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Best M.2 NVMe SSDs for Gaming in [2021]

Your gaming arsenal has probably been enhanced by the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. What comes next? Well, it’s time to upgrade the most important weapon of the gaming arsenal -the best M.2 NVMe SSD to reach the new peaks of loading speeds and performance.

A NVMe-based SSD will allow you to log into the Windows 10 home screen in less than 5 seconds. The story begins when we learn that NVMe SSDs are smaller and more powerful than any hard drive or SATA-based SSD, offering far greater raw bandwidth and power.

When developers begin developing high-speed games, the real advantage of having the fastest SSDs begins to emerge. Despite enhancing performance and responsiveness, SSDs also increase loading times, which is a dream come true for any hardcore gamer.

It’s time to say goodbye to all the mishaps because our top ten picks are here. By using expert recommendations and detailed research on some high-end models, we filtered the best M.2 NVMe SSDs to help you narrow down your choices.

Top 10 Best M.2 NVMe SSDs 2021

1. ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro

ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro

ADATA XPG SX8200 is equipped with a significant amount of power to get the job done. This SSD is a far better choice than many elite SATA-based SSDs, despite its competitive price. Here is the secret behind its fastest interface and never-ending performance.

Due to its 64L NAND flash memory and silicon SM2262G controller, the SSD can reach incredible read and write speeds, making it one of the fastest SSDs on the market today. The thermal pads also aid in cooling down the system in addition to the speeds. ADATA will overheat no matter what loads you put on it.

What do you know? With its convenient SSD management software, ADATA has its customers back. In spite of its simple design, this software offers great functionality to handle all tasks in a seamless manner.

In addition to being a good choice for gaming, it is also a great option for more intense applications, such as 3D animations and video editing.

ADATA’s SX8200 Series is an amazing NVMe SSD with RGB. Plus, if you’re willing to spend an extra dollar, then don’t rush on any other model because this is what you’re looking for.

Pros
  • Outstanding performance
  • 65% faster than SATA SSDs
  • Enhanced responsiveness
  • Minimum game-loading and boot times
Cons
  • Not compatible with Mac

2. SK Hynix Gold P31

SK Hynix Gold P31

SK Hynix, a popular NAND flash memory and DRAM manufacturer, debuted its Gold P31 with great success. Would you like to upgrade your gaming arsenal to a 128L NAND upgrade -the powerful one, by the way? Let’s get right down to business.

As opposed to traditional TLC NAND that has 96 layers, this SSD card features a remarkable 128L NAND. Probably more than you expected. What do you know? Hynix is a global technology leader, and the Gold P31 series is the fastest 128L SSD available. Amazing! It’s true, isn’t it?

The HYPERWRITE technology from SK Hynix allows you to reach maximum read and write speeds of 570,000 IOPS and 600,000 IOPS on your desktop or laptop. This is quite enough if you want to run games like PUBG or battlefield.

Let’s also discuss its aesthetics. Aluminum-polished compact design fits perfectly into any PCIe motherboard, leaving enough room for optimal airflow. SK Hynix’s efficient heatsink keeps everything cooler and calmer no matter how high the system temperature rises. Furthermore, performance isn’t affected.

Despite being one of the best M.2 NVMe SSDs, it offers an affordable price tag. It’s a good upgrade if you want a powerful one.

Pros
  • Excellent value for money
  • A complete package
  • Produce enormous power
Cons
  • Lacks improvements for Windows 10

3. PNY XLR8 CS3030

PNY XLR8 CS3030

Another budget buy, the PNY XLR8 CS3030 with an advanced Phison controller that keeps the performance high and the temperature low. You might be wondering how a low temperature can boost performance. When you’re doing heavy-duty tasks, the heatsink keeps your computer cool and efficient.

Would you like to learn more about PNY XLR8? Let’s delve a little deeper! NVMe interface works well with multitasking making it one of the best M.2 SSDs for laptops. Nevertheless, if you are a hardcore gamer or eSports player, we recommend you jump on another model if you don’t like mishaps. SSDs are designed to be used for anything, but unfortunately, not for gaming.

In terms of reliability, PNY’s non-volatile NAND that is 30X sturdier than HDDs is a big plus. What is the ultimate result? From faster application launches and faster boot times to better overall performance, PNY’s XLR8 ranks higher than its competitors.

This SSD has an excellent TBW rating and is more than enough for everyday tasks. As long as you are comfortable with small writes, it works best. When you switch to long writes, you will miss out on some elite models, like WD’s Black SN750 or Samsung’s 970 Pro. This is the only downside we’ve observed with this SSD.  

Pros
  • Faster boot times
  • Less likely to slow down
  • Unparalleled reliability
  • Compact and ergonomic design
Cons
  • Not compatible with gaming desktops

4. Sabrent Rocket Gen4 NVMe

Sabrent Rocket Gen4 NVMe

Another powerful jerk for your gaming desktop rig, Sabrent Rocket Gen4 with its advanced NVMe M.2 Gen4 interface. Powered by Flash Disc Technology, this SSD really does the job.

In combination with a PCIe-supporting motherboard, Sabrent Rocket Gen4 can achieve maximum read speeds of 5,000MB/s. When running any heavy game or bulky software, Sabrent Rocket’s ability to reach such high speeds is remarkable.

Furthermore, it comes with endurance numbers of up to 1.7 million hours MTBF and 3600TBW. Amazing! It’s true, isn’t it? Would you like to learn more? Let’s dive a bit deeper! If you have a short temper and cannot stand to see the system slowing down due to heat-up, the customized aluminum and copper heatsink is for you. You don’t need to worry! When you have this SSD installed, you don’t have to worry about anything.

In addition to its brilliant aesthetics, it has a built-in nifty aluminum box for no apparent reason other than to add a bit of design stuff. It is ideally compatible with PCIe 3.0 motherboards and a powerful gaming tool. Its incredible read and write speeds make it an ideal NVMe SSD for video editing as well.

Summarizing! In order to embellish your motherboard with this NVMe SSD and enhance your gaming performance, you will have to dig deep into your pockets. So, spending a few more dollars than its competitors is not a big deal because it’s worth every penny.

Pros
  • Efficient heatsink for maximizing performance
  • Ultra-quick OS boots
  • Exceptional read and write speeds
  • Compact and spacious interior
Cons
  • It May get slightly slow on the ASUS ROG motherboard
  • A bit on the heavy side

5. Samsung 980 PRO

Samsung 980 PRO

The Samsung 980 Pro is Samsung’s ultra-fast version of the best NVMe SSDs for M.2, 12.7X faster than SATA SSDs and 2X faster than PCI-E 3.0 SSDs. Whether you’re an avid gamer or tech-savvy user, you’ll have access to the next level of computing performance.

Reaching read speeds of up to 7,000 Mb/s is a miracle. Samsung has always shocked its users with its launch – as is the case with the 980 Pro series. Ellipsis displays the real power of SSDs by harmonising the flash memory components.

From heavy-duty data analytics applications to providing a competitive edge on the battlefield, nickel-coated heat spreaders come into play. The NAND chip has an optimal thermal control level thanks to Samsung’s cutting-edge heat-control algorithm.

Let’s talk design! Compactness comes into play when a M.2 2280 is fitted snugly into desktops and laptops. There is enough space for maximum airflow thanks to the precise yet practical construction.

Samsung’s Magician Software is what sets 980 Pro apart from Samsung 860 EVO and Samsung 970 EVO SSDs. Now you can stay up-to-date, monitor the health of your SSD, protect important data, and get the best possible performance updates. That’s the secret.

Pros
  • Works well with RGB
  • Samsung’s advanced software
  • The fastest boot times
Cons
  • A bit costly than EVO Plus

6. Western Digital Black SN750

Western Digital Black SN750

As a stalwart in the HDD market for many years, Western Digital has stepped up to compete in the SSD market by offering reasonable and consumer-friendly storage. With its integrated dashboard software, this PCIe 3.0 SSD becomes a speed demon when you switch to gaming mode.

If you connect it directly to the motherboard, it will require an additional heatsink because it lacks one. Even though there is no heatsink and you have to buy one, passive cooling enables optimal performance under load.

Let’s delve a little deeper! Both desktops and gaming laptops benefit from the compact and shock-resistant design. The precise texture also leaves room for an additional heatsink, RGB lighting, or other cooling technologies. It’s very customizable; you get what you really want.

When you have unlimited storage and speeds, you will feel the NAND’s innovation in building this 3D flash memory. Western Digital lived up to its slogan with the SN750 series. WD’s NVMe drive is the fastest drive in the company’s line, providing a competitive edge to gamers. Amazing! It’s true, isn’t it?

Here’s good news for gamers! Switching the dashboard to the gaming mode will allow you to have unlimited access to speeds for a consistent in-game experience.

On the whole, WD SN750, despite competing with some luxury models, is a cost-efficient choice. Yes! You read that right.

Pros
  • Massive storage
  • Unrivaled performance
  • Ideal for gaming desktops
  • Compact and interface-friendly design
Cons
  • You’ll need to purchase heatsink separately

7. HP EX950 M.2 PCIe

HP EX950 M.2 PCIe

Here’s the best NVMe SSD at an affordable price, the HP EX950, a device that truly offers great value for money. The great thing is, you won’t experience any downfall in its performance or quality – that’s why it’s in our top picks.

With the upgraded version of Silicon Motion Controller and some crazy programming tweaks, the incoming data is more efficient. What do you know? HP’s controller uses Micron’s proven 64L 3-bit/cell NAND flash memory to provide astounding performance, even in the most demanding games.

It’s quite astonishing when you get such remarkable read and write speeds for less than half of the price of its competitors. In addition, HP EX950 Series beat its predecessors EX920 and SX8200 in terms of performance.

When you’re running heavy software or playing games, this SSD card can endure higher temperatures. An NVMe SSD with a heatsink effectively handles the excessive heat and prevents the system from overheating.

Summarizing! It doesn’t get any better than the HP EX950 Series for your eSports motherboards if you’re looking for a powerful upgrade for your gaming kit. It comes with some brilliant features for the quickest game startup, scene change, and map load.

It’s a win-win buy for those without deep pockets. Don’t think; just do it!

Pros
  • Efficient heatsink
  • 1.6 Petabyte endurance
  • Performance at par with Samsung 970 EVO Plus at half price
  • Unrivaled speeds
Cons
  • Incompatible for work station
  • Quality could’ve been a little better

8. Samsung 970 EVO Plus

Samsung 970 EVO Plus

Samsung, the first company to release a PCIe 3.0 M.2 SSD, is now competing with its advanced 970 EVO Plus to rival its competitors. It’s hard to beat Samsung’s SSD performance, which is why the 970 EVO Plus is a perfect representation.

This is one of the latest and fastest M.2 drives in the tech world, with a few SSDs that are comparable. That’s pretty impressive, isn’t it?

It comes up with the latest V-NAND technology to achieve 53% more speeds and greater performance than the original 970 EVO. What do you know? The integrated Intelligent TurboWrite Boost Speed System and Phoenix controller offer great power efficiency.

Your jaw will drop when you see the flexibility of the M.2 2280 form factor which can accommodate up to 2TB. At first glance, this SSD might seem impossible, but it really does a great job.

Let’s talk about Samsung’s heat-dissipating system. When the system is under heavy load, the nickel-coated heat spreader and controller ensure optimal heat dissipation.

The dynamic thermal guard to optimize performance, Samsung Magician software to monitor your drive, and unparalleled reliability make EVO Plus a top pick. You’re still not convinced?

Pros
  • Exceptional durability
  • Compact and dense design
  • Best read and write speeds.
  • The magician software for keeping drive up-to-date
Cons
  • Heats-up earlier than the base version
  • Not ideal for OS X

9. Corsair Force Series MP600

Corsair Force Series MP600

For the best value PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSD card, nothing beats Corsair’s new MP600 series. The Corsair Force Series is the perfect example of these contemporary revolutions’ capabilities as AMD has ushered in a new era of PCIe 4.0 with its specs-rich X570 motherboard.

While using this SSD, you’ll notice that the highest performance levels are maintained at lower temperatures. Amazing! It’s true, isn’t it? Whatever the game, whatever the task is, the high-performance aluminum heatsink ensures heavy-duty performance even under the most extreme conditions.

Despite its high value, Corsair has put a lot of effort into maintaining 3D NAND memory for an ideal balance of performance, endurance, and longevity up to 3600TB. That’s impressive! Correct?

There’s more! Compact design and brilliant aesthetics complement AMD X570 chipset-based motherboards. Moreover, it frees up a great deal of drive space for simpler cable routing and better airflow. What is the secret to better airflow? It’s all about the performance, of course.  

Summarizing! AMD’s 3rd Gen processors work best with the Corsair MP600 based on Ryzen. With this card, you’ll get the best performance and speed of PCIe 4.0 out of the box.

Pros
  • Never-ending performance
  • Endurance guaranteed
  • Best value for money
  • Ensures a snug fit into AMD
Cons
  • Not compatible with ASUS Crosshair VIII motherboard

10. Gigabyte AORUS NVMe Gen4

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Imagine you get the fastest PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 SSD for your gaming desktop rig, and the performance ends up maxing out at 3,600Mbps. This is more than a dream come true. Stop imagining, because you’re on the right track. Gigabyte’s AORUS NVMe Gen4 has an advanced generational leap to boost storage products.

Would you like to learn more? Let’s delve a little deeper! PCIe 4.0 natively supports AMD X570 motherboards, so if you own one you’re likely to get the most bang for your buck.

Copper Heat Spreader design is significantly more efficient than M.2 plated design with 27 more fins. What do you think? Surface area is increased by 69% to achieve optimal heat balance and enhance 69% more thermal transfer. The Fin-Array design is ideal for any airflow direction.

A hardcore gamer knows what it feels like when the system gets hot on the verge of defeat or victory in Apex Legends or PUBG. With its anti-heat technology, Gigabyte has your back.

You can now reach the pinnacle of performance with Gigabyte’s BiCS4 NAND Flash, whether you’re a hard-core gamer or a multitasker. Additionally, with read and write speeds of 5000 and 4400 Mbps, you can take on the new gaming world and any heavy-duty task.

In general, Gigabyte AORUS comes with a heavy price tag, which might be quite hefty for some people, but trust me, it’s well worth it.

Pros
  • High conductivity thermal pad
  • Optimal performance
  • Exceptional read and write speeds
  • Great capacity
Cons
  • A hefty price tag

Best M.2 NVMe SSDs – The Ultimate Buying Guide

It’s not enough to have a solid-state drive, but the real challenge begins when you have to choose the best NVMe SSD from all the high-performance options.

You cannot just pick any model at random and end up ruining your gaming rig. If you want to make your purchase worthwhile, there are many factors to consider.

You don’t need to worry! We have you covered. Our detailed buying guide will make you one step closer to your purchase. 

Let’s begin our ride to explore each factor in more detail.

A Drive with PCIe or SATA – What to Choose?

First and foremost, you need to decide whether to use Serial ATA or PCIe -both of which work well with some of the fastest M.2 drives, such as Samsung’s 970 or Intel’s 760p.

The majority of high-speed M.2 SSDs launched in the past few years support NVMe. How did you do? Let’s get right to it.

SATA-based SSDs are much slower than PCIe-based SSDs. PCIe-connected SSDs with 3.0*16 interfaces offer speeds of 16GB/s. Amazing! It’s true, isn’t it?

On the other hand, SATA-based SSDs can reach up to 6GB/s. It’s fine for some daily routine multitasking.

However, if you are a hardcore gamer or want to do some heavy-duty video editing, we recommend PCIe NVMe SSD because nothing comes close to its quality.

Stay Away from small-sized SSDs – The Capacity Really Matters!

Let’s begin with the smallest 128GB SSD! The smaller the size, the slower the performance, so we suggest you stay away from them if you want the best M.2 NVMe SSD. After playing a few games on your desktop, you’ll receive a notification that your drive is running out of space.

Even though the 250GB SSD is better than its bigger siblings, it is still a bit cramped. We’ll recommend stepping up at least one capacity tier if there is enough room in your budget.

The 500GB SSD offers the perfect balance between storage and price.

Most gaming laptops today fall into the 1TB SSD class since they are appealing and common. The drive provides enough room for future files and software if you don’t have large gaming libraries or massive media files.

Here’s the next step; the 2TB class – designed specifically for running huge gaming libraries. Don’t hesitate to invest in it if you want everything to run smoothly.

Last but not least, despite great practicality, a 4TB class demands a significant investment. Both in price and performance, it’s the heaviest and bulkiest.

What is the moral of the story? By the way, what capacity do you need? If you are a gaming enthusiast, choose an SSD that suits your budget. 1TB is large enough to run most games.

You May Also Like: Best Graphics Cards For Gaming [2021] – Ultimate

What about the Power Consumption? Just Think About It!

When it comes to your desktop, power consumption is not much of an issue. However, when it comes to your laptop or convertible tablet, power consumption becomes most of an issue.

If you think about how your SSD drains the battery of your gaming laptops like juice when you’re on the verge of defeat and victory, then you can see what I mean. What will that feel like? At least, it’s not good. What’s the catch?

Samsung’s 850 EVO M.2 SSD is an extremely power-efficient best M.2 SSD that can help you avoid this tragic situation. You can get up to 90 minutes of extra battery life.

Either capacity or battery life must be sacrificed. The high-capacity models use more power, probably because they have more NAND packages.

Technology has always altered and remodeled the landscape. There are some models available on the market that are both capacious and power-efficient. You must make the right decision.

Are you looking for the latest graphics cards? Check out the Best RTX 3080 and 3090 GPUs for 4K Gaming.

Types of NAND Flash! Which Type Do You Need?

When shopping for any SSD, it doesn’t matter what type of storage is inside the drive. When it comes to gaming or some high-end video editing, this type becomes the de-facto standard.

Let’s dive into each type!

Single-Level Cell (SLC)

First and foremost, SLC flash memory stores only one bit of data per cell. It is designed to last longer since it has a high-speed memory storage interface. Additionally, it is less dense in storing data, making it an overall expensive option.

Multi-Layer Cell (MLC)

TLC, though a little slower, is becoming increasingly popular today because it is dense in data storage and allows for more spacious and affordable drives. It’s even slower than a hard drive, so TLC drives use some catching techs.

It doesn’t matter if you are a random mainstream user running a few apps. However, if you intend to deal with some massive files, you will need to invest a little more in an MLC to avoid these slowdowns.

Quad-Level Cell (QLC)

QLC is the de-facto standard for the next level of SSD revolution. Thanks to the denser revolution, it offers much larger and cheaper drives.

You get to choose! The best NVMe SSD for gaming depends on your budget and needs.

Comparisons

What to choose? NVMe SSD or SATA SSD!

SATA has many physical limitations to storage and was designed when HDDs were dependent on spinning platters. Regardless of how powerful your desktop was, at the time, a faulty hard drive was the major performance stumbling block.

Because NVMe SSDs allow data transmission at the fastest possible speeds, there is no need for anything else. SSDs are designed for speed, and that is what they are meant for.

What’s the bottom line? The NVMe drives are five to seven times faster, better, and more efficient than SATA-based drives. With 25-35X more speed access, these SSDs are explicitly to serve all future software and games.

NVMe SSDs and HDD – speed or storage?

Are you looking for a speedy-jerk desktop update or do you need more storage? After realizing that, choosing between HDD and SSD becomes even easier.

What do you think? NVMe SSDs are faster, more expensive, less capacious, and are meant to take performance to the next level. Despite their power, they are also much more energy-efficient.

HDDs, on the other hand, are less expensive, slower, and more capable. NVMe SSDs are usually recommended. You can choose more storage if you want it!

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Conclusion

NVMe SSDs can be a powerful upgrade to gaming rigs or laptops used for daily work – the fastest yet. What are you waiting for? Say goodbye to the performance issues of traditional HDDs.

We mentioned the highly-rated models to make your decision easier. If you’re still confused, we’d love to announce our winner – recommendation. The Gigabyte AORUS NVMe Gen4 is the best overall with its 1TB storage capacity, 5,000 read speeds, and more. Get it, don’t think about it.

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