Since the arrival of SSD a few years ago to this day, they have become one of the essential components for a computer. Irrespective of the kind of computer we have at hand, it adds a good dose of speed into the system. There are many increasingly attractive models from several manufacturers with prices dropping every passing month. But how much should you spend to upgrade your computer with a new SSD? What should you keep in mind while choosing the one for you? Today we talk about the SSD and its characteristics and all that you need to know before you buy one.
SSD: The best update for your computer
For several decades we have been using the large and heavy HDDs. But things changed quickly with the arrival of SSDs which have a good rate of adoption. The SSD or solid state drives are the storage of present and future. Its main feature is to offer transfer speeds much higher than HDD’s, that too in the order of four or five times the information and more.
These speeds affect several areas of user experience. They don’t provide more FPS (frames per second) in a game, but the games will load faster. Similarly, every other software loads faster, thus, improving the user experience.
There is a very fundamental reasoning for this increase in performance. It is mainly because the SSD has no moving parts, which certainly is the most important bottleneck of the HDD. All information is transmitted electrically and without the need to wait for needle to be placed on a disc. This marks very significant differences, and if interested you could learn a lot more about HDDs: How HDDs work.
Few years back SSDs were quite expensive and exclusive devices, with a mere 64GB SSD costing $600. Comparatively the SSD line is more affordable now with 256GB costing around $100. Though this price may be a bit higher compared to HDDs, the prices will continue to fall and performance improvements will always be on the line.
The advantages are clear but the only bottleneck here is the price for the available capacity ranges. HDDs have multi-terabyte storage capacities but SSDs have typically 128, 256 or 512 GB of storage in the most common models. If you can afford, the price goes further higher for a 1TB portable SSD
This is the overall insight into how SSDs and you could only understand the leap in its performance if you test it. If you are still interested to know how all this works, let’s continue.
Things you should consider
There are many manufacturers in the world of SSDs, such as Samsung, KingDian, Intel, Kingston, SanDisk and many others.
Although from the technical point of view there are many differences among all these models, most have similar performance capabilities.
The SSD controller, the so – called ‘brain’ of the device that functions as organization of all cells where information is stored is differs between manufacturers. There are many models from manufacturers such as SandForce controllers, Intel and Marvell, generally linked to the manufacturer.
Each of the controller, works slightly different from the other, but overall their behavior is appreciable in all aspects. Earlier there were few noticeable differences but with the evolution of the SSD virtually all have an ideal operation. The controller used to be a clear differential factor, but the reality is that today it no longer is.
The memory architecture
There are also different memory architectures: SLC, MLC and TLC, i.e. Single, Multi-Level Cell and Triple level cells. These are denominations on how organized the flash memory (NAND) in each of them is, mainly relating the density of information contained in each cell and closely linked with the price and the possibility of error.
Although it is true that the technical differences are clearly evident, there is little practical difference between the different architectures.
The SSD format is 2.5 inches, which is perfect as the standard size for ‘small’ laptops. The current market has significantly evolved. Within the 2.5 – inch format it has added a new dimension, i.e. the thickness: 12, 9.5 and 7 millimeters thick SSDs, the latter two being the most common. If you are thinking about replacing your laptop HDD I recommend you take a look at your current disc for its thickness and thus safely hit. If you want to renew your desktop there will absolutely be no problem at all with the anchoring systems evolving as far more universal; also the desktop chassis have exclusive space to accommodate a 2.5-inch device, typically at the bottom.
THERE ARE VARIETY OF SSD FORMATS AVAILABLE: SATA 2.5 INCH WITH VARIOUS THICKNESSES, M.2 AND MSATA.
In recent years we have seen the birth of a completely new and very different format, M.2. This format, M.2, is quite common in Ultrabooks and thin and light equipment due to its physical dimensions and weight, and are also expensive.
Along with the M.2, mSATA are the third format, although its use is declining in recent generations for precisely the M.2. Many teams still exist and continue using an mSATA, which can only be replaced by another with similar interface, of course.
After the arrival of the SSD, and its high price, some manufacturers had the idea of combining the two technologies in one and this resulted in the birth of hybrid discs.
HYBRIDS INCLUDE MECHANICAL PARTS AND FLASH PARTS
These hybrids, as its name indicates, have mechanical parts and flash storage. Generally they have a classic, high-density disk, mobile and slow parts in data transfer; and faster flash storage but lower capacity. They do not have the disadvantages of the SSD but surely miss out on few of its advantages. They are an intermediate point between SSD and HDD.
For example, the performance of this Seagate Desktop 2 TB Solid State Hybrid Driveis far from achieving the best SSD performance, although in their defense, they provide an attractive capacity (1 TB) at an affordable price compared to SSD. In our upcoming post we will talk about the best available SSDs in the market right now.