How to choose the perfect storage drive

Internal storage drives within a PC determine how much data can be stored and at what speed it can be accessed. In the case of a gaming PC, this will impact the number of games you can have installed at once and how fast these, often very large, games load. For example the 2018 Call of Duty version occupied 80GB of drive space - in contrast the 2019 version requires 175GB. Therefore, it is easy to see that fast, high capacity storage is essential in most gaming PC builds. There are two main types of drive - hard disk drives (HDDs) with spinning disk platters, and solid state drives (SSDs) with no moving parts.

Gaming PC Storage Drives

High performance storage for
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HDD SSD COMPARISON
Perfomance up to 2000MB/sec More than 5000MB/sec SSDs up to 25x Faster
Access Time 5-8ms 0.1ms SSDs have almost no latency
Reliability 2-5% failure rate 0.5% failure rate SSDs much more reliable
Resiliance Susceptible to vibrations No moving parts SSDs much safer to install in laptops
Energy Use 6-15W 2-5W SDD much more energy efficient
Noise 20 - 40dB Silent No Noise from SSD
Capacity Up to 15TB Up to 15TB Similar to maximum capacity
Cost £-££ ££-£££ SSD more expensive at high capacity

From the above table, it is clear to see that an SSD out-performs an HDD in every attribute and so is the technology of choice for gaming PCs. However, there is a considerable cost difference between SSDs and HDDs. For this reason we recommend installing your most performance sensitive data, such as Windows and games on an SSD, and bulky data such as music and videos on an HDD as these won’t benefit from the faster performance of the SSD.

There are a number of SSD size options to choose from the large 2.5in and 3.5in formats to tiny M.2 drives that connect directly to the motherboard.

Alongside the size options there are also a number of SSD interface choices too - SATA, U.2 NVMe and M.2 NVMe. SATA is the traditional PC drive interface and offers the slowest throughput, whereas the two NVMe types allow much faster transfer speeds, especially if using PCIe 4.0.

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Storage Drives


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Storage Drives - Internal

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120GB to 550GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSDs

M.2 replaced the older mSATA standard. Available in 120, 128, 240, 256, 480, 500 and 512GB sizes the M.2 SSD connects to your device via an M.2 socket using the newer PCI Express NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) controller variant designed to fully utilise the capability of high-speed PCI Express storage devices to perform many I/O (in/out) operations in parallel. These SSD's can achieve read speeds in excess of 3000MB/s and write speeds over 2000MB/s making them the fastest available.

View:
Tekspek An in-depth guide into tech: PCI Express SSDs SSD Form Factors

600GB to 4TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSDs

M.2 replaced the older mSATA standard. Available in 960GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB & 8TB sizes the M.2 SSD Connects to your device via an M.2 Socket using the newer PCI Express NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) controller variant designed to fully utilize the capability of high-speed PCI Express storage devices to perform many I/O (in/out) operations in parallel. These SSD's can achieve Read speeds in Excess of 3000MB/s and Write speeds over 2000MB/s making them the fastest available.

View:
Tekspek An in-depth guide into tech: SSD Form Factors