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  • Jesper Berg
  • April 02, 2019 08:56:04 PM
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A Little About Us

Gaming PC Builder, or GPCB, is a blog by and for gamers who take great pleasure in building their own PCs. We work hard every day to create new content that helps builders succeed with their builds, regardless of budget or previous experience. Our regularly updated articles cover a wide range of topics, including but not limited to graphics cards (GPUs), motherboards, processors (CPUs), hard drives, cases and other PC gaming essentials. We also publish the occasional software roundup and not least: performance tuning guides for popular games. Also check out our YouTube and Facebook channels, where we regularly publish interesting stuff about hardware and tweaks that will increase the frame rates in your games. See you there!

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    AnandTech: “AMD TRX80 and WRX80 Chipsets don’t Exist”

    In the run-up to the Ryzen Threadripper 3000-series launch, every other tech site on the web reported that AMD planned not only one, but three new chipsets for the new platform. In addition to the TRX40, there was also talk of a TRX80 and WRX80 chipset along with speculation about what enhanced features these would […] The post AnandTech: “AMD TRX80 and WRX80 Chipsets don’t Exist” appeared first on Gaming PC...

    In the run-up to the Ryzen Threadripper 3000-series launch, every other tech site on the web reported that AMD planned not only one, but three new chipsets for the new platform. In addition to the TRX40, there was also talk of a TRX80 and WRX80 chipset along with speculation about what enhanced features these would bring to upcoming Threadripper motherboards – most notably eight memory channels instead of four.

    However, now the reputable tech site AnandTech has been in touch with sources and reports that the TRX80 and WRX80 do not exist. The sources claim that they have never heard these two acronyms before, despite the fact that they were first listed with the USB-IF standardization body, which is behind the USB standard.

    At the same time, it cannot be ruled out that the TRX80 and WRX80 eventually will exist, but that they are far ahead in time. Perhaps very far ahead. Anandtech also writes that its sources have insight into launches that are currently planned for up to 6-9 months in the future and also some knowledge of what’s in store for the next year and a half. 

    One possibility is that the TRX80 and WRX80 actually exist, but that AMD is holding on to these for a later date, such as a future launch of the Ryzen Threadripper 4000 “Genesis Peak” platform based on the Zen 3 architecture.

    AnandTech also takes the opportunity to dispell another rumor concerning Intel’s upcoming “Comet Lake” with up to 10 cores for consumers. According to the site’s reporter, only the LGA 1200 socket is scheduled for launch, while a rumored LGA 1159 socket does not exist either.

    The rumors regarding an LGA 1159 socket apparently stems from data that Comet Lake with up to 8 cores uses the same silicon as today’s Coffe Lake Refresh. Early samples sent to partners, therefore, used an LGA 1150 socket, while Comet Lake in the Core 10000 series is released for the LGA 1200.

    The post AnandTech: “AMD TRX80 and WRX80 Chipsets don’t Exist” appeared first on Gaming PC Builder.


    Best Graphics Cards Under $200 – 2020 (January)

    If you are building a mid-range gaming PC on a budget, the graphics card best suited for that build is in the $160 – $220 price range – and now is a great time to buy one. Nvidia’s mid-range cards based on the Turing architecture were recently refreshed with Super versions, which greatly improved the price/performance […] The post Best Graphics Cards Under $200 – 2020 (January) appeared first on Gaming PC...

    If you are building a mid-range gaming PC on a budget, the graphics card best suited for that build is in the $160 – $220 price range – and now is a great time to buy one. Nvidia’s mid-range cards based on the Turing architecture were recently refreshed with Super versions, which greatly improved the price/performance ratio for the green team’s cards. In the red corner, AMD’s brand new Navi/RDNA-based Radeon RX 5500 XT cards are also on store shelves at the start of 2020. 

    Here, we have rounded up the best graphics card below $200, or close to that mark (GPU prices fluctuate a lot). To make sure you get the most value for your money, we’ve also added some more affordable cards as well as some slightly more expensive models, which might be a better option for you depending on your needs and budget.

    Table of Contents:
    AMD Vs Nvidia
    Fastest GPU under $200: GTX 1660
    Best AMD GPU below $200: RX 5500
    ~$20 Less: GTX 1650 Super
    ~$30 More: GeForce GTX 1660 Super
    Best Value: Radeon RX 570
    No PCIe power: GeForce GTX 1650
    Summary and notes

    AMD vs. Nvidia Below $200

    Radeon or GeForce? Gamers have asked this since the 90s and there has hardly ever been a definitive answer. As of early 2020, Nvidia has a clear performance lead in the high-end market, but AMD is highly competitive in the entry-level and mid-range price areas thanks to its new Navi/RDNA architecture.

    In the sub-$200 range, the Nvidia GPU to consider right now is the GeForce GTX 1660, (as long as it’s available since it is being replaced by the more expensive Super version). For AMD it’s the brand-new Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB (or possibly a previous-gen GPU, but more on that later). 

    Product
    AMD
    XFX RX 5500 XT Thicc II Pro 8GB GDDR6 3xDisplay Port HDMI PCI-Express 4.0 Graphics Card RX-55XT8DFD6
    Nvidia
    ZOTAC Gaming GeForce GTX 1660 6GB GDDR5 192-bit Gaming Graphics Card, Super Compact, Zt-T16600K-10M
    Image
    XFX RX 5500 XT Thicc II Pro 8GB GDDR6 3xDisplay Port HDMI PCI-Express 4.0 Graphics Card RX-55XT8DFD6
    ZOTAC Gaming GeForce GTX 1660 6GB GDDR5 192-bit Gaming Graphics Card, Super Compact, Zt-T16600K-10M
    Stream Processors
    1408
    1408
    Core/Boost Clock
    1607 MHz / 1845 MHz
    1530 MHz / 1785 MHz
    FP32 Theoretical Performance
    5,196 GFLOPS
    5,027 GFLOPS
    Memory Size/Type
    8 GB/GDDR6
    6GB/GDDR5
    Memory Bus
    128-bit
    192-bit
    Memory Clock (Effective)
    1750 MHz (14000 MHz)
    2001 MHz (8004 MHz)
    Memory Bandwidth
    224 GB/s
    192 GB/s
    TDP
    130 W
    100 W
    Recommended Power Supply
    350 W (1x 8-pin)
    450 W (1x 8-pin)
    Outputs
    1x HDMI 3x DisplayPort
    1x DVI, 3x DisplayPort
    Average Rating
    -
    User Reviews
    -
    126 Reviews
    Price
    $199.99
    $199.99
    AMD
    Product
    XFX RX 5500 XT Thicc II Pro 8GB GDDR6 3xDisplay Port HDMI PCI-Express 4.0 Graphics Card RX-55XT8DFD6
    Image
    XFX RX 5500 XT Thicc II Pro 8GB GDDR6 3xDisplay Port HDMI PCI-Express 4.0 Graphics Card RX-55XT8DFD6
    Stream Processors
    1408
    Core/Boost Clock
    1607 MHz / 1845 MHz
    FP32 Theoretical Performance
    5,196 GFLOPS
    Memory Size/Type
    8 GB/GDDR6
    Memory Bus
    128-bit
    Memory Clock (Effective)
    1750 MHz (14000 MHz)
    Memory Bandwidth
    224 GB/s
    TDP
    130 W
    Recommended Power Supply
    350 W (1x 8-pin)
    Outputs
    1x HDMI 3x DisplayPort
    Average Rating
    -
    User Reviews
    -
    Price
    $199.99
    Nvidia
    Product
    ZOTAC Gaming GeForce GTX 1660 6GB GDDR5 192-bit Gaming Graphics Card, Super Compact, Zt-T16600K-10M
    Image
    ZOTAC Gaming GeForce GTX 1660 6GB GDDR5 192-bit Gaming Graphics Card, Super Compact, Zt-T16600K-10M
    Stream Processors
    1408
    Core/Boost Clock
    1530 MHz / 1785 MHz
    FP32 Theoretical Performance
    5,027 GFLOPS
    Memory Size/Type
    6GB/GDDR5
    Memory Bus
    192-bit
    Memory Clock (Effective)
    2001 MHz (8004 MHz)
    Memory Bandwidth
    192 GB/s
    TDP
    100 W
    Recommended Power Supply
    450 W (1x 8-pin)
    Outputs
    1x DVI, 3x DisplayPort
    Average Rating
    User Reviews
    126 Reviews
    Price
    $199.99

    Last update on 2020-01-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

    Both of these cards offer excellent value in terms of FPS/$ and in terms of actual gaming performance it’s a very tight race. However, although the RX 5500 XT’s memory specs and raw performance as measured in FP32 GFLOPS is better than the GTX 1660 on paper, the Nvidia card comes out slightly ahead in most games. Both are nonetheless great choices for 1080p (and often 1440p) gaming in 2020. 

    Here’s a quick look at relative GPU performance using benchmark scores from Futuremark’s 3DMark Time Spy. (DirectX 12). We’ve included some additional GPUs for the sake of comparison and we will discuss some of them below.

    This is not an exact measurement of relative gaming performance, but still a reasonably accurate indicator of what to expect.

    Bottom line: The ‘performance per dollar’ equation changes constantly along with GPU prices. When either the GTX 1660 or the RX 5500 XT 8 GB sells for less than $200, the GTX 1660 has a slight edge. The simple reason is that it’s usually a bit faster in actual games.

    Fastest GPU Under $200: GeForce GTX 1660

    GTX 1660 graphics cardThe GTX 1660 is based on Nvidia’s Turing architecture and was launched in 2019. It can be seen as a direct successor to the GTX 1060, but it’s considerably faster (15-20%) and more efficient. At this writing, the GTX 1660 is in the process of being replaced by the GTX 1660 Super, which has caused prices to sometimes drop below $200. 

    At that price point, the original GTX 1660 cards offer one of the best FPS per dollar ratios of all current GPUs, but the more affordable GTX 1650 Super and 4 GB RX 5500 XT are not far behind. 

     ZOTAC Gaming GeForce GTX 1660MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ventus XSASUS GeForce GTX 1660 Phoenix Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1660 OC
    ImageZOTAC Gaming GeForce GTX 1660 6GB GDDR5 192-bit Gaming Graphics Card, Super Compact, ZT-T16600F-10LMSI Gaming GeForce GTX 1660 192-Bit HDMI/DP 6GB GDRR5 HDCP Support DirectX 12 Dual Fan VR Ready OC Graphics Card (GTX 1660 VENTUS XS 6G OC)ASUS GeForce GTX 1660 Overclocked 6GB Phoenix Fan Edition HDMI DP DVI Graphics Card (PH-GTX1660-O6G)Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1660 OC 6G Graphics Card, 2X Windforce Fans, 6GB 192-bit GDDR5, Gv-N1660OC-6GD Video Card
    Memory Size6 GB GDDR56 GB GDDR56 GB GDDR56 GB GDDR5
    FP32 Theoretical Performance5,027 GFLOPS5,153 GFLOPS5,027 GFLOPS5,153 GFLOPS
    Memory Clock2000 MHz2000 MHz2000 MHz2000 MHz
    Memory Bandwidth192.1 GB/s192.1 GB/s192.1 GB/s192.1 GB/s
    Recommended
    Power Supply
    500 Watt500 Watt500 Watt500 Watt
    Core Clock / Boost Clock1530 MHz /
    1785 MHz
    1530 MHz /
    1830 MHz
    1530 MHz /
    1785 MHz
    1530 MHz /
    1785 MHz
    Stream Processors1408140814081408
    Price from*$219.99$209.99$189.99$229.99
    Product LinkView on AmazonView on AmazonView on AmazonView on Amazon

    *Prices are updated automatically every few hours but are subject to change between updates. See ‘Last update’ information at bottom of the page.

    Compared to the AMD alternatives, the GTX 1660 is also faster than the previous-gen RX 580 or even the RX 590 in actual games, although both of the AMD GPUs offer better FP32 performance. In other words, it offers great performance 1080p and 1440p gaming and would be our favorite if it was only slightly cheaper.

    Best AMD GPU Below $200: Radeon RX 5500 XT

    msi rx5500 xt GPUAMD has finally updated its entry-level and mid-range offerings with much more power-efficient GPUs than the old Polaris-based RX 570, 580 and 590. The RX 5500 XT offers about the same performance as the RX 580 and RX 590 while using less power and generating less heat. One 8-pin PCIe connector provides enough power for the RX 5500 XT, and the recommended minimum power supply is now just 350 W (TDP is 130 W). These cards’ actual gaming performance sits between the GTX 1650 Super and GTX 1660 (although it should be faster than both on paper). 

     XFX RX 5500 XT Thicc II Pro 8GBASUS RX 5500 XT Dual 8GBGIGABYTE RX 5500 XT OC 4GBMSI RX 5500 XT Mech 4GB OC
    ImageXFX RX 5500 XT Thicc II Pro 8GB GDDR6 3xDisplay Port HDMI PCI-Express 4.0 Graphics Card RX-55XT8DFD6ASUS AMD Radeon RX 5500XT Overclocked O8G GDDR6 Dual Fan EVO Edition HDMI DisplayPort Gaming Graphics Card (DUAL-RX5500XT-O8G-EVO)GIGABYTE Radeon RX 5500 XT OC 4G Graphics Card, PCIe 4.0, 4GB 128-Bit GDDR6, GV-R55XTOC-4GD Video CardMSI Gaming Radeon RX 5500 XT Boost Clock: 1845 MHz 128-bit 4GB GDDR6 DP/HDMI Dual Torx 3.0 Fans Freesync VR Ready Graphics Card (RX 5500 XT MECH 4G OC)
    Stream Processors1408140814081408
    Base Clock /
    Boost Clock
    1607 MHz /
    1845 MHz
    1647 MHz /
    1865 MHz
    1607 MHz /
    1845 MHz
    1257 MHz /
    1366 MHz
    FP32 Theoretical Performance5,196 GFLOPS5,248 GFLOPS5,196 GFLOPS5,196 GFLOPS
    Max Memory Clock14 GHz14 GHz14 GHz14 GHz
    Memory Size8 GB GDDR68 GB GDDR64 GB GDDR64 GB GDDR6
    Memory Bandwidth224 GB/s224 GB/s224 GB/s224 GB/s
    Recommended Power Supply350 Watt350 Watt350 Watt350 Watt
    Price from*$199.99$209.99$179.99$184.99
    Product LinkView on AmazonView on AmazonView on AmazonView on Amazon

    *Prices are updated automatically every few hours but are subject to change between updates. See ‘Last update’ information at bottom of the page.

    Note that we are listing cards with both 8 GB and 4 GB of video memory (VRAM). An 8 GB card will, on average, improve frame rates by a few percentage points. But in many cases, additional VRAM will also allow for more detail and higher resolutions (e.g. 1440p) with less significant performance drops. If the price difference is small, we definitely recommend an 8 GB model.

    ~$20 Less: GTX 1650 Super

    GeForce GTX 1650 SuperOnly a few months ago, Nvidia was barely competitive at all below the $200 mark, but as of early 2020, this has changed completely.  The GeForce GTX 1650 Super is another Nvidia GPU that offers excellent value at a lower price point than the GTX 1660. Compared to the non-Super GTX 1650, the 1650 Super is much faster and performance is closer to the GTX 1660. In other words, it has clearly earned the Super moniker and it’s very easy to recommend. 

    As opposed to the standard GTX 1650, the Super version requires one 6-pin PCIe power connector but draws much less power than the previous generation. Because it’s an affordable card, GTX 1650 Super designs tend to be small and compact. If you have room for a video card with two fans in your case, this is usually a better option, all else being equal.

     ZOTAC GTX 1650 Super Twin FanMSI GTX 1650 Super Ventus XS OCMSI GTX 1650 Super Gaming X
    ImageZOTAC Gaming GeForce GTX 1650 Super Twin Fan 4GB GDDR6 128-Bit Gaming Graphics Card, Super Compact, Zt-T16510F-10LMSI GeForce GTX 1650 Super Ventus XS OC  Gaming GeForce GTX 1650 Super 128-Bit HDMI/DP/DVI 4GB GDRR6 HDCP Support DirectX 12 Dual Fan VR Ready OC Graphics Card (GTX 1650 Super Ventus XS OC)MSI Gaming GeForce GTX 1650 Super 128-Bit HDMI/DP 4GB GDRR6 HDCP Support DirectX 12 Dual Fan VR Ready OC Graphics Card (GTX 1650 Super Gaming X)
    Memory Size4 GB GDDR64 GB GDDR64 GB GDDR6
    Stream Processors128012801280
    FP32 Theoretical Performance4,416 GFLOPS4,454 GFLOPS4,493 GFLOPS
    Max Memory Clock12000 MHz12000 MHz12000 MHz
    Memory Bandwidth192 GB/s192 GB/s192 GB/s
    Recommended
    Power Supply
    350 Watt350 Watt350 Watt
    Core Clock / Boost Clock1530 MHz /
    1725 MHz
    1530 MHz /
    1740 MHz
    1530 MHz /
    1755 MHz
    Display Outputs1x DVI, 1x HDMI
    1x DP
    1x DVI, 1x HDMI
    1x DP
    1x HDMI
    3x DP
    Price from*$159.99$160.80$179.99
    Product LinkView on AmazonView on AmazonView on Amazon

    The Zotac and MSI Ventus are both compact dual-fan models, while the MSI Gaming X is a full-size card with a larger factory overclock and likely better cooling performance. 
    *Prices are updated automatically every few hours but are subject to change between updates. See ‘Last update’ information at bottom of the page.

    ~$30 More: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super

    If you are willing to spend around $30 more for a 10–15% performance improvement (essentially getting what you pay for), then the GeForce GTX 1660 Super is the one to get. The difference compared to the non-Super is that the 1660 Super uses faster GDDR6 VRAM. It has the same amount of shaders and transistors.

     EVGA GTX 1660 Super Sc UltraAsus TUF GTX 1660 Super OCZOTAC GTX 1660 Super TF
    ImageEVGA GeForce GTX 1660 Super Sc Ultra Gaming, 6GB GDDR6, Dual Fan, Metal Backplate, 06G-P4-1068-KRAsus TUF Gaming GeForce GTX 1660 Super Overclocked 6GB Edition HDMI DP DVI Gaming Graphics Card (TUF-GTX1660S-O6G-GAMING)ZOTAC Gaming GeForce GTX 1660 Super 6GB GDDR6 192-bit Gaming Graphics Card, Super Compact, Zt-T16620F-10L
    Stream Processors140814081408
    Base Clock /
    Boost Clock
    1530 MHz /
    1830 MHz
    1530 MHz /
    1845 MHz
    1530 MHz /
    1785 MHz
    FP32 Theoretical Performance5,153 GFLOPS5,196 GFLOPS5,027 GFLOPS
    Max Memory Clock14 GHz14 GHz14 GHz
    Memory Size6 GB GDDR66 GB GDDR66 GB GDDR6
    Memory Bandwidth336 GB/s336 GB/s336 GB/s
    Recommended Power Supply350 Watt350 Watt350 Watt
    Price from*$229.99$229.99$396.99
    Product LinkView on AmazonView on AmazonView on Amazon

    *Prices are updated automatically every few hours but are subject to change between updates. See ‘Last update’ information at bottom of the page.

    Best Value: AMD Radeon RX 570

    rx570 strixIf you’re really on a budget – or simply want the maximum amount of frames per second for every dollar invested – then the Radeon RX 570 GPU is still a price/performance king. These cards are about 10-15% slower than RX 580-based cards, so if a 570 is more than 15% cheaper – which it often is – it’s an excellent deal.

    And you can still play most AAA titles at 1080p/60fps, as well as 1440p with reduced quality settings. The cards are way faster than similarly-priced GeForce boards, and of course all RX 560 alternatives. It’s simply still a great budget GPU.

    The Radeon RX 570 is more varied in terms of appearance and features. Some come in 8 GB versions, making them a bit more attractive than the 4 GB models. 

     Sapphire Radeon Pulse RX 570PowerColor Red Dragon RX 570XFX Radeon RX 570 RS XXX EditionPowerColor Red Devil RX 570
    ImageSapphire Technology Technology Radeon 11266-04-20G Pulse RX 570 4GB GDDR5 Dual HDMI/ DVI-D/ Dual DP OC with Backplate (UEFI) PCI-E Graphics CardPowerColor Red Dragon Radeon RX 570 AXRX 570 4GBD5-3DHD/OCXFX Radeon RX 570 RS XXX Edition 1286MHz, 8gb GDDR5, DX12 VR Ready, Dual BIOS, 3xDP HDMI DVI, AMD Graphics Card (RX-570P8DFD6)PowerColor AXRX 570 4GBD5-3DH/OC Video Card
    Core Clock / Boost Clock1168 MHz /
    1284 MHz
    1168 MHz /
    1250 MHz
    1168 MHz /
    1320 MHz
    1270 MHz /
    1320 MHz
    Stream Processors2048204820482048
    Memory Size4 GB4 GB8 GB4 GB
    FP32 Theoretical Performance5,259 GFLOPS5,120 GFLOPS5,267 GFLOPS5,407 GFLOPS
    Max Memory Clock7 GHz7 GHz7 GHz7 GHz
    Memory Bandwidth224.0 GB/s224.0 GB/s224.0 GB/s224.0 GB/s
    Recommended
    Power Supply
    500 Watt500 Watt500 Watt500 Watt
    Display outputs1x DVI, 2x HDMI
    2x DP
    1x DVI, 1x HDMI
    3x DP
    1x DVI, 1x HDMI
    3x DP
    1x DVI, 1x HDMI
    3x DP
    Price from*$160.93$129.99$142.49$167.78
    Product LinkView on AmazonView on AmazonView on AmazonView on Amazon

    *Prices are updated automatically every few hours but are subject to change between updates. See ‘Last update’ information at bottom of the page.

    Thanks to its slightly higher clocks, the triple-fan PowerColor Red Dragon RX 570 4GB leads in terms of theoretical performance with 5,407 GFLOPS, closely followed by the also overclocked 8 GB XFX. It’s a close race between these cards, but depending on price we’d pick either the thermally capable PowerColor card or the XFX Radeon RX 570 RS XXX Edition. 

    Some of them are also factory overclocked, but not enough to impact performance in any noticeable way. We recommend that you base your choice on today’s price and which display outputs you need.

    Also Great Value: Radeon RX 590

    Although it’s far less efficient than the latest-gen RX 5500 XT and GTX 1650 Super, the Radeon RX 590 is slightly faster on average and often costs less. And that makes it the fastest GPU in that price range, but due to its age and relative inefficiency, we hesitate to recommend it outright. 

    But it can’t be denied that it still offers great value and formidable mid-range performance when it’s available for less than $200. The 8 GB card delivers a consistent 60 fps at 1440p in lots of games. Pair it with FreeSync monitor and you’ll get a great gaming experience and lots of value for your money.

    This is how some of the most popular models match up. 

     Sapphire Radeon
    Pulse RX 590
    Gigabyte
    RX 590 Gaming
    PowerColor
    Red Dragon RX 590
    ASUS ROG
    Strix RX 590
    Product LinkView on AmazonView on AmazonView on AmazonView on Amazon
    ImageSapphire 11289-06-20G Radeon Pulse RX 590 8GB GDDR5 Dual HDMI/ DVI-D/ Dual DP w/ Backplate (UEFI) PCI-E Graphic CardsGigabyte Radeon Rx 590 Gaming 8G Graphics Card, 2X Windforce Fans, 8GB 256-Bit GDDR5, Gv-RX590GAMING-8GD Video CardPowerColor Red Dragon RX 590 8GBASUS ROG Strix Radeon Rx 590 8G Gaming GDDR5 DP HDMI DVI VR Ready AMD Graphics Card Graphic Cards ROG-STRIX-RX590-8G-GAMING
    Stream Processors2304230423042304
    Boost Clock /
    Max OC Clock
    1469 MHz /
    1545 MHz
    1469 MHz /
    1545 MHz
    1469 MHz /
    1545 MHz
    1469 MHz /
    1545 MHz
    FP32 Theoretical Performance7,119 GFLOPS7,119 GFLOPS7,119 GFLOPS7,119 GFLOPS
    Effective Memory Clock8 GHz8 GHz8 GHz8 GHz
    Memory Size8 GB8 GB8 GB8 GB
    Memory Bandwidth256 GB/s256 GB/s256 GB/s256 GB/s
    Outputs1x DVI, 2x HDMI
    2x DP
    1x DVI, 1x HDMI
    3x DP
    1x DVI, 1x HDMI
    1x DP
    1x DVI. 2x HDMI
    2x DP
    Recommended Power Supply500 Watt500 Watt500 Watt500 Watt
    Price from*$259.99$219.95$194.99Price not available

    *Prices are updated automatically every few hours but are subject to change between updates. See ‘Last update’ information at bottom of the page.

    Most RX 590’s use dual-fan cooling solutions, which is practically a must on this power-hungry GPU. The only outlier is the Asus Strix, but the extra cost is very difficult to motivate. For more info on additional models, see our more comprehensive RX 590 roundup.

    Here’s a video from the web that compares the relative performance of the RX 590 to the GTX 1650 Super.

    No PCIe Power: GeForce GTX 1650

    msi gaming-x 1650If you are limited by your power supply and can’t (or don’t want to) replace it – or simply want an Nvidia card that’s more affordable than the GTX 1650 Super or 1660 – the GeForce GTX 1650 is the one GPU under $200 that you should be looking at. It replaces the 1050 Ti and offers better performance at roughly the same price. This card will go nicely with your G-Sync monitor and produce good frame rates in eSports titles at 1080p. It can’t compete with AMD cards in the same price range, but it is a competent and highly efficient chip for a power-deficient, entry-level gaming build.

    Among the 1650 cards, we consider the MSI GeForce GTX 1650 Gaming X 4G a good buy, mainly because it comes with a considerable factory overclock and uses a tried-and-tested, dual-fan design. It will let you play all the latest AAA titles at acceptable frame rates, but you will have to use lower settings in more demanding titles such as Metro Exodus. Casual games like Fortnite, on the other hand, will easily run at 60FPS/1080p.

    Let’s compare some of the GeForce GTX 1650-based alternatives.

     MSI GeForce GTX 1650 Gaming XASUS ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1650 OCZotac Gaming GeForce GTX 1650 OCGigabyte GeForce GTX 1650 Windforce OC
    ImageMSI Gaming GeForce GTX 1650 128-Bit HDMI/DP 4GB GDRR5 HDCP Support DirectX 12 Dual Fan VR Ready OC Graphics Card (GTX 1650 Gaming X 4G)Asus Rog Strix GeForce GTX 1650 Overclocked 4GB Edition VR Ready HDMI 2.0 DP 1.4 Gaming Graphics Card (Rog-STRIX-GTX1650-O4G-Gaming)ZOTAC Gaming GeForce GTX 1650 OC 4GB GDDR5 128-Bit Gaming Graphics Card, Super Compact, ZT-T16500F-10LGIGABYTE GeForce GTX 1650 Windforce OC 4G Graphics Card, 2X Windforce Fans, 4GB 128-Bit GDDR5, Gv-N1650WF2OC-4GD Video Card
    CUDA Cores896896896896
    Core Clock / Boost Clock1485 MHz /
    1860 MHz
    1485 MHz /
    1830 MHz
    1485 MHz /
    1695 MHz
    1485 MHz /
    1785 MHz
    FP32 Theoretical Performance3,333 GFLOPS3,279 GFLOPS 3,037 GFLOPS3,199 GFLOPS
    Memory Clock (Effective)8 GHz8 GHz8 GHz8 GHz
    Memory Size4 GB4 GB4 GB4 GB
    Memory Bandwidth128.0 GB/s128.0 GB/s128.0 GB/s128.0 GB/s
    Required PSU300 Watt300 Watt300 Watt300 Watt
    Price from*$159.99$179.57$149.99$169.99
    Product LinkView on AmazonView on AmazonView on AmazonView on Amazon

    *Prices are updated automatically every few hours but are subject to change between updates. See ‘Last update’ information at bottom of the page.

    MSI’s card has some of the highest factory overclocks on the market but it’s closely followed by Asus’ popular Strix model (OC version). Unless you’re building in a micro-ATX or mini-ITX case with limited space, dual-fan options are the way to go.

    Summary

    These are the best graphics cards close to or below $200. Whatever your budget is and your preferred games, these cards offer great price-to-performance value. However, as of January 2020, the GTX 1660 or the GTX 1650 Super are the best cards at their respective price points. In the AMD camp, the Radeon RX 5500 XT is also a great buy, and the Radeon RX 570 still offers excellent value (depending on current prices, of course).

    If you want the best possible performance for less than $200, the RX 590 is also a good choice, as it’s the last and most efficient version of the Polaris GPU. Unfortunately, none of the RX 570, 580 or 590 are power-efficient at all when compared to the Nvidia alternatives or the new AMD RX 5500 XT.

    What that means is that you may need a bigger power supply unit (PSU) and sometimes an additional PCIe cable to power them. In the case of the RX 580 Nitro+, for example, you need one 8-pin and one 6-pin auxiliary (PCIe) power connector, whereas no GTX 1650 Super uses more than a single 6-pin connector.  

    If you have no choice but to use a PCIe slot-powered card, the GTX 1650 (non-Super) offers much better value than the old GTX 1050 Ti, but it’s less powerful than all the other cards we’ve listed.

    One putative advantage for AMD is that the RX cards support dual-GPU setups, i.e. CrossFireX. Nvidia’s corresponding SLI feature is not available with entry-level and mid-range cards. On the other hand, using two GPUs is hardly ever a better option than buying a single, more capable card. 

    A side note, but a topic worth mentioning, is factory overclocking. Several of the above graphics cards come with slightly higher clock rates compared to the reference models, which is often – but not always – also reflected in the price tag. It doesn’t necessarily have an impact on how much the card can be overclocked by the user.

    Each and every GPU chip is unique quality-wise and therefore the chips’ overclocking capability varies. Unfortunately, you never know exactly how capable it is before you buy (this is why it’s called the “silicon lottery”). The main difference is that a factory-overclocked card is guaranteed to work at the specified clock rates, which is not the case otherwise. In some cases, pricier and factory-overclocked cards also have better cooling solutions than budget GPUs. 

    About System and PSU Requirements

    PCIe power connector

    You need at least one of these to power any of the above cards except the GTX 1650.

    You certainly don’t need a monster gaming rig to power mid-range graphics cards around the $200 price range. The most important thing is to ensure that your power supply unit (PSU) is up to the task.

    The most demanding of the cards we’ve been looking at here are the ones based on the Radeon RX 580 and RX 590 GPUs. AMD recommends a 500 Watt PSU for the entire system. However, this will, of course, depend on how power-efficient the rest of your system is. Typical board power is 185 Watts for the reference design RX 580, but overclocked cards will use a lot more.

    So, most such cards need at least one 8-pin PCIe power connector and sometimes one 8-pin and one 6-pin connector coming from the PSU. If your power supply does not have any auxiliary PCIe power connectors – and for some reason, you can’t upgrade it (such as in a custom, small form-factor PC) – then your best option from the above are the GeForce GTX 1650s. These cards only draw power straight from the motherboard.

    Other than the PSU, your other PC components should preferably at least be fairly recent. The processor (CPU) does affect what frame rates you’ll be getting to some extent, but the difference will be quite small if you’re using any AMD Ryzen or Core i5 from the past few years. Older AMD CPUs in general and some older Intel Core i3 CPUs, in particular, may have a more severe negative effect on game frame rates. 

    VR compatibility: If you are looking to power a VR headset such as the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, then the minimum GPU recommendation is either an AMD Radeon RX 580 or an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060.

    The post Best Graphics Cards Under $200 – 2020 (January) appeared first on Gaming PC Builder.


    Best RTX 2070 SUPER Graphics Cards That You Can Buy Right Now

    Nvidia’s RTX 2070 SUPER occupies an attractive spot in the high-end GPU market. It’s not as eye-wateringly expensive as the 2080 Super/Ti, but still offers a level of performance that even surpasses the GTX 1080 Ti in some games. Plus, you get all the ray-tracing and DLSS goodness. With the SUPER model, you also get […] The post Best RTX 2070 SUPER Graphics Cards That You Can Buy Right Now appeared first on Gaming PC...

    Nvidia RTX 2070 SUPER Founders EditionNvidia’s RTX 2070 SUPER occupies an attractive spot in the high-end GPU market. It’s not as eye-wateringly expensive as the 2080 Super/Ti, but still offers a level of performance that even surpasses the GTX 1080 Ti in some games. Plus, you get all the ray-tracing and DLSS goodness. With the SUPER model, you also get improved performance at the same price point as the regular RTX 2070. What’s not to like?

    Although Nvidia’s reference design of the RTX 2070S looks great and performs well, you will usually get better performance out of an aftermarket model while paying less. Even the cheaper aftermarket models perform like the reference design (or better) so you are not compromising on your frame rates if you take the third-party route.

    The Best RTX 2070 SUPER Cards In 2020

    So, if you are in the market for an RTX 2070S graphics card, you may have a goal in mind already – be it the highest factory OC, best price/performance ratio, or simply a card that will fit in your SFF gaming build. We will start with some of the best RTX 2070S graphics cards in those respective categories.

    Product
    Highest Factory OC
    GIGABYTE AORUS GeForce RTX 2070 Super 8G Graphics Card, 3x WINDFORCE Fans, 8GB 256-Bit GDDR6, GV-N207SAORUS-8GC Video Card
    Best Value
    GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 2070 Super Gaming OC 8G Graphics Card, 3X Windforce Fans, 8GB 256-Bit GDDR6, GV-N207SGAMING OC-8GD Video Card
    Best Compact/ITX
    ZOTAC Gaming GeForce RTX 2070 Super Mini 8GB GDDR6 256-Bit 14Gbps Gaming Graphics Card, IceStorm 2.0, Super Compact, Zt-T20710E-10M
    Image
    GIGABYTE AORUS GeForce RTX 2070 Super 8G Graphics Card, 3x WINDFORCE Fans, 8GB 256-Bit GDDR6, GV-N207SAORUS-8GC Video Card
    GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 2070 Super Gaming OC 8G Graphics Card, 3X Windforce Fans, 8GB 256-Bit GDDR6, GV-N207SGAMING OC-8GD Video Card
    ZOTAC Gaming GeForce RTX 2070 Super Mini 8GB GDDR6 256-Bit 14Gbps Gaming Graphics Card, IceStorm 2.0, Super Compact, Zt-T20710E-10M
    Max. Boost Clock
    1905 MHz
    1815 MHz
    1770 MHz
    Effective VRAM Clock
    14000 MHz
    14000 MHz
    14000 MHz
    FP32 Performance
    9,754 TFLOPS
    9,293 TFLOPS
    9,062 TFLOPS
    Display Outputs
    3x HDMI, 3x DP 1x USB-C
    1x HDMI, 3x DP
    1x HDMI, 3x DP
    PCIe Power
    2x 8-pin
    8-pin + 6-pin
    8-pin + 6-pin
    Avg. Rating
    User Reviews
    14 Reviews
    93 Reviews
    164 Reviews
    Price
    $589.99
    $519.99
    $499.99
    Prime Status
    Highest Factory OC
    Product
    GIGABYTE AORUS GeForce RTX 2070 Super 8G Graphics Card, 3x WINDFORCE Fans, 8GB 256-Bit GDDR6, GV-N207SAORUS-8GC Video Card
    Image
    GIGABYTE AORUS GeForce RTX 2070 Super 8G Graphics Card, 3x WINDFORCE Fans, 8GB 256-Bit GDDR6, GV-N207SAORUS-8GC Video Card
    Max. Boost Clock
    1905 MHz
    Effective VRAM Clock
    14000 MHz
    FP32 Performance
    9,754 TFLOPS
    Display Outputs
    3x HDMI, 3x DP 1x USB-C
    PCIe Power
    2x 8-pin
    Avg. Rating
    User Reviews
    14 Reviews
    Price
    $589.99
    Prime Status
    Product Link
    Best Value
    Product
    GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 2070 Super Gaming OC 8G Graphics Card, 3X Windforce Fans, 8GB 256-Bit GDDR6, GV-N207SGAMING OC-8GD Video Card
    Image
    GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 2070 Super Gaming OC 8G Graphics Card, 3X Windforce Fans, 8GB 256-Bit GDDR6, GV-N207SGAMING OC-8GD Video Card
    Max. Boost Clock
    1815 MHz
    Effective VRAM Clock
    14000 MHz
    FP32 Performance
    9,293 TFLOPS
    Display Outputs
    1x HDMI, 3x DP
    PCIe Power
    8-pin + 6-pin
    Avg. Rating
    User Reviews
    93 Reviews
    Price
    $519.99
    Prime Status
    Product Link
    Best Compact/ITX
    Product
    ZOTAC Gaming GeForce RTX 2070 Super Mini 8GB GDDR6 256-Bit 14Gbps Gaming Graphics Card, IceStorm 2.0, Super Compact, Zt-T20710E-10M
    Image
    ZOTAC Gaming GeForce RTX 2070 Super Mini 8GB GDDR6 256-Bit 14Gbps Gaming Graphics Card, IceStorm 2.0, Super Compact, Zt-T20710E-10M
    Max. Boost Clock
    1770 MHz
    Effective VRAM Clock
    14000 MHz
    FP32 Performance
    9,062 TFLOPS
    Display Outputs
    1x HDMI, 3x DP
    PCIe Power
    8-pin + 6-pin
    Avg. Rating
    User Reviews
    164 Reviews
    Price
    $499.99
    Prime Status
    Product Link

    Last update on 2020-01-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

    When just looking at the specs and feature set, the Gigabyte Aorus RTX 2070 SUPER is an absolute monster in every respect. However, from a price/performance perspective, we would choose the much more affordable, triple-fan Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2070 Super Gaming OC over the Aorus any day of the week. And for small form factors like ITX or mATX, the compact ZOTAC Gaming GeForce RTX 2070 Super Mini is the one to beat.

    But so far, we’ve only scratched the surface. Here are a few more 2070S models that we can recommend, based on feature set and price/performance. We have also included the reference design for comparison, though it is unreasonably priced right now in our opinion.

    ModelMax.
    Boost Clock
    FansSlots/
    Length
    OutputsRGB
    Gigabyte Aorus RTX 2070 Super1905 MHz32.75/11.4 in (29 cm)3x HDMI
    3x DP
    1x USB-C
    Yes
    Gigabyte RTX 2070 Super Gaming OC1815 MHz32.7/11.3 in (28 cm)1x HDMI
    3x DP
    1x USB-C
    Yes
    MSI RTX 2070 Super Gaming Z Trio1815 MHz32.75/12.9 in (33 cm)1x HDMI
    3x DP
    Yes
    ASUS ROG Strix RTX 2070 Super1830 MHz32.75/11.8 in (30 cm)2x HDMI
    2x DP
    1x USB-C
    Yes
    EVGA RTX 2070 Super FTW3 Ultra+1815 MHz32.75/11.9 in (30.2 cm)1x HDMI
    3x DP
    1x USB-C
    Yes
    EVGA RTX 2070 Super XC Gaming1800 MHz22.75/10.6 in (27 cm)1x HDMI
    3x DP
    1x USB-C
    Yes
    ASUS RTX 2070 Super OC (Dual)1815 MHz22.7/10.5 in (27 cm)2x HDMI
    2x DP
    1x USB-C
    No
    ZOTAC RTX 2070 Super Twin Fan1770 MHz22/10.6 in (27 cm)1x HDMI
    3x DP
    Yes
    ZOTAC RTX 2070 Super Mini1770 MHz22/8.3 in (21 cm)1x HDMI
    3x DP
    No
    EVGA RTX 2070 Super Gaming1770 MHz12/10.5 in (27 cm)1x HDMI
    3x DP
    1x USB-C
    Yes
    Nvidia RTX 2070 Super Founders Edition1770 MHz22/10.5 in (27 cm)1x HDMI
    3x DP
    1x USB-C
    No
    1

    Best Overall: Gigabyte Aorus RTX 2070 SUPER

    At the top of our list, we have the top-of-the-line Aorus 2070 SUPER from Gigabyte. This card has a very unique design and a futuristic look. It features the competent WindForce Stack cooler which has 3 fans stacks on top of each other. Each fan has a ring of RGB lighting around it which looks very cool indeed.

    Gigabyte Aorus RTX 2070 SUPER

    The Aorus logo lights up as well and there is a small display on the card that gives you information at a glance. It comes with a 12+2 Power Phase design in combination with a massive factory overclock – the core clock speed of the card is 1905 MHz, which is much higher than the reference design. That’s also one of the reasons why the card is so expensive when compared to the other models that we have on this list. Way too expensive, in our humble opinion, since you can easily find an RTX 2080 Super that costs less.

    Another highlight is the number of ports on this card. Gigabyte exceeds the reference design by including 3x HDMI 2.0 ports, 3x DisplayPort 1.4 ports and a USB Type-C port (you only get a single HDMI port on most of the 2070 SUPER models). 

    In short: The Gigabyte Aorus RTX 2070 SUPER is an extreme card with a rather extreme factory OC out of the box and additional overclocking headroom to spare. If you want the best of the best, look no further. However, it’s still difficult to recommend this card considering that the price tag is also on the extreme side.

    Check pricesNewegg

    2

    Best Value: Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2070 Super Gaming OC

    Gigabyte’s RTX 2070 Super Gaming OC is our top pick from the always important price/performance perspective. It features the very popular WindForce 3X Cooling System with three alternately spinning fans, which will keep your card cool under load. You can tweak the speed of the fans so that they are near-silent or ramp them up if you are interested in overclocking. All other things being equal, a good triple-fan card should give you a better chance at reaching higher clocks.

    GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 2070 Super GAMING OC

    The card’s design doesn’t stand out. It’s mostly black with silver accents, so it should blend in well with the rest of your build. The Aorus Engine software gives you a lot of control over the performance of your card and helps you monitor it as well. You also get RGB Fusion 2.0 to help you sync the lighting with other supporting parts. However, only the top-side logo is RGB-lit on this card. There’s a slight factory OC at 1815 MHz compared to the standard 1770 MHz. In addition, the Gigabyte RTX 2070 Super Gaming OC has a metal backplate which is very nice and you also get a 4-year warranty if you register online.

    Unsurprisingly, it’s not as full-featured on the VRM side as the Aorus model but offers an 8+2 power phase design to allow the MOSFET to operate at a lower temperature. The reference design has 7+2 power phases.

    In short: There are several reasons why we recommend this card based on price versus performance: A triple-fan design produces less noise and better cooling performance, there’s a small factory OC, and even a better VRM than the reference design – plus, it usually costs less than many lesser models. 

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    3

    MSI GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER Gaming Z Trio


    If you’re looking for an RTX 2070S GPU in the premium segment – but one that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg like the Aorus – the MSI GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER Gaming Z Trio is an option to consider. This is a very large triple-slot card with three fans in an atypical arrangement known to perform well. The graphics card has a boost clock of 1815 MHz and unlike the above Gigabyte model, the MSI card comes with additional RGB lighting.

    MSI 2070S Gaming Trio

    In short: The Gaming Z Trio’s TRI-FROZR cooler is not unique to the 2070 Super – it’s been tried and tested before and we know that it works. You should be able to get a decent overclock from this card if you push it to its limits, and that is one of the reasons why we can recommend this to enthusiasts. Just make sure it fits in your case because it’s huge at 12.9 x 2.3 x 5.5 inches (328 x 140 x 56.5 mm).

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    4

    ASUS ROG Strix RTX 2070 Super Advanced

    This is another premium card built around a comprehensively tried and tested cooling design. The ROG Strix RTX 2070S has much in common with the MSI Gaming Z Trio: It has three fans, costs about the same, and offers a similar factory OC boost clock to 1830 MHz. It’s not quite as physically large though, measuring 11.8 x 5.13 x 2.13 in, but it will still take up three slots. Also like its competitor from MSI, the ASUS card comes with eye-pleasing RGB highlights in the form of ASUS’ Aura Sync tech.

    Strix RTX 2070 Super

    Like several other upscale RTX 2070 Super cards, the Strix comes ready for overclocking. It requires two 8-pin PCIe power connectors instead of the standard 1x 6-pin + 1x 8-pin, which enables the card to draw more power. Another advantage for overclockers is a dual BIOS setup with a physical switch that negates the risk associated with BIOS flashing.

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    5

    Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2070 Super Gaming OC White

    This card is the same as our choice of the best RTX 2070 Super from a price/performance perspective, the 2070 Super Gaming OC, but it comes in white. There are only a handful of PC parts that come in White and if you are looking for a white graphics card for your original white gaming PC build then this is the one that you should go for. You get RGB Fusion 2.0 to help you sync the lighting with other supporting parts (only the logo is lit here though). The card has a core clock speed of 1815 MHz compared to the 1770 MHz of the reference design model.

    GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 2070 Super GAMING OC WHITE

    The GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 2070 Super GAMING OC WHITE has a metal backplate which is very nice and you also get a 4-year warranty if you register online. As its black sibling, this graphics card uses an 8+2 power phase design instead of the standard 7+2 power phases. So not only are you getting more performance but better reliability as well. For output, the card has an HDMI 2.0 port, 3 DisplayPort 1.4, and a USB Type-C port.

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    6

    EVGA GeForce RTX 2070 Super FTW3 Ultra+

    Our last triple-fan RTX 2070 Super is EVGA’s FTW3 ULTRA+, which is an RGB-equipped model with a decent factory overclock to 1815 MHz. What makes this card stand out, however, is that EVGA has applied a memory overclock as well – and a rather sizeable one at that. Instead of the usual 1750 MHz (14,000 MHz effective), the FTW3’s 8 GB of GDDR6 VRAM runs at an effective 15,500 MHz. 

    EVGA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER FTW3 ULTRA

    The cooling solution is always important for an overclocked GPU, and in this case, the card uses EVGA’s iCX2 technology to keep thermals in check. This is an interesting concept that consists of nine sensors that continuously adjust the fan speeds to achieve optimized GPU, VRAM, and VRM temperatures while keeping the noise level to a minimum.  

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    7

    Best Dual-Fan Card: EVGA RTX 2070 Super XC Ultra

    As you may have guessed by now, we have a strong preference for triple-fan cards – especially for high-end GPUs that use more than 200 Watts of power and release an equivalent amount of heat. Clever cooler designs will help, but won’t substitute for an additional fan when it comes to keeping both temps and noise to a minimum. On the other hand, triple-fan cards tend to be huge and will not fit in a more compact build. They are also more expensive on average. 

    For our dual-fan RTX 2070 Super card of choice, we return to EVGA. The RTX 2070 Super XC Ultra is a very attractive option thanks to a combination of a great-looking design, a reasonable price tag, and most of all, the same iCX2 cooler found on the much more expensive FTW3 Ultra. Put the proverbial saw to the FTW3 and this is what you get:

    evga 2070s dual GPU

    The card has a slight factory OC on the boost clock to 1800 MHz instead of the default 1770 MHz but unlike the FTW3, the XC Ultra has no memory OC out of the box. Something worth noting about this card is that early reviews were partly based on the pricing at launch, which has since come down considerably. To quote the review by MMORPG.com:

    At $539 MSRP, the EVGA 2070 Super XC is an absolute steal, especially given how it fares compared to the more expensive cards.

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    8

    ASUS GeForce RTX 2070 Super Overclocked (Dual)

    At times you need to pay a premium for high-end Asus hardware (especially the Strix lineup), but the Asus GeForce RTX 2070 Super Overclocked is both reasonably priced and overclocked out of the box. This particular cooler design is one that Asus uses for most of its GPUs as an entry-level option to the more expensive ROG Strix cards, but it works well enough.

    ASUS GeForce RTX 2070 Super Overclocked

    The cooler has dual axial fans that have a smaller fan hub and longer blades, which increases the air pressure and keeps that card cool. 0dB Technology means that the fans stop on low GPU activity, letting you work in relative silence. Although there are Asus “Dual” cards in many sizes, the RTX 2070 Super has a 2.7-slot design that expands over the surface area to make the most of the two fans. There’s also a protective backplate that keeps the card rigid.

    Interestingly, with an 1845 MHz maximum boost clock, the factory OC in this model is higher than the Strix. For more consistent boost clock speeds, you can put the card in ‘game mode’ and it will run at 1815 MHz. In short, If you are looking for an Asus RTX 2070 Super graphics card, but would rather not pay extra for the Strix ‘bling’, then this is a great card to consider.

    Check prices: Newegg, Amazon, Amazon UK

    9

    ZOTAC GAMING GeForce RTX 2070 Super Twin Fan

    Here we have a 2070 Super from Zotac. The card comes in an all-black design with dual fans and is also relatively cheap compared to other models that we have on this list. It has the IceStorm 2.0 cooler with the PCB brace and a metal backplate. You get an RGB logo and a standard 1770 MHz core clock, so you’ll have to overclock it yourself to get better performance. On the plus side, that shouldn’t be too hard considering that this is a large and competent cooler.

    zotac twin fan

    The two fans have individual controllers so they can run at different speeds. You can tweak this in the settings. Unfortunately, there is no RGB lighting or other fancy features, but similar to Gigabyte’s entry-level cards, the Zotac Gaming logo lights up. For outputs, you have an HDMI 2.0 port, 3x Displayport 1.4 and a USB Type-C port. If you are interested in a good 2070 SUPER for less money then this is an option worth considering.

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    10

    Best mITX/mATX: ZOTAC Gaming GeForce RTX 2070 Super Mini

    This card is a very interesting option for anyone who prefers to build small form factor (SFF), console-style gaming PCs in suitably compact mini-ITX or mATX cases. Cramming lots of muscle into a tiny case is always a challenge, but one that Zotac intends to help you solve. The manufacturer’s RTX 2070 Super Mini comes in a format that you are more likely to see in combination with a lower-end GPU: an ultra-compact dual-fan + strictly dual-slot design. 

    zotac mini 2070 super

    The RTX 2070 Super is the most powerful GPU that Zotac uses in this custom, miniaturized PCB design, which indicates that it pushes the limits. Nonetheless, its thermals are quite impressive according to smallformfactor.net’s review of the card using a Louqe Ghost S1 mITX case. Clearly, there’s a lot to like here for SFF builders and it’s reasonably priced as well. 

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    11

    Blower-Style: EVGA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER Gaming

    There’s a reason we’re putting this one right at the bottom of the list – and it’s likely the same reason why Nvidia has stopped making blower-style coolers for their reference cards. This type of cooler often performs worse both in the temperature and noise departments. 

    The design has one clear advantage though, namely that the heat from the GPU leaves your case in an efficient manner. This is great in case of an otherwise poorly ventilated case. So if you have this particular need, you can get the EVGA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER Gaming. Another advantage is that it’s also more affordable than cards with beefier coolers.

    EVGA GeForce 2070 SUPER GAMING

    There is an RGB logo and it has a core clock speed of 1770 MHz, which matches the reference design. It’s also a dual-slot card, which might help if you have space constraints. 

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    Nvidia RTX 2070 SUPER Founders Edition

    Nvidia no longer makes cards with blower style fans so that cooling in the reference design model of the RTX 2070 Super is actually very good. But unfortunately, it is currently far too expensive compared to other models on this list that perform even better thanks to beefier coolers.

    The reference “Founder’s Edition” card has a boost clock speed of 1770 MHz and a base clock speed of 1605 MHz. It comes with 2560 CUDA cores, just like the other models on this list and offers features such as real-time ray tracing and DLSS support.

    Nvidia 2070 SUPER Founders Edition

    The 2070 SUPER Founders Edition is not the best value for money but it does have a very different look and that is what some people are looking for. Keep in mind that this card is too expensive and we only list it for comparison.

    Amazon, Newegg

    Wrapping things up, these are some of the best 2070 Super cards that you can buy in 2020. At the time of the latest update to this page, we don’t expect many more varieties of the RTX 2070 Super to arrive, but we will update the page if there are new developments.

    The post Best RTX 2070 SUPER Graphics Cards That You Can Buy Right Now appeared first on Gaming PC Builder.


    Fix EA Origin Error Could Not Connect To Services

    Error Codes 14:1, 14:5, 14:7 – Could not connect to Origin services error happens when the file needed by the client is corrupted, or there is an application running that prevents the client to connect to EA servers. Here are some workarounds that might helped you fix this problem.   Reinstall EA Origin Client 1. […] The post Fix EA Origin Error Could Not Connect To Services appeared first on Gaming PC...

    Error Codes 14:1, 14:5, 14:7 – Could not connect to Origin services error happens when the file needed by the client is corrupted, or there is an application running that prevents the client to connect to EA servers. Here are some workarounds that might helped you fix this problem.

    EA Origin Error

     

    Reinstall EA Origin Client

    1. Double click the My Computer icon (or press Windows Key and E simultaneously) to open Windows Explorer, then click the “Hidden Items” check box from the View Tab of Windows Explorer to show hidden folders.

    2. Go to “C:\Users\YourUserName\AppData\Local\Origin” and “C:\Users\YourUserName\AppData\Roaming\Origin”, then delete its content.

    EA Origin Error

     

    3. Download and install EA Origin using the “OriginSetup.exe” instead of “OriginThinSetup.exe”.

    EA Origin Error

     

    Download OriginSetup.exe here.

     

     Turn Off or Disconnect From VPN

    1. Open your VPN application and click “Disconnect” or “Disable VPN”.

    Hide.Me VPN

     

    2. Or go to VPN Settings in Windows 10.

    Windows 10 VPN

     

    3. Select the VPN connection and click disconnect.

    Windows 10 VPN

     

    EA Origin client should launch properly now.

    The post Fix EA Origin Error Could Not Connect To Services appeared first on Gaming PC Builder.


    SSD Ranking: The Fastest Solid State Drives

    A fast SSD is one of the few hardware upgrades that can instantly improve how you experience your PC. This is especially true when upgrading from a mechanical hard drive, but moving between generations (e.g. from SATA to NVMe/PCIe) may also make a noticeable difference.  This aim of this page is to provide a rough […] The post SSD Ranking: The Fastest Solid State Drives appeared first on Gaming PC...

    A fast SSD is one of the few hardware upgrades that can instantly improve how you experience your PC. This is especially true when upgrading from a mechanical hard drive, but moving between generations (e.g. from SATA to NVMe/PCIe) may also make a noticeable difference. 

    This aim of this page is to provide a rough guide to the best and fastest solid state drives on the market. We base our rankings on an average of read/write speeds. However, for real-world performance and durability reasons, we give preference to DRAM-equipped, MLC-based drives.

    We will dive into the details shortly, but first, these are the drives that we consider leaders in their respective form factors. They don’t necessarily represent the best value but are definitely some of the speediest storage devices that you can put in a consumer PC today. 

    Product
    Best 2.5" SATA SSD
    Samsung 860 PRO SSD 1TB - 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal Solid State Drive with V-NAND Technology (MZ-76P1T0BW)
    Fastest M.2 PCIe Gen4
    Gigabyte AORUS NVMe Gen4 M.2 1TB PCI-Express 4.0 Interface High Performance Gaming, Full Body Copper Heat Spreader, Toshiba 3D NAND, DDR Cache Buffer, 5 Year Warranty SSD GP-ASM2NE6100TTTD
    Best Add-In Card
    Intel Optane SSD 905P Series (960GB) (AIC PCIe x 4 3D XPoint)
    Image
    Samsung 860 PRO SSD 1TB - 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal Solid State Drive with V-NAND Technology (MZ-76P1T0BW)
    Gigabyte AORUS NVMe Gen4 M.2 1TB PCI-Express 4.0 Interface High Performance Gaming, Full Body Copper Heat Spreader, Toshiba 3D NAND, DDR Cache Buffer, 5 Year Warranty SSD GP-ASM2NE6100TTTD
    Intel Optane SSD 905P Series (960GB) (AIC PCIe x 4 3D XPoint)
    Sequential read (max., MB/s)
    560 MB/s
    5000
    2600 MB/s
    Sequential write (max., MB/s)
    530 MB/s
    4400
    2200 MB/s
    Random read IOPS (4K/QD32)
    100,000 IOPS
    750000
    575,000 IOPS
    Random write IOPS (4K/QD32)
    90,000 IOPS
    700000
    550,000 IOPS
    Average rating
    User reviews
    424 Reviews
    40 Reviews
    11 Reviews
    Warranty
    5 years
    5 Years
    5 Years
    Endurance rating
    1,200 TBW (512 GB)
    1,800 TBW
    17,520 TBW (960 GB)
    Price
    $274.66
    $259.99
    $1,268.86
    Best 2.5" SATA SSD
    Product
    Samsung 860 PRO SSD 1TB - 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal Solid State Drive with V-NAND Technology (MZ-76P1T0BW)
    Image
    Samsung 860 PRO SSD 1TB - 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal Solid State Drive with V-NAND Technology (MZ-76P1T0BW)
    Sequential read (max., MB/s)
    560 MB/s
    Sequential write (max., MB/s)
    530 MB/s
    Random read IOPS (4K/QD32)
    100,000 IOPS
    Random write IOPS (4K/QD32)
    90,000 IOPS
    Average rating
    User reviews
    424 Reviews
    Warranty
    5 years
    Endurance rating
    1,200 TBW (512 GB)
    Price
    $274.66
    Store link
    Fastest M.2 PCIe Gen4
    Product
    Gigabyte AORUS NVMe Gen4 M.2 1TB PCI-Express 4.0 Interface High Performance Gaming, Full Body Copper Heat Spreader, Toshiba 3D NAND, DDR Cache Buffer, 5 Year Warranty SSD GP-ASM2NE6100TTTD
    Image
    Gigabyte AORUS NVMe Gen4 M.2 1TB PCI-Express 4.0 Interface High Performance Gaming, Full Body Copper Heat Spreader, Toshiba 3D NAND, DDR Cache Buffer, 5 Year Warranty SSD GP-ASM2NE6100TTTD
    Sequential read (max., MB/s)
    5000
    Sequential write (max., MB/s)
    4400
    Random read IOPS (4K/QD32)
    750000
    Random write IOPS (4K/QD32)
    700000
    Average rating
    User reviews
    40 Reviews
    Warranty
    5 Years
    Endurance rating
    1,800 TBW
    Price
    $259.99
    Store link
    Best Add-In Card
    Product
    Intel Optane SSD 905P Series (960GB) (AIC PCIe x 4 3D XPoint)
    Image
    Intel Optane SSD 905P Series (960GB) (AIC PCIe x 4 3D XPoint)
    Sequential read (max., MB/s)
    2600 MB/s
    Sequential write (max., MB/s)
    2200 MB/s
    Random read IOPS (4K/QD32)
    575,000 IOPS
    Random write IOPS (4K/QD32)
    550,000 IOPS
    Average rating
    User reviews
    11 Reviews
    Warranty
    5 Years
    Endurance rating
    17,520 TBW (960 GB)
    Price
    $1,268.86
    Store link

    Last update on 2020-01-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

    Note that our choice of M.2 drive currently requires an X570 motherboard and a Ryzen 3000 CPU to run at full speed over the PCI Express 4.0 interface. If you run any other system, we recommend the excellent Samsung 970 PRO instead.

    For our more complete list of SSDs, we’ll start with 2.5″ SATA drives. Today’s high-end SATA SSDs are all bandwidth-limited compared to more modern interfaces/protocols such as PCI-express/NVMe (M.2 or add-in card form factors). So if your computer has an available PCIe M.2 slot, this is the form factor you should be looking at first.

    Quick links
    Top 10 SATA SSDs
    Top 10 M.2 PCIe/NVMe SSDs
    Top 10 PCI-Express (add-in card) SSDs

    Consumer Drives (2.5-inch SATA, 6 Gbps)

    860-pro1. Samsung 860 PRO

    Available Capacities: 256GB – 4TB
    Interface: SATA III 6Gbps
    560MB/s read (256GB)
    550MB/s write (256GB)

    This list has been maintained for many years now and Samsung has been on top since late 2012, starting with the somewhat legendary 840 Pro. Today you need to move on from the aging SATA interface to get noticeably better performance, but Samsung hasn’t stopped improving on its flagship SATA product.

    In 2020, this is still the impressive 860 PRO, which not only performs exceptionally well but has an endurance rating that is at least double that of its predecessor. And if previous Samsungs are an indication, the 300 TBW (terabytes written) rating for the 256 GB model up to 4,800 TBW for the 4 TB model (all use MLC NAND), might be conservative estimates. This, coupled with a 5-year warranty and great overall performance, makes the 860 Pro look very attractive indeed. If SATA is your only option, that is.

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    Reviews: AnandTech, Notebookcheck, Tom’s Hardware


    Sandisk SSD2. SanDisk Extreme PRO

    Available Capacities: 240GB – 960GB
    Interface: SATA 3 6Gbps
    550MB/s read
    520MB/s write

    SanDisk’s Extreme Pro has been around for several years but is still one of the best options in the SATA space. It’s a direct successor to the Extreme II and is slightly ahead of its predecessor in most areas. Sequential read speed is 550 MB/s and write speed 520 MB/s (4K random read/write 100K/90K IOPS).

    More importantly, though, SanDisk is confident enough to offer a 10-year warranty with the Extreme Pro – a unique offer in the consumer (or prosumer) segment. The 19nm MLC NAND is allegedly good for writing 22 GB of data per day for 10 years. Although the Extreme Pro is not particularly recent, it is still widely available and should definitely be on your shortlist when evaluating high-end SATA 6 Gbps drives.

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    Reviews: AnandTech, TweakTown


    860 EVO3. Samsung 860 EVO

    Available Capacities: 250GB – 4TB
    550MB/s read
    520MB/s write

    The 860 EVO is Samsung’s follow-up of its incredibly successful 850 EVO. Now the difference between these two will be very slim due to the aforementioned interface constraints, but that matters little – the 860 EVO still replaces its predecessor in this price range. And it will still be a great choice given Samsung’s track record.

    It performs very well considering it’s a TLC-based SSD. Moreover it offers excellent endurance numbers at precisely half those of the 860 Pro at equivalent capacities (which is still much better than most competitors), as well as a 5-year warranty.

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    Reviews: Tom’s Hardware


    4. Crucial MX500

    Available Capacities: 250GB – 2TB
    Interface: SATA 3 6Gbps
    560MB/s read
    510MB/s write

    Crucial’s MX500 uses TLC NAND and is a more direct competitor to the Samsung 860 EVO than the 860 PRO. That said, it offers great performance at a very attractive price point and is available in capacities up to 2 TB. Like the 860 EVO it is also backed by a 5-year warranty, but its endurance rating is lower than both the 860 Pro and EVO. It starts at 100 TB for the 250 GB model and ranges up to 700 TB for the 2 TB model, which is still more than sufficient for the average user.

    The MX500 can compete with the 860 series in many areas, but rarely (if ever) surpass it. However, the price/performance ratio is excellent so this drive is a good choice for most SATA-limited systems.

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    Reviews: AnandTech, Guru3D


    Samsung SSD5. Samsung 850 Pro

    Available Capacities: 128GB – 1TB
    Interface: SATA III 6Gbps
    550MB/s read (256GB)
    520MB/s write (256GB)

    The 860 Pro’s predecessor is still an excellent drive, but due to pricing and availability it is probably no longer the best option, but still good if you can find it at the right price. The 850 Pro series uses its own MEX controller in combination with 3D NAND (V-NAND) like its successor, which increases density without compromising performance. And it’s still ahead of today’s competition in many areas.

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK


    atata su9006. ADATA Ultimate SU900

    Available Capacities: 256GB – 2TB
    Interface: SATA 3 6Gbps
    560MB/s read
    525MB/s write

    Taiwanese manufacturer ADATA may have a smaller marketing budget compared to tech giants such as Samsung and SanDisk, but it’s a company known for putting out well-performing, reliable products. The SU900 is not entirely on par with the speediest SATA drives but should be quick enough for most use cases. Neither should endurance be an issue, since it uses MLC (3D) NAND and ships with a 5-year warranty.

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    Reviews: Storagereview


    ocz vector7. OCZ Vector 180

    Available Capacities: 120GB – 960GB
    550MB/s read
    530MB/s write

    As you may have noticed, there are plenty of older products in this list of SATA drives. The reason is something of a shortage of new SATA SSDs in the high-end (as in MLC) segment. So even though the Toshiba OCZ Vector 180 was released in 2015, it’s still a viable option in 2020.

    The Vector 180 uses 19nm Toshiba MLC NAND in combination with an OCZ Barefoot controller (formerly Indilinx). It is not quite on par with Samsung’s top drives in terms of performance, but it’s close enough. Also, the warranty is a very attractive five years or 50GB of writes per day.

    Check prices: Amazon, Amazon UK

    Reviews: Bit-tech


    transcend-ssd3708. Transcend SSD370

    Available Capacities: 120GB – 480GB
    Interface: SATA 3 6GBps
    560MB/s read (256GB and up)
    460MB/s write (512GB and up)

    The SSD370 uses a Transcend TS6500 controller (a rebranded Silicon Motion SM2246EN controller) with Micron 128Gbit 20nm MLC NAND. The random 4KB read reaches 75K IOPS and the random 4KB write goes up to 75K IOPS as well. Its incompressible sequential read performance is excellent, while write performance is not as great overall. However, the drive has other advantages than pure speed.

    Transcend bundles it with a custom firmware which enables encryption. While DevSleep is supported, slumber power modes, particularly HIPM and DIPM, are not. The drive comes with a 3.5″ desktop adapter for older machines, as well the cloning utility SSD Scope. It also features “StaticDataRefresh”, which is similar to what other drives do to correct data errors due to cell degradation.

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    Reviews: PCWorld, TomsHardware.com


    sandisk-extreme II9. SanDisk Extreme II

    Available Capacities: 120GB – 480GB
    Interface: SATA 3 6Gbps
    550MB/s read
    510MB/s write

    The Extreme II from Flash storage-giant SanDisk delivers excellent performance at a reasonable price point. It’s a predecessor to the Extreme Pro (see above), and likewise pretty old but still going strong as of 2016. Its sequential read speeds of 550 MB/s and write speeds of 510 MB/s are complemented by very good random read/write figures as well (95K/78K IOPS).

    SanDisk uses a controller from Marvell in this particular line of SSDs – a chip with the fanciful designation 88SS9187 (also known as Monet) – with SanDisk’s own firmware and 19nm eX2 ABL MLC NAND (also from SanDisk), which makes for a particularly long-lasting combination according to several reports.

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    Reviews: HotHardware, AnandTech


    su80010. ADATA SU800

    Available Capacities: 128GB – 2TB
    Interface: SATA 3 6Gbps
    560 MB/s read
    520 MB/s write

    The SU800 is ADATA’s top-end TLC-based SSDs. It uses a Silicon Motion SM2258 controller and features SLC-mode caching as well as a DRAM write buffer. For a drive based on low-cost NAND, the endurance ratings are more than acceptable, at 400 TBW for the 512 GB capacity. Speaking of which, you can get the SU800 in a wide range of capacities starting from 128GB up to 2TB. The drive’s random read/write figures are up to 90K/80K IOPS.

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK


    M.2 Drives (2280/2260)

    Update: Check out our new, up-to-date listing of the best M.2 SSDs here.

    1. Gigabyte Aorus Gen4

    Interface: PCIe Gen4 x4 NVMe
    Available Capacities: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB
    5,000 MB/s read (1TB)
    4,400 MB/s write (1TB)

    If you own an X570 motherboard and AMD Ryzen 3rd-gen combo, you can reap the benefits of the PCI Express 4.0 interface. We will likely see more SSDs that take advantage of the increased Gen4 bandwidth soon. But for now, all M.2 PCIe Gen4 devices are based on the same combination of a Phison E16 controller and 96-layer TLC NAND from Toshiba. This includes the Aorus Gen4, Sabrent Rocket 4 and the Corsair MP600. 

    Since these drives all use essentially the same hardware, performance is similar as well – but no less impressive. Sequential read bandwidth approaches a full 5 GB/s. Peak write speeds are lower, but nevertheless exceed any PCIe 3.0 SSD by a fair margin. As usual, the smallest capacity is slightly slower. 

    Again, take note that you need a PCIe 4.0-capable setup to reach the advertised speeds. Otherwise, the SSD will still work but be capped by the Gen3 interface. 

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    Reviews: MMORPG


    sabrent gen4 ssd2. Sabrent Rocket Gen4

    Interface: PCIe Gen4 x4 NVMe
    Available Capacities: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB
    5,000 MB/s read (1TB)
    4,400 MB/s write (1TB)

    Looking at the spec sheet of Sabrent’s PCIe 4-enabled Rocket, you may notice that it’s identical to the above Gigabyte Aorus. The reason is that they are identical because they use mostly the same components. Just like the Aorus – and several other PCIe 4.0 SSDs launched along with AMD’s new platform – it uses Phison’s E16 controller and the same Toshiba NAND. 

    However, the firmware is apparently not identical and the drives do differ in some real-world benchmarks, but not by much. Like its close relatives, this drive also peaks at 5 GB/s sequential read transfer rates over the new interface. You can get this drive with or without a sizeable heatsink on top. 

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK


    Corsair MP6003. Corsair Force MP600 Gen4 

    Interface: PCIe Gen4 x4 M.2
    Available Capacities: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB
    4,950 MB/s read (512GB)
    2,500 MB/s write (512GB)

    Here’s yet another Phison E16-based SSD from Corsair that closely resembles the aforementioned Sabrent and Aorus drives. The Corsair Force MP600 uses the very same controller/NAND combo and also performs about the same.  

    Again, the firmware implementation may be slightly different, but the hardware is essentially the same. Like its competitors, Corsair’s model also comes with a heatsink as Gen4 drives tend to run hot.

    At the start of 2020, these Phison E16-based drives are still the fastest SSDs on the market when combined with the 3rd-gen AMD Ryzen or Threadripper platforms. 

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK


    970-pro4. Samsung 970 Pro

    Interface: PCIe Gen3 x4 NVMe
    Available Capacities: 512GB, 1,024GB
    3500MB/s read
    2300MB/s write

    If you want top performance and are willing to pay a bit more for it, then the Samsung 970 Pro is about as good as it gets in this form factor. Although in terms of everyday user experience, you would probably never be able to tell the difference between this an any of the other top contenders in this segment.

    But an SSD is the sum of its parts, nothing more and nothing less. What sets the 970 Pro apart from many of its competitors (including the 970 EVO) is that it uses higher-quality MLC NAND, and will, therefore, last longer than its more affordable TLC counterparts. The endurance rating is 600 TBW (twice that of the comparable EVO) or five years (same as the EVO)

    It will also perform better and more consistently thanks to the better NAND. This is particularly noticeable in the random write area, with 500,000 IOPS (4K, QD32) in both available capacities.

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    Reviews: StorageReview, TweakTown


    970 EVO Plus5. Samsung 970 EVO Plus

    Interface: PCIe Gen3 x4 NVMe
    Available Capacities: 250 GB, 500 GB, 1 TB
    3500MB/s read
    3300MB/s write

    Instead of launching an entirely new model, Samsung updated its popular 970 EVO lineup (which is still available) with the 970 EVO in 2019. As the name implies, it is basically an improved version of the same SSD, using the same controller but denser, 96-layer TLC NAND and some additional tweaks. The improvements are particularly noticeable in term of write performance. Sequential transfer rates are up from 2,500 MB/s to 3,300 MB/s, meaning that it outperforms the 970 PRO in some cases.

    According to Samsung, random write performance with the 970 EVO Plus has been improved by as much as 57% compared to the previous EVO.

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK


    sn7506. WD Black SN750

    Interface: PCIe Gen2 x4 M.2
    Available Capacities: 250GB, 500GB, 1TB
    3470MB/s read (500GB)
    3000MB/s write (500GB)

    Western Digital has been a giant in the storage industry for decades, but only recently started catching up in the SSD market following the company’s acquisition of SanDisk.

    This drive, which is a slight update of the WD Black 2018, uses SanDisk’s 96-layer TLC flash, which brings some performance improvements over its predecessor. Its sequential transfer rates are high but differ quite a bit between capacities. This is particularly true for the drive’s listed write speed, where the 250 GB drive (1,600 MB/s) is considerably slower than the 1TB variation (3,000 MB/s). The random figures are also more impressive in the larger capacities.

    WD offers a 5-year warranty with these drives and the TBW rating is up to 600 TBW. All capacities except the 250 GB model are available with an optional heatsink that might help the drive perform consistently during extended high loads.

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    Reviews: AnandTech, TweakTown


    960-pro7. Samsung 960 Pro

    Interface: PCIe Gen3 x4 NVMe
    Available Capacities: 512 GB, 1 TB, 2 TB
    3500MB/s read
    2100MB/s write

    While the 970 Pro was an improvement, Samsung’s 960 pro is still a blazing-fast SSD. Like its successor, this m.2 drive supports 4 lanes of PCIe and uses NVMe for maximum bandwidth utilization and increased throughput. It uses Samsung’s own Polaris controller in combination with Samsung MLC V-NAND.

    The 960 Pro supports TGC Opal and AES 256-bit data encryption. In the random read/write area, it delivers up to 440K IOPS for 4KB (QD32) random read and 330K IOPS for random writes (also 4KB/QD32). Reduce the queue depth to 1 and it still reaches an impressive 14K IOPS/50K IOPS read/write. These numbers, by the way, apply to the higher-capacity drives, while the 512 GB model is slightly slower.

    Samsung offers a 5-year warranty with the 960 Pro as well as impressive endurance ratings of 1200 TB for the 2 TB model, 800 TB for the 1 TB drive and 400 TB for the 512 GB version – higher numbers than the 970 EVO but lower than the Pro.

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    Reviews: AnandTech, ArsTechnica, Guru3D


    evo ssd8. Samsung 970 EVO

    Interface: PCIe Gen3 x4 NVMe
    Available Capacities: 512 GB, 1 TB, 2 TB
    3400MB/s read
    2300MB/s write

    As usual, Samsung’s EVO series offers a feature set that is almost on par with its more expensive Pro counterpart but uses cheaper TLC NAND in combination with the same Phoenix controller. For most of us, the price/performance equation is more important than pure performance, and that makes the 970 EVO a solid option. Again, the difference between the top drives in the NVMe PCI-express segment will not be noticeable for most users.

    The 970 EVO is actually, on paper, slightly faster than the 960 Pro in some areas, but it’s slower in a few others due to the TLC NAND.

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    Reviews: StorageReivew, TweakTown


    adata sx82009. ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro

    Interface: PCIe Gen3 x4 NVMe
    Available Capacities: 256GB to 1TB
    3200MB/s read (480GB)
    1700MB/s write (480GB)

    Unlike Samsung’s lineup, ADATA’s ‘Pro’ designation does not imply that it’s an MLC drive. It instead uses now-common 64-layer 3D TLC NAND, meaning that – like many similar drives – the listed sequential read and write speeds do not paint the whole picture. These drives normally use an SLC cache keep transfer speeds up, but only until the cache is full.

    That doesn’t mean that the SX8200 Pro is not a fast drive, because it is. It surpasses the Samsung 970 EVO in certain areas, with the help of a Silicon Motion SM2262 controller and a DRAM buffer. The warranty is five years and the TBW ratings start at 160 TBW for the 256GB model, which doubles in line with the capacities.

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    Reviews: TweakTown


    optane 800p10. Intel Optane SSD 800P

    Interface: PCIe Gen3 x2 NVMe
    Available Capacities: 58GB, 118TB
    1450MB/s read
    640MB/s write (1 TB)

    This drive is very difficult to categorize as it differs considerably from all of its competitors in more ways than one. While the sequential transfer rates may seem modest, the Optane 800P outperforms Samsungs Pro-series drives in many areas. This might compensate for the comparatively tiny capacities and the high cost, at least in specific use cases.

    The reason why it’s so different is that the Optane doesn’t even use NAND Flash. Instead, it’s equipped with Intel’s own 3D X-Point memory, which has other characteristics, making it partly more similar to DRAM.

    But at the end of the day, the average PC builder will have to compare NAND and 3D X-Point in terms of price/performance/capacity, and then the 800P may be a tough sell. An exception might be workstation users who put their drives through a heavy load on a daily basis, because no competitor offers the same endurance: 1.7 to 3.4 full drive writes per day for the duration of the 5-year warranty period.

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    Reviews: StorageReview, AnandTech


    Top 10 Fastest PCI Express Add-In Card SSDs

    optane 905p1. Intel Optane SSD 905P

    Interface: PCIe NVMe 3.0 x4
    Form Factor: Add-in Card, HHHL (CEM 3.0)
    Available Capacities: 480GB, 960 and 1.5TB
    Up to 2600MB/s read
    Up to 2200MB/s write
    Random 4K Write: Up to 550K IOPS

    Considering the overall performance scores that this drive racks up across various reviews, this may well be the fastest SSD in the world at this time. And it also has an endurance rating in a league of its own compared to other drives aimed at not-necessarily-professional users.

    However, for the average user – including most professionals – this drive is probably overkill. But if you really want the best-performing drive, you’ll be happy to learn that Intel has introduced a new endurance metric for it known as PBW, or petabytes written.

    The 960 GB capacity has a PBW rating of 17.52, meaning you can write about 17.5 million GB to it before it wears down. Intel’s 3D Xpoint memory, which appears to be practically invincible, is the reason why this drive is difficult to compare to regular NAND-based SSDs.

    Check prices: Amazon, Amazon UK, Newegg

    Reviews: TweakTown


    900p ssd2. Intel Optane SSD 900P Series

    Interface: PCIe NVMe 3.0 x4
    Form Factor: Add-in Card, HHHL (CEM 3.0)
    Available Capacities: 280GB and 480GB
    Up to 2500MB/s read
    Up to 2000MB/s write
    Random 4K Write: Up to 500K IOPS

    Only slightly behind its successor is the 950p’s predecessor in Intel’s Optane 900p-series. These drives also use 3D Xpoint memory, and while it may not show in the drives’ raw sequential transfer performance, it’s a very impressive SSD.

    As is the endurance rating, which is 10 full drive writes per day for 5 years. Such characteristics mean that it’s well suited not only for enthusiast builds but also for heavy-duty workstations.

    Check prices: Amazon, Amazon UK, Newegg

    Reviews: HotHardware


    nx5003. Corsair Neutron NX500

    Interface: PCIe NVMe 3.0 x4
    Form Factor: Add-in Card, HHHL
    Available Capacities: 400GB, 800GB and 1600GB
    Up to 3000MB/s read
    Up to 2500MB/s write
    Random 4K Write: Up to 270K IOPS

    In spite of its higher theoretical maximum transfer rates (measured with ATTO, according to Corsair), we will rank the Neutron NX500 from Corsair below the Optane 900p because real-world performance is consistently below according to the reviews we’ve seen (links below). It’s apparently tough to compete with 3D Xpoint, but that doesn’t mean that the NX500 is a low-end product. Among the small number of consumer-oriented PCIe drives currently available in the add-in card form factor, it’s an attractive option given that the price point is reasonable compared to the Optane.

    Check prices: Amazon, Amazon UK, Newegg

    Reviews: AnandTech, Tom’s Hardware


    4. Plextor M8Pe

    Interface: PCIe NVMe 3.0 x4
    Form Factor: Add-in Card, HHHL
    Available Capacities: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB and 1TB
    Up to 2000MB/s read
    Up to 1400MB/s write
    Random 4K Write: Up to 240K IOPS

    Thanks to the now-ubiquitous M.2 slot, large PCIe add-in cards, or AIC, have become increasingly rare outside of the enterprise segment. Another one of a mere handful of manufacturers who still make drives for the form factor is Plextor.

    The drive series with the less-than-inspiring name M8Pe uses 15nm Toshiba MLC NAND and is available in both M.2 and AIC form factors. There is also a newer version of the drive known as M8Se that uses less durable TLC NAND.

    In terms of performance, the M8Pe should have no problems competing with mainstream M.2 drives, making it a potentially cost-effective solution if an AIC is what you need.

    Check prices: Amazon, Amazon UK, Newegg


    5. OCZ RevoDrive 350

    Interface: PCI Express 2.0 x 8
    Available Capacities: 240GB – 960GB
    1800MB/s read
    1700MB/s write
    Random 4K Writes: Up to 140K IOPS

    The original RevoDrive was released well before the M.2 form factor took off, and was considered exceptionally fast at the time. However, now that it’s not just competing with SATA drives, the RevoDrive will only appeal to a much smaller market.

    There have been several SSDs in the series, but the RevoDrive 350 is the only one that’s more widely available (and it’s not particularly new).


    Summary and Explanations

    We’ve tried our best to compile the most comprehensive list of SSDs available and used this to create the lists you see above. Since there are new drives launched each month, we will update our list and ratings regularly. Also, if you think we’ve omitted something or need correction, don’t hesitate to leave a comment!

    Lots of abbreviations and technical terms are used on product pages and SSD discussions. If you are new to them they will, needless to say, be totally incomprehensible. We will attempt to explain some of them here. 

    What is SLC, MLC, TLC, and QLC?

    An SSDs performance, as well as its life span, are to a large extent determined by the quality of the memory cells. Higher-quality memory not only performs better but can also be erased and written to a larger number of times before it wears out.

    SLC (single-level cell) NAND Flash memory is more durable than MLC (multi-level cell, two bits per cell), which in turn is more durable than TLC (triple-level cell) NAND. Since recently, QLC (quad-level cell) drives such as the Samsung QVO are also available. Additional bits per cell affect performance negatively because it makes the cells considerably more error-prone. There are clever technologies that compensate for this, but in the end, there’s no substitute for higher-quality NAND.

    Unsurprisingly, high-end memory is also much more expensive to produce. There are zero SSDs today in the consumer space based on SLC memory, but some use MLC (like the Samsung PRO lineup).

    Most consumer SSDs in 2020 use comparatively affordable TLC memory, but QLC is increasingly common.

    SSD endurance: What’s MTBF and TBW – Should I Care?

    MTBF is short for “mean time before failure” and is more relevant for conventional hard drives than SSDs, which have no mechanical parts that are prone to failure over time. TBW (terabytes written or total bytes written) is a much more interesting number. This will give you is an indication of how much data can be written to the drive before it wears out. It’s affected by the drive’s capacity, spare capacity (so-called overprovisioning) and the quality of the NAND. 

    For a drive with a 300 TBW rating, 300 TB is the amount of data that the manufacturer guarantees can be written to it (usually in a mutually exclusive number of years). This is not to say that an SSD will necessarily fail after this amount of TB written. It’s part of the warranty terms and an indication of its relative endurance. 

    Production Processes

    Unlike other parts such as a CPU/GPU, a smaller production process as measured in nanometers (nm), is not a strong selling point, as this results in lower durability, all other things being equal. However, for the average home or office user, durability is rarely an issue, since any SSD will most likely outlive the rest of the computer by a wide margin. Just don’t rely on low-cost drives with cheap NAND in a server or other environment with a high continuous workload

    The post SSD Ranking: The Fastest Solid State Drives appeared first on Gaming PC Builder.


    Fastest M.2 NVMe SSDs

    Moving to faster storage can shave seconds off most of your PC activities – from booting up your OS to loading apps and games. If you are currently booting from a hard drive, there is simply no other component that will have a comparable effect on your user experience than an SSD. But not all […] The post Fastest M.2 NVMe SSDs appeared first on Gaming PC...

    optane-800pMoving to faster storage can shave seconds off most of your PC activities – from booting up your OS to loading apps and games. If you are currently booting from a hard drive, there is simply no other component that will have a comparable effect on your user experience than an SSD.

    But not all solid state drives are created equal. If you have an available M.2 slot on your motherboard (desktop or laptop), then this is most likely the best place to install your system drive. Preferably, it should also be compatible with PCI Express and the modern storage interface protocol NVMe.

    Table of Contents

    What is NVMe and is it necessary?

    NVMe example

    Image credit: Intel

    What SSD speed boils down to is how fast you can move data from storage (non-volatile, slow) to DRAM (volatile, fast).

    NVMe – short for non-volatile memory express – was created to make the most out of solid state drives in combination with the PCI Express interface. Its predecessor is AHCI (paired with SATA), which was originally intended for mechanical hard drives. The newer protocol includes many efficiency improvements when dealing with parallel transfers and the low-latency nature of SSDs.

    If you want to learn more about NVMe, start by checking out this introduction by Intel. It’s aimed at data center customers but is accessible to anyone who wants a quick overview of the NVMe advantages.

    When shopping for a new SSD, it’s important to know that M.2 is just a form factor that says nothing of performance. Some M.2 SSDs operate over the SATA interface, making it no different from a 2.5″ drive in terms of performance. Other drives instead use PCI Express (PCIe), which is a considerably faster interface.

    Fastest Vs. Best Value M.2 SSD

    The short version is that if you want an M.2 SSD that is consistently fast in all areas  – and don’t mind paying a bit more – you should opt for one that uses MLC Flash (or 3D XPoint) memory chips. But if you don’t work with storage-heavy applications you will probably won’t notice the difference compared to a drive based on modern 3D TLC memory. TLC-based drives are more affordable but can be as fast as MLC-based SSDs in shorter bursts.

    MLC, or Multi-level cell NAND, generally offer better endurance and overall performance than its triple-level cell counterpart. But for a vast majority of users, TLC endurance will be more than enough, and the difference in performance is not noticeable in most situations. Consequently, both of our top choices use TLC memory but still strike a good balance between performance and value in their respective categories.

    Product
    Fastest M.2 SSD
    Gigabyte AORUS NVMe Gen4 M.2 1TB PCI-Express 4.0 Interface High Performance Gaming, Full Body Copper Heat Spreader, Toshiba 3D NAND, DDR Cache Buffer, 5 Year Warranty SSD GP-ASM2NE6100TTTD
    Best Value
    Samsung 970 EVO Plus SSD 500GB - M.2 NVMe Interface Internal Solid State Drive with V-NAND Technology (MZ-V7S500B/AM)
    Image
    Gigabyte AORUS NVMe Gen4 M.2 1TB PCI-Express 4.0 Interface High Performance Gaming, Full Body Copper Heat Spreader, Toshiba 3D NAND, DDR Cache Buffer, 5 Year Warranty SSD GP-ASM2NE6100TTTD
    Samsung 970 EVO Plus SSD 500GB - M.2 NVMe Interface Internal Solid State Drive with V-NAND Technology (MZ-V7S500B/AM)
    Sequential read (max., MB/s)
    5000
    3500
    Sequential write (max., MB/s)
    4400
    3200
    Random read IOPS (4K/QD32)
    750000
    480000
    Random write IOPS (4K/QD32)
    700000
    550000
    Average rating
    User reviews
    40 Reviews
    1,579 Reviews
    Warranty
    5 Years
    5 Years
    Endurance rating (TBW)
    1800 TBW
    300 TBW
    Price
    $259.99
    $109.99
    Fastest M.2 SSD
    Product
    Gigabyte AORUS NVMe Gen4 M.2 1TB PCI-Express 4.0 Interface High Performance Gaming, Full Body Copper Heat Spreader, Toshiba 3D NAND, DDR Cache Buffer, 5 Year Warranty SSD GP-ASM2NE6100TTTD
    Image
    Gigabyte AORUS NVMe Gen4 M.2 1TB PCI-Express 4.0 Interface High Performance Gaming, Full Body Copper Heat Spreader, Toshiba 3D NAND, DDR Cache Buffer, 5 Year Warranty SSD GP-ASM2NE6100TTTD
    Sequential read (max., MB/s)
    5000
    Sequential write (max., MB/s)
    4400
    Random read IOPS (4K/QD32)
    750000
    Random write IOPS (4K/QD32)
    700000
    Average rating
    User reviews
    40 Reviews
    Warranty
    5 Years
    Endurance rating (TBW)
    1800 TBW
    Price
    $259.99
    Best Value
    Product
    Samsung 970 EVO Plus SSD 500GB - M.2 NVMe Interface Internal Solid State Drive with V-NAND Technology (MZ-V7S500B/AM)
    Image
    Samsung 970 EVO Plus SSD 500GB - M.2 NVMe Interface Internal Solid State Drive with V-NAND Technology (MZ-V7S500B/AM)
    Sequential read (max., MB/s)
    3500
    Sequential write (max., MB/s)
    3200
    Random read IOPS (4K/QD32)
    480000
    Random write IOPS (4K/QD32)
    550000
    Average rating
    User reviews
    1,579 Reviews
    Warranty
    5 Years
    Endurance rating (TBW)
    300 TBW
    Price
    $109.99

    Last update on 2020-01-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

    Fastest PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 SSD: Gigabyte Aorus Gen4

    If – and only if – you have a motherboard that supports PCI Express 4.0, then this is a suitable SSD. At this point, only AMD X570 boards with a Ryzen 3000-series CPU and 3rd-gen Threadripper boards offer support for the interface. All current PCIe 4.0-capable SSDs are based on the same Phison PS5016-E16 controller and 3D TLC Toshiba BiCS4 memory. For this reason, they offer about the same performance. The other, nearly identical drives include:

    Apparently, PCIe 4.0 SSDs run hot, so a model with a heatsink is recommended. When combined with the right motherboard, there is no question that you get amazing transfer rates of up to 5 GB/s. Again, this is only with a compatible motherboard/CPU combo – otherwise, these drives will max out at PCIe 3.0 speeds, or about 3,500 MB/s. 

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    Best PCIe 3.0 NVMe M.2 SSD: Samsung 970 PRO

    No single drive will take home the crown as the fastest M.2. SSD in every benchmark or practical use case. However, our choice as the best general performer in the PCIe 3.0 segment at the beginning of 2020, is still the versatile Samsung 970 PRO – a drive that currently tops many performance charts in the M.2 PCI Express category. 

    It’s also considered one of the most reliable. Actually, Samsung’s performance and reliability track record in the SSD segment has been almost flawless for nearly a decade, so it’s a very comfortable recommendation.

    The 970 PRO comes with Samsung’s proprietary controller and MLC chips, as well as an excellent endurance rating. Unfortunately, the 970 PRO is only available in two capacities: 512 GB and 1 TB, which limits your choices. It may also be a questionable choice when looking at the performance/$ equation because the cost per GB is above average.

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    Read more about the 970 PRO in our SSD database >>

    Best Value: Samsung 970 EVO Plus

    This will ultimately depend on today’s prices for the best M.2 SSDs on the market (scroll down for a full list). Nevertheless, Samsung’s 970 EVO Plus is cheaper than the PRO and very close in terms of raw performance. Although it uses less durable TLC NAND, this drive is among the very best – and will likely remain so until we see more competition in the PCIe 4.0 segment. 

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    Read more about the 970 EVO Plus in our SSD database >>

    On the same note, also check out the affordable yet well-rounded MyDigitalSSD BPX Pro, which is normally a nice mix of value and performance. MyDigitalSSD might not be one of the big names in storage, but the company has successfully released a relatively wide range of SSDs based on well-known third-party components. This particular drive uses Toshiba 3D TLC NAND memory in combination with the recent Phison E12 controller. The result is a lot of fast storage for the money.

    12 of the Fastest M.2 PCIe NVMe SSDs in 2020

    There are alternatives to all of the above of course. Some of which could be better options if the price is right, so don’t stop reading just yet. In the following list we’ve put together some of the best-performing, recently released drives. They are ordered by sequential performance first, random second. Because of the drives’ different controllers and memory types, these numbers are only an indication of actual performance.

    # NameMax. sequential read/write (MB/s)4K random read/write performance (IOPS)Endurance rating (terabytes written)Store link
    2Gigabyte Aorus Gen4 (500GB)5000/2500550K/400K850 TBWView on Amazon
    1Sabrent Rocket Gen4 (500GB)5000/2500N/AN/AView on Amazon
    3Corsair MP600 Gen4 (500GB)4950/2500550K/420K850 TBWView on Amazon
    4Samsung 970 PRO (512GB)3500/2700370K/500K600 TBWView on Amazon
    5Samsung 970 EVO PLUS (500GB)3500/3200480K/550K300 TBWView on Amazon
    6WD Black SN750 (500GB)3470/2600420K/380K300 TBWView on Amazon
    7Adata XPG SX8200 Pro (512GB)3500/2300390K/380K320 TBWView on Amazon
    8MyDigitalSSD BPX Pro (480 GB)3400/2100600K/600K*800 TBWView on Amazon
    9HP EX950 (512GB)3500/2250390K/370K320 TBWView on Amazon
    10Intel SSD 760p (512GB)3230/1625340K/275K288 TBWView on Amazon
    11OCZ RD400 (512GB)2600/1600190K/120K296 TBWView on Amazon
    12Intel Optane SSD 800P (118GB)1450/640250K/140K365 TBWView on Amazon

    Remember that the Gen4 SSDs on top of the list requires a PCI Express 4.0-capable motherboard (X570 chipset) to run at full speed. In other words: don’t pay extra for a Gen4 SSD unless you own a suitable motherboard or plan on upgrading. 

    High-End Alternative: Intel Optane 800p

    optane-800pThe last drive on our list should also be considered a high-end option. Although its sequential performance might not sound like much, Intel’s Optane 800p will be faster than all other M.2 SSDs in certain areas. Its extremely low latency makes random performance at low queue depths particularly good, which is an advantage in a system drive. The reason why it’s hard to compare to other SSDs is that it uses Intel’s proprietary 3D XPoint memory instead of ‘normal’ NAND Flash.

    Unfortunately, it also comes with a much higher cost/GB than competing drives and is only available in two tiny capacities – 58 GB and 118 GB. Read more about it here, or head straight to AnandTech for what is likely the most detailed review online.

    Check prices: Amazon, Newegg, Amazon UK

    Which is the Best M.2 SSD for Gaming?

    For the average user, the difference between an SSD and a hard drive – in terms of user experience – will be very clearly noticeable. The effect of shifting from one type of SSD to another will not be as dramatic.

    All storage-intensive tasks that move lots of files around will be affected by an SSDs capability. However, a faster SSD will not necessarily shorten loading times in games by large amounts. Here’s an interesting test from the web, comparing an M.2 PCIe SSD (970 Pro) versus an older 2.5″ SATA SSD (plus a mechanical hard drive) when loading various games:

    Here’s a summary of the data:

    GameLoading from
    HDD
    Loading from
    2.5" SATA SSD
    Loading from
    970 Pro (PCIe/NVMe)
    Decrease/Increase,
    (NVMe Vs SATA)
    Total325s161s151s-6%
    Destiny 2
    45s31s29s-6%
    Deus Ex: Mankind Divided71s27s21s-22%
    DOOM65s49s47s-4%
    Civilization 627s18s17s-6%
    Far Cry 525s10s11s+10%
    Path of Exile23s3s3s+0%
    World of Warcraft36s7s6s-14%
    Skyrim Special Edition20s9s12s+33%
    Witcher 313s7s5s-29%

    Source: YouTube user Alexandr iuneWind

    With these results in mind, it is probably safe to assume that a comparison of individual high-end M.2 PCIe SSDs will result in small differences as far as gaming is concerned. The usual price/performance calculation will serve you well. Of course, all seconds saved add up to minutes and hours in the long run, so a fast NVMe is still a key component in a high-end PC. But in most cases, you can not expect the sort of radical performance gains that you see when coming from a traditional hard drive.

    Will it Work in my Laptop/Desktop PC?

    For the listed drives to work in your computer, it must have the proper slot and support for PCIe/NVMe. But there may be exceptions: Even without an M.2 slot on your (desktop) motherboard, you may still be able to use one in a full-size PCIe x4 slot via an adapter. But if you want to run your OS from the drive, your motherboard still must support booting from PCIe, which is not a guarantee with older motherboards.

    Most recent, high-end ATX-size motherboards include at least one M.2 slot and will most likely be able to run a modern SSD at the full supported speed. With an older or entry-level board, you might not be so lucky. In any event, it’s always best to check the manual before buying a new drive.

    Keying and Sizes

    M.2 SSDs (and other M.2 cards) come in different sizes and some motherboards – particularly in laptops – will only hold a drive up to a certain size. They also have different sets of notches (keying) that will prevent you from installing it the wrong way.

    M.2 Keying and Size

    Three different key types or ‘notch styles’ may be used by M.2 SSDs: B, M or B&M. The socket can be either B or M, but not both.

    High-end SSDs, as well as recent motherboards, will have to use an M-key slot, as this is the only type that provides four lanes of bandwidth, or 20 Gbit/s, also known as PCIe x4. B-key supports ‘only’ PCIe x2, or 10 Gbit/s.

    On many motherboards, the connector itself or the PCB next to it will be labeled with the keying. Otherwise, check the specs or manual. Likewise, M.2 card length might be stamped on the board, looking something like this:

    High-capacity drives have additional memory chips mounted on the card and may require more space. The M.2 standard allows for cards of five different lengths, with the number format meaning width-length in millimeters. All sizes are the same width, so the two most common, 2280 and 2242, are 80mm and 42mm long, respectively (and so on). All sizes:

    • 2230
    • 2242
    • 2260
    • 2280
    • 22110

    Not all motherboards – and much less all laptops – can accommodate the longest cards and some might not even support the common 2280 size (the format used by most of the drives listed above). So make sure to check before buying.

    Also, don’t confuse M.2 and mSATA, which is another, older standard. These slots may look similar on the motherboard, but they’re not compatible. M.2 SSDs may also use the SATA interface, but that doesn’t mean it’s an mSATA drive.

    Checklist Before Buying an M.2 SSD

    • Check the drive’s interface and M.2 keying, e.g. B+M-key/M-key (all PCIe x4 SSDs are M-key).
    • Make sure it matches the slot on your motherboard or in your laptop. You can usually find this information on the specs page.
    • Also ensure that the length of the drive is supported, e.g. 2280 or 2242 (numbers in bold are millimeters).

    To sum things up about keying and interfaces: it might sound complicated, but really isn’t. If you are building a high-end PC based on a Z170, Z270, B350/B450, X370/X470 chipset, it will likely have an M-key slot. And if so, most of the popular M-key or B+M-key drives will work. But there are a few exceptions, so it’s best to double-check.

    Choosing the Right Capacity

    You can hardly ever have too much storage space, but all of it doesn’t have to be super fast. There is no reason to use an expensive, high-end SSD to store family photos, backups, or your entire Steam library.

    Using myself as an example, my main PC has a primary 256 GB SSD that contains the stuff I use on a regular basis. That includes the OS, all work-related apps and a couple of games – basically what I want quick access to on a regular basis. The rest is mostly distributed on some affordable terabytes of hard drive space (local and NAS). On the local SSD, what takes up most of the space right now are those two games, both of which take up a lot of space.

    In other words, what capacity you need will be very personal. If you just want a really fast computer for work (and who doesn’t?), you can probably get by with as little as 128 GB and use hard drives for the rest. If you’re an avid gamer, on the other hand, 512/500 GB is probably a minimum.

    Most importantly, you want to boot from your fastest drive. That means it must be able to store the OS and all of its associated files (such as caches and swap). And it’s not that much:

    • Windows 10 (64-bit): 20GB
    • MacOs Mojave: 12.5GB
    • Ubuntu 17.04: 25GB
    • Manjaro 18 (Arch): 30GB
    • Linux Mint 19.1 (Debian/Ubuntu): 20GB
    • Elementary OS 5 (Debian/Ubuntu): 15GB
    • Fedora 29: 10GB
    • OpenSuse 42.3: 5GB

    Those numbers may or may not be a minimum requirement, but also add – at the very least – the amount of RAM in your system to be on the safe side (to make room for the swap file). Office apps are usually not that demanding either, with MS Office taking up about 4 GB of space on your SSD. Games tend to use a lot more but can range in size from a few hundred megabytes to dozens of gigabytes, so there is no simple answer. On the other hand, loading games from a slower device (but preferably still an SSD) is still a viable option, as seen above.

    The post Fastest M.2 NVMe SSDs appeared first on Gaming PC Builder.


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