The Whole Thing you Need to Know About How to Buy SSD?
The Whole Thing you Need to Know About How to Buy SSD? – Now that we have given a good review of the best SSDs of the moment. It is time to emphasize the general characteristics of this type of hard drive. Thus, you will have the information and knowledge necessary to make a better comparison.
What is an SSD, and what is it used for?
SSD disks (from the English Solid State Drive, which means solid-state disk) are devices that store data in the computer.
This is also done by traditional hard drives (or HDD). Unlike these, SSDs record data on interconnected microchips, which an integrated processor manages, dramatically increasing operation speed.
In recent times, this type of disc has been gaining prominence thanks to its excellent writing and reading speed and the drop in prices it has experienced since its first years on the market.
So much so that today they are an almost essential component in any new equipment.
Differences between an SSD and an HDD
An HDD is made up of several pieces (hence also called mechanical) that must constantly move to read and write data:
- Magnetic metal plates: in which the information is stores.
- A rotary motor: which makes the plates rotate.
- An actuator armrest: reads and writes heads, which move across the leaves.
Whenever we want to access a file or run a program, the disk must align the plates properly and move the arm until it reaches the exact point where the data the PC is trying to access is located.
Being such a complex mechanism, it is easy to suffer damage if it receives a blow, moves a lot or simply from continued use.
And how is it different from SSD hard drive?
To begin with, in the SSD, the information is stored on flash memory semiconductors (microchips) and not on magnetic metal plates.
With the disappearance of all those moving parts, its operating speed is much higher since the team can access the point where a specific piece of data is located regardless of its location. In addition, this also makes them noiseless and not as fragile as HDDs.
- HDD: They are slower and more fragile.
- SDD: They have more incredible speed and resistance.
Advantages and disadvantages of SSD hard drives
SSDs have several advantages over traditional HDDs, making them the best option today. Although, of course, nothing is perfect.
So it’s time to see the pros and cons of this type of hard drive.
- They are faster: access to information occurs much quicker by not having moving parts. You will notice this, especially when turning on the PC. Since Windows will be ready for use in just a few seconds and when opening programs or games and executing different tasks.
- They have a smaller size and weight: SSDs take up less space and are lighter, making it easier to fit them inside the tower.
- They consume less: their energy is noticeably lower since they do not have to make physical movements to function and remain longer in IDLE (inactive). This also translates into less heating.
- They are more reliable: Although they are not exempt from failures, SSDs are more reliable than HDDs since they do not have moving parts that can break or wear out.
- They are quieter: because they work, these drives are entirely silent.
- They are more expensive: the price per gigabyte is considerably higher than that of HDDs, even though it has been falling in recent years.
- They have a shorter lifespan: Due to their technology, they have a more limited number of writes. Even so, with regular use, they can last for many years, and manufacturers are increasingly able to extend the life of their devices.
- It is more difficult to recover the information. In the event of a breakdown, in mechanical hard drives, you have a good chance of being able to recover the news due to the magnetic system they use. In SSDs, there are not so many guarantees since the data is stored in microchips, which will be unusable if they break.
What you should keep in mind when choosing an SSD
I know very well how easy it is sometimes to get lost among so many technical specifications.
For this reason, in this section, I will explain in the most concise way possible the maximum important aspects that you should pay attention to when choosing the SSD that best suits you.
Capacity is the first thing you should take into account when buying your SSD hard drive:
- 250 GB: The industry is generally recommended to be at least 250 GB. 120 GB may seem like enough to install Windows and a couple of programs, but I can assure you that a disk of that size will fill up before you know it (between temporary files, OS updates, etc.).
- 500 GB: If you’re looking for the best balance of price per gig, these are unbeatable. With this capacity, you will be able to install all your programs and games without fear of running out of space in the short term.
- 1TB: These are more expensive, but if you are going to install a lot of large programs or games, or want to have all your data and files on an SSD as well, thus getting rid of your HDD altogether, they may be a good option.
It is essential that when in doubt, you always go for a higher capacity because the way SSDs work, they perform better when they have 10% or 20% free space.
To achieve this, in addition to choosing the appropriate size, you should also delete games or programs that you do not use and thus prevent the speed of your drive from falling.
Form factor and interface
These two impressions are often confused, so it is necessary to clarify things a bit.
The form factor determines the size, shape, and connection type of an SSD. The two main ones are:
- SATA: This is the most common form factor and the only one supported on computers a few years old. These drives fix to the motherboard via a SATA cable and are also known as 2.5-inch drives since that’s the size of their width.
- This type of SSD is newer. It is a smaller format, similar to a RAM module, so it is common to find it in ultra-thin laptops. Unlike SATA drives, these connect directly to the motherboard, so the motherboard must have an M.2 port.
On the other hand, the interface refers to the communication system that is used to transfer information between the SSD and the computer, and the speed that the disk can reach depends to a large extent on it:
- SATA drives use the interface of the same name.
- The M.2 can use both the SATA and PCIe interfaces, depending on each specific model.
Now you know how to distinguish these two concepts that are so often confused.
Let’s keep going.
NAND memory type
All SSDs use NAND-type flash memory (a type of memory that balances data storage with good performance). But this memory can have different architectures, depending on the number of bits that each cell can hold.
The architectures that can be found today are:
- SLC ( Single-Level Cell ): Each cell stores a single bit, making these disks very fast and durable. But they are also more expensive due to their low memory density (small thickness of the microchips).
- MLC ( Multi-Level Cell ): This memory can store more data (two bits per cell) at a lower price. It is a slower technology than SLC. But many drives reserve a small portion of their capacity to be used as a cache (fast access storage), which is quicker to access.
- TLC ( Triple-Level Cell ): is the most common today. It allows you to store a lot of data in a small space, so they are even cheaper than MLCs. However, their speed is lower, so they usually incorporate a cache memory that speeds up data transfer. This is a good option for most users, but you would better get an MLC or SLC type SSD if you work with huge files.
- QLC ( Quad-Level Cell ): the latest innovation in SSDs. Although it is still not very common to find them on the market. As you can imagine, it has the same pros and cons as TLCs. Still, even more so: thanks to their higher density. They can hold more memory and therefore reduce manufacturing costs, but they are also slower. Their performance depends a lot on the cache.
My recommendation is that you bet on an SSD with TLC architecture memory and do not complicate your life.
Sequential and random speed
When it comes to determining the actual speed of an SSD, there is no fully representative figure. This is because the rate depends on the process you are carrying out at a given moment and the size of the files that the disk is reading or writing (among other factors).
However, two parameters can give you a rough idea of how fast an SSD is:
- Sequential speed: this data refers to the continuous reading or writing of large files waiting ” in queue” to be read. When you duplicate or move files from one location to another or play a video, you perform sequential operations. It is expressed in MB/s (megabytes per second) or GB/s (gigabytes per second).
- Random access speed: In this case, the drive reads or writes small files that are spread over different memory areas and require by other programs or processes simultaneously. This happens when Windows starts since the system has to load many configuration files and drivers at once. It measured in IOPS (input/output operations per second).
Now, it’s up to you to prioritize one or the other speed.
For example, if you only want the SSD to boot Windows and some programs faster, you want a higher random read speed. While if you need to edit photos or videos, you should pay more attention to writing and sequential reading.
Driver and Firmware
Unless you have very advanced technical knowledge. It isn’t easy to compare controllers and decide which one is better just by looking at their specifications. Also, it may be the case that two models share the same controller but still have different performances.
This is due to the implantation of the firmware (a computer program that controls the electronic circuits). Since one firmware can be optimized for reading and another for writing. or one for large files and others for small ones, etc.
So my advice is don’t focus on the controller. Better focus on the analysis of each SSD to know if a particular disk performs well in general terms. Please choose the best SSD and give your PC the boost it needs. And so far, this mega guide with the best SSDs of the moment. As you can see, there are many choices to choose from, whatever your budget.