Hard Stuff Q&A: Are SSDs worth it?


Q: I keep hearing about solid state drives being really great for gaming. Is it worth thinking about an upgrade?

A: When you're talking about load times or frames per second, solid state drives can often perform up to 50 percent faster than conventional mechanical hard drives without even breaking a sweat. But it's not all win: that wicked speed comes along with a pretty wicked price tag. Just how much more expensive is it? We priced out a 120GB solid state drive online at $120—the same amount that a 3TB hard drive would run you. Given how much space your rig's operating system takes up, and the beefy size of most modern gaming titles, that 120GB solid state drive might be speedy, but it would fill up pretty fast. For gamers on a budget, grabbing a spacious 3TB mechanical hard drive for the same price as that solid state drive is a no-brainer.

Fortunately, the price of solid state drives is sure to fall over the next few years as manufacturers find cheaper ways to make them. When that happens, you'll see higher capacity SSDs become available for more reasonable prices.

In the meantime, you might want to consider using your computer's current hard drive and installing a solid state drive to hold any games where a little bump in processing speed can make all the difference between owning your opponents or getting taken down in a hail of virtual gunfire and frag grenades.