If you’re making a gaming rig, you should be considering what type of drive you’ll be using.
There was a time when the only option you had was a hard disk drive, or HDD, but you now have a solid-state drive (SSD) to consider.
Which is Better?
SSD drives will win in performance, and they’re becoming cheaper, too. In terms of pure storage and price, HDD drives still have the advantage.
Why SSD is Best for Gaming
Loading times are where SSDs win every time.
You’ll load everything from your operating system to your games faster with an SSD.
As a result, you’ll have less wait time on loading screens, and normally, you can expect your software and games to load 2 – 3 times faster with an SSD.
There’s a big debate on lifespan for an HDD or SSD, and while an SSD doesn’t have moving parts, they do use flash memory.
Over time, this will degrade, with a lot of people suggesting that they will last 5 years before issues arise.
Newer technology is helping SSDs last longer, but there’s no guarantee that any drive will last 5 – 30 years. There are too many factors to consider.
Price-wise, HDDs and SSDs are coming closer in price, but SSDs are still more expensive.
Factoring in everything else, it’s easy to see why SSDs are preferred over their HDD counterparts. These drives are:
- Quieter. Solid-state drives don’t have moving parts, so there’s no noise production. HDDs, on the other hand, can become noisy, and with age, the noise will be louder and may also indicate disk damage. RPMs will also determine how loud the HDD is. If you’re immersed in a game and audio is vital to your experience, the SSD will win every time.
- Performance. SSDs are the clear winner across the board for performance. We’ll break down the statistics clearly below, but the SSD is often multiple times faster and more efficient.
If you’re playing the latest Assassin’s Creed title or any game, this is why you’ll want to choose an SSD over an HHD:
- Access times of 0.1ms versus 5.5 – 8ms
- Random I/O can be written at 6000 a second versus 400 a second
- Failure rates are just 0.5% for an SSD versus HDDs that have as 2%+ failure rate
- CPU power for an SSD is just 1% versus 7%
You can even back-up an SSD 3-4 times faster than its HDD counterpart. For anyone that has a lot of games, backup speed should be something to consider.
The only drawback is the price and storage limits of SSDs, but we’re seeing improvements in these areas.
Prices are starting to fall, and storage is starting to increase, with 1TB – 2TB options available.
We’re also seeing the solid-state hybrid drive, or SSHDs.
But the SSHD has a small component of SSD and the capacity of the HDD. Are they better? They have their upside, but the small SSD allows for faster speeds for certain operations and not really intense games. You can find out more about what is a hybrid hard drive here.
Other Things to Consider Aside from SSD vs HDD
Drive speed and capacity are important, but they’re not the only things that can hold your gaming rig back from performing well.
You can have an SSD and it will definitely help with loading times, but performance will still be limited by:
If your CPU or GPU are too old, you will have performance thresholds that no one component will be able to overcome.
Related: Is your CPU bottle-necking your GPU?
The perfect gaming computer will consider all components, and the graphics card will be the most important.
In addition, the CPU will handle much of the actual gameplay processing. Furthermore, the memory will help alleviate some of the processing demands on the CPU.
Read also: How to overlclock your CPU
But your SSD will be also very important because that’s where a lot of the game lives.
Your CPU will need to access all of the files for the game to display the information on your screen.
When running an SSD, the CPU will be able to run more optimally, allowing for information to be pulled and displayed to the screen faster.
Since storage is often the slowest component when gaming, it is a great idea to try and maximize your storage speeds with an SSD to improve game speeds and load times.