Benchmarking data compares game load times on SSDs versus HDDs

We all know that solid state drives are faster than mechanical hard drives, and if you haven't already made the switch, you should. Even just navigating Windows feels snappier with an SSD underneath the hood, compared to an HDD. But what about the effect SSDs have on game loads? Are they really that much faster, and does the choice of SSD matter? Nathan Kirsch at Legit Reviews put those questions to the test.

Kirsch didn't go super in depth with his testing, instead focusing on a single game—Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood. So, it's not an end-all, be-all analysis, but a quick peek at the potential impact different storage devices can have on game load times.

In this case, he tested seven different drives, including a mix of NVMe and SATA SSDs and a single HDD. Each one was tested in a system with an Asus ROG Strix Z370-F Gaming motherboard with an Intel Core i5-8400 processor and Windows 10.

Here are the drives he tested:

  • Intel Optane SSD 900P 480GB (NVMe SSD)
  • Samsung 960 Pro 2TB (NVMe SSD)
  • WD Black 1GB (NVMe SSD)
  • Kingston A100 960GB (NVMe SSD)
  • Samsung 850 Evo 2TB (SATA SSD)
  • Crucial BX200 480GB (SATA SSD)
  • Seagate Barracuda Pro 10TB (SATA HDD)

Taking the average of six benchmark runs, Intel's Optane SSD 900P came out on top, averaging 27.105 seconds to load the game. Not surprisingly, Seagate's Barracuda Pro was dead last at 42.388 seconds.

One thing that's interesting to note is that almost every NVMe SSD loaded the game faster than the SATA SSDs, save for Kingston's A1000 960GB NVMe SSD. While not earth shattering, the difference in load time is noticeable in some situations. For example, Samsung's 960 Pro 2TB NVMe SSD averaged 29.454 seconds, which is more than 4 seconds faster than the 33.885 seconds it took Crucial's BX200 480GB SATA SSD.

Check out Kirsch's article for the full results. If this is something you're interested in, let us know and maybe we'll run a more extensive roundup with more drives in the mix and a wider selection of games.