How to choose an SSD

If in relatively old computers and laptops SSDs are installed in the same way as regular HDDs, then when choosing a drive for a “fresh” device it is worth considering a lot parameters.

how to choose an ssd drive

How to choose an SSD: specifications to follow take into account

When choosing an SSD drive for a computer or laptop, you should consider following parameters:

  1. Physical size (for drives made in classic form factor);

  2. Connection standard;

  3. Type of flash memory cells;

  4. Controller manufacturer.

The volume of the drive (in GB) should be selected based on your needs and performance or compatibility with the motherboard it does not affect.

Physical size

SSDs that connect via the SATA bus run in two options for the physical size – 3.5 and 2.5 inches. First Designed for installation in system units. Second supposed to use for a laptop.

However, in the system unit using special sled adapters or even without them can be installed and 2.5 inch SSD drive. And drives of both of these sizes can used as external – if sufficient power and find the right controller.

Connection standard

Connection Standard

There are three standards (slots) by which SSDs can connect to the computer motherboard – SATA, M.2 and PCIe

SATA is the most universal standard you can find in almost all computers and laptops. It is through him It is supposed to connect classic hard drives. Insofar as The primary goal of SSDs is to maximize system performance, it is impractical to connect them to SATA buses 2 or younger.

M.2 is the new standard for connecting SSDs. It can be “meet” in the most modern motherboards and laptops. Like SATA, this standard has existed for several generations:

  1. PCI-E 2.0 x2. The first generation of the standard that provides data exchange speed of 800 MB / s;

  2. PCI-E 3.0 x4. The second generation of the standard, which provides data transfer rate of 3 GB / s.

The buses of the SSDs themselves also differ. Disks with the tire PCI-E provides maximum performance, and with SATA bus – the broadest compatibility.

Despite software compatibility, the above standards incompatible at the hardware level. In particular, for PCI-E 2.0 x2 uses a connector with a B-key; and for PCI-E 3.0 x4 – with an M-key. However, the vast majority of SATA SSD M.2 drives come with a key M + B, which allows you to install them in any from these connectors. But PCI-E SSD M.2-drives support only one key, so you need to check them motherboard compatibility.

The third parameter to consider when choosing an M.2 drive – physical size. It exists in three forms:

  1. 2242;

  2. 2260;

  3. 2280.

The first two digits in the number are the width of the SSD drive, the second – its length. It’s self-evident that compatibility is only the opposite, those. in the slot for the 2280-disk you can insert the disks on 2280, 2260 and 2242; but in the slot for 2242 – only 2242.

The PCIe connection standard (PCI-E, PCI-Express) is the same. M.2 drives, only made on a separate expansion card, designed for installation in a PCIe slot. Such a connector is found in almost every computer, so they have a very wide compatibility. Unless in the old system units install the OS on such a drive will not work, because it requires installation drivers.

Flash Cell Type

Flash Cell Type

Because SSDs use flash technology (perhaps a few reworked), their operational characteristics depend on the type of cells. There are three of it varieties are SLC, MLC and TLC.

  1. SLC-drives (Single-Level Cell) are characterized by maximum speed and reliability. However, due to physical limitations matrix of memory cells, their maximum capacity is only 64 GB. Such drives are best used as system disks, installing on them the Windows OS and the most necessary programs – and store user files somewhere else location.

  2. MLC-drives (Multi-Level Cell) have lower speed and reliability. But their volume is much larger – up to 2 TB. This type of drive can be used for both the OS and user data.

  3. TLC-drives (Triple-Level Cell) are now found enough rarely due to its severe limitation – their cells withstand only 1000 rewrite cycles, after which they become unusable. TO buying is strongly discouraged. On the other hand, they are quite Cheap and high volume. It is advisable to use them. in multimedia computers, relatively old laptops and media centers.



The controller is an important functional element of an SSD drive. It is he who controls the reading and writing of information in cells flash memory. Therefore, it directly depends on its characteristics drive performance.

There are several hundred models of controllers on the market, and manufacturers – A few dozens. Therefore, it is advisable to choose manufacturer company. The largest:

  1. SandForce – works with areas of flash memory cells practically directly, therefore it provides maximum speeds like readings, so records. However, performance with high workload the disk drops sharply and is no longer restored (even after formatting);

  2. Marvell – inexpensive and at the same time very high-quality controllers, which maintain performance over time;

  3. Intel reads very fast, writes relatively slowly. Suitable for use in servers;

  4. JMicron is a very cheap controller. The drawback is extremely small the amount of cache, because of which, under load, the system can significantly hang until it is clean;

  5. Indilinx is an inexpensive controller that provides very high performance, but only on small SSDs capacity;

  6. Samsung – with this controller it is advisable to purchase only SSD models included in the 850 EVO or PRO line. IN in his latest versions, he began to work well with flash memory, due to which it provides high performance, which persists over time and is independent of disk size or type of read / write. In previous generations, there was a serious inconsistent speed loss problem records.



Among the manufacturers of SSD-drives can be identified:

  1. SanDisk, Toshiba, Western Digital, Hitachi – specialize in HDD production. SSDs differ from these companies sufficiently high reliability, but at the same time high cost;

  2. Transcend, Silicon Power, A-Data – specialize in production of flash drives. SSDs from these companies usually characterized by high speed and relatively low at the price. However, it is worth considering the type of flash memory cells – in many models use TLC;

  3. Samsung – produces very fast and at the same time reliable drives MLC and SLC standards. However, its products are almost different highest price in the market;

  4. Intel – Releases One Single Line of SSDs Optane However, these discs are compatible exclusively with Kabu Lake processors are highly priced and designed for use as an “external cache” for traditional HDDs. Buying them is not particularly appropriate. But they have very high reliability – greater than other types SSDs.

  5. Ultra-budget SSDs from other companies such as Smartbuy or Leven, can only be used as a “device entry-level “and high reliability are not expected from them worth it.


In the following articles, our experts tell you how to choose hard drive and the secrets of choosing RAM for the computer.

Attention! This material is subjective opinion of the authors of the project and is not a buying guide.

Rate article
An online magazine about style, fashion, etiquette, lifestyle, and about choosing the best products and services.
Add a comment