I have used SSDs for a while now and the question I see many newer PC builders asking is whether or not SSDs are really worth the higher cost. So I took it upon myself to lay out all the facts for and against SSDs to decide.
Are SSDs worth it? SSDs are worth it for most people if you are looking for significantly faster load times and are able to pay the premium.
In this article, we will provide support for why SSDs are worth it using performance benchmarks I did on my PC as well as talking about why HDDs may still have a place in your system.
Are SSDs Worth It?
Yes, SSDs are worth it because they have substantially better performance and come in a variety of sizes that can appeal to most PC builders looking for storage.
In fact, my SSD is only 500GB which is more than enough to store my operating system as well as my favorite game.
By putting Windows 10 on my SSD, I was able to boot up my computer MUCH FASTER than if I had put it on an HDD which would take a very long time to boot up.
Not to mention any productivity apps or especially games you put on your SSD can also load much faster which gives you a much better overall experience.
Performance Benchmarks And What It All Means
Let’s take a look at the read/write speeds of both of my HDDs and the SSD. The (D:) drive HDD and (C:) drive SSD are about 2 years old. The (E:) drive HDD is about 11 months old now.
I was originally going to include only the first two storage drives but after seeing the difference in speed between the (E:) and (D:) I figured it was worth including in this article.
If you are on mobile you will have to scroll horizontally to see the other drive.
|Results||SSD (C:)||HDD (D:)||HDD (E:)|
|Sequential Read (MB/s)||556||117||158|
|Sequential Write (MB/s)||330||116||180|
|Random Read (IOPS)||72753||166||244|
|Random Write (IOPS)||67626||244||244|
|Storage Used||371GB/500GB||3.11TB/4TB||1.14 TB/4TB|
Some of you may already know what this all means but for people that look at this scratching their head wondering how it affects them, let me break this down.
Starting with Read speed, this is the time it takes for the storage drive to open a file on your computer.
Write speed is how long it takes for your storage drive to place something on your computer.
Together they complete the process of storing all your files, opening and reading them and writing new things when it is necessary.
When benchmarking there are two categories that are measured in read/write speed and that is Sequential and Random.
Sequential is the easier task for the storage drive as it gets to complete a task one after another all in order or in other words sequentially. This is usually one large file. If you had a movie it would fall under this category.
Random is the much harder task because it challenges the drive to seek all around your drive in no particular order, typically these are a large number of smaller files which is where your OS bootup falls under.
The more powerful your storage drive is in speed, the faster your storage drive is able to complete its tasks.
How Does This Impact Gaming?
The most obvious benefit of using an SSD to store games is getting much shorter loading screens.
SSDs can make loading screens shorter by up to 50 seconds, typically though the time to reduce is much lower, but it depends on the game.
Here is one of many videos that tested the three most popular storage drive types at the moment, showing how much faster the SSD is:
Some people may see these seconds, but if you’re like me it feels like hours! If the boot screen taking significantly shorter isn’t enough then surely you can appreciate loading every game you play much faster.
Then again, the primary drawback here is that you don’t get to read those helpful loading screen tips like “to walk press W”.
Will An SSD Improve FPS?
No, SSDs will improve your loading times by quite a bit in several games but they do not impact the FPS.
If you are looking to improve your FPS, you should check out our article on can CPUs affect FPS and which part really does the heavy lifting.
SSDs main function is to store, and by doing that better than the HDD it allows it to do its job better however FPS are impacted by other parts.
Why HDDs Will Always Have a Place In Gaming?
As games like Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare grow to enormous sizes like 240GB and other games like RDR2 and Gears Of War also eclipse 100GB there is no doubt we still need HDDs.
There is no better storage to cost ratio on the market than HDDs you can get 4TB of storage for less than $100 which is essential to any PC!
There is only so much that an SSD can store, especially if you are on a budget and get anything less than 500GB.
Your OS will take up a good amount of space, and so will many of the files that you accumulate on your SSD. In addition, any of your favorite software or games will take up a fair amount of space as well.
Like any storage drive, the prices come down as the latest technology continues to release, however, at the moment SSDs are at a much higher price point.
For the cost of 4TB in HDD you can only get 1TB of SSD and you still will have to spend a little extra.
SSDs may have an overwhelming performance advantage but HDDs still have an overwhelming price to storage advantage.
Which like most tech related topics brings us to the great debate with two sides: better performance or better storage capacity. A question that can only be decided by you.
Which Is The Best SSD To Get and How You Can Balance Your Build
I am a fan of not compromising when it comes to storage devices. In this debate, I say you should take the ultimate side of getting both!
Have an SSD for your operating system and an HDD for all of your games and miscellaneous files. I recommend getting a 500GB SSD still just so you have plenty of room for your core files and OS.
There would also be more than enough room for things like your favorite apps and maybe one or two of your most played games.
Then for the HDD, I would recommend that you get a 2TB storage drive as that is more than enough to store tons of files as well as a multitude of games.
You may run out of room eventually on your HDD, but if you reach that point you can always uninstall games you haven’t played or just get another larger HDD to accompany it.
My SSD Recommendation
For the SSD I would recommend the Samsung 860 EVO, which is the SSD I use and it is highly reliable while maintaining fast speeds.
I also like their Samsung Magician software as it is very simple to use and the interface has everything clearly organized so nothing has been hard for me to find.
There are cheaper brands available, however, cheaper isn’t always better and you can run the risk with some other brands of not getting an SSD that is reliable.
If you want to check out the exact SSD that I have which was used in the benchmarks above, check out the Samsung 860 EVO here (link to amazon).
Now you know that SSDs can be a huge help in improving the loading screen times in video games as well as a look at how storage drive benchmarks work.
If you want to get the most out of several games and have the extra money in the build budget, go for a larger SSD like 1TB.
Then for some, an HDD might be good enough, and the higher storage price and low cost are more appealing which I completely understand.
I get the appeal of both of them which is why I always budget for getting both and if you are able to I recommend you do the same.