As a gamer, you may be tempted to spend money on items like tricked-out gaming chairs and top-of-the-line monitors. While these are worthwhile upgrades, if you don’t invest in the right storage solutions, such as solid state drives (SSD), your gaming experience could suffer.

While SSDs are more expensive than traditional spinning hard disk drives (HDDs), experts still say the upgrade is worth it, even with the extra investment.

SSDs are also crucial for esports. Riot Games, for example, tapped into SSDs for its League Championship Series to effectively avoid the hardware-related interruptions that come with traditional spinning disk media. For them, the boost from the technology is irrefutable.

So, what exactly are the key differences between SSDs and HHDs, and why is upgrading to SSD worth it for gamers?

HHDs: Life in the slow(er) lane

The main difference between SSDs and HHDs is their inherent architecture. HHDs are mechanical devices that use an actuator arm to read and write data on a spinning magnetic drive. The actuator/disk combo resembles a record player, where the arm moves across the disk to write, find and read the data before transferring it to the central processing unit (CPU).

SSDs, on the other hand, don’t have moving parts. Instead, the data is written on flash memory. Therefore, the device is able to write and read data significantly faster than HHD devices can, creating less lag and jitter during gaming. You don’t have to wait long for a game to load whenever you move into a new in-game environment, and you don’t have to play with slow-to-render graphics.

SSDs also make gameplay more responsive. When you move the controller to walk or run forward, for instance, the controller and the movement in the game will remain in sync, leading to better gameplay and less frustration. In addition, you don’t have to worry about SSDs being bogged down with file fragmentation, which can happen with HDDs as files are written to different non-sequential areas on the HDD spinning disk.

SSDs: The Reliability Gamers Need

It’s clear there are various estimates for how much faster SSDs are than HHDs due to connectivity, size and processing power. For example, from a pure access standpoint, SSDs have surpassed traditional HDDs in terms of speed. SSDs like the Samsung 870 EVO can record over 500 MB/s, which is over twice as much as HDDs’ read/write speeds. Gamers can also take full advantage of the Samsung 980 PRO , which showcases around 7,000 and 5,100 MB/s read/write speeds in a compact M.2 2280 form factor.

However, with great speed comes a slightly higher price tag. Currently, SSDs can cost about five times the amount of HDDs, but experts say they can go as low as three times more depending on form factor and capacity.

Either way, the numbers can be misleading — SSD users end up saving money in the long run since they use less energy and fail significantly less often than HDDs. The spinning disk inside an HDD must be powered up every time the device needs to read or write, which ultimately wears them out. With no moving parts, SSDs are less likely to experience the mechanical failures that HDDs often have. They’ve also proven to be more equipped to handle drops and jostling, and they’re intended to last longer than HDDs.

Overall, after weighing the cost, speed, reliability, and gameplay potential for each device, it’s clear that SSDs just make more sense, and gamers will likely find that the investment is well worth it.

To learn more about the use of SSDs in the gaming world, check out how Samsung’s SSDs support a better gaming experience here.

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Karen Stealey

Karen J. Stealey is a veteran business, health, lifestyle and technology journalist with a wide range of publishing experience. Her tech and business work has appeared in Forbes, BusinessWeek Online, Adweek, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, MyBusiness Magazine, Government Computer News, Workforce Management, CFO, Crain's New York and Crain's BtoB.

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