Gamers face numerous choices when it comes to upgrading their gaming  desktops or laptops. Is it time to buy or build a new gaming rig — or would  simply upgrading an existing machine suffice? As they debate that question,  they must factor in hardware components. To get the best performance and to  future-proof their investment, the central processing unit (CPU), graphics  card and memory all matter. But one thing gamers might not know is that  storage speed, and the type and size of storage hardware, are also just as  important. 

Here’s why read/write speed for gaming does matter and why solid state drives (SSDs) are better than conventional hard disk drives (HDDs) for the  best gaming experience. 

What is read/write speed?

Read/write speed measures the performance of storage drives. The read  speed measures how fast a drive can “read” or access files stored in it, while the write speed measures how fast a drive saves information, according to How-To Geek. Sequential read/write speeds are typically measured by  megabytes per second (MB/s). 

Does SSD speed matter for gaming? 

Read/write speed matters a lot in gaming. A fast read speed in storage drives enables faster load times, smoother scene transitions and a better overall gaming  experience, while a fast write speed enables gamers to save their games faster. 

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For example, some games have discrete save points or periodically save the  state of a character or missions during gameplay without gamer input. The  faster the write speed, the more seamless it is. 

SSDs use flash memory for storage and don’t have mechanical moving parts  like HDDs do. As a result, SSDs offer significantly faster read/write speeds  than HDDs and are more reliable, quieter and more energy efficient. 

SSDs like Samsung 990 PRO boot up systems and load games significantly  faster than HDDs. That means less time spent waiting to launch a game, less  time waiting for scenes to load in the middle of gameplay and less lag. These  advantages become even more essential as game publishers increasingly design games optimized for SSDs, and as games get larger in size with game  developers building more immersive game environments with better  graphics. 

While HDDs are typically cheaper and have a maximum capacity of 22TB,  SSDs have lowered in price in recent years and have increased capacity to up  to 4TB — that’s more than enough capacity to house a collection of games that  have begun to reach and exceed 100GB in size, according to ZDNet

What is a good read/write speed for gaming?

To put it simply, the faster the speed, the better the performance — and SSDs  offer the best read/write speed for gaming. 

For example, PCIe® SSD drives reach read/write speeds of 3,500 to 7,000 MB/s,  while the fastest HDDs top out at 250 MB/s, according to a recent PCMag article

New SSDs, which are built using the NVMe® protocol, are significantly faster because they are purpose-built for flash memory and directly connect to CPUs  via the PCIe interface. But even the slowest SSDs, which use the SATA  interface, are still double the speed of the fastest HDDs, according to PCMag

SSDs speed the load times of games by up to 60 percent compared to high performance HDDs, according to Eurogamer. In fact, the map loading time for  Luminous Productions’ forthcoming Forspoken game takes just one second on the Samsung 990 PRO, compared with four seconds on a SATA SSD and 28 seconds on an HDD. 

Choosing your SSD for gaming 

Samsung NVMe-based 990 PRO is the best SSD for gaming on PCs and the  PlayStation 5. The Non-Volatile Memory Express  (NVMe) SSD delivers sequential read/write speeds of 7,450/6900 MB/s  and random read/write speeds of 1,400K and 1,550K IOPS. That results in a  55 percent improvement in random performance over its predecessor, the  Samsung 980 PRO, and is 13.3 times faster than a SATA SSD. 

990 PRO comes in the compact M.2 form factor and uses the PCle® 4.0  interface. It provides the large storage capacity gamers need (1TB and 2TB with a 4TB version available in 2023) and is energy efficient. The new controller from Samsung improves SSD power efficiency by up to 50 percent compared to 980 PRO. 

Samsung 990 PRO also features thermal control solutions to keep the drive at  an optimal temperature to ensure uninterrupted gameplay. It features a nickel coating on the controller and a heat spreader label on the  drive for reliable thermal management. Samsung’s Dynamic Thermal Guard  technology also monitors the operating temperature and adjusts performance  on the fly to ensure the device doesn’t overheat. In addition, Samsung offers a  version of 990 PRO with Heatsink technology, which dissipates heat to  prevent performance drops from overheating. 

Today’s demanding games require powerful and fast computing resources,  including high-performance SSDs — and Samsung 990 PRO is the ideal SSD choice for gaming available today. It delivers the fast speeds, large storage  capacity, power efficiency and reliability that gamers need. 

Find the right solid state drive that fits your gaming needs today, and get your free white paper on how over-provisioning of SSDs can increasingly improve  memory performance. 

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Wylie Wong

Wylie Wong is a journalist and freelance writer specializing in technology, business and sports. He previously worked at CNET, Computerworld and CRN, and loves covering and learning about the advances and ever-changing dynamics of the technology industry.

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