Ask the Experts Question: Should I have a dedicated SSD for games?

IdiotInCharge

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Some games benefit significantly; some are slow on SSDs and unbearably slow on spinners, looking at you Battlefield.

World of Warcraft runs great on old spinners.

So it depends. Generally, the newer the game, the more desirable an SSD is, but also (for AAA games) the larger the install size.

Now, probably the best value among SSDs for gaming (or SSDs period) is Intel's 660p 2TB, which gives you NVMe-class read speeds and write performance that exceeds most desktop and gaming use cases.

The biggest issue: well, you don't have that many NVMe ports if you're not running HEDT with tons of lanes and PCIe cards that can take NVMe adapters.
 

Flogger23m

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what's your biggest SSD? or rather how many of them to what total capacity of the system?
2x 1TB Crucial MX500s, one is to be replaced by a Sandisk Ultra II 2TB. All SATA, standard form factor. The other day the WD Blue 2TB (same drive as the Sandisk) was $175, just $5 less than I paid on Black Friday. Sadly I already opened the Sandisk otherwise I would've returned it for the WD. Only $5 difference anyways. Now I'll have 3TB of SSD space for programs and games.
 

DogsofJune

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I have a 500 gig NVME (OS drive) with a 2TB ssd (for game installs) in my gamer. Storage is on spinners in a different box. Absolutely love the setup.
The rest of my boxes the OS drive is an ssd with spinner drives
 

viivo

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I've always had separate drives for OS and games. I think it began when having games on the same partition/drive as the OS could cause problems. As to compatibility with some games, I honestly care less about speed than the noise. The day I replaced my last mechanical drive with an SSD was a glorious reawakening whereupon I realized 90% of the noise coming from my PC was the harddrive.

I put the platter-pusses in USB enclosures and use them for storage.
 

Keljian

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IMO, having separate drives is nice, but with NVME you don't need it.

What I have found is having a swapfile (of permanent size) on an optane "memory" device speeds up bootup, gaming ? no idea, no testing yet..
 

next-Jin

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My node 202 for the living room has a 1TB 660p NVMe and a 2TB Sandisk Ultra SATA drive for the Steam library.

I didn’t need 1TB for the boot drive but I had it already. All of my media is on a unRaid box with around 12TB of spinner storage.
 

seanreisk

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Samsung 512GB 970 Pro (NVMe) for boot and application drive. Inland 2TB Premium (NVMe) for games and .. uh .. stuff.

And I also have a Samsung 1TB 860 SATA that I use as an encrypted drive where I can put local files when I'm consulting. Note: If you're using Bitlocker, make sure your SSD isn't hackable. I had to wipe my SSD and redo my encryption.

I like having my games and stuff away from the OS drive.
 
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Skillz

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I just had to delete a bunch of shit off my primary SSD on my gaming rig to download another game because I didn't have enough space left.

Time to upgrade it I suppose. 500GB just isn't cutting it anymore.
 

Sycraft

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Dedicated? No, no reason for that. You aren't going to run in to a situation where you need high speed streaming of both OS and game files at once. However on an SSD? For sure. Get an SSD bit enough to hold your games and you OS and use that. 1TB SSDs are not bad these days and unless you go real ham with the number of games you install, that'll do nicely.
 

Skillz

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I don't think my 4690k setup has a m.2 slot. Too lazy to pull the thing out and look inside.

edit
Google'd my motherboard in my sig. It does have a m.2 socket 3 on the board. Interesting.
 

Dark12

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I don't think my 4690k setup has a m.2 slot. Too lazy to pull the thing out and look inside.
my 4930k setup didn't so I dont think yours does.
I don't think you are missing much unless you are really into benchmarks.
they have a sata version on sale too
 

auntjemima

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Honestly couldn't tell you. I don't have any boards that take m2 drives
 

Mega6

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I like all my stuff separate so.. OS drive, Games Drive, Music/Videos Drive..ect. If a drive goes south, the rest is there still.
 

[21CW]killerofall

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I have a 512GB NVMe that has OS on one partition and programs and games on the other. I also have a 2TB HDD for storage and a 4TB for backups. I have 21% free space on my NVMe, 41% free on my storage and 62% free on my backup. I don't have all of my games installed as I don't play some of them regularly so I just don't have them installed to save space.
 

[21CW]killerofall

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I move them to spinners, move em back if I want to play. Faster than downloading as long as there is spinning rust available.
I have 200 Meg internet. No need to waste drive life and power to spin it up (It is powered off most of the time due to not being used frequently) when it only takes a few minutes to download. The funny thing is, if you have Gigabit internet, it is actually faster to download and install to a NVMe then to transfer from a spinner (at least that what my crappy math tells me).
 

Nenu

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Yeah I looked it up. Looks like I'll be getting a NVMe SSD here soon.

1 x M.2 Socket 3, , with M Key, type 2260/2280 storage devices support (PCIE mode)

Assuming this is the "good" version?
Make sure your mobo can boot from NVME if you intend on using it for your OS.
Alternatively, put your bootloader on another drive but its another point of failure.
 

ChadD

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I run a Corsair MP510 nvme 960mb for my OS... and I have a couple times installed a game I was currently playing on there. Have a second 1TB Intel 660p nvme which I have the rest of my games installed on.

To be honest I can't tell the difference in game load times between the 2 drives the corsair for sure is faster working with big files in my case that tends to be audio and the largest audio files I really end up loading are 2-4gb of sample banks or so and once I have them loaded there in ram and when rendering audio the file sizes are much smaller... the Intel drives are good enough for gaming imo on heavy loads the corsair may be a fraction faster but nothing you will really notice Try to keep both at least 50% empty for best performance. Games I haven't played in awhile or don't intend to play in awhile I just backup to one of my storage solutions.

I can't see to many even hardcore gamers needing more then 1-2 TB of SSD storage for games they are currently playing... there is only so many games you can focus on at a time. And with drive speeds in general... even backing games up to USB3 spinning backup drives to store them doesn't take very long. Can't imagine playing any of the current 50GB+ games on a spinning anything again, although I guess if your going to use a spinner the WD black is as good as it gets.
 
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M76

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I don't have an SSD dedicated to games because not all games fit on one SSD. I have 3 SSDs in my system for a total capacity of 3.5TB. One 512GB for system, 2TB for video editing and work (plus some games) and an 1TB which is never enough for games.
 

M76

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I have 200 Meg internet. No need to waste drive life and power to spin it up (It is powered off most of the time due to not being used frequently) when it only takes a few minutes to download. The funny thing is, if you have Gigabit internet, it is actually faster to download and install to a NVMe then to transfer from a spinner (at least that what my crappy math tells me).
Well unless you have an old spinner your crappy math is wrong. 1 Gigabit is about 100Mbytes/s, spinners can do 150-180MB these days. But if you count the time it takes to back up the game to the spinner then yes downloading would be faster on gigabit. I have 500Mbit internet and I wouldn't waste time on backing up either.
 

ChadD

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Well unless you have an old spinner your crappy math is wrong. 1 Gigabit is about 100Mbytes/s, spinners can do 150-180MB these days. But if you count the time it takes to back up the game to the spinner then yes downloading would be faster on gigabit. I have 500Mbit internet and I wouldn't waste time on backing up either.
I have pretty decent pipe and its still a lot faster to back things up. Having said that there are some games that I probably wouldn't bother just cause I know if I install it again in a year or two its going to have 30gb in patches anyway... so why bother. ;) lol Joking but damn some developers are getting crazy with the damn near weekly multi GB downloads.
 

NightReaver

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Currently have 1tb evo 970 and 2x 1tb su800's. Moved all my non gaming/programs to a networked easystore and never looked back. I was so happy to get rid of my 3tb barracuda and the hdd cage it was mounted in.

I was eyeing some of those 2tb blues, but I suppose it can wait.
 

xx0xx

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I also have gone SSD-only and will never go back to any spinning drives. I use a 500gb nvme for OS/software and a 1TB nvme for games
I don't have a ton of extra media storage anyway- but even if I do want something strictly for storage- I will overkill and use SSDs for that too.

Some games (PUBG, etc) have really benefited from the cut in load times. Others don't see as much of a benefit, but I'm in general just a fan of overkill.

I'd rather launch a text file from an nvme drive than a spinner :p
 

arnemetis

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This is foolish. We saw a big leap going to ssds for game loading, much less so (typically non-existent) going from ssd to nvme. I run a 500gb nvme for my main drive and most intense games, and my old 1tb sata ssd for less intensive games or ones not played as often.The difference is extremely noticeable from spinners with even something lighter like Warframe, which can run on a potato. I gave my friend an ssd for Christmas last year to upgrade his system, cut our party load times significantly. I think after getting the best gpu you can, the next thing a gamer should ensure is that they are installing their games on an ssd.
 

Armenius

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I have a 1TB 970 Pro and two 512GB 850 Pro. The two SATA drives are nothing but games and NVMe is everything I actively use. I keep a 1TB WD Black spinner for temporary storage of things I want to back up every 6 months. I also keep games that I heavily modify like Bethesda games on here to keep the rate of wear and tear on the SSDs to a minimum.
 

IdiotInCharge

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I have pretty decent pipe and its still a lot faster to back things up. Having said that there are some games that I probably wouldn't bother just cause I know if I install it again in a year or two its going to have 30gb in patches anyway... so why bother. ;) lol Joking but damn some developers are getting crazy with the damn near weekly multi GB downloads.
That's actually the reason to keep them installed on spinners; they stay updated ;).
 
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