What Consumers Need to Know About Solid State Drives

By SiliconIndia   |   Wednesday, 16 January 2019, 03:59 Hrs
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Most consumers don’t really know enough about their computers to name or identify internal components. And, in today’s digital age this really is a bad thing. The news suggests that consumers need to familiarize themselves with such components and how they interact within the system so that they can utilize its full potential.



What Consumers Need to Know About Solid State Drives



A good place to start is with solid state drivers because they can offer lightning fast speeds that will boost any PC during the initial startup and when running certain applications. Solid state drivers are superior to traditional hard disks and any consumer that is tired of seeing that hourglass should consider investing in a solid state drive. However, before just running out and blindly investing, the news suggests that users need to consider the following qualities.



The SSD Disk Capacity



News reports suggest that any computer user looking for an SSD for a laptop or desktop computer needs to consider the disk capacity. However, there are also available what is known as a dual drive configuration. This lets users utilize one SSD for the operating system and application while the secondary hard disk drive (HDD) can be used to store data.



In a situation like this, a 40GB SSD would be enough to run your PC or Mac operating system along with the mostessential apps. That being said, a 120GBSSD is not significantly more expensive today. With this option, users will also have enough storagespace to install several frequently used applications.



If users are replacing their HDD entirely, with a single SSD, they need to go with at least 250GB at the minimum. This will be enough to handle your OS, a number of applications, and data. There are 500GB and larger SSDs available, but this is going to run up the price.



Interfaces and Form Factors



When users are shopping for their new solid state drives they need to be aware of what type ofSSD will fit in their computer. The most common interface today is Serial ATA (SATA) interface. SATA is available in different versions and only revision 3.x will support the highest transfer rates of 6 Gb/s. SATA SSDs are backwards compatible but will run at slower speeds with older revisions.



And even though a SATA SSD is much faster than any HDD, there is an interface that offers even greater speeds, known as PCI Express (PCIe). This interface has been used previously for other devices such as graphics cards. However, in many modern PCs there is now a small slot called M.2 that let you run SSD cards supporting PCIe and the NVM Express standard. This increases the bandwidth to 20 Gb/s and brings about other performance enhancements.



Users will need to verify that their systems are compatible with these standards to enjoy the performance of these devices. Refer to this list of M.2SSDs that also includes compatibility information.



High Maximum Speeds



Users that are using their computers for gaming and working will specifically want to pay close attention to the speed of the SSD. Not just speed as an overall, but the write speed and the read speed. These speeds determine how fast the card reads and writes data. This is somewhat similar to how the computer sends and receives data when it is accessing the Internet.



Recent news reports show that the maximum read speeds are right around 500MB per second and the maximum write speeds are right around 400MB per second with SATA. With PCI Express, the maximum read speeds can be as much as 3000 MB/s and write speeds 2000 MB/s. If a user invests in an SSD that is somewhat near these speeds they can expect the utmost in performance and speed.



Consider The Real-World Speeds



It is true that manufacturers post their speeds on their cards or advertisements, but they do not post their real-world speeds. Real-world speeds are usually quite a bit slower than they are advertised.



In fact, recent news reports show that some real-world speeds may be about 2/3 of the maximum quoted speed. That means in the above-mentioned scenario if a user bought a solid state drive with 400MB read speed and 300MB write speed they would only actually be getting 265 MB per second read speeds and 200MB per second write speeds.



Check Warranty and Endurance Information



An SSD is not like an HDD, with mechanical parts that eventually wear out in time. Instead it has memory cells that wear out as they are written to. This happens very slowly, but after many terabytes of data has been written to an SSD it may cease to function. This is listed as terabytes written (TBW) in the warranty information. Users should also note the standard warranty in years, which is nonetheless often longer than for standard hard drives.



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