Why You Should Use an SSD for Gaming
19 Febuary 2020
Adding an SSD to your gaming rig isn’t an option, it’s a necessity.
Have you ever been stuck looking at a spinning icon while you’re waiting for your game to load? How about annoying stuttering while Windows is doing some unknown task in the background? If you’re using an older machine or a laptop with a mechanical hard drive, you are giving up a LOT of performance. With the price of SSD’s falling year after year, there is no better time to supercharge your machine with a mega fast Solid State Disk.
For many users, SSD’s are taken for granted. Most pre built PC’s including our own range come with SSD’s. What if you’re running an older system though? Adding a GPU to something like a Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge system is still a viable gaming upgrade, yet the chances are a lot of these older systems are saddled with mechanical hard drives. Adding an SSD will transform its performance. Whether it’s gaming, multi-tasking, creating content or anything else you care to name, an SSD will benefit you.
Real, tangible performance benefits
The headline specifications of an SSD are its data transfer speeds. These can be an order of magnitude faster than a hard drive, with 5000 MB/s or more in the case of a PCI Express 4.0 drive vs 250 MB/s or so with a hard drive. High transfer speeds directly affect game loading times and other things like level transitions. But, a game isn’t just a single file, it’s loads of little files that are frequently accessed. So while transfer speeds are a great advantage, what really makes an SSD feel fast is its access times and IOPS (in/out operations per second).
A typical hard drive can take milliseconds to access data, while an SSD can do it in fractions of a millisecond, or microseconds. A few milliseconds doesn’t sound like much, but if your drive needs to access a lot of files located on different sections of the drive, then all those milliseconds add up and can become seconds. This becomes noticeable in many different ways, such as in game environment popups appearing, stuttering and lag or even loading icons that interrupt your gameplay. An SSD gets rid of many of these annoyances. Let’s not forget that hard drives have that annoying whirring noise that SSDs are completely free of!
Access times and IOPS are vital to smooth and uninterrupted gameplay. A drive like Seagate’s FireCuda offers class leading IOPS. This is what makes the drive ‘feel’ fast in everyday use, whether it’s while gaming or under general Windows use. The FireCuda’s high IOPS becomes especially apparent when doing something like patching a game. A game patch can be several gigabytes in size which puts a heavy burden on a drive as files are modified and rewritten. The aim is to spend more time in game and less time waiting for a slow drive to do its thing.
You’ll gain more than just gaming performance
While you’re gaming your drive isn’t just dealing with the game itself. Windows constantly reads and writes to disk which can really burden a mechanical disk, exacerbating the problems described above. Hard drives are relatively terrible at multitasking and in some cases can essentially grind to a halt while the heads are scrambling all over the drive’s platters. SSDs simply shine when multi-tasking, something a hard drive can never compete with. It’s just another way that adding an SSD to your gaming system or laptop adds tangible performance, beyond that of any HDD which keeps your attention on your game and not your system.
With all this talk of performance, don’t forget that SSD’s use less power and tend to be more durable than hard drives as they have no moving parts. One of the examples of an SSD’s durability comes in the form of a type of endurance rating called MTBF, or mean time between failures. Let’s take the example of Seagate’s FireCuda again. The 1TB drive carries a MTBF of 1.8 million hours. That’s over 200 years!
What kind of SSD should you buy?
What kind of SSD you buy will depend on your system configuration and what it supports. An inexperienced user might see terms like SATA, NVMe, M.2 or PCIe. On the surface it can be confusing, but really there are only two kinds of SSD: SATA and NVMe, the other terms refer to how they attach to your system and form factors.
The fastest SSDs use the NVMe protocol. It’s designed specifically with flash based drives in mind. NVMe drives can connect via several interfaces, the most common of which is M.2. Some NVMe drives can also connect via a PCIe slot or much less commonly, U.2.
SATA is the other protocol. These drives connect via the ubiquitous SATA port, but SATA is also supported by most motherboards’ M.2 slots. In short, the best performing drives are NVMe drives regardless of the actual interface, while SATA based drives are a bit slower but also widely compatible with older systems and laptops. Regardless of which one you choose, it will easily outperform a mechanical hard drive. If you’re not sure of which drive you should buy, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our knowledgeable team.
|Seagate FireCuda NVMe SSD in M.2 Form Factor||Seagate BarraCuda SATA SSD in 2.5" Form Factor|
It’s a no brainer
So, if you’re a gamer, there is really no reason to choose a hard drive as your main system drive. A quality SSD is faster, more responsive and more durable than a HDD. Even the price per gigabyte difference is shrinking. A traditional HDD is well suited to storing things like media files but really that’s about it in 2020.
Do yourself a favor, ditch the HDD and upgrade to an SSD. Your gaming experience will be smoother, more responsive and you’ll spend far less time looking at the pesky loading icon. Mwave has a full range of SSDs to choose from. If you’re running an affordable laptop and play a bit of LoL or Fortnite, or whether you’re delving into an immersive and demanding game world like Red Dead Redemption II , there’s a model to suit your application and budget. If you’re struggling to choose, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team. We’re always here to help you choose the best SSD for your system and help you get the most out of your game.