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Does SSD Speed Matter for Gaming? Guide to Select an SSD for Optimizing Gaming Performance

Updated by Tracy King on Mar 28, 2022
mins read
Hey, I'm looking at NVME drives and I'm wondering If it's worth paying twice as much for an SSD twice as fast (3,480mbs vs 6,850mbs) I currently…

                                                                      - reddit

In setting up or upgrading a Gaming PC, 4 essential factors heavily affect the gaming experience: GPU/CPU, RAM Memory, Graphic Card, and the Gaming Disk. Suppose that you've got a compiling gaming PC with a powerful gaming CPU, a super fact graphic card, the correct amount of memory car, and even the just right motherboard. You've come to the last step - picking up a qualified disk. 

While selecting a gaming disk, here are two factors that you need to consider:

  • How much budget do you have left for the disk - HDD or SSD?
  • Does disk speed matter for gaming?

To make it clearer for you, continue reading, and you'll get answers to all these questions in your mind here.

In this article, you'll learn:

  • HDD vs. SSD, Which Disk to Pick for Gaming
  • Does SSD Speed Matter for Gaming? Which SSD to Pick, SATA, M.2, or NVMe
  • How to Add and Install SSD for Gaming

HDD vs. SSD, Which Disk to Pick for Gaming

Here we'll compare HDD and SSD to help you quickly understand which is better for gaming with the following factors:

Comparison HDD SATA SSD M.2 SSD NVMe SSD
Read Speed 80-160 MB/S 550 MB/S
  • >500 MB/S (SATA)
  • >3000 MB/S (NVMe)
  • >3000 MB/S (PICe G3)
  • >7000MB/S (PICe G4)
Write Speed 80-160 MB/S 520 MB/S
  • >500 MB/S (SATA)
  • >3000 MB/S (NVMe)
  • >3000 MB/S (PICe G3)
  • >7000MB/S (PICe G4)
Lifespan Longer Shorter Shorter Shorter
Reliability Lower Higher Higher Higher
Price
  • 250GB: $40-$60
  • 500GB: $45-$70
  • 1TB: $65 - $155
  • 250GB: $40 - $70
  • 500GB: $50 - $90
  • 1TB: $90 - $140
  • 250GB: $40-$90
  • 500GB: $50 - $160
  • 1TB: $90 - $200
  • 250GB: $50 - $90
  • 500GB: $70 - $160
  • 1TB: $120 - $200
  • Cost of HDD source: ThePricer
  • Cost of SATA SSD, M.2 SSD, NVMe SSD source: PCWorld

According to this comparison table, it's clear that SSDs are much faster than HDDs in both reading and writing data. Also, the price for HDD and SSDs is not much different in 250GB and 1TB storage capacities. 

According to most PC game lovers, we also get this conclusion that is comparing HDD and SSD as their OS disk in Gaming PC that SSDs are:

  • Faster in OS boot time.
  • Faster in loading games.
  • Smoother in gameplay.

So, we suggest that you pick SSD for a Gaming PC for its faster and more reliable.

Does SSD Speed Matter for Gaming? Which SSD to Pick, SATA, M.2, or NVMe

You may also want to know the differences among SATA, M.2, and NVMe SSDs, right? Let's list them here again to help you see the differences more clearly.

Check the comparison table, and we can see the major differences among these three types of SSDs:

SSDs Read Speed Write Speed Write Speed
SATA 550 MB/S 520 MB/S
  • 250GB: $40-$60
  • 500GB: $45-$70
  • 1TB: $65 - $155
M.2
  • SATA: >500 MB/S 
  • NVMe: >3000 MB/S
  • SATA: >500 MB/S 
  • NVMe: >3000 MB/S
  • 250GB: $40-$90
  • 500GB: $50 - $160
  • 1TB: $90 - $200
NVMe 
  • PICe G3: >3000 MB/S
  • PICe G4: >7000MB/S
  • PICe G3: >3000 MB/S
  • PICe G4: >7000MB/S
  • 250GB: $50 - $90
  • 500GB: $70 - $160
  • 1TB: $120 - $200

With higher prices in M.2 and NVMe SSDs, M.2 and NVMe SSD with PICe connectors are even faster than the SATA SSD. 

So will they be the difference while loading games? Here is an example of a gaming benchmark test over 120 SSDs from TweakTown, check the image here:

Image of ssd gaming load time test by TweakTown

From Tweaktown, Best SSD For Gaming: Over 120 SSDs Tested

From the test, you can see that there is a difference between SATA and NVMe/M.2 PICe SSDs. 3/4 of the charts are PICe SSDs, and the actual difference in game loading times is within 3 seconds. 

Also, from a test of Linus Tech Tips, gamers and geeks see clear differences while loading games, but they didn't see much difference while playing games and witching maps. Here is their test video, and let's take a view:

From Linus Tech Tips, Does a Faster SSD Mater for Games?

Summary: According to the comparison table, Tweektown and Linus Tech Tips' tests, there an obvious that M.2/NVMe with PICe connectors are faster in booting PC and loading games than SATA SSD. However, there's no big difference when it comes to the gaming experience. Players can barely feel the slight changes.

So, does SSD speed matter for gaming? 

  • For yes, it is because faster SSDs perform better in booting PC and loading games. 
  • For no, the reason is that while playing games, the smoothness and FPS don't change much on SATA, M.2, and NVMe SSDs.

How to Pick the Right SSD for Gaming? Take these three factors into consideration, and you'll know which type of SSDs suits you the most:

  • For large file transfer, video editing, take PICe SSDs.
  • For a single drive with a big capacity, take M.2 PICe SSD.
  • For the most reasonable price per amount of storage with a limited budget, take SATA SSD. 

How to Add and Install SSD for Gaming

So now you've got an ideal SSD for gaming, it's time to set it up on your gaming PC. We'll guide you through this here in this part.

Following here is the complete process that you can directly try on your computer:

#1. Install SATA/PICe SSD to PC

Step 1. Remove the gaming PC case with a screwdriver.

Step 2. Connect the SSD to PC:

If it's an SATA SSD, plug the SATA-power cable between your SSD and motherboard on your computer.

Connect SATA SSD to computer

If it's a PICe M.2/NVMe SSD, locate the SSD lost, remove the mounted screws, push the SSD into the slot, and secure the SSD with screws.

Connect N.2, NVMe SSD to computer

After this, close the computer case and restart your PC.

#2. Initialize SSD

Once you install the SSD, you need to open Disk Management and initialize the SSD in this way:

Step 1. Press Windows + R keys, type diskmgmt.msc, and hit Enter to open disk Management.

Step 2. Locate and right-click on the SSD, select "Initialize Disk" and set "GPT" or "MBR" as the disk type.

Note that your new SSD should share the same disk type as the OS drive.

Initialize SSD

Once done, it's time that you transfer OS from the old disk to the new SSD on your gaming computer.

#3. Migrate OS from Old Disk to New SSD

To ensure that you enjoy a smooth gaming experience on your PC, you need to transfer the OS and games to a new SSD. 

EaseUS Partition Master with its Migrate OS feature can fully help you out. 

Free Download 

Windows 11/10/8/7100% Secure

Here is how to do so:

Steps to migrate OS to HDD/SSD:

  • Run EaseUS Partition Master, select Migrate OS from the top menu.
  • Select the SSD or HDD as the destination disk and click Next.
  • Check Warning: the data and partitions on the target disk will be deleted. Make sure that you've backed up important data in advance. If not, do it now.
  • Then click Continue.
  • Preview the layout of your target disk. Then click Proceed to start migrating your OS to a new disk

Note: The operation of migrating OS to SSD or HDD will delete and remove existing partitions and data on your target disk when there is not enough unallocated space on the target disk. If you saved important data there, back up them to an external hard drive in advance.

After migrating OS and games to the new disk, you still need to configure the disk as a boot drive, as shown in the next.

#4. Set New SSD as Boot Drive

Step 1. Restart PC and press F2/F8/F11 or Del key to enter BIOS.

Step 2. Go to the Boot menu, set the new SSD with migrated OS and games as the boot drive at the BIOS Boot Priority section.

Set SSD as boot drive

Step 3. Save the changes and restart the PC.

#5. Enjoy Gaming on New SSD

After the PC boots up, you can now enjoy a new SSD with faster OS booting speed and faster loading speed while gaming. However, it's not the end yet. Here we have some tips to help you optimize your gaming experience even better:

1. Extend C Drive, Leaving Enough Space for Gaming

It's essential that you leave big enough space for gaming with the new SSD on your gaming PC. EaseUS Partition Master can help you flexibly extend the C drive with its partition management features.

Free Download 

Windows 11/10/8/7100% Secure

Here is how to extend C drive:

Option 1. Extend System C drive with unallocated space

  1. 1. Right-click on the System C: drive and select "Resize/Move".
  2. 2. Drag the system partition end into the unallocated space so to add it to the C: drive. And click "OK". 
  3. 3. Click "Execute Operation" and "Apply" to execute the operations and extend the C drive.

Option 2. Extend System C drive without unallocated space

  1. 1. Right-click a big partition with enough free space on the system disk, select "Allocate Space".
  2. 2. Select the system drive at the Allocate Space From (*) To section, and drag the end of System C drive into the unallocated space. Click "OK" to confirm.
  3. 3. Click "Execute Operation", it will list the pending operations, and click "Apply" to save the changes and extend the C drive.

0:00-0:32 Extend System Drive with Unallocated Space; 0:32-1:00 Extend System Drive without Unallocated Space.

2. Moving Big Folders and Files to a Second Drive

It's always smart to save and move big folders/files to a second drive instead of the OS drive. You can manually move it or turn to reliable PC transfer software for help.

EaseUS Todo PCTrans, with its Large File Cleanup feature, can efficiently detect and move big files and folders from one drive to another for you. For a step-by-step guide, you may refer to How to Move Large Files from One Drive to Another

3. Frequent Virus Scanning and Removal Is Necessary

Keeping the gaming PC and drives clean of viruses and malware is highly important. So aside from enabling the Windows Virus Defender, it's also a smart choice that you run antivirus frequently.

Avg, Avire, Avast, Norton, or ECet are all renowned antivirus software you can trust and rely on.

Antivirus software

In The End

On this page, we compared HDD with three types of SSDs, and it's clear that selecting SSD as the gaming PC OS disk is a wise choice.

Also, we compared SATA SSD, M.2 SSD, and NVMe SSD with different angels and displayed two tests running by TweakTown and Linus Tech Tips to prove that the SSD speed doesn't matter while gaming. However, SSD still surpasses HDD in many aspects, such as reading and writing data, loading games, booting OS, etc. Therefore, if you plan to select a disk for a gaming PC with enough budget, always pick SSD. 

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About the Author

Updated by Tracy King

Tracy joined in EaseUS in 2013 and has been working with EaseUS content team for over 7 years. Being enthusiastic in computing and technology, she writes tech how-to articles and share technical solutions about Windows & Mac data recovery, file/system backup and recovery, partition management and iOS/Android data recovery.

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  • I love that the changes you make with EaseUS Partition Master Free aren't immediately applied to the disks. It makes it way easier to play out what will happen after you've made all the changes. I also think the overall look and feel of EaseUS Partition Master Free makes whatever you're doing with your computer's partitions easy.

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