - 480GB £120/$120 Check price Read Review
Crucial MX300 - 525GB £135/$150 Check Price Read Review
Samsung 850 EVO - 500GB £146/$160 Check Price Read Review
Crucial MX300 - 750GB £185/$210 Check Price Read Review

The best SSDs for over £200/$240

For those that need a little more storage, SSDs in the 1tb range have come down in price in recent months, and there are several options available for under £300

SSD Model Avg. Price View
SanDisk Ultra II SSD - 960GB £223/$245 Check Price Read Review
Crucial MX300 - 1TB £261/$270 Check Price Read Review
Samsung 850 EVO - 1TB £289/$260 Check Price Read Review
Samsung 850 PRO - 1TB £390/$448 Check Price Read Review

The best SSDs for over £400/$500

If you're wanting to jump up to 2tb of storage then at the moment your options are far more limited, and very expensive. Even the cheapest of the 2tb SSDs we could find is almost £500.

SSD Model Avg. Price View
Crucial MX300 - 2TB £497/$549 Check Price Read Review
Samsung 850 EVO - 2TB £559/$694 Check Price Read Review
SanDisk Extreme 900 - 1.92TB £599.99/$799 Check Price Read Review
Samsung 850 Pro - 2TB £739/$830 Check Price Read Review

What are solid state drives (SSDs)?

Solid State Drives (SSDs) are a storage devices that serve same purpose as the older mechanical hard drives that have been used in virtually all personal computers, from low-end laptops to high end workstation and gaming rigs, for decades.

SSDs have actually been around for a few years now and, compared to traditional non-solid state hard drives, can deliver huge performance benefits for your computer thanks to their significantly faster read and write speeds.

This means boot up times decrease dramatically and applications, games, and large files can load incredibly quickly. Being solid state, SSDs also have no moving parts and are therefore much quieter and theoretically more reliable than mechanical hard drives.

What to look for when choosing an SSD

As SSDs have taken off many companies have started to manufacturer them and there are now dozens of different SSD brands, all offering great performance and storage capacities (as of 2017) of up to around 2tb.

Providing you stick to the more well-known and mainstream brands such as Samsung, Crucial, SanDisk or Kingston you can't really go wrong. There are also some cheaper brands like PNY that offer great products at lower prices than the more well known companies.

As with most electrical items, we'd recommend you stay away from the cheap, brand-free Chinese clones that can often be found online.

In terms of specs to look out for, storage capacity is the most obvious differentiator between different models of SSDs. For gaming, we'd recommend at least 120gb, and if your budget isn't too restrictive then 256gb will give you a bit more headroom.

Don't forget if you buy most of your games of Steam you'll need extra space once the download is finished to uncompress all the files before actually installing the game.

As well as the the SSDs capacity it's also worth keeping an eye on the read and write speeds the disk can achieve, although for gaming pretty much any modern SSD should be more than fast enough.

Are SSDs good for gaming?

The performance improvements SSDs provide are down to their vastly reduced read and write times compared to normal hard drives. This means SSDs can find and open files, make any changes required and save the file back to disk again much more quickly.

So what does this mean for gaming performance? Well, in most cases you're not going to see a huge jump in frames-per-second (FPS) just because you've upgraded to an SSD. Games are rarely bottlenecked by disk speeds, so if you're suffering from low frame rates a new CPU or GPU might be a better use of your available budget.

Where SSDs do help is with the dramatically improved load times you'll likely see when first starting up the game, and when loading new levels or areas in the game.

Another way SSDs can help is when the game you're playing constantly needs to stream textures from the disk (a common technique used by the gaming industry these days). Hard disks with slower read times often cause "texture pop-in". SSDs allow the game to load higher resolution textures in much faster, reducing and sometimes even eliminating this phenomenon entirely.

Are there any disadvantages of SSDs?

As we've seen, SSDs have a great many benefits but like everything they do have some drawbacks as well.

Being a fairly new technology, as of 2017 the price-per-gigabyte (i.e. how much storage space you get for your money) of SSDs is still not as attractive as traditional hard drives.

This is especially true when looking at the larger capacity SSDs which usually offer 1tb or 2tb of space for prices that by comparison would net more than double that storage if you went for a normal hard drive instead.

Another thing to keep in mind is that while SSDs are theoretically more robust than traditional hard drives because they feature no moving parts, their long term reliability is still somewhat unknown because they are such a new technology.

SSDs also have a limited number of "writes" that they can perform before failures start to occur in their flash memory. With early SSDs this was a problem, but later models have write limits that are so high it would take years for the average user to get anywhere near to them.

Solid state drives for under £50/$55

These are the most affordable SSDs with capacities high enough to be suitable for gaming available on the market in 2017.

Integral V Series SSD 120GB

Capacity: 120GB Read: 540MB/s Write: 400MB/s

The joint cheapest of the 120GB SSDs that we found, the Integral V Series still manages to offer the second fastest read speed in the price bracket, at 540MB/s. Unfortunately the write speeds are not so brilliant, topping out at just 400MB/s.

This is still significantly faster than a mechanical hard drive though, and for gaming this slower write speed probably won't make any noticeable difference, as you're mostly going to be reading from the disk rather than writing to it.

Its worth noting however, that the PNY CS1331 (see below) offers 510MB/s for the practically same price so its hard to recommend the Integral unless the PNY is unavailable.

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PNY CS1311 SSD 120GB

Capacity: 120GB Read: 550MB/s Write: 510MB/s

Despite costing almost the same as the Integral V Series, the PNY CS1131 manages to offer slight faster read speeds of 550MB/s and significantly faster write speeds of 510MB/s.

If you're looking for the best SSD available for around £40, you can't really get any better than this. PNY have a reputation for offering decent products at very reasonable prices, and their SSDs are no exception.

Despite the low price, the SSD still comes with a 3 year limited warranty.

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SanDisk SSD PLUS 120GB

Capacity: 120GB Read: 530MB/s Write: 430MB/s

SanDisk are best known for their market leading SD cards, but they've also branched out into offering SSDs. The SanDisk SSD Plus 120GB is their entry level offering, with 530MB/s read speeds and 430MB/s write speeds.

These specs put it below the PNY CS1311, although you can expect the SanDisk to have a superior build quality which may justify the slightly higher price. Like the PNY, it also comes with a 3 year warranty.

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Kingston Technology V300 SSD 120GB

Capacity: 120GB Read: 450MB/s Write: 450MB/s

Kingston are better known for their excellent PC memory, but they too have jumped onto the SSD bandwagon. Their most basic offering, the V300 120GB, is somewhat underwhelming however.

Despite being around £10 more expensive than some other 120GB drives, the V300 only manages to offer read and write speeds of 430MB/s, making it the slowest of the all the SSDs we reviewed in this price bracket.

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Solid state drives for under £90/$100

If you're prepared to spend a little more, but still want to keep costs in double figures, then there are some very reasonably priced SSDs that offer up to 250gb of storage - slightly more than double the 120gb found on most entry level models. This is a significant benefit when it comes to gaming, with many AAA titles required 30gb+ of space each to install.

SanDisk SSD PLUS 240GB

Capacity: 240GB Read: 530MB/s Write: 430MB/s

The cheapest in the price bracket, the 240GB SanDisk PLUS offers better value and performance than the 120GB variant.

While the write speeds of 430MB/s are marginally the slowest for the money, the read speeds of 530MB/s put it joint second in the bracket, up with SSDs that cost £15-£20 more.

As we mentioned previously, the slower write speeds will have a negligible effect on gaming performance so as the cheapest 240GB SSD available it really isn't a bad deal. That said, for less than £100 you can get drives offering up to 25GB more storage, if space is your biggest concern.

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Kingston Technology SSD 240GB

Capacity: 240GB Read: 450MB/s Write: 450MB/s

As with the cheaper 120GB variant, Kingston's offerings here are let down by their slower speeds. Offering just 450MB/s read and write speeds, the drive is easily the slowest in this price bracket.

Costing around £10 more than the SanDisk PLUS 240GB, we can't really recommend the Kingston as the SanDisk offers faster read speeds and the same amount of storage space for less money.

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Crucial MX300 275GB

Capacity: 275GB Read: 530MB/s Write: 510MB/s

The Crucial MX300 offers great performance, with the read and write speeds of 530MB/s and 510MB/s respectively placing it in the second spot in the price bracket.

Where the Crucial really shines though is with its storage capacity. Offering 275GB of space, its the largest drive available for the price with 25GB more than its closest (and more expensive) rival, the Samsung 850 EVO.

If you're looking for the drive that offers the best cost per gigabyte ratio, it would be difficult to beat the Crucial MX300.

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Samsung 850 EVO 250GB

Capacity: 250GB Read: 540MB/s Write: 520MB/s

The most expensive SSD in the price range, coming in at around £90, the Samsung 850 EVO offers the second highest amount of storage space - 250GB.

Performance is where the Samsung pulls slightly ahead of the Crucial MX300, with read and write speeds of 540MB/s and 520MB/s just pipping the Crucial in both respects.

In our opinion though, those extra 10MB/s aren't going to make any noticeable difference when it comes to gaming and with the size of games these days often running into the 10's of gigabytes, we'd probably prioritise the larger storage capacity of the Crucial MX300 over the slightly faster Samsung.

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Solid state drives for under £200/$210

At 2017 prices, this category currently offers the best cost per gigabyte ratio, with 750gb SSDs available for as little as £185.

SanDisk Ultra II SSD 480GB

Capacity: 480GB Read: 550MB/s Write: 500MB/s

With SanDisk's smaller capacity SSDs coming up short in the performance department, the 480GB Ultra II finally offers more competitive performance for the price.

The cheapest of our picks in the price range, the SanDisk nevertheless offers fantastic read speeds of 550MB/s. Even the write speeds are only 10MB/s slower than the slightly more expensive offerings.

Although at 480GB the storage capacity is a little lower than the other drives we've selected in this bracket, its worth noting that the SanDisk is currently around £15 less expensive than the next cheapest offering.

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Crucial MX300 525GB

Capacity: 525GB Read: 530MB/s Write: 510MB/s

Crucial once again deliver an excellently balanced SSD, with competitive read and write speeds when compared to its nearest rival in price, the Samsung 850 Evo.

As with their smaller capacity drives Crucial manages to offer extra capacity for less money than the Samsung, with 525GB of storage compared to 500GB on the 850 Evo.

For gaming, where having more storage can be more beneficial than slightly faster disk speeds, this gives the Crucial drive a compelling advantage.

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Samsung 850 EVO 500GB

Capacity: 500GB Read: 540MB/s Write: 520MB/s

As in the other price brackets if you want the ultimate performance from your SSD, you need to turn to Samsung.

The 500GB variant of the 850 Evo offers read speeds of 540Mb/s, which is faster than any other drive for the money. Its the same story with the 520MB/s write speeds, as they again offer the best in class.

With a budget of under £200 the 850 Evo doesn't offer as much storage space as the 750GB version of Crucial's MX300, but the Samsung offering is around £35 cheaper.

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Crucial MX300 750GB

Capacity: 750GB Read: 530MB/s Write: 510MB/s

The largest capacity drive for under £200 that we could find, the 750GB version of Crucial's MX300 SSD line offers the best cost per gigabyte ratio in the bracket, even though it is around £35 more than Samsung's 850 Evo 500GB.

While it is marginally outperformed by the Samsung in terms of read and write speeds, the extra 250GB capacity means this SSD is an excellent choice for any gamer.

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Solid state drives for over £200/$240

With a higher budget comes larger storage options, and as you can see below we now push into the 1tb and 2tb capacity SSDs.

SanDisk Ultra II SSD 960GB

Capacity: 960GB Read: 550MB/s Write: 500MB/s

At around £35 cheaper than the next cheapest SSD in this price bracket, the SanDisk Ultra II offers excellent value for money. As we've seen with previous SanDisk SSDs the write speeds are not quite as competitive as other brands but in this case we think the lower cost makes up for it.

You don't quite get a full 1TB of storage space with this drive, but for the price its close enough. The read speeds are particularly impressive, at 550MB/s the Ultra II ties with the 1TB Samsung 850 Pro - which is a whopping £170 more expensive.

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Crucial MX300 1TB

Capacity: 1TB Read: 530MB/s Write: 510MB/s

The Crucial MX300 1TB is around £35-£40 more expensive than the SanDisk. For that you do get a full 1TB of storage and slightly faster write speeds.

The extra space is nice, but for gaming applications the extra 10MB/s write speed is going to make virtually no difference at all.

Overall we think the SanDisk is slightly better value for money, unless you're really going to to need that extra 40GB.

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Samsung 850 EVO 1TB

Capacity: 1TB Read: 540MB/s Write: 520MB/s

The Samsung 850 Evo offers a 10MB/s increase in both read and write performance over the Crucial MX300. For that you pay an extra £20, which seems like quite a lot for what won't amount to any significant performance benefit.

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Samsung 850 PRO - 1TB

Capacity: 1TB Read: 550MB/s Write: 520MB/s

For around £100 more than the standard 850 Evo 1TB, you can buy the Pro version. One of the most common questions we are asked is "what's the difference between an Evo and a Pro?" and "why are the Pro SSDs more expensive?".

The main advantages of Samsung's Pro SSDs are a longer expected life span and warranty. Performance of the two drives are not greatly different, in fact for everyday use they are pretty much identical.

Whereas the Evo drives come with a 5 year warranty, the Pro drives come with a 10 year warranty. Therefore if you're planning on making a longer term investment and keeping your SSD around for a while, it may be worth paying more up front and going for the Pro version.

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The best SSDs for over £400/$500

These are the ultimate SSD options available today, packing up to 2tb of storage with an extreme price to match.

Crucial MX300 2TB

Capacity: 2TB Read: 530MB/s Write: 510MB/s

The cheapest 2TB SSD we could find, this variant of Crucial's MX300 comes in at around £500. It's closest competitor, the Samsung 850 Evo 2TB, is over £50 more expensive which makes the Crucial a real bargain (when it comes to 2TB SSDs anyway).

The read and write speeds are at the lower end of the 2TB drives we've reviewed but, as we've mentioned before, in the real world you're not going to notice any differences when it comes to gaming performance.

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Samsung 850 EVO 2TB

Capacity: 2TB Read: 540MB/s Write: 520MB/s

Following the pattern set out by the 1TB version, the 2TB variant of Samsung's Evo SSD is more expensive than it's Crucial rival, and for that you get a slightly better performing drive.

Again though, taking into account the £50 saving you'll make by opting for the Crucial instead, its hard to recommend the Samsung over the MX300 unless you're going to be doing something that really needs the extra 10MB/s you'll gain from the Evo.

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SanDisk Extreme 900 1.92TB

Capacity: 1.92TB Read: 850MB/s Write: 850MB/s

Coming in at around £600, the not-quite 2TB SanDisk Extreme at first seems overly expensive compared to the other full 2TB drives on offer.

That is until you look at the read and write speeds which are, by some way, the fastest of any of the SSDs reviewed in this guide. An incredible 850MB/s for both read and write functions makes this one of the fastest SATA SDDs you can buy today.

For ordinary gaming, this extra performance is rather overkill and its unlikely it will make any difference in game. If your gaming rig doubles as a professional workstation however, and you spend time editing large image or video files then the incredible extra performance gain might be worth the extra cost.

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Samsung 850 Pro 2TB

Capacity: 2TB Read: 550MB/s Write: 520MB/s

At around £740, the 2TB 850 Pro offers similar performance to the £180 cheaper 2TB 850 Evo. As with Samsung's other Pro SSDs though, here you're paying for a higher quality drive and 10 year warranty.

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