SSD vs HDD for Gaming: Is SSD better than HDD for Gaming?

 For first-time PC builders, you may find yourself in a fix trying to choose between SSD and HDD for your gaming PC.

To put it simply, a solid-state drive will make your games load faster. But it does not boost your frame rates. On the other hand, hard drives are cost-effective when you want to store lots of games.

Which is Better of the Two?

In recent years, we have seen the prices of SSDs come down significantly. No wonder their popularity in gaming is rising. This is because their read and write speeds are way above that of HDDs.

In comparison, an SSD data transfer speed can be over 400mb/s while that of an HDD is under 170mb/s. This tells you that you don’t want to load a demanding game on an HDD.

SSDs, however, do not improve in-game performance. When it comes to frame rate issues and better graphics, upgrading your GPU is better than getting a new SSD.

The Role of Storage Drives for Games

Hard drives and solid-state drives provide storage for data. But their impact is quite different for gaming. SSDs do not have spinning parts. Their speeds are faster not only for games but also for system and apps boot-up. That is if you have your system installed on SSD.

Also, when it comes to transferring files, you will experience a performance boost on SSD better than on HDD. For gamers, you may spend half the time to launch a game on SSD than you would when launching on HDD. 

Another advantage of SSD over HDD is that they are more energy-efficient and quieter than hard disk drives. For HDDs, the RPM determines their noise level. A high rotation speed spells a high noise level and vice versa.

Capacity and Longevity Comparison

Both SSDs and HDDs are available in large capacity sizes. It is not surprising to find an 8TB SSD. But what makes all the difference is the price-capacity ratio. This is where HDDs shine. They are up to four times cheaper than SSD. It means you can get a 2TB HDD for $100 dollars while a similar priced SSD will be only 500GB.

Modern games can be as large as 100GB. If you want to store all your favorites together, an SSD might not cut it if you are on a budget. Instead, it is better to go for an HDD.

Not to mention, you can delete and add as many games as you want on HDD. Doing the same on an SSD will decrease its longevity. Even in normal use, most SSDs can last up to five years while HDDs can easily make ten years. However, performance decreases in HDDs the longer they are in use.

What about Durability? 

Durability is a whole other story for the two storage types. We are talking- how well you can depend on your storage drive without it malfunctioning. In this case, SSDs are more dependable than HDDs. This is because SSDs do not have moving parts. On the other hand, HDDs tend to be noisier as their spinning parts wear with time.

Types of SSDs and Which Ones to Choose 

 SSDs have different form factors. These include SATA 3, SATA Express, M.2, PCIe, mSATA, NVMe, and U.2. The three most popular include NVMe, M.2, and SATA 3. Since SSD reads and writes data so fast, hardware is not their limiting factor. It comes down to the method that the SSD shares its data to the PC.

The two main methods are; SATA 3 and NVMe. To make a SATA 3 connection, a power cable and a data cable connect directly into the SSD itself and the motherboard. Its speed is limited to 600MB/s.

None-Volatile Memory Express (NMVe), is an open standard that allows an SSD to operate at the read and write speeds of the capability of their flash memory. Its data is read directly from the PCIe slot on the motherboard. Its speed is not limited since it does not go through SATA. It can have read and write speeds as high as 3GB/s.

Note:

Most people tend to think that M.2 is the same as NMVe. But that is not the case. M.2 is a form factor. As such, it can come as SATA 3 or NMVe. An SSD like Crucial MX500 M.2 is a SATA drive while another like Samsung 970 Pro is an NMVe drive.

The difference between the two drives is the bus that they use to communicate electronically with other PC components.

Conclusion

Does an SSD’s high speed make it a better choice for gaming? Well, Yes and No. Choosing an SSD for a budget gaming PC will not be the best use of your money. It is ideal for medium-size and high-end PCs.  

SSDs provide improved user experience. But they are not ideal for storing lots of games. Though HDDs are much slower, they have an advantage in price and longevity.

Bottom line; the two storage drives can be teammates when installed together. You can have SSD for your operating system, favorite games, and main programs. And then, you can store all your other games on the HDD for a stress-free gaming system.

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