SSDs vs HDDs For Gaming – Take the Fast Lane

Looking to make your system run faster and have your games load quicker? System storage is often overlooked but can provide a significant upgrade to your system’s overall responsiveness, especially if you’re still using a traditional mechanical hard drive!

What Makes SSDs So Great?

Speed

It’s all in the name, a solid-state drive uses cells of flash memory (which are by nature, solid-state) to store data and can be accessed much quicker than a mechanical hard drives’ spinning platter. This translates to speeds that can be over 50 times greater than you’re used to with your old hard drive depending on the type of transfer.

Noise

Since solid-state drives have no moving parts, they run silently (unless being actively cooled by a fan of course). This removes the sounds of your disks spinning up and the low hum of them running entirely!

Durability

Another benefit of having no moving parts is that there are fewer things that are likely to break should your system encounter some unexpected shock such as when you move your system.

Longevity

Finally, the tech behind SSDs has matured greatly over the past decade, rivaling and surpassing the expected lifespan of traditional hard drives, ensuring that an SSD will hold your data well beyond the lifespan of a typical system.

How Games Use Your Storage

In-engine screenshot of CD PROJEKT RED’s Cyberpunk 2077

How does that extra speed translate to games? Sequential read and write speeds help out when reading and writing large files like pre-rendered cutscenes and massive textures which you’ll often come across during a loading screen in a game.

Load time comparison between a traditional hard drive and a M.2 NVMe SSD (lower is better).

To help illustrate the speed difference, I’ve timed how long it takes to load into Cyberpunk 2077 on a hard drive compared to one of our M.2 SSDs. While load times can vary between systems for a variety of reasons, on my system at home I was able to see a significant reduction in load times by using a M.2 NVMe SSD, which cut the wait time roughly in half from 20 seconds on the hard drive down to just 10 seconds on the NVMe SSD.

Example of a Cyberpunk 2077 loading screen.

While shaving 10 seconds off of game load times doesn’t sound like much at first, this kind of speed boost can really add up, resulting in more time overall being spent enjoying the game rather than staring at a pretty load screen.

Another perk of running your games off of an SSD is that it can also help to reduce what many call “pop-in” where textures and models will seemingly pop into existence due to a lag from loading the asset from slower storage!

What Do I Need To Upgrade?

SSDs come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, if you want to swap out a SATA hard drive you can grab a SATA SSD and use the same cables to connect it to your motherboard and power supply as a direct replacement.

CORSAIR MP400 M.2 NVMe SSD installed in a notebook.

However, the more popular option is to go for an SSD that connects directly to your motherboard through either a PCIe or M.2 slot!

If you decide to pick up a M.2 SSD, we’ve put together this quick video to show you the installation process:

The CORSAIR SSD Lineup

CORSAIR offers a wide range of M.2 NVMe SSDs that put some pep into the step of your current system (or that new build you’re planning).

CORSAIR MP400

The MP400 is our latest M.2 NVMe drive, focusing on high capacity and endurance. You can get up to 8TB of storage on a single drive the size of a stick of gum!

CORSAIR MP510

The MP510 is an all around high performer, with speeds of up to 3,480MB/sec sequential read and 3,000MB/sec sequential writes powered by high-density 3D TLC NAND for an ideal mix of performance, endurance, and value.

CORSAIR MP600

The MP600 is our current king of the mountain, supporting PCIE 4.0 (but backwards compatible with PCIE 3.0 motherboards) allowing blazing fast speeds of up to 4,950MB/sec sequential read and 4,250MB/sec write, again powered by 3D TLC NAND for its balance of performance, endurance, and value. If you have or are planning to upgrade to PCIE 4.0, this is the M.2 drive to get.

Conclusion

CORSAIR MP400 installed on a desktop motherboard.

SSDs are a great upgrade for pre-built systems and a must for new builds. For more information about our M.2 SSD lineup, check out our page here or join our community over on Reddit, Discord, and our User Forum!

Upgrade Like a PRO

Want a pro-level build? This pro-level builder bundle includes everything you need to future proof your build. Providing more space to install larger, higher performance components and the dual-chamber design of the 680X RGB allows you to move your PSU out of the way for easier cable management and a clear view of your hardware.

Relocate the pre-installed LL120 fans to the top and rear of the case as exhaust fans. This opens the front locations for the H150i PRO XT to be mounted.

Relocate LL120 RGB fans

To determine the direction of airflow, you can look at the fan from the front side. Air would be drawn through and exhausted out the back.

Air intake goes through the front of a fan and exhausts out the back.

To configure your LL120 RGB fans, check out this video where we show you how to use the case’s included Lighting Node PRO.

And if you need help with re-orienting your fans in iCUE for animated lighting effect, check out this video.

With the front fan locations now open, you can install the H150i PRO XT in that spot. Depending on the how you want the airflow for your case, you can position the fans in front or behind the radiator. In either location, be sure to orient the fans so that they push or draw air throw the radiator to help cool it. The ML fans can be plugged into the 4-pin fan connectors that come off the pump head, you won’t have to worry about finding extra PWM fan headers on your motherboard.

We have an installation video for Pro XT coolers to help guide you.

When installing the AX1000, make note of where the power connections are on your motherboard.  The PSU is going to be located directly behind the motherboard, oriented vertically, and the cables will pass through the grommets from the rear chamber to the front. The fully modular design lets you use only the cables that you need.

Rear chamber of a built system

The 8-pin EPS12V is typically in the top corner and you can route this cable so it can connect directly to your motherboard. It helps to route this cable first while you have more room to work in before installing top mounted fans or coolers.

The 24-pin cable can be routed through one of the middle grommets that is closest to your motherboards 24-pin connector.

If your graphics card requires extra power, route the cable through the bottom grommet closest to the PCIe connector on your GPU. We recommend running a dedicated cable per power connector on your graphics card for best performance!

Connect the SATA power connector for your H150i PRO XT as well as the SATA power for your RGB Fan Hub included in the rear chamber.

Do your best to keep all your cables clustered closer to a single column, this makes for cleaner cable organization even with a lot of cables.

You can check out this video on installing a fully modular power supply, just like the AX1000.

And check out this video for some tips on cable management.

And if you are planning to vertical mount your GPU, don’t forget to install your PCIe riser cable as well as removing the two cover plates for the vertical mounting location.

Optional Vertically Mounted GPU

Of course, you don’t want to forget to connect your front IO for the case. The power button, reset button and LED indicators pins are generally located in the bottom right corner of your motherboard. Check your motherboard’s manual for the exact pinout of the header. You can route these cables through the bottom grommet.

Built System with general IO locations marked

For the audio cable, this is generally in the bottom left corner of your motherboard. As always, check your motherboard’s manual to be sure. You can route this cable up through the bottom cutouts.

Your USB 3.0 header is usually at the bottom edge or along the right edge of your motherboard. Route the cable through one of the grommets that aligns with your cable management in the rear chamber.

The USB Type-C connector is generally on the right edge of your motherboard. You may want to consider using a USB 3.0 header adapter for this cable if your motherboard does not have a USB Type-C header.

Make sure your Lighting Node Pro is plugged into a USB 2.0 header on your motherboard, most boards should have at least 1 header. Always check your manual for exact location! Remember that the RGB Fan hub connected to the Lighting Node PRO will only control the lighting of your fans. You’ll want to make sure that you connect your fan PWM cables to appropriate headers on your motherboard (check your manual for header locations) or a fan controller if you have one that you plan to use.

For a general guide to building a PC from start to finish, check out this video!

If you have any questions, please contact our support team or join our community on Reddit, Discord, or the CORSAIR User Forums!

The Essentials of Your Next Upgrade

This essential builder bundle takes your build to the next level of cooling and includes a CORSAIR 4000D Airflow case, RM850 power supply, and the H100i RGB PRO XT liquid cooler for ideal thermal performance with new, next gen components!

Using a CORSAIR RM850 power supply will give sufficient headroom on system power draws especially when using the new CPUs such as the Ryzen 5000 series and new GPUs such as the RTX 3000 and Radeon 6000 cards.

Before we jump into fans and radiator placement, make sure your motherboard is already installed into the case along with the CPU, RAM, and any M.2 drives you may have to make things easier. Please check your manufacturer’s instructions manual for guidance.

We also have a general PC building guide video here for reference.

Additionally, you may want to have your power supply cables already connected to the PSU, route your 8-pin EPS 12V cable to your CPU’s power connector on the top left side of the motherboard and the 24-pin cable to your motherboard’s power connector.

Install the RM850 power supply in the PSU compartment of the PC case and secure it with the right screws.

Be sure to also connect all the front IO port cables of the PC case correctly at the bottom of your motherboard while you have more space in your case to work with. Use your motherboard’s instructions manual if you need clarifications on the header pinouts.

Now let’s talk about the fans and radiator placement in the 4000D Airflow PC case. Our goal is to mount this 240mm radiator on the top panel of the case while exhausting the hot air out upwards.

First, prepare your H100i RGB PRO XT liquid cooler by mounting the ML120 fans that come with it onto the radiator; same side where the tubes are in a push-configuration. Make sure the front side of the fans are visible when mounted.

Ensure that you have the appropriate brackets clipped onto your CPU block; the H100i RGB PRO XT will come with an Intel mounting bracket pre-installed, but you can find brackets for AMD AM4 and sTRX4 in the box.

When you’re ready, install the radiator with the proper screws under the topside of the case with the tubes at the rear side of the case. If you need help, have a partner hold the CPU block/pump during this process.

Once the radiator is installed, secure the CPU block with the pre-applied thermal paste onto the CPU. Make sure the Corsair logo is facing in the proper upright orientation. DO NOT overtighten the screws on the bracket that hold down the CPU block, use your fingers to secure it just enough that it doesn’t wiggle.

Then connect the USB cable from the CPU block into the internal USB 2.0 header on the motherboard (usually near the bottom side of the motherboard). Connect fan cable into the CPU_FAN header. Connect the ML120 fans on the radiator into the fan splitters from the CPU block; do this along the back side of the case.

Lastly, if you have any additional case fans you’d like to install, go ahead and install those where you feel is needed. Typically, three intake fans on the front panel and an exhaust fan at the rear back panel of the case are ideal for thermal performance. And that’s it!

Again, if you need additional references for building a PC from start to finish, watch our recent build guide video here.

Be sure to check out our Discord server, subreddit and the official CORSAIR forums to learn more.

The CORE of Your Next Upgrade

With this core builder bundle, you’ll have the necessary components needed to power up and cool a new graphics card in a case with massive airflow!

Our recommended configuration for the best balance between performance and aesthetics would be to install the SP120 RGB PRO fans in the front of the case and move the pre-installed AirGuide fan from the front panel to the top panel, positioned as close to the rear exhaust fan as possible.

Relocate fans with SP120 RGB PRO in front and stock fans on rear and top exhaust.

To ensure that you have your fans mounted the right way for airflow, make that the front of the fans are visible when looking at the front panel, the back of the fans should be visible when looking at the top panel and rear exhaust on the outside of your case!

Air intake goes through the front of a fan and exhausts out the back.

To configure your SP120 RGB PRO fans, check out this video where we show you how to use the kit’s Lighting Node CORE.

And you may also want to check this out for how to re-orient your fans in iCUE for animated lighting effects.

For your power supply, route the 8-pin EPS12V cable along the back of your case so it can connect directly to the power connector on your motherboard. It’s best to do this before you install anything like a fan/cooler in the top of your case so you have the most room to work with.

Built 4000D with power locations marked

Your 24-pin power cable should be routed from the PSU shroud up the cable management bar to meet your motherboard’s 24-pin connector.

If your graphics card requires extra power, route the cable up the PSU shroud through the central cable cover on your case, we recommend running a dedicated cable per power connector on your graphics card for best performance!

Built 4000D with general IO locations marked

Don’t forget to plug in the front IO of your case onto your motherboard. Generally the pins for the power button, reset button and LED indicators can be found on the bottom right corner of your motherboard. Double check your motherboard manual for the exact location and pinout of the front IO header! The front IO cables can be routed through cutouts in your case to keep cables looking tidy.

The audio cable will generally connect to a header on the far left corner of your motherboard, again, check you motherboard manual to be sure! This cable can be routed through cutouts in your case.

The USB 3.0 cable should go directly to a header on your motherboard, these can often be found along the bottom edge or right edge of your motherboard. Pick a header that works best for your cable management.

The USB Type-C cable should connect to a header on the right edge of your motherboard. If your motherboard doesn’t have a USB Type-C header, consider getting an adapter so you can plug this cable into a USB 3.0 header.

You’ll also want to make sure that you connect your Lighting Node CORE into a USB 2.0 header on your motherboard, most motherboards will have at least 1-2 USB 2.0 headers, check your manual for exact locations. Remember that the Lighting Node CORE will only control the lighting of your fans, you’ll also want to make sure that you connect your fan DC/PWM cable to appropriate headers on your motherboard or a fan controller if you have one.

Finally, we’ve put together this general build guide for building a PC from start to finish!

If you have any questions, please contact our support team or join our community on Reddit, Discord, or the CORSAIR User Forums!

Putting the Spotlight on Your Cooling

CORSAIR iCUE ELITE CAPELLIX Liquid CPU Coolers deliver powerful, low-noise cooling for your CPU, up to 360mm sized radiators, come with ML RGB PWM fans, and an ultra-bright pump head featuring 33 CAPELLIX RGB LEDs!

Whether you’re going with Intel or AMD, ELITE CAPELLIX liquid coolers are compatible with the following CPU sockets:

Intel LGA 1200, 1150, 1151, 1155, 1156, 1366, 2011, 2066
AMD AM4, AM3, AM2, sTRX4, sTR4

What makes this cooler so special? Straight out of the box, you’ll get up to three CORSAIR ML RGB PWM fans as well as a controller we call the COMMANDER CORE so that you can customize the lighting and speed of your PWM fans (note that the COMMANDER CORE only works with PWM fans).

This helps simplify cable management by consolidating multiple devices into one compact device that connects to the pump on ELITE CAPELLIX coolers via a single, thin cable which removes most of the cable bulk from the area around the pump.

With the COMMANDER CORE, you can add up to a total of six fans to manage all the cooling and RGB fan lighting in a typical build! (additional fans sold separately)

You can also watch our video on how to install the ELITE CAPELLIX coolers here.

Be sure to check out our Discord server, subreddit and the official CORSAIR forums to learn more.

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑