Best Internal Solid-State Drive (SSD) – What Is An SSD?
An SSD is a solid state drive (SSD), which uses flash memory chips instead of traditional hard disk drives (HDDs). A typical HDD contains spinning platters, which are made up of metal rods with grooves in them. These rods spin at high speed to read and write data to the disks. The moving parts of the HDD cause wear over time, causing it to eventually fail. On the other hand, an SSD’s flash memory chips operate much faster than those found in HDDs. They don’t require any moving parts and last longer than their larger counterparts.
When used in conjunction with a modern computer or mobile device, an SSD allows users to access large amounts of data without having to wait for files to transfer from one place on the drive to another. Because of its speed, an SSD is often preferred over a regular HDD when transferring large amounts of data between two devices.
The main benefit of using an SSD is the ability to transfer large amounts of data quickly. However, there are drawbacks associated with using such a device.
For example, while an SSD may allow users to access huge amounts of data instantly, they will have slower performance compared to a desktop PC or laptop due to the lack of mechanical components in these devices.
Along with their faster access times and higher transfer speeds, an SSD is also quite durable when compared to a HDD. Each flash memory cell can only be written and read a limited number of times before it stops functioning properly.
To ensure this doesn’t happen, an SSD includes an internal electronic filter that monitors and manages the flow of data being transferred to and from each flash memory chip in the device. If this filter fails, it may result in the loss or corruption of your files!
There are a few ways in which you can maximize the life expectancy of your SSD. First and foremost, you should avoid frequently writing and erasing data to the drive.
This can lead to unnecessary wear and tear, which will inevitably shorten the operating lifespan of your SSD. If you want to clear all your files from your SSD for any reason, it’s best to delete them one by one instead of using a disk editor or computer virus scanner.
HDD: WHICH IS BETTER?
In the past, hard disk drives (HDD) were more popular because they were less expensive and had much greater storage capacity. They also had larger dimensions, which allowed manufacturers to put more read/write heads in them. This meant that they could achieve higher data transfer speeds. However, the growth in popularity of SSDs has allowed them to rival the data transfer speeds of HDDs while having lower access times.
SSDs also offer faster read and write speeds, which makes them much better for the operation of computers and other electronic devices. The only major drawback with SSDs is their price, which is usually quite a bit more expensive than a HDD of the same storage capacity.
Along with this, they also have a limited number of P/E (program & erase) cycles. This refers to the amount of times each cell can be written to and erased before it stops functioning properly.
SSD: WHICH ONE SHOULD I BUY?
It’s important to remember that not all SSDs are created equal. This means that different SSDs may have different read/write speeds, operating temperatures, storage space, and even cell lifespans. Because of this, it’s a good idea to do a little research before making a purchase.
SSDs are currently available in a range of different sizes, including 2.5-inch, 1.8-inch, and 1-inch.
Along with this, it’s also good to know the operating temperatures for each device. Most SSDs are only capable of withstanding temperatures between 0°C and 70°C (32°F – 158°F). This means that SSDs aren’t meant to be used in very hot or very cold conditions.
It’s also important to consider the storage space and lifespan for each device. The storage space for most SSDs ranges from 16 GB to 256 GB, while the lifespan can range anywhere from 2,000 to 85,000 P/E cycles.
The operating temperature for most devices is 10°C to 70°C (50°F – 158°F), however some SSDs are designed for use in harsher conditions. Last but not least, the price for most SSDs currently range from $70 to $280.
There are a few different types of SSDs, which are designed with different uses in mind. Let’s take a look at some of the most common types.
PCIe SSDs: PCIe stands for PCI express, which is a serial communication technology similar to that of PCI and PCI-E. PCIe has a maximum bandwidth of 16 GB/s per lane.
PCIe SSDs are more expensive than their SATA counterparts, but they also offer much better performance.
mSATA SSDs: mSATA SSDs are basically the same as SSDs, with the exception of their size. mSATA stands for mini-SATA, which is a smaller version of the common SATA connector often found on hard drives and SSDs.
Most laptops come with a mSATA slot, which allows you to directly install an mSATA SSD.
M.2 SSDs: M.2 stands for “Mini-SSD,” which is basically the same as a SATA or PCIe SSD.
The difference is that they are often thinner and require the use of a special connector (such as the one found on PCIe SSDs). M.2 SSDs can also come in the form of a “m-card,” which is basically the same as an SD card.
A majority of SSD manufacturers offer a warranty on their products, however this doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily a good idea to buy an SSD that has the longest warranty. This is because longer warranties usually mean that the company doesn’t have as much faith in the reliability of their product.
This may not be true in all cases, but it’s best to do a little research before making a final decision. A good place to start would be sites like Amazon and Newegg, where most of the user reviews are generally positive.
SSDs are generally maintenance free, which is obviously a good thing. There are some things that you should keep in mind, however.
TRIM is a feature that’s built into Windows 7 and 8 that allows an operating system to inform a SSD which data blocks are no longer in use and can be wiped from the drive. This improves performance and prevents file fragmentation.
TRIM can be enabled by going to Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\System\Storage Device Settings\ click on “Set up job scheduler” under Storage Tasks.
You should also keep in mind that SSDs are more sensitive to shocks. Even if you happen to drop your laptop, the SSD itself shouldn’t be affected as long as you have it installed in a proper mounting device.
However, dropping your laptop may damage the other components inside (such as the LCD screen). A good way to prevent this from happening is by getting a carrying case or laptop sleeve for your device.
Tip: If you’re looking to buy a portable SSD, try to find one that has an integrated USB connector (like the one found on the bottom of an external hard drive) instead of a regular SATA connector. This will save you the hassle of finding a special SATA-to-USB cable.
SSDs are great for laptop users that want faster boot up and loading times, but don’t want to spend too much money. They’re also great for desktop users that have an extra PCIe slot available.
SSDs can be a little more expensive for the same storage capacity, but their performance and reliability will last longer in the long run.
External Hard Drives
If you’re looking for a bit more storage at a lower price (and don’t mind the additional bulk of an external drive), consider getting an external hard drive. Most external hard drives come in a variety of sizes nowadays, with the most common being 2.5″ (laptop drive size) and 3.5″ (desktop drive size).
The choice is really up to you and how much you want to spend. Here are some things to consider:
External Hard Drive Performance
Just like with SSDs, the performance of an external hard drive will vary from model to model. Some new models support a feature called “USB 3.0,” but this isn’t something you really need to worry about if you don’t have a computer that supports USB 3.0.
Most new computers come with USB 3.0 today, but if you have an older one like I do, then it’s probably only USB 2.0. The good thing is that most external hard drives come with a USB 2.0 connector, and a USB-to-SATA adapter. The adapter will allow the drive to be plugged into a USB 2.0 port, just like how an SSD would.
With laptops becoming more and more powerful and fast, there isn’t as much need to use an external hard drive for booting. However, external hard drives still have their place due to their durability (or rather, the lack of it).
Since laptops are easily transportable, they are more susceptible to bumps and shock, which could potentially damage the internal hard drive. Of course, you can always put your important files on your laptop’s hard drive and store the external one somewhere safe at home.
If you’re looking for a good, cheap external hard drive I would recommend the Toshiba 500 GB USB 2.0 hard drive (model #: HDDR500E).
It’s very affordable at only $64.99 (US) and it’s USB 2.0 compatible.
USB 3.0 Interface
If you’re looking for a fast external hard drive that supports the latest USB 3.0 standard, then I would recommend the LaCie Rugged Triple Interface 500 GB USB 3.0 Hard Drive (model #: 311800).
It’s USB 3.0 compatible and is also “rugged,” meaning that it’s shock-resistant for laptops or other devices that are always on the move. It’s also a little more expensive at $119.99 (US).
External Hard Drive Storage Considerations
When getting an external hard drive, you’ll want to make sure it has enough storage capacity for your needs. Here are the maximum storage capacities you can get for each type of drive:
2.5″ laptop drives: 320 GB
3.5″ desktop drives: 1 TB (that’s one terabyte!)
SSD drives: 64 GB (but who really needs that much storage, right?
Interface SSD Drives: 128 GB (Again, who would need that much storage?
Too Much of a Good Thing?
So now that you know what kinds of drives you can get, let’s talk about how much storage you really need. When I first got my MacBook Pro a few years ago, I figured I would need a simple 120 GB hard drive to save all my files. Well, in reality I only used about 10 GB of that for pictures, music and miscellaneous files. Today, I have a 250 GB hard drive for my MacBook Pro–which only has 16 GB left.
Because I decided to get an SSD and 32 GB of RAM.
In other words, you can never have enough storage space nowadays with the way technology is progressing.
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Disclaimer: We are not responsible for any damage done to your computer or device related to following the instructions in this guide. We recommend you only follow these steps if you know what you’re doing.
Sources & references used in this article:
Hystor: making the best use of solid state drives in high performance storage systems by F Chen, DA Koufaty, X Zhang – Proceedings of the international …, 2011 – dl.acm.org
Solid state drive (SSD) with open top and bottom covers by SS Hiew, JCN Ni, AC Ma, Q Li, N Nan – US Patent 7,517,231, 2009 – Google Patents
Solid-state disk caching the top-K hard-disk blocks selected as a function of access frequency and a logarithmic system time by YI Letian, HAO Chong Ethan, Z Liu – US Patent 8,838,895, 2014 – Google Patents
Essential roles of exploiting internal parallelism of flash memory based solid state drives in high-speed data processing by F Chen, R Lee, X Zhang – 2011 IEEE 17th International …, 2011 – ieeexplore.ieee.org
Request Flow Coordination for Growing-Scale Solid-State Drives by MC Yang, YH Chang, TW Kuo… – IEEE Transactions on …, 2020 – ieeexplore.ieee.org