Types Of SSDs: All You Need To Know [2023]

Types Of SSDs All You Need To Know

Many people are unaware of the different types and performance tiers of SSDs that are available on the market.

Knowing which type is right for your device can get a bit confusing.

Don’t worry, our extensive experience can help figure out what’s best for you!

What is an SSD?

An SSD is a storage device that uses flash memory instead of spinning disks, providing faster access times and data transfer rates than HDDs.

SSD Components

SSDs are high-performance – and often expensive – storage devices made up of various parts that work together to enable a computer to retrieve information rapidly.

The key components that make up an SSD include NAND flash memorycontroller and interface.

How is an SSD Different from an HDD?

SSDs offer a far greater level of performance and endurance than HDDs, making them the ideal choice for those who need to store large amounts of data quickly and efficiently.

Read on to find out more about the differences between these two storage devices.

Read/Write Data

When it comes to SSDs, the read/write speed is essential for determining how fast your system will run.

Read and write speeds are measured in megabytes per second (MB/s) or gigabytes per second (GB/s).

Basic types of SSD such as 2.5-Inch SATA SSD tends to offer sequential read and write speeds around 550 MB/s whereas NVMe Gen3 SSD can reach up to 3.5 GB/s with starting points at 1.5 GB/s.

These drastic differences significantly impact the boot time, application loading speed, transfer rate of large files between storage devices etc., therefore having a powerful read and write data speed in an SSD is advantageous over HDD which tops out around 200 MB/sec in many cases.

Additionally, Most modern gaming motherboards feature support for both M.2 NVMe and PCI Express cards (adding even further flexibility for users looking to customize their performance levels), so make sure you consider these options when shopping for an upgrade drive on your current setup!

Working Mechanism

One of the major differences between SSDs and HDDs lies in their build.

SSDs have no moving parts or spinning disks, while hard disk drives contain both these components. This means that SATA SSDs are far more reliable than traditional HDDs since there is nothing to break down or slow you down—no moving parts results in faster performance as well.

Furthermore, with no spinning disks and motors inside an SSD, they run much cooler and use less power than HDD drives making them ideal for laptops and other mobile devices.

Additionally, because of their design, many newer motherboards are now compatible with a variety of form factors such as 2.5-Inch SATA, M.2 SATA, M.2 NVMe as well as PCI Express slots so users can easily upgrade without reinstalling hardware components.

Resistance To Heat

Heat resistance is a key benefit of solid-state drives (SSDs).

These disks have no moving parts, which makes them more heat resistant than traditional hard disk drives (HDDs).

In addition to reduced noise levels when compared to HDDs, SSDs generate less heat during operation.

This level of thermal resistance ensures improved longevity and durability for the drive as well as optimized system performance and data transfer rates. Moreover, this feature helps reduce energy consumption since no mechanical components require additional power for their operation.

Heat resistant SSDs are especially beneficial in high-end applications requiring optimal reliability from storage systems like work centers or gaming PCs.

NVMe PCIe SSDs offer improved latency while dissipating less heat even with intensive workloads due to their lack of spinning platters or motors for moving heads on magnetic media as found on HDDs.

Speed

One of the major advantages of using a Solid State Drive (SSD) over traditional Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) is the increased processing speed.

An SSD has no moving parts, so it can access data much faster than an HDD which relies on spinning disks and motors to move them around.

This allows for faster boot-up times for computers and quicker loading times in video games or applications that require a lot of read/write activity.

Different types of SSDs offer different levels of performance though, with some having higher sequential and read/write speeds than others. Tier 1 SATA SSDs have maximum read speeds around 550 MB/s and write speeds up to 520 MB/s while Tier 2 NVMe Gen3 SSDs offer maximum reads up to 3.5 GB/s and writes as fast as 1.2 GB/s – this amounts to almost 6x faster storage performance compared to traditional HDDs!

Even better are NVMe Gen4 SSD’s boasting up top 7GBps – an astonishing 14x faster performance versus traditional hard drives! Games or applications such high end rendering, large file transfers or video editing will benefit from these powerful kinds of hard drives due their incredible transfer rates!

Basic Types of SSDs

2.5-Inch SATA SSD ( SATA I, SATA II, SATA III )

The 2.5-Inch SATA SSD is the most popular form factor among solid state drives, and we’ve installed 1000s of these SSDs for our clients.

It uses a Serial ATA (SATA) interface for data communication and has gone through three main versions: SATA I, II, and III as its transfer rates have increased over time.

These variations offer increasing levels of compatibility with older PC models—as well as offering impressive performance for new PCs.

With their small size and easy installation convenience, these SSDs can upgrade your computer’s speed more easily than other types of SSDs on the market – no cables required! The increasing speeds provided by each variation make them great options for those who need faster data transfers but don’t want to break the bank purchasing top tier NVMe Gen3 or Gen4 models.

Plus, they won’t take up all that much space in your PC’s components either.

M.2 SATA SSD

M.2 SATA SSDs are a popular type of drive known for their slim form factor, weighing only a few grams and typically the length of a USB thumb drive.

This type of SSD incorporates the M.2 standard which gives them superior compatibility with laptops, tablets, and other low-profile machines without taking up too much space in your PC or laptop case.

In terms of performance, M.2 SATA SSDs offer 2x to 4x times the speed that traditional HDDs can provide but have slower read/write speeds when compared with more advanced NVMe drives such as M.2 2280 or PCI Express SSDs.

Despite this relatively slow performance rate when compared to higher-end models, they still deliver better power efficiency than typical hard drives due to their lack magnetic parts which helps reduce energy consumption significantly making it ecofriendly even at its max capacity and usage rate.

M.2 22110

M.2 22110 is a compact and powerful form factor for SSDs that allow users to take advantage of faster storage speeds while keeping their devices thin and lightweight. 

M.2 22110 motherboards often accommodate both M.2 SATA or NVMe SSDs depending on the size requirement you have listed – allowing either type a much smaller footprint than traditional larger HDDs offer while providing improved file transfer speeds over them as well as heavier processor loading tasks associated with gaming or high end editing such as video/photo rendering / encoding etc.

M.2 2280

The M.2 2280 form factor is a versatile, ultra-thin type of solid state drive (SSD) that is small enough to fit in any laptop or desktop computer device with ease.

Measuring just 80 mm x 22 mm, the SSD’s short length and low profile make it an ideal choice for servers aimed at reducing size and weight without compromising performance.

As well as its miniature size, the M.2 offers great storage capacity – up to 4TB depending on model – which makes it suitable for storing even large files such as games and movies.

Furthermore, because the height of this Drive is so compact compared to other types like 2.5-inch SATA drives or PCI Express SSDs , they don’t get blocked by larger cards when multiple components are installed close together inside your devices making them much more space efficient than their competitors.

The stylish and modern design also makes these Drives visually appealing with many options available in colour variations including red blue white and goldish colour palette.

This form factor provides direct access to memory chips utilizing PCIe Gen3 interface providing speeds of up 3200 MB/s while consuming very low power thanks to its high efficiency controller technology than allows users get peak performance out of relatively small battery life.

M.2 2260

M.2 2260 is a specialized form factor in the world of SSDs, known for its thin and compact size and convenience of installation. These smaller M.2 drives are about the same size as a USB flash drive and measure just 22mm wide by 60 mm long.

Beyond their portability, they offer incredibly fast speeds while taking up minimal space. They use the PCI Express bandwidth instead of SATA bandwidth which allows them to access faster data transfer rates than SATA-based SSDs, reaching up to 2600Mbps in some cases.

M.2 2260 drives are becoming increasingly popular due to their convenience; they can be installed directly on motherboards without additional cables or complicated setup processes.

M.2 2242

M.2 2242 SSDs are a great option for anyone looking to upgrade their PC with an extremely thin, powerful storage drive.

They use the M.2 form factor and measure just over two inches long – about the size of a USB thumb drive! Unlike traditional 2.5-Inch SATA SSDs, these drives have either a SATA or NVMe interface allowing them to exceed typical 3Gbps speeds; while M.2 NVMe SSDs utilize PCI Express bandwidth instead of SATA, meaning even faster read/write speeds than possible previously with any other type of storage device available today on the market.

This huge speed increase is beneficial for tasks such as large file transfers, video editing, gaming and anything else needed that requires fast data processing rates like high-end rendering projects!

What also makes these drives stand out from other types is their compatibility; they can be used right away in many Mac platforms and PCs without any extra adapters or special equipment required thanks to their tiny form factor!

mSATA SSD

A mSATA SSD is a miniature version of a Full-Size SATA Solid State Drive (SSD).

Miniature SATA SSDs are designed with ultra-compact computers and devices in mind, as they have slots for the smaller form factor of the mSATA drives.

These drives use the same Serial ATA interface as full size SATA drives, which means that they’re capable of matching their data transfer rates. However, because of their compact size, these drives allow for cablefree installation making them more convenient to install and maintain than other types of storage.

They also offer excellent performance at a considerably lower price than PCIe or NVMe based SSDs on the market while still being versatile enough to excel at all tasks including gaming, media streaming & everyday productivity work.

M.2 NVMe SSD

M.2 NVMe SSDs are a type of solid state drive which offer superior performance for tasks such as large file transfers, video editing, gaming, and rendering.

Utilizing the M.2 form factor combined with PCI Express bandwidth, these drives offer faster read/write speeds than their SATA counterparts with sequential reads and write speeds up to 7GB/s.

The highest tier specifically designed for heavy duty usage including professionals requires dedicated heatsinks in order to maintain proper functioning temperatures due to its high speed demands.

These top-tier drives give enthusiasts and professionals an unbeatable advantage at an affordable price point compared to other types of SSD’s making them one of the best options available on the market today.

PCI Express SSD

PCI Express (PCIe) SSDs are a great alternative for users who want to upgrade their PC without having to replace the motherboard. These expansion cards fit into standard PCI Express slots but provide high-speed storage and performance comparable to what you would get from an M.2 form factor SSD, such as SATA or NVMe Gen3.

With powerful PCIe x4 bandwidth and sequential read/write speeds of up 3.5GB per second, these drives take mid-level gaming systems with integrated graphics cards and entry-level workstations to the next level while avoiding major hardware upgrades that require new motherboards, CPUs, etc.

This makes them ideal for tasks like large file transfers, video editing projects or intensive gaming sessions especially when paired with one of Intel’s latest Core processors or AMD Ryzen chipsets.

Add-In Card SSDs (AIC)

Add-In Card SSDs (AIC) are another type of Solid State Drive.

These expansion cards plug into motherboards and provide additional storage. They offer the fastest speeds of all other types, thanks to the increased bandwith provided by PCI Express on compatible motherboards.

AIC SSDs are designed for high performance rigs as well as enterprise solutions that need a bigger data transfer rate than SATA drives can handle. Additionally, their form factor allows them to fit inside PCs despite whatever size or case configuration is present.

Furthermore, they come in different configurations like M2 22110, 2280, 2260 and 2242 so users can select the one that best suits their PC’s motherboard compatibility though pricier models may be used depending on available budget and required performance benchmarking results besides being able to ensure compatibility checking when buying from aftermarket stores.

Also See: FAQs about SSDs

Performance Tiers of SSDs

Three tiers of performance are available for SSDs: SATA SSDs, NVMe Gen3 SSDs and NVMe Gen4 SSDs.

Tier 1: SATA SSDs

are the most popular type of solid-state drive on the market. They use a Serial ATA (SATA) interface and can transfer data two to four times faster than regular hard drives, with read speeds around 550 MB/s and write speeds in a similar range.

SATA SSDs come in different form factors – from 2.5-inch packs to more modern slimmer M.2 variants – making them compatible with all types of PCs old and new, be it laptops or desktops.

As such, they are perfect for everyday computing tasks such as web browsing, document creation/editing, video streaming, etc., while offering excellent performance at an affordable cost when compared to other options out there like NVMe Gen3 or Gen4 SSDs.

This is probably the most commonly used SSD in the market today!

Tier 2: NVMe Gen3 SSDs

NVMe Gen3 SSDs are part of the performance tiers of SSDs, offering faster speeds than SATA drives and ideal for high-performance tasks like large file transfers, video editing, gaming, and rendering.

These SSDs use the PCI Express bandwidth instead of SATA bandwidth resulting in even faster speeds.

NVMe Gen3 models feature sequential read and write speeds up to 3.5 GB/s with starting at around 1.5 GB/s while being more affordable than their higher tier cousin –NVMe Gen4– making it a desirable option for anyone on budget who have needs that far exceed what a slower Tier 1: SATA drive can offer.

When shopping around for an upgrade from a standard 2.5-Inch or M form factor storage device consider choosing one with an NVMe controller as they offer superior data throughput capabilities allowing you to get the most out of your computing experience without breaking your bank account in doing so!

Tier 3: NVMe Gen4 SSDs

are next in the line in the series of advanced Solidstate drives (SSDs) that offer highspeed storage and an exceptional level of performance.

These flash-based SSDs offer superior sequential data transfer speeds compared to other technology, making them ideal for use in applications like highspeed gaming consoles or intensive professional media designs like 3D rendering and AI computation.

NVMe Gen4 SSDs can achieve read/write speed up to 7 GB/s, twice as fast as their predecessors, providing near-instant access times and dramatically reduced wait times when loading large files or programs.

This pioneering tier also uses significantly lower power than traditional mechanical hard disk drives (HDDs) which makes them perfect for laptops or all-inone PCs where battery life is a crucial factor.

Tier 4: NVMe Gen5 SSDs

NVMe Gen5 SSDs are the latest and greatest SSDs in the market at the time of writing this post.

These deliver sequential reads/writes up to 12,400/11,800MB/s ( Crucial T700 ). Just wow! – isn’t it! 🙂

Compatibility of SSD Types with PCs

When it comes to compatibility, SSDs come in many different form factors and interfaces that can work with various PCs.

The 2.5-Inch SATA SSD is the most common type and usually fits into desktop PC cases that have 3.5” drive bays, as well as laptops with a 2.5” bay exposed.

When building or upgrading computers, M.2 SATA SSDs are extremely thin and only about the length of a USB thumb drive; they fit inside slim laptop machines allowing owners to upgrade their storage without sacrificing performance or expanding outward physically from their device’s existing dimensions.

Similarly, M.2 NVMe SSDs use the same small form factor plus PCI Express bandwidth instead of just standard SATA bandwidth for speed improvements even in smaller devices like Ultrabooks and other ultraportable machines with space constraints on size of hardware components used inside them.

For motherboards which don’t support M.2 drives directly, there are also add-in cards using the PCI Express interface available for purchase that offer faster speeds.

External SSD Options

External SSDs are an excellent option for taking advantage of the power and speed of solid-state drives without having to open up your PC or laptop. 

External storage devices have come a long way; many now include connection standards like USB 3.1/3.2 Gen 1 or Thunderbolt 3, making them perfect solutions for those who need to take their data on the go —be it photos, music, documents, games and more—and are worried about hard drive malfunctions and data loss due to heat resistance issues inside laptops.

Not only that but they also alleviate common hardware incompatibility concerns due to form factor restrictions with some PCs or insufficient bandwidth available in certain motherboards.

When it comes to external SSDs performance depends on the type – SATA III (or 6Gbps) offers up speeds of around 550 MB/s while NVMe Gen3 (or PCIe x4 lanes) offer at least 2x faster sequential read and write speeds compared with SATA III: around 3000 MB/s down from 6000 MB/S as well as start rates upwards of 1500MB/S – depending on the specific model you use.

For users needing even higher performance there is the NVMe Gen4 which offers faster 7GBPS transfer rates – though lower than motherboard capacity these require sophisticated cooling systems such as dedicated heatsinks which disqualify them from portable usage models.

Additionally fans may be necessary if further thermal protection is needed and this means that NVMe Gens 4 usually cater only high end enthusiasts and professionals rather than laptop owners, gamer’s etc.

Best SSD Brands and Models

  • Samsung 870 EVO: Ideal for everyday computing, the Samsung 870 EVO is a signifcant upgrade over it’s predecessor the 860 EVO and offers up to 560 MB/s sequential read and 530 MB/s sequential write speeds with a SATA III 6 GB/s interface. It supports Samsung’s TurboWrite technology to boost performance during intensive tasks.
  • WD Blue 3D NAND: The WD Blue offers excellent performance at an affordable price point. It features sequential read and write speeds of up to 560 MB/s and 530 MB/s respectively, along with an endurance rating of up to 600 TBW.
  • Crucial MX500: The Crucial MX500 is a great choice for those looking for balanced performance in an affordable package. It comes with sequential read and write speeds of up to 560 MB/s and 510 MB/s respectively, making it fast enough for most everyday tasks.
  • Adata XPG SX8200 Pro: For those looking for the best possible performance from a consumer grade SSD, the Adata XPG SX8200 Pro is worth checking out. It features sequential read and write speeds of up to 3500 MB/s and 3000 MB/s respectively, making it perfect for gaming and intensive workloads.

Fastest Type of SSD

The ultimate choice for lightning-fast data transfer rates and superior storage performance is the NVMe Gen 4 PCIe SSD ( commonly used now ).

These advanced solid state drives offer cutting-edge read/write speeds of up to 3500MB/s using the PCI Express bandwidth rather than SATA, making them a must-have for high-end users such as gamers and professional editors looking for accelerated storage solutions.

To deliver this level of increased speed, NVMe Gen4 SSDs are designed with sequential read and write speeds of around 7 GB/s compared to 3.5 GB/s on their predecessors, NVMe Gen3 SSDs.

This additional power also requires that these devices be equipped with dedicated heatsinks to cope with extra heat levels generated by all that activity, hence why they are mainly used by professional enthusiasts and content creators who have access to higher end setups–for example the new PlayStation 5 uses an NVMe drive as its main HDD drive.

Moreover, M2 2280 or 80mm length form factor type drives suit best when it comes to High end laptops or PCs as they secure fit both in terms of durability & aesthetics as well; some may require thermal pads if included in certain gaming systems for even better outcome.

That being said, Gen5 SSDs though being available in the market, aren’t the norm or should I say – mainstream. I’m sure it’s not long before Gen 5 SSDs take the sweet spot for being the fastest SSDs on the market!

Difference Between SSDs and HDDs

SSDs and HDDs are types of storage drives that play a crucial role in the performance and functionality of a computer.

In the following table, we will present the main differences between these two technologies:

 

Factors SSDs HDDs
Speed SSDs have significantly faster data access speeds. M.2 NVMe SSDs can have speeds of up to 3.5 GB/s. HDDs have slower read/write speeds. They do not use flash memory which means data retrieval takes longer.
Reliability SSDs are highly reliable as they have no moving parts which reduces the chance of mechanical failure. HDDs contain mechanical parts that can fail over time, making them less reliable in the long run.
Durability SSDs are more durable than HDDs due to their lack of moving parts. HDDs contain spinning disks which makes them more prone to damage from physical shocks.
Noise Level SSDs make no noise as they have no spinning or moving parts. HDDs can produce noise as the disks spin to read and write data.
Power Consumption SSDs consume less power which can lead to longer battery life for laptops. HDDs consume more power which can result in shorter battery life for portable devices.
Price SSDs are generally more expensive due to their superior performance and reliability. HDDs are less expensive, offering a cost-effective solution for data storage needs.

 

SSDs and HDDs each have their strengths and weaknesses. The choice between them often depends on specific needs and requirements, such as performance, reliability, and budget.

Pros and Cons of SSD Drives over HDDs

When it comes to choosing between SSD drives and traditional HDDs, each type of storage has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Below is a side-by-side comparison of the pros and cons of using SSDs over HDDs.

 

SSD Drives HDDs
Pros:

  • Increased Speed: SSDs are significantly faster than HDDs. For instance, SATA SSDs have sequential read and write speeds of around 550 MB/s.
  • Reliability: As SSDs have no moving parts, they are less prone to damage and data loss, making them more reliable than HDDs.
  • Energy Efficiency: SSDs consume less power than HDDs, which not only saves energy but can also prolong battery life in laptops.
  • Noise Level: SSDs operate silently, unlike HDDs which can generate noise during operation.
Cons:

  • Higher Cost: SSDs are generally more expensive than HDDs. This can be a deciding factor for those on a tight budget.
  • Limited Storage Capacity: While SSDs are catching up, HDDs still typically offer more storage capacity at a lower price point.

 

It’s important to weigh these factors carefully to make the right choice for your specific needs and preferences.

What is the difference between Expensive and Cheap SSD?

When making the decision to upgrade from an HDD to a faster, more reliable SSD, one of the most important factors to consider is cost. Expensive SSDs generally offer higher performance and longer warranties than their cheaper counterparts but they come with hefty price tags too.

However, if you need fast storage speeds for intensive tasks or have no budget limits for your work centers or gaming PC then opting for a more expensive model can be beneficial in the long run.

Expensive SSDs typically provide improved loading times which result in better computing and gaming experiences compared to cheap alternatives such as triple-level cell (TLC) SSDs that are known for having a significantly lower chance of failure than other types due to less memory blocks used per cells.

On top of this, MultiLayer Cell (MLC) and Single Layer Cell (SLC), which tend to be used by professional users because they combine extremely fast processing speeds and extended warranty periods with lower costs – thanks largely to innovations from tier-1 manufacturers like Samsung and Intel among others – make them some of the best performing yet affordable options on the market today.

How to choose SSD and their types?

Price

When it comes to choosing the right type of SSD, one of the most important considerations is budget.

It’s no secret that SSDs are more expensive than hard drives, however prices have been decreasing as usage increases.

Most consumer-grade SSDs on the market have lower storage capacity than hard drives in same price range, so consumers looking for high storage solutions will need to be prepared to pay a premium.

Cheaper and slower MLC (Multi Level Cell) and TLC (Triple Level Cell) versions are available, but they also carry higher risks of failure due to their shared cells between bits of data.

On the other hand, more expensive SLC (Single Level Cell) variants are less prone to failure but can cost up to four times as much as a mid-range 3D TLC option with similar read/write speeds making them not always suitable for everyday budgets.

Your Build

Factors such as size, type, form factor and power requirements should all be taken into consideration when selecting the right SSD for your PC.

Depending on the size of your casing and other components in it, you may prefer a smaller or larger SSD.

Different PCs have different compatibility requirements; however, many use either 2.5-inch SATA or M.2 form factors. The latter is becoming increasingly popular for its thinner body and higher performance speeds than SATA drives can provide.

While budget is always one of the key deciding points for any PC component purchase including an SSD drive, it is important to invest in an appropriate combination of speed and quality too with types like M.2 NVMe Gen3 or 4 being suitable choices if you don’t mind splurging more money upfront but save time on high-end professional tasks later down the line due to their much faster data transfer speeds compared to tier 1 SATA drives.

Motherboard compatibility

Some motherboards are specific to SATA III, while others may have compatibility for other types as well.

Different SSDs use different form factors which require various connectors on the motherboard, so you must check the connections on both sides before installation.

For example, SSDs with M.2 connection will need an available M.2 port while those that use PCIe x4 or more may need a dedicated expansion slot depending upon their length and bandwidth needs.

By verifying compatibility in advance, you can avoid potential issues associated with incorrect purchases or mismatched components down the line and protect yourself against wasted time and money!

Performance needs

When determining your performance needs, the most important factor to consider is how you intend on using the SSD.

If you’re looking for a storage device to quickly move large files from one place to another, or if you plan on completing data intense tasks like video processing and 3D rendering, then an SSF with high sequential read/write speeds and spacious storage capacity are important considerations.

Additionally, it’s worth checking what type of interface your motherboard supports in order to select a properly compatible form factor.

For example, if you have limited space inside your PC then mSATA or M.2 boot drives are ideal as they’re physically smaller than traditional SATA connections.

NVMe PCIe solid state drives can also offer significantly higher performance but may require an additional expansion slot installation or specialist cables depending upon your setup requirements.

Author:
I am a computer engineer holding a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, complemented by a Master's in Business Administration from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. I currently work as a Senior IT Consultant in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of...