It’s highly recommended for a modern gaming PC to come equipped with a solid-state drive as opposed to the older, traditional hard disk drive. Lower boot-up times and faster loading speeds for games offer a tremendous upside, but pricing and overall capacity have been the barriers for systems to run solely on an SSD. Those barriers are lowered with the sale of two different SSDs–one from SanDisk and one from Western Digital (WD).
The 1TB version of the SanDisk Ultra 3D NAND SATA III SSD is currently priced at $230 USD on Amazon, down from its list price which floats around $380 to $400. This drive is your standard 2.5-inch form factor that connects via SATA cable, which can fit into many laptops and nearly all desktops. SanDisk’s Ultra 3D SSD has sequential read speeds of up to 560 MB/s and sequential write speeds up to 530 MB/s; this tends to be top-end in terms of SATA SSD speed.
Western Digital’s WD Blue SSD on sale also uses 3D NAND technology for increased capacity, but this particular model is an M.2 2280 SATA III drive. It’s currently $250 on Newegg and Amazon, and is normally priced around $300. Keep in mind that while this is an M.2 drive, it’s still based on the SATA interface and not the faster NVMe interface. But by no means is the WD Blue slow; it can reach sequential read and write speeds of up to 560 MB/s and 530 MB/s, respectively.
If you’re still on a standard HDD and can’t switch to an SSD quite yet, you might want to look into Intel Optane memory to speed up boot and load times. While SSDs are going for a fair price, the same can’t be said about video cards. Thanks to the rise of cryptocurrency mining, video cards have reached over twice their MSRP and are incredibly difficult to find in stock; check out our look at how prices of video cards have risen recently.