How much does the SSD matter for gaming?

Icy006

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 4, 2004
Messages
129
My four-year-old gaming system doesn't even have NVMe. Time to upgrade -- should I spring for the fastest, or save my money for size?
 

auntjemima

[H]ard DCOTM x2
Joined
Mar 1, 2014
Messages
10,361
My four-year-old gaming system doesn't even have NVMe. Time to upgrade -- should I spring for the fastest, or save my money for size?
Depends. How many games do you play? Can they all fit comfortably on 500gb, 1TB?..

If so, go for speed and pick a size that works for you. Otherwise pick a bigger size and you'll still be happy with the speed.

Edit: more to the question. You will notice a difference in games that load from the drive a lot or the initial launch speed. Take GTA V as a great example. Spinner drive? Good chance you can't tell if it's frozen or still loading, SSD? Like 15 seconds.
 

pendragon1

Extremely [H]
Joined
Oct 7, 2000
Messages
41,926
^^^ that and nvme doesnt really improve load times a lot either.
also, how old is your 1200w? new gen cards are probably gonna need a new psu, not just an adapter. the current gen are tripping up older high wattage psus.
if youre looking at moving up from your 1070 to current/next gen, dont get a small case. youll need the room.
should just posted in general hardware and got it all answers in one swoop, like that....

edit: after the fourth thread, just buy a whole new system. you have no upgrade path. either side will give you good midrange gaming.
 

Icy006

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 4, 2004
Messages
129
Oh man freaking GTA V. My gaming group got sick of playing that for how freaking terrible the load times were...but that was server-side really.

I don't keep a ton of games installed at the same time, so space isn't a huge concern, just more a convenience. Right now I have 750GB and it's ok. 1 TB would be better.

Right now I'm into back4blood, and I'm obviously the slowest loading in my group. I'd love to improve this. Current SSDs are NOT NVMe.
 

Icy006

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 4, 2004
Messages
129
Wow NVMe doesn't improve load times? I find that really surprising!

Oh sorry, I haven't been active here in awhile, thought I should put topic-specific stuff in topic-specific sections. You're right, one general post would have made more sense.
 

Icy006

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 4, 2004
Messages
129
theyll shave a couple seconds, maybe, its not like going from spinner to ssd improvements.
I considered if I can upgrade some part of my current system without a total overhaul, but I'm guessing I won't get major improvements.

Guess I could update everything except SSD and see if it feels fine. Might save a Windows reinstall, lol..
 

auntjemima

[H]ard DCOTM x2
Joined
Mar 1, 2014
Messages
10,361
I considered if I can upgrade some part of my current system without a total overhaul, but I'm guessing I won't get major improvements.

Guess I could update everything except SSD and see if it feels fine. Might save a Windows reinstall, lol..
Not to drag this to the netherworld, but what are your specs? Just looking for cpu, ram, GPU.
 

pendragon1

Extremely [H]
Joined
Oct 7, 2000
Messages
41,926
reusing the ssd is an option and if youre on 10/11 it should adapt to the new hardware with only a couple reboots.
 

auntjemima

[H]ard DCOTM x2
Joined
Mar 1, 2014
Messages
10,361
i5 4590s, 8 GB DDR3 1600, 1070.
Understood. I only ask because I have a simple i5 6600k, a bunch of ram and a 1080 and I'm more than happy. The urge to upgrade is great, but to what end?

Carry on.
 

Icy006

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 4, 2004
Messages
129
reusing the ssd is an option and if youre on 10/11 it should adapt to the new hardware with only a couple reboots.
Good to know, thank you. I'm on...uh...11? Yeah I think it's 11. Everything else in my life is macOS and Linux these days, this is the last Windows box standing, lol..
 

grim4593

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 30, 2014
Messages
360
It depends on the game. The more modern the game is the more likely it makes a difference.
Due to ever increasing texture sizes and higher levels of detail new games are 100+GB and that information has to be loaded in real time.
For example, Star Citizen is practically unplayable on a magnetic drive.
 

Icy006

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 4, 2004
Messages
129
Understood. I only ask because I have a simple i5 6600k, a bunch of ram and a 1080 and I'm more than happy. The urge to upgrade is great, but to what end?

Carry on.
Hey, totally reasonable question! 1080p gaming is still pretty solid for me, and not like I'm playing cutting edge games. I really should have a focused goal if I'm gonna throw a ton of money at this.

Maybe 4k gaming capability would be fun. Or maybe I just want to ditch the feeling that I'm making everyone else wait for my slow system to load. I also want to be ready if my gaming group picks something more demanding.
 

Axman

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jul 13, 2005
Messages
13,482
There is an upcoming technology called Direct Storage that will heavily depend on NVMe storage but it's not really in use yet.

And the games that will use it will probably require a new PC, so...

The main benefit for NVMe right now is that PCs boot off them ridiculously fast. A cold boot takes about as much time as returning from hibernate on a conventional SSD, and returning from hibernate on NVMe is not noticeably different than returning from sleep.
 

Icy006

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 4, 2004
Messages
129
The main benefit for NVMe right now is that PCs boot off them ridiculously fast. A cold boot takes about as much time as returning from hibernate on a conventional SSD, and returning from hibernate on NVMe is not noticeably different than returning from sleep.
Gotta say, my conventional SSD actually boots crazy fast. It's largely because whatever motherboard I currently have has some sort of speedy boot feature.

Windows also seems smarter these days about dropping you to the desktop fast, while some stuff still loads in the background. I'm sure NVMe would help that part.
 

daglesj

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
May 7, 2005
Messages
5,616
Get a PCI-e X4 card if you have a spare slot and put a NVMe on that. Works fine in my X99 system that only has the one M.2 slot. The Steam drive sits on the expansion card. The Asus ones work really well. Don't get the really cheap ones.
 

Abula

Gawd
Joined
Oct 29, 2004
Messages
1,003
I would go with sata ssd, its cheaper and for gaming... it wont make a difference. Since take time with your upgrades, get the biggest you can afford, and sata is chaper than nvme.
 

Icy006

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 4, 2004
Messages
129
After some reflection, I'm probably going to see if I can hold out to black friday, so I have a little time to mull this over.

I remain tempted to keep my current SATA SSD... But there is also a part of me that likes the idea of a clean install from scratch, and I rather get the NVMe up-front and do it all at once if I do want to go that route. I think part of me is still scarred from doing so many Windows 98 installs back in my college days, like, I had better do a clean install or else! 😂
 

GotNoRice

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jul 11, 2001
Messages
11,053
I just had an interesting experience related to SSD speeds. My main setup uses a Samsung 960 Pro NVMe for boot, apps, and some games; and I also have a 980 Pro NVMe as a dedicated game drive for my most important games. I wanted to test some things so I disconnected both NVMe drives, installed an old Samsung 850 EVO SATA drive that I had. I did a fresh install of Windows, installed all drivers, etc. When playing games, I actually noticed the loading times being longer. I was surprised, as this is one of the first times I've actually noticed a significant difference in SSD configurations. I guess the old saying is true, where you don't always notice when something gets better, but you definitely notice it when you take that improvement away.

Of course, everything is relative. The difference between the fastest and slowest SSD is still nothing compared to the difference between a mechanical hard drive and an SSD. I think that it does make sense to go NVMe if you have a choice. As others have said, even if your board does not have an M.2 slot, you can get a cheap PCIe adapter card with an M.2 slot on it that will work just fine.
 

Axman

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jul 13, 2005
Messages
13,482
But there is also a part of me that likes the idea of a clean install from scratch, and I rather get the NVMe up-front and do it all at once if I do want to go that route.

Make sure your motherboard's BIOS supports NVMe before you run out and buy one. While they work fine as storage drives, they require compatible BIOSes for use as boot drives.

There are workarounds like this: hamishmb.com/booting-nvme-older-pc-refind/
 

Icy006

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 4, 2004
Messages
129
Make sure your motherboard's BIOS supports NVMe before you run out and buy one. While they work fine as storage drives, they require compatible BIOSes for use as boot drives.

There are workarounds like this: hamishmb.com/booting-nvme-older-pc-refind/
Wow, I'd have thought this was well worked-out by now, thanks for the heads-up. Certainly makes sense why it would require uEFI-specific support, since there is no disk controller intermediary, in lieu of direct PCI access.
 
Top