The world of computer gaming is rapidly moving towards the solid-state drives for storage. Typically, when it comes to storing all the bulk on your gaming computer, you have two options; the relatively cheaper and bigger hard drives or the expensive, faster and sleek solid-state drives. An excellent SSD (Solid State Drive) makes nearly everything you do on your computer seem faster. Files will always copy in seconds, programs pop right open, and most importantly, your PC games will still load reasonably fast, whereas the so-called big open-world games which load data as you play will run smoothly with very few hitches.
So what are some of the benefits of SSDs?
First and foremost, it is imperative to note that the traditional hard drive functions by way of moving mechanical components with a spinning magnetic platter which data is written to and read from. On the other hand, SSD has no moving parts, and therefore, the data is recorded and accessed via NAND flash memory. Perhaps this is what makes them operate a lot faster as compared to the conventional hard drives. What’s more, because they don’t involve any moving parts, mechanical errors are far less likely to occur.
It has also been proven that SSDs consume less power, produce less noise as well as heat. Regarding performance, a high-quality modern SSD can potentially read data at over five hundred megabytes per second, allow access to date within 0.1 milliseconds and write data at over three hundred megabytes. If you are a performance-driven individual, then you have every reason to invest in a high-end SSD.
Choosing the best SSD for gaming
Bearing in mind that there are numerous SSD devices on the market, the prospect of finding the ultimate SSD that suits your gaming needs can sometimes prove a daunting task. So in this section, we want to discuss some of the most important factors to consider when purchasing one.
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Reliability-based on the brand
Taking into account how expensive SSDs are at the moment, the last thing you want after having spent vast sums of money is having your SSD fail. The brand name is a huge factor to consider when purchasing any computer hardware. Currently, as it stands, when it comes to the solid-state drive market, the best brand names are arguably Intel, Kingston, Crucial, Samsung and perhaps OCZ. Also, it would be an excellent idea to do some research regarding the available models.
If you didn’t know, just because a device is manufactured by a reputable firm doesn’t entirely imply that it is a smart gadget. However, these manufacturers are known to produce top-notch, reliable and high-performance solid-state drives that any PC gamer would find extremely valuable.
The form factor
The vast majority of solid-state drives come in the 2.5-inch form factor but not the 3.5-inch size you’ll see on most hard drives. This implies that SSDs can be used in portable computers as efficiently and seamlessly as desktops. This is a fundamental feature. However, you don’t have to dwell so much on the form factor bearing in mind that most SSDs come equipped with a bracket to allow users to install their 2.5-inch SSD into a 3.5-inch drive bay seamlessly.
Of course, the primary consideration when shopping for a new SSD for your gaming PC is its storage capacity. First, you’ll have to figure out the size of what you intend to install on your SSD before you select a particular size. To be more precise, buy an SSD with a capacity that suits your needs. Practically, you’ll install a few programs and the games you frequently use and perhaps even your operating system on your SSD.
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So what is the ideal size for you? Most gaming experts recommend an SSD with a minimum size of 120 GB. This will support windows installation, your games and most of your commonly-used programs and applications. Based on your budget, you can as well invest on larger SSDs, but these are very expensive. It also highly advisable that you should always spare roughly ten percent of your drive at all times just to ensure that it doesn’t get fully occupied as this may result in a dip in performance.
Performance of the SSD
Based on our experience with these gadgets, no SSD performs poorly. In fact, even the least expensive, lowest quality SSDs are known to perform much better than a traditional hard drive. However, this does not entirely imply that all solid-state drives are created equal.
In this regard, some SSD chips or controllers that regulate the movement of data onto and off the flash memory are relatively efficient than others. To be more specific, random access rates, which are useful for general OS functions when you are running other programs is critical. These rates are measured in IOPS for both write and read speeds. In this regard, 40,000 IOPS or more shows that a particular drive is highly efficient. Sadly though, you won’t see these specifications in every application, and this implies that you must look for additional information about IOPS and data types in various user review sites to get an idea of what you are investing in.
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Perhaps you’ve heard that when you delete a particular file, it doesn’t get eliminated but you merely prevent your drive from being able to locate it. This inability of SSDs to permanently delete programs or files manually can have its toll on your PC’s performance over time. However, TRIM is a distinctive feature common to the latest operating systems which helps SSDs to figure out what files can be permanently deleted, without your intervention. Even though many SSDs support TRIM, it is a factor that is worth looking out for.
SATA II, SATA II support
All hard drives use the Serial ATA INTERFACE. Typically, there are two versions of SATA; SATA II and III. SATA II offers transfer rates of 3Gbps whereas SATA III pushes data at 6Gbps. SATA III is fairly fast and the most preferred. However, such drives are costly.
Durability and warranty
The final factor to consider is how long your SSD will serve you. Solid-state hard drives have a fixed lifespan, and this is because flash memory can only be written to a finite number of times. This implies you must be aware of the number of operations your SSD can endure before it fails. However, unlike HDDs, SSDs have no movable parts and therefore have no parts to wear out. This means that you’ll not experience frequent cases of mechanical failure. Regarding warranty, most SSDs come covered with extensive warranties, usually three to five years thus offering the much-needed peace of mind.
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These are the most critical factors that you should always watch out for when seeking to purchase a new SSD. They should guide you toward finding the best SSD which is durable, affordable, reliable and performance-oriented.