The greatest NVMe SSD accelerates your gaming PC. It may not look like an enormous deal, however having a quick and dependable NVMe SSD makes every part simpler, from booting your PC to loading large open world video games. NVMe SSDs make onerous drives seem like historic tech. Outside of a brand new GPU, a NVMe SSD is the most important improve you would add to your rig.

Even trendy consoles are touting a few of the greatest NVMe SSDs—each the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 boast speedy NVMe SSDs and you do not need to get left behind by the consoles now, do you? The expertise that makes the a lot of the Xbox’s storage (DirectStorage) shall be discovering its means onto our programs quickly. What meaning, is storage is about to get much more necessary for gaming PCs.

Thankfully, the SSD market is fierce immediately, so nice offers on high quality SSDs usually are not unusual. A speedy 1TB NVMe SSD may solely set you again $120, which is not way more than you’d pay for a clunky previous SATA SSD. As lengthy as you’ve an M.2 slot in your motherboard, NVMe is the place to be. 

We’ve examined a great deal of NVMe SSDs not too long ago to search out the easiest choices on the market. Each drive we have checked out is obtainable in a spread of capacities with costs to match. And keep in mind, bigger drives carry out higher due to extra controller channels getting used at larger capacities, so purchase an enormous a drive if you happen to can. It’ll be value it.


WD Black SN850 1TB

(Image credit score: Western Digital)

1. WD Black SN850

The quickest PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD right this moment

Capacity: 500 GB, 1 TB, or 2 TB | Controller: WD Black_G2 | Flash: BiCS4 96-layer TLC | Interface: M.2 PCIe 4.0 x4 | Seq. learn: 7,000 MB/s | Seq. write: 5,300 MB/s

Blistering PCIe 4.0 throughput
Excellent real-world efficiency
Solid guarantee
Runs sizzling at full speeds

Our favourite WD Black SN850 config:

Best NVMe SSD for gaming in 2022

WD Black SN850 1TB | 7,000MB/s learn | 5,300MB/s write
The 1TB model that might be our choose from the SN850 vary. The 500GB drive lacks the complete punchy tempo that’s the signature of 1TB PCIe 4.0 SSDs, and is pricier than most equally capacious PCIe 3.0 drives, however the 1TB SN850 has an honest sticker worth and stellar velocity. And is nearly the most effective you should buy right this moment.View Deal

The WD Black SN850 1TB drive is the quickest PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD you should buy immediately. It could not prime each take a look at in each benchmark, however in relation to real-world benchmarking, there’s nothing else that may contact it. Don’t get me fallacious, it does nicely throughout the artificial benchmarks, topping loads of them, however there are a couple of locations where the Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus or the Samsung 980 Pro have the sting, however general that does not take away from the truth that that is the head of storage immediately. 

Any SSD is finally outlined by its efficiency and it is right here that the WD SN850 actually stands out from the group. The artificial benchmarks, spearheaded by ATTO and AS SSD, show that that is very a lot a second-generation PCIe 4.0 drive, with peak sequential learn speeds knocking on 6,750MB/s and 5,920MB/s respectively. Writes are decrease than the Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus, however nonetheless wholesome, at both aspect of 5GB/s. The 4K write efficiency in AS SSD handle to flip this over as nicely, with the WD SN850 managing to outpace the Sabrent drive. 

It’s the real-world efficiency exams that impress probably the most although, with PCMark 10’s Quick and Full storage exams placing the SN850 means forward of the sphere. With an general throughput of practically 495MB/s within the Quick take a look at and 550MB/s within the Full benchmark, this can be a drive that simply retains powering on in day after day use. 

The incontrovertible fact that this efficiency is echoed within the Final Fantasy XIV benchmark, which has the SN850 loading the 5 totally different scenes in a shade below seven seconds for the primary time, impresses no finish. When loads of ‘quick’ SSDs nonetheless take 12 seconds to finish the identical activity, that proves what distinction the newest expertise can have on gaming efficiency. 

The SN850 builds on Western Digital’s earlier SSDs to face head and shoulders above the others to be the efficiency drive you need in your gaming PC. The Samsung 980 Pro, which had the sting for a couple of months, is neglected within the chilly, particularly because it prices the identical because the SN850, however loses out to the newer drive in each metric (aside from working temperatures). Neither is a foul drive, clearly, but when we needed to advocate a next-gen SSD immediately, there’s just one clear choice, and that is the WD SN850. It’s merely the most effective drive you should buy right this moment.

Read our full Western Digital WD SN850 evaluation.

WD Black SN750 1TB on a blank background

(Image credit score: Western Digital)

2. WD Black SN750 1TB

An awesome NVMe SSD at a beautiful worth

Capacity : 250 GB, 500 GB, 1 TB, 2 TB, or 4 TB | Controller: Western Digital | Memory: SanDisk/Toshiba 3D TLC | Interface: M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 | Seq. learn: 3,430 MB/s | Seq. write: 3,000 MB/s

Blazing efficiency
Robust monitoring software program
Optional heatsink for intense workloads
Not fairly the quick PCIe 3.0 SSD

Our favourite WD Black SN750 config:

Best NVMe SSD for gaming in 2022

WD_Black SN750 500GB | 3,430MB/s learn | 3,000MB/s
You do not must lay our a fortune to get critical SSD efficiency. The half terabyte SN750 remains to be a mighty quick drive, and with 1TB of storage capability it’ll fortunately include your Windows set up in addition to your most oft-played video games. View Deal

Western Digital has been a stalwart within the platter HDD world for a lot of lengthy years now. Its foray into the SSD market has proven an inherent competency in offering smart, consumer-friendly storage. The new SN850 exhibits simply how far that competency has prolonged into the newest technology of PCIe interface. Though it isn’t with out its faults, this M.2 type issue NVMe drive is a velocity demon, made quicker by a Gaming Mode you possibly can toggle on or off within the firm’s built-in SSD Dashboard software program. 

Of course, kicking it into overdrive additionally means cranking up the warmth, which, in accordance with Western Digital, necessitates the usage of a thermal heatsink. Sold individually, the heatsink mannequin comes at one thing of a premium, however the firm claims its “passive cooling features” support with ushering in “optimal levels of performance.”

In common use, it is virtually as quick because the 970 Evo Plus. For probably the most intense workloads, Samsung wins out, however avid gamers aren’t prone to fall into that person class. Several different drives use the identical SM2262EN controller, which regularly means related efficiency (e.g., the Mushkin Pilot-E). 

Seagate FireCuda 530 SSD on a grey background

(Image credit score: Seagate`)

3. Seagate Firecuda 530

A speedy PCIe 4.0 SSD that may final and final

Capacity : 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, or 4TB | Controller: Phison PS5018-E18 controller | Memory: Micron 176L TLC NAND | Interface: M.2 PCIe 4.0 x4 | Seq. learn: 7,300 MB/s | Seq. write: 6,900 MB/s

All spherical nice efficiency
Excellent endurance rankings
One of the dearer PCIe 4.0 drives
Lacks AES 256-bit encryption

Our favourite Seagate Firecuda 530 config:

Best NVMe SSD for gaming in 2022

Seagate Firecuda 530 2TB | 7,300 MB/s learn | 6,900 MB/s write
The 2TB model is the model to go for; it offers you the best straight efficiency and an astounding endurance stage. The model with the attractive EKWB heatsink is a bit more costly, but when you do not have built-in SSD cooling in your motherboard it is value going for.View Deal

We’ve been ready in anticipation for the discharge of Seagate’s FireCuda 530 sequence of PCIe 4.0 NVMe drives. And we will fortunately state that It’s undoubtedly time so as to add Seagate to the checklist of producers able to making prime tier SSDs. The Seagate FireCuda 530 is at the least the equal of any SSD in the marketplace.

The Seagate FireCuda 530 2TB is a 2280 (80mm size) M.2 drive. It combines brand-new Micron 176-Layer TLC NAND with a Phison PS5018-E18 controller. Micron claims that its 176L TLC NAND is the most effective within the trade with a 30% smaller die measurement and a 35% enchancment in learn and write latency over its earlier technology 96L NAND.

The 2TB FireCuda 530’s rated sequential learn and write velocity is 7300/6900 MB/s, and that’s pushing the bounds of a PCIe 4.0 x4 interface. For customers wanting on the different capacities, the 4TB drive has the identical ranking whereas the smaller 1TB and 500GB drives are rated for 7300/6000 MB/s and 7000/3000 MB/s respectively. 

So, how does it carry out? If Seagate hopes to promote a drive that prices greater than the established SN850 and 980 Pro then it has to ship, and it does. The newest Phison E18 drives sometimes excel at sequential learn and write duties, however are inclined to path in random efficiency, and notably random learn duties and IOPS, which is necessary for gaming efficiency. 

Apart from the PCMark 10 storage exams, the FireCuda 530 both matches or beats the large bois of the storage world, and while you add its main sequential efficiency and endurance ranking, the Seagate 530 is at the least the equal of any shopper SSD in the marketplace. 

We document temperatures all through our testing making be aware of the peaks. The drive is left to run ‘naked’ with a Noctua fan over the world to maintain issues cool. The 2TB FireCuda 530 reached a peak of 71C, which makes it a reasonably toasty drive, although we by no means noticed any throttling throughout our prolonged testing. Though you’ll both need good airflow or an efficient motherboard heatsink to maintain issues in test.

As a serious participant within the storage trade, I anticipate Seagate doubtless wrestled with the choice to carry again on releasing its greatest SSDs till it might embrace 176L NAND and steal the headlines. For me, the choice was completely value it. Class main sequential efficiency and a surprising endurance ranking is joined by wonderful random learn and write efficiency. 

All up this elevates the Seagate FireCuda 530 to the pinnacle of the pack. It will make a terrific C drive, it’ll hold a considerable game library or you would use it as a scratch disk for giant information units that have to be moved regularly. Feel free to thrash it with any type of workload.

Read our full Seagate Firecuda 530 2TB evaluation.

Samsung 970 Evo Plus 1TB at an angle on a blank background

(Image credit score: Samsung)

4. Samsung 970 Evo Plus 1TB

The greatest NVMe SSD for PCIe 3.0 velocity

Capacity: 250 GB, 500 GB, 1 TB, or 2 TB | Controller: Samsung Phoenix | Memory: Samsung 3-bit MLC | Interface: M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 | Seq. learn: 3,400 MB/s | Seq. write: 3,300 MB/s

One of the quickest PCIe 3.0 SSDs
Decent endurance
Classic Samsung reliability
Random throughput not on prime type

Our favorite Samsung 970 EVO Plus config:

Best NVMe SSD for gaming in 2022

Samsung 970 EVO Plus 500GB | 3,500MB/s learn | 3,200MB/s write
Samsung can all the time be relied upon to ship nice SSDs, and the 970 EVO Plus is the most effective half terabyte SSD round. It delivers speeds on par with larger capability drives and can nonetheless ship a hefty chunk of storage together with that Samsung seal of high quality.View Deal

There was a time it was onerous to beat Samsung SSDs within the high-performance M.2 NVMe house, however with the shift in the direction of PCIe 4.0 drives, we have seen the likes of Western Digital and Sabrent take the mantle ahead. But PCIe 4.0 SSDs are nonetheless costly, and again within the final technology, Samsung nonetheless has some improbable drives. The Samsung 970 Evo Plus remains to be one of many quickest PCIe 3.0 M.2 drives round.

Like the 970 Pro, the newer 970 Evo Plus charges nicely for endurance, which bodes nicely for its longevity; the 1TB mannequin is rated for 600TB of writes over 5 years or a whopping 329GB of writes per day. You’d must refill after which wipe the drive each three days to handle that many writes, which is not a shopper and even prosumer workload. For reference, the SSD I’ve used probably the most nonetheless solely has 40TB of writes after 4 years.

The 500GB and 2TB fashions are actually value if you need a lower cost or extra capability, respectively. But for many customers, the 1TB drive strikes the candy spot between efficiency, capability, although Samsung’s drive remains to be fairly expensive.

Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 2TB

(Image credit score: Sabrent)

5. Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 2TB

The greatest worth second-gen PCIe 4.0 SSD you should buy

Capacity: 1 TB, 2 TB, or 4 TB | Controller: Phison PS5018-E18 | Flash: Micron B27 96-layer TLC | Interface: M.2 PCIe 4.0 x4 | Seq. learn: 7,100 MB/s | Seq. write: 6,600 MB/s

Strong artificial throughput
Speedy real-world efficiency
Runs cool
No the quickest round

Our favourite Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus config:

Best NVMe SSD for gaming in 2022

Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 2TB | 7,100MB/s learn | 6,600MB/s write
High capability SSDs are costly, notably the newest PCIe 4.0 drives. But the Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus is without doubt one of the quickest round, and but remains to be not an enormous quantity dearer than an equal PCIe 3.0 2TB SSD.View Deal

The Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus is the primary drive to make use of the brand new Phison E18 controller. This is the observe as much as the immensely common Phison E16 controller present in principally each first-gen PCIe 4.0 drive. No, severely, that is the controller you will discover in every part from the Corsair MP600 to the Gigabyte Aorus to the Addlink S90 in addition to loads of Sabrent’s drives.

This new Phison E18 controller ups the ante considerably, providing sequential throughput of as much as 7,100MB/s reads and 6,600MB/s writes. The theoretical limits of the interface are 8GB/s for each, so these figures aren’t far off how briskly you possibly can anticipate PCIe 4.0 to go. It’s extremely quick principally, and on paper at the least, the quickest drive to be launched up to now.

Sabrent’s newest drive impresses nearly effortlessly, particularly in relation to the artificial throughput. The sequential learn and write figures in each benchmarks are spectacular, nevertheless it’s the write efficiency that stands out most, leaving the competitors consuming mud. The Samsung 980 Pro specifically actually struggles to sustain with the Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus.

As we have seen with earlier drives, this artificial throughput would not all the time translate to the true world, and that is partly the case right here. While the copying of 30GB of recordsdata (a Steam game set up made up of a number of tiny recordsdata in addition to a couple of chunky ones), is available in competitively at 2 minutes and 16 seconds (equating to 225MB/s). 

The PCMark 10 storage exams are a bit extra off the tempo although, with each the Full and Quick benchmarks displaying the Sabrent lagging behind the Samsung 980 Pro and the WD Black SN850. The Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers benchmark loaded the degrees in simply over seven and a half seconds, which is notably faster than the primary technology drives, though behind the WD Black SN850.

This remains to be a quick drive, make no mistake, however the promise of these class-leading artificial learn and write speeds do not fairly translate to class-leading real-world efficiency. It’s not far off the tempo, and your personal utilization instances could have this within the lead—particularly if you could write out lots of massive recordsdata—however for day-to-day gaming, it has to make do with fifth place.

Read our full Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus evaluation.

Best gaming keyboard | Best gaming mouse | Best SSD for gaming
Best VR headset | Best graphics playing cards | Best CPU for gaming

Photograph of the Crucial P5 Plus 1TB SSD on a light grey background.

(Image credit score: Future)

4. Crucial P5 Plus

The most inexpensive PCIe 4.0 drive round

Capacity: 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB | Controller: Crucial PCIe 4.0 Gen | Memory: Micron 176-layer TLC flash | Interface: M.2 PCIe 4.0 x4 | Seq. learn: 6,600MB/s | Seq. write: 5,000MB/s

Micron’s newest 176-layer TLC NAND reminiscence
In-house eight-channel PCIe 4.0 controller
Five-year guarantee
Mediocre 4K random entry efficiency
Runs a tad toasty

Our favourite Crucial P5 Plus config:

Best NVMe SSD for gaming in 2022

Crucial P5 Plus | 6,600MB/s learn | 5,000MB/s write
The 1TB model of the P5 Plus will ship impressively excessive sequential learn/write numbers, particularly if you happen to’re coming from a straight PCIe 3.0 SSD. And roughly for a similar worth. Even if you happen to’re presently not working a PCIe 4.0 suitable motherboard, this drive will drop in for a terrific worth and ship excessive efficiency out of the field.View Deal

Cheaper options

Samsung 870 QVO 1TB SSD front and back

(Image credit score: Samsung)

Though NVMe SSD pricing has dropped, excessive capability SATA drives generally is a great spot to retailer your ever-growing Steam library. The greatest SSD on your gaming PC should be an inexpensive, high-capacity SATA drive immediately.

It’s over two years because the very first M.2 drives with PCIe Gen 4 interfaces appeared. But solely now could be Crucial rocking up with its personal competitor with the Crucial P5 Plus. Of course, it’s additionally solely comparatively not too long ago that Intel launched a PCIe 4.0 succesful desktop platform, particularly Rocket Lake. Even now, the proportion of present PCs with Gen 4 functionality is small and loads of new desktops are nonetheless being bought with out assist.

Consequently, the Crucial P5 Plus isn’t simply the model’s first PCIe Gen 4 drive. It additionally will get Micron’s newest TLC or triple-level-cell flash reminiscence. The new 176-layer NAND chips are mentioned to be a serious improve over Micron’s acquainted 96-layer flash. They’re claimed to supply decrease latency, extra throughput, and higher endurance. In different phrases, higher by just about each metric.

As for the minor matter of how this drive truly performs, it’s undoubtedly good for the claimed peak sequentials, with writes completely useless on the 5,000MB/s determine in CrystalDiskMark and reads barely larger at over 6,800MB/s. Slightly much less invigorating are the quick queue depth 4K random numbers. The QD1 reads are a mere 69MB/s and the writes are available at 174MB/s.

These aren’t catastrophic outcomes. But by means of instance, WD’s Black SN850 returns round 90MB/s and 315MB/s, respectively, and each different PCIe 4.0 drive we’ve examined is at the least somewhat faster.

Of course, synthetics like that solely inform a part of the story. In PC Mark, the Crucial P5 Plus nets 3,140 factors within the Full Storage Index, which is without doubt one of the best performances we’ve seen. On the opposite hand, the P5 Plus didn’t precisely excel within the Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers stage load take a look at.

If there’s a extra substantial query mark, it issues the associated subjects of long-term sustained efficiency and thermals. During our inside file copy take a look at, we discovered efficiency dropped off after round 300GB of writes, which in all probability displays the scale of the dynamically allotted SLC cache. However, there was additionally a brief blip after 200GB/s which can have been thermal throttling. In our testing, the P5 Plus hit 69°C, which is pretty toasty.

While it’s hardly an overheating basket case of an SSD, this drive clearly has no cooling to talk of. So, we wouldn’t be completely assured about its thermal efficiency because the drive ages. It’s unlikely to get higher with use, that’s for certain. 

Overall, the Crucial P5 Plus is actually attractively priced for a PCIe Gen 4 drive with high quality TLC moderately than low-cost QLC flash reminiscence, undercutting most if not the entire competitors—and by an honest margin in comparison with the priciest drives just like the WD Black. In that context, have been we feeling notably price-sensitive, we’d in all probability suck up our minor issues over working temps and IOPS efficiency.

Read our full Crucial P5 Plus evaluation.

A collection of modern M.2 NVMe SSDs on a grey background

(Image credit score: Future)


How can we take a look at NVMe SSDs?

We put each SSD we get within the PC Gamer labs by their paces in varied benchmarks made up of a mixture of artificial exams and real-world purposes. To confirm a drives sequential throughput, we use ATTO SSD Benchmark for compressible information (a best-case situation) and AS SSD for incompressible information (extra life like). We additionally take a look at random throughput with AS SSD and a mix of CrystalDiskMark 7.0 and Anvil Pro. 

When it involves the real-world exams, we time how lengthy it takes to repeat a 30GB game set up throughout the drive and use PCMark10 and Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers, which features a stage load take a look at. We additionally test working temperatures to make sure that the drive is not getting too sizzling and throttling.

Can I match an NVMe SSD on my motherboard?

The M.2 socket has been included on motherboards of every kind for a few years now, so the probabilities are that there is a spare slot sitting inside your present gaming PC. Check out your motherboard’s specs web page on-line earlier than pulling the set off on an NVMe SSD buy, although, to make sure. Those harboring a board that is a couple of years previous now, do your self a favor and ensure it helps booting from an NVMe drive first. Not all older motherboards do, particularly if you happen to’re going again a number of CPU generations (possibly a full improve’s due, in that case).

What is NVMe, precisely?

The NVMe, or Non-Volatile Memory Express interface, has been designed particularly with stable state drives in thoughts. In distinction, SATA, the earlier interface in cost, was constructed to cater to most HDDs. The thought is, on the time, that no storage would ever must exceed its lofty max bandwidth. To the shock of some, new storage mediums akin to stable state completely blaze previous SATA’s max bandwidth, and so a brand new protocol in NVMe was born. 

That makes NVMe SSDs the proper storage tech for gaming. 

Running on the identical fundamental interface as your graphics card, NVMe SSDs ship extra uncooked bandwidth and efficiency than any SATA-based SSD might ever provide. They’re additionally loads smaller than every other onerous drive or SSD too, which all implies that the most effective NVMe SSDs are excellent for both that small type issue construct you all the time needed or a monstrous high-end gaming PC construct. 

What’s so particular about NVMe?

The previous storage paradigm was constructed on the thought of spinning disks. When SSDs hit the mainstream shopper market again in 2007, they reset our expectations for storage. Moving from the mechanical world of onerous drives to the silicon world of SSDs introduced fast enhancements in efficiency, expertise, capacities, and reliability. SSDs shortly saturated the varied SATA connections, and so quicker options have been wanted, however the interface was solely a part of the issue.

The AHCI (Advanced Host Controller Interface) command protocol was designed for a lot slower media (i.e., spinning magnetic disks). AHCI is inefficient with trendy SSDs, so a brand new normal was developed: NVMHCI (Non-Volatile Memory Host Controller Interface). Combine NVMHCI with a quick PCIe interface, and you’ve got NVMe, Non-Volatile Memory Express. It’s a much-improved interface developed across the wants of flash reminiscence moderately than spinning disks.

What’s NVMe efficiency like in the true world?

If you are copying a game from one drive to a different or validating game recordsdata in Steam, quicker NVMe drives make a distinction. They can even shave off a second or two when it comes time to load a game stage, however the extra vital distinction is towards onerous drives, where even a slower SATA SSD is far quicker. Go past a sure level, and all SSDs begin to really feel related.

In different phrases, whereas the velocity freak in me loves what NVMe brings to the desk, I acknowledge that in apply, it is normally not that noticeable. If you are seeking to get probably the most out of your cash when it comes time to construct a gaming PC, good SATA SSDs stay a superb choice, with costs now falling beneath 10 cents per GB.

NVMe drives have gotten more and more commonplace, and costs proceed to drop. In the previous yr, I’ve examined much more NVMe drives than SATA drives, primarily as a result of SATA drives are all beginning to look the identical. Most hit the identical ~550MB/s restrict of the SATA interface for sequential IO, although random IO can nonetheless be a bit problematic on some fashions. With funds NVMe costs now matching SATA drives, most new builds ought to severely contemplate whether or not the additional energy and information cables of SATA are mandatory.