NVMe SSD recommendations for gaming

Hello everyone,

I’m parting out my next enthusiast-level build and I’d like a bit of help choosing my next NVMe drive. Requirements are as follows:

  • Use case is gaming
  • Gen4 preferred but not necessary
  • 1-2TB options for capacity
  • cMLC preferred, if possible
  • Price is not really a factor

A few options I’ve considered are:

  • Samsung 970 PRO
  • Samsung 980 PRO
  • SK Hynix P31 Gold
  • Intel Optane 905p
  • Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus


There is a recent thread here with a tier list:


SSD tier list
Johnny Lucky SSD Database

If the main use is gaming, all your options are overkill really. Not bad if you want the best, but a bit unnecessary. If price is no concern then my vote goes to the 980 Pro.

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I’ve commented on the forum post. It’s not really a tier list as its a compiled database of SSDs on the market.

I have a soft spot for the Samsung 970, Pro or EVO. Both are good.

I haven’t tried the 980 yet but I assume it will be great.

Otherwise, the absolute best and what I’m using in two systems now, but honestly not primarily for gaming, Intel Optane 905p PCIe cards. They’re like, 10x better at queue depth 1 IOPS than anything else except RAM drives.

Can’t really recommend Optane for gaming because the price to benefit is bad for that. But it really is the next level in storage performance.

Most gaming operations aren’t that dependent on NVMe performance so it hardly matters at the moment. I assume that after developers get used to the consoles streaming game assets directly into video RAM that will change. That hardly matters for now because to support that we’re going to need even newer drives than the Samsung 980. The generation after that will probably have programmable priority levels, automatic stream decompression and encryption.

I read somewhere NVMe server drives are going that way as part of the per-VM encrypted RAM. Encrypted NVMe straight to encrypted RAM using the same keys. And consoles too, for DRM. And then soon after that, full support in consumer systems.

So anyway whatever you get now there will be better, improved stuff in five years.


I did a little digging and I also saw mention of a SK Hynix P31 Platinum NVMe drive but only in a CES 2020 brief. That one also looked interesting.

Outside of loading screens I don’t experience much of a difference between NVMe and SATA SSDs to be honest.

If price is not a factor then get whatever is fastest? Probably with more emphasis on IOPS and random read speeds than sequential speed ratings.

Could RAID0 for extra speed and danger :grin:


Could always RAID0 across 4 drives. Basically play NVMe roulette.

I might just wait for benchmarks with the Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus as it features a new Phison E18 controller that uses NVMe 1.4.

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Hey, well for gaming there is no reason to go for a gen4 drive, I’d consider getting one of the overall best P/P options, like SX8200PRO or EX950, maybe Mushkin Pilot-E or team Z340.
You don’t need a commercial level flash for gaming, just get MLC/TLC.
Optane is a cache drive, I wouldn’t use it for storing files, that’s a waste of money.
As for your considered options, Hynix drives are solid options, Samsung generally is only worth getting if it’s used for productivity, aka it pays for itself, and well Sabrent is the cheap company a lot of people seem to like, personally, I don’t recommend getting Toshiba NAND as it’s unreliable, but all of the cheapest options on market use them.

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It initially was a tier list, but then it more of a went into more representative form and the plan is to give general recommendations with it and let the user decide what suits the needs.

That’s really fun :smiley:

I can already now tell you that it’s not worth waiting, Toshiba NAND, and it’s rumored to have QLC, so 2 big things to take into consideration before considering it as an option.

Well, we’ll have to see once it releases and we get more details/benchmarks.

will this be just games or the os as well? if its just for games grab a intel 665p and spend the money saved on more games. if its for the os as well then i’d look at the adata sx8200 pro (if budget matters) or a wd black or samsung 970 evo if its not super tight. the samsung 980’s (pcie 4.0) look to be much faster than the 970 (pcie 3.0) and all the phison e16 based nvme’s

I recently switched from a Samsung 960PRO to a Crucial MX500 s-ata SSD. Because I wanted to virtualize and passthrough some hardware, and it could only be done with a NVME drive, and I only have 1. My Ubuntu desktop felt a little bit snappier with the Samsung. Booting and starting applications is just a little bit slower with the Crucial.

I would choose Samsung for my next NVME SSD. The really deliver for real world performance. The Sabrent looks good in paper, but I don’t know if they really can outperform Samsung.

Intel Optane seems to be a internet hype to me. Nobody really has one and everybody repeats that is so great. But googling for reviews, the latest seem to be from 2018. I haven’t seem them being included in the latest Samsung 980 PRO reviews.

The 2TB Samsung 970PRO is a really good drive. So is the 1TB 980PRO, the 2TB 980PRO is coming later this year.

eww, QLC.

WD black is worse drive than SX8200 PRO

No real reason to buy Samsung unless it pays for itself.

We don’t know a lot about it yet and it hasn’t actually been launched only announced, same as pretty much all 7GB/s SSDs, none is in consumer market.

That’s not a storage drive, that’s a caching drive.

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We are talking about the Intel Optane SSD 905P 1.5TB

Read more: https://www.tweaktown.com/articles/8775/intel-optane-ssd-905p-5tb-review-massive-3d-xpoint/index.html

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So if you read the review then you should understand that it’s best application is caching, it’s high IOPS allow for using it as RAM extension, personally, I don’t understand why Tweaktown used SX8200 and not the pro and ex920 and not the ex950 for comparisons as those drives would beat the 905p in Read and Write speeds and would be closer in IOPS as well, in any case it’s not a consumer drive.
The 905p is comparable to many SLC and MLC drives used in industry with both endurance and IOPS.

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I thought you where referring to the small Optane drives to combine with a HDD. My bad.

Caching might be its best application indeed, but al lot of users are thinking about Optane as a regular SSD to use in their systems. Because of its overall performance and latency. It has this reputation on the internet I think.

I think you make the right analysis about the Optane drive.

I didn’t know the HP drive you are mentioning, interesting.

You (stratego) seem to be not so positive to recommend the Samsung drive, why?

Samsung drives are good, they are just poor value for consumers, you don’t require the additional endurance they warrant you and the overall performance is comparable to ADATA, Crucial, HP and Hynix SSDs. In the end only people that actually benefit from Samsung’s drives are Prosumers and Professionals, if the drive doesn’t make you money it’s not worth the additional expenditure.

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That’s not for you to decide now is it?

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