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Best PCIe 4.0 SSD for gaming

Next-gen storage is key to the future of gaming, and here are your best options right now.

By Alan Dexter

One of the easiest ways of giving your system a performance boost is to upgrade your storage. This is particularly true if you’re still rocking a spinning hard drive or two, although SATA SSDs will also see a notable speed boost when you upgrade to the latest drives. Right now, the best storage around uses the PCIe 4.0 interface to produce blistering read and write speeds.

At the moment only AMD’s Zen 2 and Zen 3 platforms natively support PCIe 4.0 drives, although Intel’s next generation of CPUs (codenamed Rocket Lake) will also jump aboard this particular super speedy wagon. So even if you don’t have a supporting platform right now, you will do when you next upgrade, which is why we think that moving over to a PCIe 4.0 supporting SSD is the best way of protecting your storage investment.

01.

Samsung 980 Pro 500GB

The fastest next-gen SSD money can buy
  • CAPACITY: 500GB
  • CONTROLLER: SAMSUNG ELPIS
  • MEMORY: SAMSUNG 3-BIT MLC
  • INTERFACE: M.2 PCIE 4.0 X4
  • SEQ.READ: 6.900MB/S
  • SEQ.WRITE: 5.000MB
9Expert Score
Samsung 980 Pro 500GB

Samsung has been the go-to name for SSD storage for years, and while a long time coming, the 980 Pro with its next-gen Elpis controller has been well worth the wait. If you’re looking for the best headline performance right now. then nothing else can really challenge it. With sequential read and write speeds hitting 6.900MB/S and 5.000MB/S. incredible 800K IOPS for random performance, and the awesome Magician software making managing the drive a breeze. The 980 Pro is the performance junkie’s drive of choice.

The only problem is the price, particularly on this 500GB model. The 1TB drive for $ is slightly better value on a per gigabyte angle, although even here there are better deals to be had for almost the same performance. Real world performance is that much better than some of the other drives here either, so you’re going to need that extreme throughput.

Positive
  • Awesome sequential throughput
  • Strong random access
  • Samsung Magician
01.

SABRENT Rocket 2TB Gen4

The best budget next-gen SSD

9Expert Score
SABRENT Rocket 2TB Gen4

Like a lot of the drives here the Sabrent Rocket Gen4 SSD uses the Phison E16 controller, which is a decent PCIe 4.0 controller, although it does lag behind the more recent Samsung Elpis controller that can be found in the 980 Pro.

That means the peak sequential figures are slightly off the pace, and the randoms are a bit slower as well, although in real terms there’s hardly anything between them. In fact in terms of file copying, this Sabrent drive was moderately quicker. When it comes to game loads, there’s less than a second between the fastest and slowest as well. They’re all pretty fast basically.

There’s a real price war going on with these next-gen drives and price fluctuations are common. Sabrent seems to stay out in front though, and given the overall package it’s this drive that gets the nod from us.

Positive
  • Strong performance and capacity
  • The best value for money
  • Good software suite
  • CAPACITY: 2TB
  • SEQ. READ: 5.000MB/S
  • SEQ. WRITE: 4.400MB/S
  • INTERFACE: M.2 PCIE 4.0 X4
  • MEMORY: TOSHIBA 30 TLC
  • CONTROLLER: PHISON PS5016-E16

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