Continuing my slow build of a powerful new PC gaming rig, this month it’s SSD time.

SSDs are still hugely expensive compared to traditional hard drives but they are at least within affordable limits, particularly when you factor in the speed benefits. Most importantly, you can finally get a decent 256GB SSD for under £100, which wasn’t possibly last year.

Given that Titanfall and Wolfenstein are both 50GB installers, a 256GB drive for gaming is really the absolute minimum – and note that I’m using this drive purely for gaming, I’m not installing the OS on it (that’s on a separate, smaller SSD I bought last year).

So, having rummaged about it seemed that the best option by far was to go for the Samsung 840 EVO 256GB SSD, which over at at the time of purchasing was about £93 (it appears to have gone back up to £98 now, so keep an eye on it). This is for the bare bones version, so it doesn’t include a mounting bracket or cables. Handily I already had a spare SATA cable, and I don’t even bother to mount SSDs properly – I just have them sitting loose in the case. One of the benefits of a drive with no moving parts.

One thing to note is that with my current build I can’t get maximum performance from the SSD, as my motherboard has an old version of SATA. Once I get a new mobo later in the year I’ll actually unlock up to twice the data rate, which means this new SSD is nicely future-proofed, and I’m not even seeing its full potential yet.

Thoughts, anybody?


Josh Davies · May 12, 2014 at 2:02 pm

On my beastly home game system I don’t bother with an SSD for game installs… I just have a nice fast LARGE HD and it seems more than fast enough with games launching nearly as fast as they do off the SSD itself. Past a certain point a lot of the stuff which slows down games when loading isn’t down to pure IO bandwidth anyway.

    Simon Jones · May 12, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    Yeah it varies from game to game. I’ve seen noticeable loading improvements in Witcher 2 and Source games, also Guild Wars 2. Other games it makes no difference. The rest of my system is where the bottlenecks are now.

Ben Norris (@Norro21) · May 12, 2014 at 9:18 pm

The current intel boards can all use an SSD as a cache drive for a big normal drive automagically so you can get the best of both worlds with no hassle. I use that and then a 2nd larger SSD for stuff I want to put on one manually. Game loading doesn’t benefit too much because their resources are packed to be sequentially read anyway.

Simon Jones · May 12, 2014 at 10:39 pm

Interesting, didn’t know that, Ben.

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