Does An SSD Improve Frames Per Second (FPS) When Gaming?
Your in-game performance is dependent upon two things: your PC’s hardware and the game’s optimization, and with game optimization totally dependent on the developer you as a gamer only have control over the PC hardware that is incorporated into your setup.
The two most important PC components that influence your frames per second in a video game are the GPU/CPU and RAM in that order. Cooling solutions can also increase performance to some degree by allowing GPUs/CPUs to safely increase their power draw.
An SSD on the other hand does not improve your FPS when gaming, but does bring other benefits which can improve gaming experience such as speeding up map load times and reducing stuttering in large open-world games.
This article will address some of the benefits of solid state drives do have upon gaming and explain why SSDs are not able to directly improve FPS in when gaming.
How does an SSD help with gaming performance?
When you start up a game, let’s say you are playing an open-world title like GTA V, you’re put on a holding screen whilst in the background your SSD is rapidly loading up all of the game files that are stored upon it.
So, every little tree, every building, and every car needs to be loaded in before you can start playing the game.
Since SSDs have significantly faster data transfer speeds (upwards of 2000MB/s) as compared to an HDD (100 to 150 MB/s), they can naturally load the game faster.
This can be useful in multiplayer games as well, where loading into a game faster means you can start playing quicker. For example, in games like Battlefield, where there are limited vehicles available to each team, you’ll be able to snatch these up before opponents whose systems are powered by HDDs have the chance to claim them.
The second way an SSD can improve performance is by reducing something called ‘hitching’ or ‘stuttering’ in open-world games.
Hitching is when the game’s frame rate drops really low for a second or two and then comes back up again. For a smooth gaming experience, it’s not just important that you have a high frame rate but it is also vital that those frame rates be delivered consistently.
If you’ve ever monitored FPS in a video game, you might have noticed that your FPS aren’t a single constant number.
Instead, the FPS number keeps going up and down. That is normal, since the load on your PC keeps changing depending on what you are doing in the game, however it can completely ruin your gaming experience.
This occurs when the game can’t pull the assets from a drive fast enough to keep up with you as the player. Basically, you are overloading your own computer for short periods.
This is where an SSD can genuinely change your experience. As solid state drives have a much higher data transfer speeds, it can keep up with the game and reduce stuttering.
However, it is essential to note that an SSD is not always the solution to eliminate stuttering.
Sometimes the cause of stuttering is not the storage but your GPU or CPU. So just make sure that these particular hardware have specs that meet the minimum requirement for your game before rushing out to upgrade your storage to an SSD.
SSDs can also help with texture loading delay, another common problem gamers face. This is when a character or an object texture feels muddy when first you load into a game, and after a while, the textures magically correct themselves.
Similar to stuttering this happens when your hard disk is not fast enough to keep up with the optimal load speeds.
SSDs also arm you with swift boot-up times.
While this does not impact gaming performance directly, I still think a gamer would appreciate starting their PC faster. The faster your PC boots, the quicker you can start doing what you love, play video games.
So in summary, an SSD improves your gaming experience rather than gaming performance.
Why an SSD doesn’t improve your FPS when gaming
Solid state drives in themselves are just a storage device, and so are not responsible for processing any graphics.
As it is simply a vessel for data this means it has no direct influence on the frames per second while playing a game.
Frame rates when playing a video game depend on how powerful your core processing unit (CPU) and dedicated graphics card (GPU) can process that data.
GPUs have the greatest impact on your frame rates.
In a nutshell, an SSD might not improve your FPS and gaming performance, but there is no doubt that it enhances your gaming experience. Using an SSD in your gaming PC means faster loading times and a reduction in any micro-stuttering that can be generated by using slower HDDs.
SSDs offer many benefits for gamers, and if your budget allows it, they are always a wise choice. If however you are targeting a FPS improvement, you would be better served saving your money and instead upgrading your GPU or CPU.