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Best SSD for Gaming?

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May 22, 2013 9:20:51 AM

Hello,

I'm upgrading my PC and was hoping to get around a 250 GB SSD. It's a gaming rig (go figure lol) so would it be wise to install everything on the SSD from the OS to all the software, drives, etc? I don't use many programs, just MS Office, CS6, and some Steam games, that's really it.

Thanks!

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May 22, 2013 9:27:24 AM
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Mikeysags said:
Hello,

I'm upgrading my PC and was hoping to get around a 250 GB SSD. It's a gaming rig (go figure lol) so would it be wise to install everything on the SSD from the OS to all the software, drives, etc? I don't use many programs, just MS Office, CS6, and some Steam games, that's really it.

Thanks!


Pretty much any current SSD will seem lightning fast in comparison to an HDD. There are performance differences in benchmarks, but they are rarely so pronounced that anyone would notice those differences in practice.

So the most important concern with regard to selecting an SSD is reliability. Personally, I'm a fan of Intel and Samsung SSDs. Various others get good reviews too, though. I'd suggest simply finding the biggest SSD you can for your price range, and then looking up reviews from reputable sites. (But when in doubt, go Intel or Samsung! ;)  )

And yes, you want to install your OS and your most commonly use programs on the SSD. That'll make your system feel ... snappy, responsive, in general use. The qualitative advantages of an SSD are really quite amazing -- but your storage really doesn't influence gaming performance. What the SSD will do is vastly improve your load-screen times in games, but that's about it, unless you're running so little RAM that your system is constantly calling the page file.

May 22, 2013 9:34:58 AM

Fulgurant said:
Mikeysags said:
Hello,

I'm upgrading my PC and was hoping to get around a 250 GB SSD. It's a gaming rig (go figure lol) so would it be wise to install everything on the SSD from the OS to all the software, drives, etc? I don't use many programs, just MS Office, CS6, and some Steam games, that's really it.

Thanks!




Pretty much any current SSD will seem lightning fast in comparison to an HDD. There are performance differences in benchmarks, but they are rarely so pronounced that anyone would notice those differences in practice.

So the most important concern with regard to selecting an SSD is reliability. Personally, I'm a fan of Intel and Samsung SSDs. Various others get good reviews too, though. I'd suggest simply finding the biggest SSD you can for your price range, and then looking up reviews from reputable sites. (But when in doubt, go Intel or Samsung! ;)  )

And yes, you want to install your OS and your most commonly use programs on the SSD. That'll make your system feel ... snappy, responsive, in general use. The qualitative advantages of an SSD are really quite amazing -- but your storage really doesn't influence gaming performance. What the SSD will do is vastly improve your load-screen times in games, but that's about it, unless you're running so little RAM that your system is constantly calling the page file.



Basically I'm looking for around 250GB's which seems to be around $200. Would an Intel SSD work with an AMD based Mobo/Chip? Also, could I literally install everything on the SSD? Lastly, can I find these SSD's in store or are they only available through online retailers? Best Buy only seemed to have the 120 GB Intel SSD in store :( 
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May 22, 2013 9:42:26 AM

Mikeysags said:

Basically I'm looking for around 250GB's which seems to be around $200. Would an Intel SSD work with an AMD based Mobo/Chip? Also, could I literally install everything on the SSD? Lastly, can I find these SSD's in store or are they only available through online retailers? Best Buy only seemed to have the 120 GB SSD in store :( 


1. Yes, an Intel SSD would work with any motherboard that has a SATA (preferably a SATA III) interface. So would a Samsung or whatever. Don't worry about inter-brand compatibility.

2. Yes, you could literally install everything on the SSD, provided that you have space. You'll want to leave about 20% of the drive's space free for the sake of the drive's long-term health and its speed. Probably about 7% will be invisible to you to start. The space will go pretty quickly if you install a lot of games, but you can swap your game installs as needed using this handy little tool, for example: http://www.traynier.com/software/steammover

3. Depends on the store. Best Buy's generally a very bad place to go for computer hardware, in my experience -- flawed selection, inflated prices, clueless salespeople who'll tell you anything to get you to buy something. Microcenter's pretty good (though again, beware the salesmen's talk). I've heard Fry's is good too, though I haven't visited one myself.

Personally, I'd probably order it online.
May 22, 2013 9:48:05 AM

Fulgurant said:
Mikeysags said:

Basically I'm looking for around 250GB's which seems to be around $200. Would an Intel SSD work with an AMD based Mobo/Chip? Also, could I literally install everything on the SSD? Lastly, can I find these SSD's in store or are they only available through online retailers? Best Buy only seemed to have the 120 GB SSD in store :( 


1. Yes, an Intel SSD would work with any motherboard that has a SATA (preferably a SATA III) interface. So would a Samsung or whatever. Don't worry about inter-brand compatibility.

2. Yes, you could literally install everything on the SSD, provided that you have space. You'll want to leave about 20% of the drive's space free for the sake of the drive's long-term health and its speed. Probably about 7% will be invisible to you to start. The space will go pretty quickly if you install a lot of games, but you can swap your game installs as needed using this handy little tool, for example: http://www.traynier.com/software/steammover

3. Depends on the store. Best Buy's generally a very bad place to go for computer hardware, in my experience -- flawed selection, inflated prices, clueless salespeople who'll tell you anything to get you to buy something. Microcenter's pretty good (though again, beware the salesmen's talk). I've heard Fry's is good too, though I haven't visited one myself.

Personally, I'd probably order it online.


Thanks for your help Fulgurant, I greatly appreciate it! :) 



a b G Storage
a b 4 Gaming
May 22, 2013 9:50:49 AM

The only performance difference you'll notice is during OS startup/shutdown, application startup, map loads or level loads. Other than that, it won't make games perform better (other than reduction in load times). Personally, I like to keep the OS and system utilities on their own 120GB SSD. Everything you run references the OS in some way.

I put my most-used games on my 80GB SSD (BF3 and Crysis 3). Lesser-used games go on one of my 500GB drives. Separation of disk function is always good for seek, retrieval and read/write speeds.

But none of these things will give you better frames per second in games.

Samsung 840 series drives are good deals these days. Get the pro series if you also need faster write speeds.
May 23, 2013 1:00:01 AM

If you have a more recent Intel Chipset you may want to consider getting a small solid state disk and using it along with a hard drive to work like a larger solid state disk, by utilizing Intel's SRT (Smart Response Technology). You can get SSD speeds with the size of a hard drive for a fraction of the cost of using a larger capacity solid state disk. The only downside is a tiny loss of CPU cycles (unnoticed) and a bit of reliability (since you are using two drives). The upside is a nice chunk of cash left over to keep your wallet fat. You can read more about the specific hardware requirements here (not all motherboards work with Intel's SRT, it has to be a fairly recent chipset):

http://www.intel.com/content/www/xa/en/architecture-and...

There are a host of PC websites that have reviews and more info about SRT which will pop up in the first ten results or so if you Google search the words "Intel SRT". It is probably worth the $100 or so you'll save to take an hours worth of your time to do a little research.
May 23, 2013 1:03:19 AM

And FYI, it really depends on what types of games you play. If you play a game like the Sims 3 (and its numerous add ons) you may notice the game runs smoother with a much faster drive, simply due to the massive amounts of textures it loads every time you move the mouse around the map or zoom in.
May 23, 2013 1:07:34 AM

The 840's are probably the best drive out there right now, but when you consider cost you may end up wanting to go for something that costs less than $1/GB. I recently grabbed a refurbished drive. It's an OCZ Agility 3 120GB drive, and It was under $75 I believe. 90% life left and 111GB usable. 180 day warranty. A 30GB drive with a 500GB hard drive using Intel SRT should be plenty for most users who aren't planning to store a ton of video. And for streaming video from one PC to another or general media storage, two hard drives in Raid-1 is still probably your best and simplest option.
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