How to Choose an SSD for a Laptop

Selecting a memory type

There are three main types of memory in total:

  • SLC. There are two memory cells, each of which can be written only 1 bit of information. The least productive, but quite reliable type of memory with a large number of rewrite cycles.
  • MLC. It has 4 cells, each of which can contain two bits of information. Has average performance and service life.
  • TLC. It has 4 cells, but 3 bits of information can be written to each. The “fastest” type of memory, but not the most reliable in the context of long-term use.

For the SATA III interface, we recommend buying MLC. the most common type of memory on the market.

Determine the form factor

On the market, the most common form factors are 2.5 “and M.2. There are also mSATA (mini-SATA), PCIe. You will most likely have to buy a 2.5-inch SSD, as it allows you to use a SATA III interface that plugs in standard hard drives. M.2 for a laptop should only be chosen if the motherboard has the corresponding connector. M.2 is smaller than 2.5 ” hard drives, plus provides high read / write speeds, but may not always be installed in a laptop.

If the motherboard has a free M.2 connector, then take an SSD of this format. Otherwise, only 2.5 inches remains.

What to look for when choosing

First you need to determine the capacity of the drive, which you are purchasing. Here the recommendations are as follows:

  • For storage, only the operating system is enough with a margin of 120 GB;
  • To store the operating system and professional programs: MS Office, Photoshop, Sony Vegas and the like, it is recommended to choose a medium with a volume of 240 GB or more;
  • For full use: programs, operating system, games, user files, the volume should NOT be less than 400 GB, but here the more the better.

Having decided on the volume that you need, you need to understand in which slot to install the SSD. There are the following options:

  • Replace the DVD. It is recommended to do this if for some reason you can replace the “native” hard drive with an SSD, and there are no additional connectors. To do this, you need a special adapter, when choosing which you need to know the height (usually 12.7 mm). Plus, it’s not a fact that with such an installation, the SSD will be able to fully reveal its potential.
  • Replacing the main HDD.
  • Using a free slot for HDD, if such is provided by the design and is NOT occupied by the second disk.
  • Using a special slot for SSD. In rare cases, laptops are sold without an SSD, but with the ability to put it, if necessary, in special slots.

It is noteworthy that if the SATA II interface is used to connect the current hard disk in the system, then you will NOT win the purchase and installation of an SSD, since:

  • Few SSD drives can be correctly connected via SATA II;
  • The characteristics of the SATA II interface DO NOT allow you to fully unleash the capabilities of an SSD. Perhaps, in this case, you are better off purchasing a hard drive with a high RPM. So you will get an increase in productivity, albeit NOT large, and save on purchase.

It is noteworthy that in most laptops, if not talking about older models, SATA III interfaces are used, so the problems described above should not arise.

Why SSD is better for a laptop

In addition to the obvious performance gains, you will get:

  • Long service life. Despite the fact that an SSD disk has a limited rewriting resource (in classic HDD it is almost unlimited), in fact it is measured in tens and hundreds of terabytes, which is usually enough for a user for at least 10 years.
  • High degree of reliability. An SSD is practically NOT susceptible to shock and temperature fluctuations, while a classic hard drive can fail after a slight shock. Relevant for those who often carry a laptop in a bag or backpack.
  • The power consumption of an SSD is lower than that of an HDD, therefore, the laptop can last a little longer on a single charge.
  • SSD drive is quiet.

Among the shortcomings, we can note the High price: a 500 GB SSD will cost several times more than an HDD of the same size.

Choosing a laptop SSD drive

Mechanical hard drives are already out of use. In modern systems, they are usually left for user files, while Demanding programs and the operating system itself are installed on the SSD. This allows you to get an increase in performance and speed of the operating system. Laptops from the budget category, and just old models are not always equipped with a built-in SSD, however, their configuration allows you to install it instead of a hard drive or together with it.

Controller type

The speed and reliability of use depend not only on the type of memory used, but also on the controller. Manufacturers include Marvell, Samsung, Toshiba OCZ (Indilinx), Silicon Motion, Phison. The first three companies produce the highest quality, reliable and fastest controllers, so they can be found in expensive media. Additionally, they can be treated with Advanced Encryption Technologies for the business segment.

Silicon Motion and Phison also make good controllers in terms of reliability, but in terms of performance they are inferior to market leaders. Usually their controllers are present in budget models.

The tips and features above will help you choose the best SSD for your laptop without overpaying for unused performance.

Access time

In SSD drives, due to the absence of moving parts, the access speed is 100-300 times higher.

choose, laptop

Hidden SSD area

Each SSD has a fairly large amount of memory in a hidden (inaccessible to the user) area. These cells are used instead of failing ones, due to which the volume of the disk is NOT lost over time and the safety of data is ensured, which are previously transferred by the disk from the “sick” cells to the “healthy” ones. Also the hidden area is used as a cache and various controller needs.

In high-quality SSDs, this hidden volume can reach 30% of the declared disk size. Some manufacturers, in order to save money and gain a competitive advantage, make the hidden disk volume less (up to 10%), and more available to the user. Thanks to this, the user gets more available volume for the same money, but may lose a little in speed.

There is another negative side to this trick of manufacturers. The fact is that the hidden area is used not only as an Inviolable Reserve, but also for the TRIM function. Too small amount of the hidden area leads to insufficient memory required for background data transfer (garbage cleaning) and the speed of the SSD disk at high occupancy (80-90%) degrades greatly, sometimes several times. This is the price of “free” additional volume and that is why high-quality SSD drives have a large hidden area.

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14. SSD manufacturers

The best manufacturer of SSD drives is Samsung, but they also cost more than anyone else. But they are the fastest, most reliable, have a long and hassle-free warranty.

The best in terms of price / quality ratio can be called SSD brands Crucial and Plextor, they are almost as good as Samsung or Intel, but they are slightly cheaper.

Also, as a compromise option in terms of price / quality, you can consider the SSD of the well-established A-DATA brand.

I do not recommend purchasing SSDs sold under the Kingston brand, as most of them do not meet the declared characteristics and their speed degrades greatly as they fill up. But this manufacturer also has SSDs from the top-end HyperX series, which are of higher quality and can be considered as an alternative to top-end expensive brands.

I also do not recommend SSD brands OCZ and Transcend, as a number of models with various problems have been noticed among them (computer does not see, low speed, sudden shutdowns).

Some time ago, the well-known hard drive manufacturer Western Digital acquired SanDisk, which developed and manufactured SSDs. Now drives from both WD and SanDisk brands can be considered for purchase. At the same time, WD retains a convenient color separation: Green (budget slow SSDs), Blue (middle class) and Black (fast drives). In SanDisk, these are the Plus (budget), Ultra (mid-range) and Extreme (top-end) series.

In general, budget and unpopular brands. like a lottery, they can be lucky, or they can be. Therefore, I recommend that you refuse to purchase them if possible. And on the model of recommended brands it is still better to look for reviews, since “there is a hole in the old woman too”.

SLC cache

This is one of the most fundamental indicators that strongly affects the real write speed of an SSD. SLC caching technology borrows the principle of writing to SLC flash memory, which is practically not used anymore due to its high cost.

The fact is that SLC flash memory allows you to store only 1 bit of data in one memory cell, but has a high write speed. MLC allows you to store 2 bits in one cell, but because of this it works slower, and TLC. 3 bits and even slower.

With SLC caching, only 1 bit of data is written to an MLC or TLC flash memory location. It turns out that the flash memory operates in pseudo-SLC mode, which significantly speeds up the write speed. The controller then compresses the cells to 2 bits (MLC) or 3 bits (TLC), which is also fast enough.

As a result, slower MLC or TLC memory can write data at near the speed of the faster and more expensive SLC. It is this speed that usually appears in the manufacturer’s declared maximum linear write speed.

However, a limited amount of flash memory can be used as the SLC cache. Some budget SSDs don’t have an SLC cache at all. Others have a very small static SLC cache of about 2 GB for every 250 GB of storage, located in a hidden area. Drives with support for dynamic SLC cache are able to use the free space of the SSD for this purpose, but its size can differ significantly (from 3% to the total free space).

Thus, at the maximum declared speed, data can be written to the exhaustion of the SLC cache. The speed then drops to the write speed of the flash memory in its native mode (MLC or TLC). If the SSD is NOT the cheapest and has a fast enough flash memory, then the speed can drop 2-3 times (from 450 to 150-200 MB / s). But in budget models with cheap chips, the speed drop can be catastrophic (from 450 to 20-60 Mb / s) and the SSD will write at a speed several times less than a conventional hard disk drive (HDD).

Therefore, for a budget SSD, the size of the SLC cache is so important, the larger it is, the less often you will encounter a large drop in write speed. It is desirable that it be about 30% of the storage capacity or more.

For more expensive SSDs with faster flash memory, the size of the SLC cache is less critical. For example, a good indicator for a SATA drive with a capacity of 250 GB would be an SLC cache of about 30-50 GB with a write speed of about 450 MB / s and 200 MB / s at its limits.

For a good SSD with a SATA interface with a volume of 500 GB, due to the larger number of chips (parallelism), these indicators should be about 450 and 400 MB / s, respectively. Here, the size of the SLC cache does not play a special role, since direct writing to the flash memory is already quite fast.

Unfortunately, manufacturers rarely indicate the size of the SLC cache and the write speed over it. This information should be looked for in reviews with tests and graphs like the one above.

Equipment

If you are purchasing an SSD for a computer and the case has mounts for 2.5 format drives “, then pay attention to the presence of a mounting frame in the kit.

Most SSDs do NOT come with a mounting frame or even screws. But the included screw mount can be purchased separately.

The presence of a mount does not have to be a weighty criterion when choosing an SSD, but sometimes a better SSD bundled with a mount can be purchased for the same money as a budget SSD with a separate mount.

As for SSD for laptops, now everything is made with a thickness of 7 mm, sometimes there is a 9 mm thickening frame in the kit (depending on the laptop), but it can be purchased separately.

  • Go to the “SSD drives” section on the seller’s website.
  • Select recommended manufacturers (Samsung, Intel, Crucial, Plextor, HyperX, WD, SanDisk, A-DATA).
  • Select the Desired volume (120-128, 240-256, 480-512, 960-1024 GB).
  • Memory type (TLC 3D NAND).
  • Sort the sample by price.
  • Browse SSDs starting with cheaper ones.
  • Choose several models suitable for the price and speed (from 450/300 Mb / s).
  • Read their reviews (is there a DRAM buffer, what is the size of the SLC cache and the speed outside of it) and buy the best model according to the test results.

Thus, you will get an SSD disk that is optimal in terms of volume and speed, meeting high quality criteria, at the lowest possible cost.

12. Power supply protection

It is desirable that a disk with DDR3 or DDR4 cache memory has Power Protection, which is usually based on tantalum capacitors and allows you to save data from the buffer to memory chips in the event of a power outage.

But if you have an uninterruptible power supply or the drive is planned to be used in a laptop, then the protection against power outages can be neglected. SSDs that do NOT have DRAM buffers do NOT require additional protection against power outages.

Recommended SSD Models

For those who do not have time to read the entire article, I immediately give the recommended models of SSD drives with a short explanation.

I recommend purchasing an SSD drive with an optimal speed / reliability ratio of MLC or 3D NAND memory. Read / write speed closer to 500/500 MB / s is considered high enough. The minimum recommended speed for more budget SSDs is 450/300 MB / s.

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The best brands are Intel, Samsung, Crucial and SanDisk. As a more budgetary option, you can consider: Plextor, Corsair and A-DATA. Problematic models are more common among other manufacturers.

For a work or multimedia computer (video, simple games), an SSD with a capacity of 120-128 GB will be enough, and here A-Data Ultimate SU900 on MLC memory will be an excellent choice.
SSD A-Data Ultimate SU900 128GB

For a mid-range gaming computer, a volume of at least 240-256 GB is required, an SSD from the A-Data Ultimate SU900 or Samsung 860 EVO series is also suitable.
SSD A-Data Ultimate SU900 256GB

For a professional or powerful gaming computer, it is better to take a 480-512 GB SSD, for example Samsung SSD 860 EVO.
SSD Samsung MZ-76E500BW

For computers and laptops with an M.2 connector, a good option would be to install an ultra-fast SSD (1500-3000 MB / s) in the appropriate format.
SSD Samsung MZ-V7E500BW

When choosing a size, be guided by your needs, but do not neglect it for the sake of higher speed. If you doubt the correctness of your choice, we recommend reading reviews of specific models.

If you want to understand why I recommend these particular models, to understand all the nuances and technical characteristics of SSD drives, then read the article further.

11. Manufacturers of flash memory

NAND flash chips for consumer SSDs are mainly manufactured by Toshiba, Micron, and Samsung. It doesn’t really matter who the manufacturer of the flash memory is. The main thing is what speed parameters they provide in conjunction with this or that controller, in a particular drive model of a certain volume.

Memory type

Today the SSD market has three main types of memory, which are used in 99% of drives.

  • MLC is the most common option, which replaced the outdated SLC (almost NOT found anymore). Has the highest recording resource in comparison with its counterparts. Usually such devices last for 5-10 years. MLC is also the most expensive option.
  • TLC is a standard that has come to replace MLC as a cheap analogue. It has increased data storage density, resulting in reduced round-trip times (2-5 times less than MLC). The processing speed has also decreased. The only plus of this type is the low price. The rest of the MLC is much more reliable and practical.
  • QLC is the freshest type, which appeared a couple of years ago. It is designed to further reduce the cost of the drive. However, the recording speed and resource is even lower than in TLC.

As you might guess, MLC memory is the best choice. And not just any horrible ones, but just fresh models. The fact is that, compared to older SSDs with MLC, newer TLC-based drives will have advantages in resource and speed. So it’s better to focus on new items that are NOT more than a year old.

How to choose an SSD drive for a computer or laptop

Think you can choose any suitable size? No matter how it is! There are several main selection criteria.

An SSD for a computer is a perfectly reasonable choice. Why? Because a solid-state drive is many times faster than classic hard drives. In addition, their price has dropped significantly over the past few years. This is enough to purchase high-speed media at least for the placement of the operating system. But what to choose among all the variety of the market? We tell you about the main criteria that will help determine the model.

Performance

SSD speed, as in other types of drives, is measured in MB / s. The higher this value, the faster the device will process the information. Usually the manufacturer specifies two values: read speed and write speed. This is not to say which of this is more important, because in everyday tasks, both copying files from disk and to disk are used. Therefore, focus on both indicators at once. over, they are very often close to each other. We recommend considering an SSD with a speed of 500 MB / s and above.

It is better to look at independent tests before buying, since manufacturers like to overestimate the values ​​of their products. Peak speed can be achieved when working with large data when the load on the drive is minimal. But when processing many small files, some SSDs may experience problems, which is why they noticeably lose performance. In general, you shouldn’t take the manufacturer’s word unconditionally.

Volume

SSDs outperform HDDs, perhaps, only in one thing. this is not a gigabyte of space. And while SSDs have become less expensive, they still can’t offer customers tens of terabytes of memory at affordable prices. Therefore, users have to find a compromise between price and capacity.

The optimal volume for today can be taken as 250. 500 GB (if, of course, you choose the media for the system). Less is not enough. Windows 10 requires more and more space every year. The same goes for software. Therefore, usually only the system Occupies 100-150 GB. The rest remains on files in downloads and on the desktop, as well as on system junk.

If you choose more, then these are still expensive items of the premium segment. In games, the SSD will not give an increase in FPS (unless the levels will load faster). So it makes sense to overpay by and large. Unless if you work with a large number of large files, which need quick access.

Form factor and connection interface

There are also several types of them.

  • SATA3 (6Gb / s) is the most common option. Drives with this type of connection, as a rule, have a 2.5 form factor “. The main advantages: any volume is available, compatibility with any motherboards and low cost. However, this interface has a low speed among SSDs (up to 600 Mb / s per channel). For compact devices, a fast-sized mSATA analog has been developed, which is identical in speed to a full-size solution.
  • M.2 is the standard that replaced mSATA. The length is different: 42, 60 and 80 mm. Not all motherboards have the corresponding connector. And even if your motherboard has such a connector, it is not a fact that it supports all sizes. So check the specs before buying. M.2 can be either SATA or PCIe. The difference between these interface options is speed. And, at the same time, quite large. SATA drives boast an average speed of 550 Mb / s, while PCIe, depending on the generation, offer up to 500 Mb / s per lane for PCI-E 2.0, and up to 985 Mb / s per one PCI-E 3.0 line.
  • PCI-E. The fastest connection interface available today. Its speed is approximately equal to 2000 MB / s when reading and 1000 MB / s when writing. Obviously, the average user is such a performance redundant. Therefore, it is recommended to use it only in professional tasks. over, the price of such drives is extremely high.

How to choose a laptop SSD?

Chupasaurus, all free memory is used for cache. So the more the better. Well, everyone’s needs are different.

P.S. Now 3 browsers are open, a total of 50 tabs (counted). 13.5 GB used out of 32.

Any 2.5 ” SATA SSD will work.
Better to take from a well-known manufacturer. Basically Samsung, if you need a very budget. Kingston.

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We need such a container, it belongs instead of a DVD drive.

About the company. If you need a budget, choose from inexpensive Kingston.
The price tag is very budgetary at the level of the same sandisks, but stable and reliable. Of course, there are not enough stars from the sky in terms of characteristics, while they work perfectly, for a laptop it’s an excellent option.
I buy them in packs for all sorts of office machines.

Well, if you calmly keep within 80-90, then it makes sense to look at disks from 250GB.

If calmly, without straining and cleaning, keep within 30-60, and some kind of growth is not expected. Then it makes sense to look towards 120GB

4-6t.R.). On average, it needs to be changed every 3-4 years. Is this so in practice? Doesn’t sound very cool

4-6t.R.). On average, it needs to be changed every 3-4 years. So

True, for 4 years the iron becomes morally obsolete and it is necessary to change, budget or not.
Although Considering that you are taking the disk into a not very new laptop. The problem of obsolescence is unlikely to worry you. In four years, the laptop will probably be outdated.

I bought 120GB drives 4 years ago. They still work great, but who needs them?
I bought and NOT budget for 40 thousand. Again, they are already morally outdated and of little use, now there is Optane for the same price.
So here, if you buy something modern, be prepared for moral shattering.

Features of laptop SSD

The solid-state device has Not only a reservoir for storing information, but also its own processor, as well as RAM. Therefore, the installation of such a disk to revive any notebook, will make it more productive, faster. You can either completely replace the classic disk with a solid-state one, or Add, if the space in the case allows.
It is to the SSD that it is recommended to transfer the operating system, software distributions, as well as the paging file in order to Unload the device’s RAM. You will immediately notice that a second wind will open in your laptop. Another advantage of SSD drives is the smaller size and weight. In addition, it is more resistant to vibration, as well as second mechanical phenomena.
First, let’s take a look at the typology of solid-state drives and consider the main features. SSDs differ in appearance, connection type, interface and memory specifics.
The main types of appearance:

  • Classic version Standard 2.5, housed in a solid case. Such discs are quite reliable, resistant to any mechanical stress. Here is a conventional hard disk they are distinguished by smaller dimensions.
  • The M2 standard is like a bare board. It is very compact but requires extra care when installing.

Connection types:

  • SATA with standard appearance is connected to the usual port. This is the more common type, especially when replacing a classic hard drive.
  • M2 connects directly to the motherboard. This SSD can be installed on modern notebooks, it will not work for older devices.

Interface types:

  • SATA III. The most popular option, with a transfer rate of 600 Megabits / s. Same interface in classic hard drives.
  • Pclex. standard speed 750 Megabits per second. Improved versions have speeds up to 1700 Mbps.

Based on the parameters considered, we can conclude which solid-state device to choose for different laptops. So, for a modern model, of course, you can choose the Standard M2 option with M2 connection type and PCLeX interface. This SSD is much more compact, which is especially important for devices with a thin case. In addition, it has a top speed.
If you have an old notebook, Option Standard M2, with SATA connection type and SATA III interface, will do. This solid state drive is popular, it has advantages over the regular HHD drive.
The most important criterion for an SSD is, of course, memory. its type and size. After you understand the basic characteristics, it’s time to make decisions about memory. So, there are three main types, as well as many options in terms of volume. from 120 gigabytes to two terabytes.

Which SSD to choose for a laptop?

By admin June 24, 2020

One of the main characteristics of any device is storage capacity. This also applies to notebooks. We can say that modern solid-state drives have replaced classic hard drives. Most of the newer models have exactly SSD. over, such a drive can be installed even in an old device.

Solid State Drive Memory Types

  • SLC is characterized by high performance, high speed, and at the same time minimal energy consumption. Such a drive has many write cycles. Each bit of memory is placed in a separate location. For home or office use, such a powerful SSD is not necessary at all, it was created for professional use, for example, in servers.
  • MLC has high performance and also many rewriting cycles. Here, one cell contains two memory bits, which is also not bad. This type is more common in gaming laptops. Also suitable for simple home or office devices. Users NOT associated with programming or 3D modeling most often prefer this option.
  • TLC. has the most affordable price. If you are not playing on your device, and not using resource-intensive applications, you will immediately notice an increase in performance and system acceleration. There are three bits in one cell. There are disks in this category with the use of modern technology that provides high system performance at such a density. For example, there is a variant of 3D TLC HAND, which is superior in efficiency to MLC, and at a price slightly more expensive than conventional TLC.

The amount of memory depends on what goals you are chasing. For example, if you just want to upgrade a regular old laptop or take a solid-state device in addition to the main capacious classic disk, 120 gigs will be enough. To accommodate all system and program files, which is necessary for system optimization, about one hundred gigabytes will be enough. An SSD of this size is inexpensive, but you are guaranteed to feel the effect of it.
If you choose a solid state drive to replace your hard drive, it is based on your needs. But it should be borne in mind that the less you overwrite information, the longer the drive lives. Therefore, take the volume, as they say, with a margin.
Before buying an SSD, you should make sure that it is technically possible to install a drive of this appearance on your laptop. So, if you want in addition to a standard 2 SSD hard drive, the case must have an additional port. If you lean towards the appearance type Standard M2, please make sure the motherboard has the required connector.
You also need to know exactly which interface the oregano supports. The AIDA64 program will help to find out, it was created for a complete analysis of computers, laptops, and their components. The provided research results will have a section with data in the motherboard.
Even if there is no way to install the selected solid-state drive on your notebook, there is a way out. there are external SSDs.
Thus, SSD will bring new life to any laptop, optimize the system and provide increased performance.