Even though an SSD is an internal component in your PC, it is one that you can still see if you’ve got a tempered glass side panel on your case. And with all the RGB craze in desktop PC builds nowadays, a couple of manufacturers decided to make some of the best RGB SSDs on the market.
While RGB doesn’t have any kind of impact on the performance of your solid-state drive, it does have quite the visual impact. Therefore, when choosing an RGB SSD, you’ll want to consider the performance of it first, as that’s what matters, but do take a look at how the RGB lights work and how much they’ll impact your system’s aesthetics.
What should you look for in an RGB SSD?
The first thing to know when you’re getting an SSD is the form factor. Not only do different form factors have different speeds, but they use a different interface to connect to your computer. This means that if your motherboard doesn’t support a specific form factor, you just can’t add that type of SSD to your system. There’s NVMe, which comes in either a PCIe or an M.2 form factor, and there are SATA drives. NVMe ones will connect to your system electrically, and are lightning-fast. SATA, even SATA III which is the latest and fastest standard, is still slower and a serious bottleneck for most SSDs.
Read and Write Speeds
The next important thing is the read and write speeds. This is the actual speed at which you’ll be able to transfer files to and from the SSD and directly translates into performance. With a SATA III drive, you can’t expect more than 600 MB/s throughput. On the other hand, with an NVMe drive, those speeds can go up to 3,500 MB/s. That’s 7 times SATA III’s maximum speed. If your computer supports an NVMe drive, by all means, get one.
Then, you have storage capacity. With storage it’s usually “get the largest drive you can afford”, but lately, 500GB seems to be the sweet spot when we’re looking at the price-to-capacity ratio. If you’re only looking for a boot drive, you may get away with as little as 120GB, but with today’s games, you’ll want more – a single game can easily reach 25GB or more.
Durability and Reliability
Last but not least, we have durability and reliability. Reliability is defined by MTBF or Mean Time Between Failures. MTBF is the predicted elapsed time between a mechanical or electronic system’s inherent failures during normal operation. You can expect an SSD to last longer than a regular hard drive, since there are no moving parts, and most SSDs are pretty reliable nowadays. You also have the temperature to consider, especially with RGB SSDs where the lights will give out a bit more heat than a regular drive would. However, most manufacturers add some kind of improved cooling system to their RGB SSDs, which makes sure they stay cool and don’t cause any issues.
Best NVMe M.2 RGB SSDs:
XPG’s S40G is one of the most versatile RGB SSDs out there. It comes in a few capacities (256GB, 512GB, 1TB), and is a PCIe NVMe drive with speeds of up to 3500MB/s (read) and 3000MB/s (write). This is pretty impressive, but do consider that speeds may vary slightly with different capacities. With an M.2 2280 form factor, you can fit this in any motherboard that has such a slot.
The RGB lights are on both sides of the drive. What’s interesting is that the lights are made to be compatible with RGB software by most major motherboard manufacturers. Therefore, chances are it will be recognized in the software pretty quick, taking a lot of the hassle out of things. With a MTBF of 2 million hours, this is also one of the most durable SSDs out there, and definitely one to add to your shortlist if you want a fast drive with RGB and excellent performance.
The fact that addlink isn’t the most popular SSD brand out there allows them to get you an excellent SSD at a pretty affordable price. The X70 in a 1TB capacity comes with a PCIe NVMe interface that lets it reach speeds of up to 3400MB/s read and 3000MB/s write, which is impressive.
The drive itself is an M.2 2280 model, but due to the RGB lights it is pretty thick, so make sure it can fit your motherboard before you buy. If it does, though, the RGB lights are added to the heatsink that keeps the controller cool, and you’ll get a great performing and great looking SSD.
With 3D NAND inside, durability and longevity won’t be an issue, even with repeated reads and writes. The MTBF is 1.8 million hours, and with 1200 TBW, you won’t need to replace it anytime soon.
Gigabyte AORUS RGB NVMe M.2
The Gigabyte AORUS NVMe SSD is somewhat of a mixed bag. To begin with, it comes in an NVMe M.2 form factor, so make sure your motherboard has the appropriate slot. With NVMe, the potential for speed is huge, but the AORUS comes with read speeds of up to 3100 MB/s and write speeds of up to 1050 MB/s. This isn’t slow by any means, but it’s far from NVMe’s potential.
The capacity is 256GB, which should fit your OS, your most commonly used software, as well as a few games. You can also get the 500GB version of this RGB SSD if you require a larger capacity.
In terms of the looks, the AORUS comes with an integrated silver heatsink to keep things cool. There’s a light-up logo that supports Gigabyte’s RGB Fusion 2.0, and the SSD looks really well. You should be able to fit it in just about any color rig, and it will look stunning.
Best SATA RGB SSDs:
TEAMGROUP T-Force Delta MAX SATA III
TEAMGROUP’s T-Force Delta MAX SSD is a very good looking RGB SSD. With a SATA III connection and a 2.5” form factor, the SSD can reach read and write speeds of up to 560 MB/s. This is far from slow, especially compared to a traditional hard drive, but it’s still behind NVMe SSDs.
With a capacity of 250GB, 500GB, and 1TB, you should have no problems fitting your OS, software, as well as a few games depending on what capacity you select. It supports both TRIM and S.M.A.R.T. technologies too.
When it comes to the look, the T-Force Delta MAX has a very big RGB area. It has a built-in rainbow color effect, but unfortunately, you can’t control it via software. It’s compatible with motherboards that have USB 9pin headers, which is required for the backlight.
TEAMGROUP T-Force Delta S SATA III
With a 2.5” SATA III form factor and 3D NAND flash, the T-Force Delta S is an interesting RGB SSD. The speed tops out at 560 MB/s, which is fairly fast, but still much slower than other NVMe M.2 competitors. However, if you’re coming from a traditional hard drive, this won’t be an issue for you. There’s also support for S.M.A.R.T. device monitoring, as well as TRIM, so performance and durability should be good.
With a 250GB or 500GB capacity, it should fit your operating system, applications, and a fair amount of games depending on what capacity you select.
In terms of the RGB lights, you’ll get a 16.8 million color backlit area, with a configurable, single-color lighting effect. The backlit area is very large, and it will look stunning, especially if you have other RGB components in your build.
HyperX Fury RGB SSD SATA III
HyperX is a well-established brand in the PC industry, and their RGB SSD is a great example of their engineering. It comes in a 2.5” SATA III form factor, which allows it to reach speeds of 550 MB/s read and 480 MB/s write. The Marvell controller and 3D NAND flash make the drive durable and power efficient as well. The 240GB capacity makes sure it can hold your operating system, as well as a game or two.
On the outside, you get an aggressive design that’s built around the RGB lights, making them stand out. The SSD can be daisy chained to other RGB devices if you want to sync the light effects, or connected straight to the motherboard for software control. Whichever you go for, it looks stunning.
TEAMGROUP T-Force Delta S TUF SATA III
The T-Force Delta S TUF RGB SSD is an interesting option. For starters, the 2.5” SATA III form factor limits it in terms of performance, but it gives it a lot of room for its lights. The speed tops out at 560 MB/s, which is on par with other SATA III SSDs. The SSD also has support for S.M.A.R.T., which monitors the drive’s status, as well as TRIM, which will bring out the best performance on whichever operating system you’re using it. It comes in a 250GB size, which is enough for your OS, your software, and maybe a game or two.
When it comes to the physical look and the RGB lights, the T-Force Delta S TUF is certified by the TUF Gaming Alliance, and the lights support synchronization with the lighting effects on ASUS motherboards. This means you’ll be able to control the lights and make them match the rest of your build.