Do you really need an SSD for gaming?

When building a gaming PC (or upgrading a tired old one), it can be tempting to start with the best components on offer. Of course, this means an increase in the overall cost, but if it leads to improved gaming performance, it is worth the money, right?

Not always, we say. Certainly, there are obvious cases in which the above is not true; You don’t need a massive 1500W power supply for a 4K gaming system, for example. But one area where it’s casually easy to overspend is drives, whether they’re hard drives or shiny new hard drives. How much is too much, though? Let’s break down the facts.

The allure of high-speed SSDs (those solid state drives, for starters) is strong, especially when load times pull the entire team between rounds of Rainbow Six: Siege. ‘SSD’ echoes your randomly matched buddies in text chat, well aware that your aging hard drive is holding everyone back.

hard disk close up

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Hard disk drives (HDDs) have been the dominant form of data storage in both dedicated and pre-built computers for many years. Using a spinning platter to read and write data, it was slow and loud but ultimately the most reliable and affordable form of storage.