How To Choose An SSD For A Laptop

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 blackout can be neglected. SSDs that DO NOT have DRAM buffers do NOT require additional protection against power outages.

How to choose an SSD drive

Recommendations for choosing the optimal price / quality ratio of a computer or laptop SSD disk, its main parameters. speed, memory type, manufacturer.

If you have NOT decided yet whether you need an SSD drive, you want to know how and how much it differs from a conventional and hybrid drive, whether it can completely replace it, we recommend that you first read our article “How to choose a drive (HDD, SSD, SSHD)”.

13. Supported Technologies and TRIM Function

An SSD drive, depending on the model and the controller installed in it, can support various technologies designed to improve its performance. Many manufacturers develop their own proprietary technologies, which bring more marketing value than actual value to users. I will not list them, this information is in the description of specific models.

The most important feature that any modern SSD should support is TRIM (garbage collection). Her job is as follows. An SSD can only write data to free memory locations. As long as there are enough free cells, the SSD disk writes data to them. As soon as there are few free cells, the SSD disk needs to clear cells, data from which are no longer needed (the file has been deleted). An SSD without TRIM support clears THESE cells immediately before writing new data, which significantly increases the write operation time. It turns out that as the disk fills up, the write speed degrades.

An SSD with TRIM support, having received a notification from the operating system about the deletion of data, also marks the cells in which they were unused, but clears them, whether not before writing new data, but in advance in free time (when the disk is not used very actively). This is called garbage collection. As a result, the write speed is always maintained at the highest possible level, and now all SSDs can do it.

Memory types and SSD resource

SSD drives use several types of flash memory. MLС, TLC, QLC. One MLC cell can store 2 bits of data, a TLC cell can store 3 bits, and a QLC cell can store 4 bits. The more data is stored in one cell, the cheaper the memory is, but at the same time, its speed and the number of rewriting cycles are significantly reduced.

How To Choose An SSD For A Laptop

So TLC can be rewritten about 3 times less than MLC, and QLC memory can be rewritten 3 times less than TLC. Thus, MLC is the most durable, TLC is less durable (but costs less), and QLC is even less durable (but costs even less).

In addition, MLC is the fastest memory, TLC is somewhat slower, and QLC is even slower, which significantly affects the performance of SSD disks that use one or another memory. Even if the maximum speed values ​​are the same, in reality there will be a difference.

The first MLC and TLC chips were planar (single-layer), but now three-dimensional (multilayer) chips MLC 3D NAND, TLC 3D NAND and QLC are used almost everywhere. This allows you to increase the capacity of the chip and at the same time, such memory turns out to be somewhat more durable than its planar predecessors, which has become an anachronism, but is still found on the market.

So, the main types of SSD memory today are:

MLC 3D NAND. The most expensive, durable and fastest memory with an estimated resource of 10,000 rewriting cycles, recommended for highly loaded professional systems where an SSD disk can be completely rewritten within a day.

TLC 3D NAND is a cheaper type of memory with an average speed and a rewrite resource of about 3000 cycles, found in most mid-range SSDs with an optimal price / durability ratio, recommended for ordinary home PCs.

In general, we would recommend NOT to purchase SSDs on outdated planar MLC and TLC memory, as well as on too slow and unreliable QLC memory. In most cases, TLC 3D NAND should be preferred.

There is also a myth that SSD drives wear out very quickly. Therefore, you need to choose models with the maximum possible resource and use all sorts of tricks in the operating system settings to extend the service of the SSD disk, otherwise it will quickly work out its resource and fail.

In fact, the resource of modern SSDs matters only when they are installed in servers where the disks are running for wear and tear around the clock. In such conditions, due to the colossal number of rewriting cycles, SSDs really serve an order of magnitude less than their older brothers. mechanical hard drives. But we already know that in computers of ordinary users the number of write operations, due to which wear and tear occurs, is 20 times lower than read operations. Therefore, even with a relatively heavy load, the resource of any modern SSD will allow it to work for 10 or more years.

Despite the fact that the data on rapid wear is highly exaggerated, it is not worth purchasing an SSD based on the cheapest QLC memory. Today the best option would be an SSD with TLC 3D NAND memory. And the actual lifespan of an SSD disk will depend more on the quality of production and the computer’s power supply. Pay more attention to brand and warranty period.

17. Package contents

If you are purchasing an SSD for a computer and the case has mounts for 2.5 “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 complete 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.

Clipboard

A clipboard (cache) based on DDR3 or DDR4 memory speeds up an SSD drive, but makes it slightly more expensive. DRAM buffer is used primarily for storing the address translation table, which increases the speed of accessing flash memory and writing files.

For every 1 GB of SSD storage, there should be 1 MB of cache. Thus, an SSD with a volume of 120-128 GB must have 128 MB, 240-256 GB. 256 MB, 500-512 GB. 512 MB, 960-1024 GB. 1024 MB cache.

The cheapest SSDs without a buffer have the problem of significantly degrading performance during long write operations on small files (for example, when installing a game). over, the speed can be several times lower than in a conventional hard drive. Therefore, it is better to purchase an SSD with a buffer based on DDR3 or DDR4 memory.

16. Body material

2.5 “SSD enclosures are usually made of plastic or aluminum. Aluminum is considered to be better because it has a higher thermal conductivity. But since SATA SSDs do not get very hot, this does not really matter when installed in a normally ventilated PC case. However, for installation in a laptop, it is better to prefer an SSD with a metal case.

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How expensive and cheap SSDs differ

Inexperienced users may be puzzled why SSD drives of the same size, with the same declared speed characteristics, differ so much in price, sometimes several times.

The fact is that different SSD disks can use different types of memory, which, in addition to speed indicators, also affects reliability and durability. In addition, memory chips from different manufacturers also differ in quality. Naturally, cheap SSDs use the cheapest memory chips.

In addition to memory chips, an SSD disk has a so-called controller. This is a microcircuit that controls the processes of reading / writing data to memory chips. Controllers are also produced by different companies and they can be either budgetary with lower speed and reliability, or higher quality. Cheap SSDs, as you know, also have the worst controllers.

Many modern SSDs have a DRAM cache based on fast memory (DDR3 or DDR4) as a clipboard to further improve performance. Most budget SSDs do not have such a cache, making them marginally cheaper but even slower.

But that’s not all, it even comes down to saving on such fundamental components of an SSD drive as capacitors, which are necessary to prevent integrity violations and data loss. In the event of a sudden power outage, the electrical energy stored in the capacitors is used to complete the write from the buffer to the main flash memory. Unfortunately, not all even high-quality SSDs are equipped with backup capacitors.

The layout itself and the quality of the PCB wiring are also different. expensive models have more sophisticated circuitry, quality of the element base and wiring. The engineering solutions for the lowest-cost SSDs are based on outdated circuits and leave much to be desired. Low-cost SSDs also have higher scrap rates due to assembly in cheaper factories and lower levels of production control.

And of course the price depends on the brand, the more famous it is, the more expensive the SSD. Hence there is an opinion that it is not worth overpaying for the brand. But the fact is that often it is the brand name that determines the quality of an SSD drive. Most well-known manufacturers who value their reputation, and will not allow themselves to produce low-quality products. However, there are exceptions here, in the form of well-known and popular brands, which nevertheless DO NOT buy.

The main differences between SSDs, which you need to focus on, we will briefly understand in this article and you can easily choose the model that suits you.

SSD read / write speed

The main indicators of SSD drive speed are read speed, write speed and access time.

According to statistics, the number of read operations on ordinary computers of users is 20 times greater than the number of write operations. Therefore, reading speed is a much more important characteristic for us.

The read speed of most modern SSDs is in the range of 450-550 MB / s (megabytes per second). The higher this value, the better, but 450 MB / s is, in principle, quite enough, and taking an SSD with a lower read speed is impractical, since the price difference will be insignificant. But do not blindly trust the representatives of budget brands, as the speed of cheap SSDs can drop significantly as they write and fill up disk space. The speed of this or that model of SSD drive in real conditions can be found out from tests on the Internet.

Most SSDs have write speeds in the 300-550 MB / s range. Again, the faster the better, this is understandable. But due to the fact that write operations are performed 20 times less frequently than read operations, this indicator is not so critical and the difference will not be very noticeable for most users. But the price of discs with a higher write speed will be noticeably higher. Therefore, 300 MB / s can be taken as the minimum record speed. Purchasing an SSD with an even lower write speed will not bring significant savings, so it is impractical. Please note that some manufacturers specify write speed for the entire line of SSD drives, which have different capacities. For example, Transcend’s SSD370S lineup has drives ranging from 128GB to 1024GB. The write speed for the entire line is indicated at 460 Mb / s. But in fact, only 512 and 1024 GB models have this speed. The photo below shows a fragment of the Transcend SSD370S packaging with a capacity of 256 GB with a real write speed of 370 MB / s.

There are also faster SSDs on the PCI-E bus, the speed of which can reach 2500-3500 MB / s, but they are much more expensive and in reality usually do not give the user any advantages. They can only open up in professional tasks (for example, heavy design projects in Photoshop).

How to choose an SSD for your computer and laptop

Over the past few years, SSDs have gone from high-priced, low-memory drives to widely available custom solutions, and although the price per gigabyte for an SSD is still higher than that of an HDD, many people take SSDs at least for system installation. This raises a completely logical question. how could not get confused in all the variety of solid state drives and choose the best one? We will talk about this in this article.

SSD Form Factor The first thing to decide is the type of SSD connection. In the case of inexpensive and (or) old laptops, the choice is alas small: if it has an HDD, you can always replace it with a 2.5 “SSD and a SATA interface connector. Also, if the laptop has a floppy drive, you can replace it with a plug with a SATA interface inside (the whole design is called Optibay): this will allow NOT to remove the HDD, that is, the system will have two drives.

In the case of newer laptops and some PCs, it is possible to install an M.2 SSD. Unlike 2.5 “SSD, which are connected only via SATA, M.2 can also be connected via the PCI-Express bus. PCI-E support is quite understandable: SATA3 has a maximum bandwidth of 500-600 MB / s. this is more than enough for hard drives, however some SSDs can operate at high speeds, which PCI-E provides. In the case of M.2, there are two options:

  • PCI-E 2.0 x2, 8 Gb / s bandwidth, which in practice gives a speed of about 800 MB / s;
  • PCI-E 3.0 x4, 32 Gb / s bandwidth, which gives in practice speeds of about 3 GB / s.

You can find out which option is implemented on your motherboard on the manufacturer’s website. you need to look at the type of key, there are only two of them: there may be a B-key and an M-key. If the motherboard has a B-key connector, then the first option with PCI-E 2.0 is implemented on it, respectively, if the M-key is the second option with PCI-E 3.0. Both connectors support connecting M.2 SSDs with SATA interface (such SSDs have a cutout for both keys, that is, MB): Accordingly, PCI-E SSDs with keys B and M look like this:

As you can see in the photo above, PCI-E SSDs with different keys are NOT physically compatible, that is, putting an SSD into an unsupported slot will NOT work.

The variety of M.2 SSDs does NOT end there. they can also come in different sizes. There are three options in total. 2242, 2260 and 2280. The first two digits are the same for all. this is the width of the SSD. The second two are respectively the length. A smaller SSD can be installed instead of a larger one: that is, for example, if there is room for the 2280 on the motherboard, then the 2242 will stand up without problems. But if there is no room for only 2242. 2260 on the board, other elements of the board will interfere with it.

Well, ending with the form factors, it should be said about the SSD, which will be connected to the most common PCI-Express expansion slot, which is on almost any PC motherboard: Usually such SSDs are PCI-E M.2 SSDs, SIMply inserted into the adapter board. so in terms of speed everything is the same as with M.2.

Types of flash memory in SSD

The main difference between memory chips in various SSDs is the number of bits that each memory cell can store. There are three types of cells in total:

SSDs with MLC-cells (Multi-Level Cell. a multi-level cell, although by “many” here they mean only two) have significantly lower reliability and slightly higher delays, but they already allow 2 bits to be written into a cell. The price per gigabyte of such SSDs is constantly falling, in addition, the whole range of volumes is presented on the market. from 8 GB to 2 TB. These SSDs are well suited for high-performance PCs and laptops where high speed and fairly good reliability are needed (3000 rewrite cycles in the case of a 100 GB SSD will make it possible to record 300 TVs of information. to download such a volume from the Internet at a speed of 10 MB / s h!)

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TLC (Triple-Level Cell. three-level cell). the oldest cells, which were first used in flash drives, and then migrated to SSD. They have only 1000 rewriting cycles and rather large delays, but at the same time they allow you to write 3 bits per cell and are quite cheap. It makes sense to install such SSDs in SIMple laptops and PCs, where there is no heavy load on the drive and its operating speed is not important: the main thing is that such SSDs will still be much faster than the best HDDs.

There is also an Optane SSD from Intel with the new 3D-Xpoint memory, but so far they are sold only as cache memory to accelerate a system with an HDD, which will be worse in speed than installing a system on a full-fledged SSD. Considering that such an SSD cache is also very expensive (from 70 for 16 GB) and their support is only available in systems with Intel Kaby Lake (the seventh generation of Intel Core processors). so far there is no point in buying them comments.

SSD controllers

Controllers are the brains of the SSD, they must quickly process the information they receive and place (or retrieve) it from memory. And if the controller is slow, then an SSD with even the best SLC memory will run at the speeds of conventional flash drives. In total, there are a lot of controller manufacturers on the market, consider the main ones:

    SandForce. the controller is notable for the absence of “external” cache memory, perfectly tolerates multi-threaded read / write, has the highest (declared!) Read and write speeds for today. Performance in linear sequential tests and random read / write tests drops by almost a third on occupied areas and does NOT recover after data deletion.

Marvell. according to usage statistics, one of the fastest and relatively inexpensive controllers, has “immunity” to the degree of data compression, and the overall drive speeds drop slightly over time.

Intel is a controller that has proven itself in server applications, where Intel is traditionally at its best. Not bad in workstation scripts too. The disadvantage is the low write speed, which is actually not noticeable on everyday tasks.

Jmicron is a first-generation SSD controller, little suited to working with flash memory, has low performance and only 16KB of cache memory (which leads to its overflow in case of an increase in disk load and the system freezes for a minute or two, waiting for the buffer to clear). The only advantage of the drives on this controller is the relatively low price.

Indilinx is a controller adapted for SSD and does NOT have Jmicron’s flaws. Excellent write performance is its main feature. Balanced performance (almost the same read and write speed) allows us to recommend drives on this controller for working with large files. Cleaning support is available, but is less effective than Intel. Performance is highly dependent on storage capacity.

  • Samsung is a Korean controller designed with JMicron in mind. Despite the large cache size, it didn’t work out a worthy alternative to Indilinx. The system does NOT freeze anymore, the sequential read / write performance is at the level of Indilinx and sometimes even higher, but the problem with inconsistent write, the speed of which is not high. In the 850 EVO and PRO series, low inconsistent write speed issues have been resolved, making the controller one of the best.
  • What requirements should a hard disk meet?

    This type of equipment has only two basic requirements: reliability and speed of operation.

    It is also worth noting that you need to select a compatible device for your laptop. Otherwise, you DO NOT connect it.

    M.2 and mSATA connectors

    If you have become the “lucky” owner of an M.2 connector, then the usual type of disk will not suit you. The disk looks like this

    In addition to the non-standard connector, the length of the disk can also be different. In the picture we see discs, the dimensions of which, respectively, are designated as 2280, 2260 and 2242, where 22 is the width in millimeters, and 80, 60 and 42 are the length in millimeters.

    In the case of mSATA, the disks look like this:

    Msata is a kind of SATA, only in a reduced form.

    Work speed

    Although this point is probably equally important for both laptops and PCs. This parameter is responsible for the boot and shutdown time of the laptop, as well as the overall speed of task execution. Due to the fact that the battery life of the laptop is seriously limited, this item also plays an important role.

    Reliability

    There isn’t even much to discuss here. A laptop is a mobile computer, and then its hard drive must be strong enough to withstand shock and vibration well. The main danger here lies in the fact that in the normal position the read head seems to float above the surface of the disk, and any sharp jolt can lead to the fact that it will hook and damage it. Today, this is the main prerequisite for the breakdown of hard drives in laptops, and then it is better to give preference to special HDD models. They have a special head parking system, which quickly takes them away from the surface after the end of the work, which minimizes the risk of damage.

    How to choose a laptop hard drive

    How do you pick a good laptop and not get too broke? The question is more urgent than ever. And, although, to a large extent, the price of this type of technology depends on the characteristics of such details as the processor, card and screen diagonal, there is one more nuance, which also significantly affects the final price of a laptop. And this nuance is the capacity of the storage device. That is why experienced users often purchase a device with a minimum storage volume in order to choose a more suitable option for themselves in the future, which in any case will be cheaper.

    Replacing a “native” drive with a new one can also be caused by such reasons as its breakdown or the desire to expand the general functionality of the laptop. However, regardless of the reason, it is better to arm yourself with all the necessary knowledge in advance so that the question of how to choose a hard drive for a laptop does not take the user by surprise.

    Is it possible to use a regular HDD for a PC on a laptop?

    There are any fundamental limitations in this direction. If the dimensions of the laptop allow, then it is quite possible to use a traditional drive. Only it won’t be able to get into the body, it will hang separately on the wires, because It is larger than standard laptop hard drive bays.

    However, this also has its own peculiarities. Desktop hard drives differ in two dimensions: size and power consumption. Therefore, if the laptop battery cannot provide a sufficiently high level of autonomy, it is definitely better to choose a dedicated laptop HDD. How to distinguish it from the traditional one? Everything is SIMple here. it will be presented in a 2.5-inch form factor, while the classic format for a PC drive is 3.5 inches. See for yourself, it’s not difficult to distinguish:

    Criterias of choice

    HDD vs SSD. isn’t it better to go with solid state drives??

    In fact, the question is extremely topical. Recently, SSDs have made a real breakthrough and have quickly flooded the market. Every year the number of their adherents is growing steadily, and this is not at all difficult to explain. Solid state drives have a lot of advantages, among which the most obvious are:

    • Very high speed of writing and reading;
    • High reliability (due to the absence of moving parts);
    • Practically comments on delays when working with data;
    • SSD does NOT heat up;
    • DOES NOT vibrate;
    • Differs in absolute noiselessness;
    • Lighter and more compact than any HDD.

    In general, enough to give preference to them. However, there is one feature of SSDs that prevents them from completely ousting the traditional solution from the market. this is an extremely unfavorable ratio of price and capacity. Here HDD is beyond competition.

    In view of the indicated shortage of solid-state drives, special hybrids began to appear on the market, which are a regular HDD disk with a built-in SSD module for processing cache. They differ in quite an acceptable price, but at the same time, due to accelerated data caching, they significantly increase the overall efficiency of laptops and computers. So it makes sense, pay attention to this option.

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    Where to choose and which manufacturer to give preference to?

    SSD M.2

    A more compact form factor, due to which it is suitable even for extremely thin laptops in which there is space for a 2.5 “SSD. Looks like an oblong joint, it is installed not in a separate compartment of the case, but directly on the motherboard.

    SSD M.2 ADATA SU800

    To connect to the board, each M.2 drive uses one of two interfaces: SATA3 or PCIe.

    Pcie is several times faster than SATA3. If you choose the first one, then it is worth considering a few more things: the version of the interface and the number of lines connected to the connector for data transmission.

    • The newer the PCIe version, the higher the bandwidth (data exchange rate) of the interface. Distributed in two versions: PCIe 2.0 (up to 1.6 GB / s) and PCIe 3.0 (up to 3.2 GB / s).
    • The more data lines are connected to the SSD connector, the higher its bandwidth. The maximum number of lines in an M.2 SSD is four, in this case, in the description of the drive, its interface is referred to as PCIe x4. If there are only two lines, then. PCIe x2.

    Which SSD is faster

    In addition to the type of memory, other characteristics, such as the model of the controller installed in the drive and its firmware, affect the performance of an SSD. But these details are often not even mentioned in the description. Instead, endpoints of read and write speed appear, which are easier for the buyer to navigate. So, when choosing between two SSDs, all other things being equal, take the drive whose declared speeds are higher.

    Remember that the manufacturer indicates only theoretically Possible speeds. In practice, they are always lower than stated.

    SSD 2.5 “

    This form factor is the most common. The SSD looks like a small box that resembles an ordinary hard drive. SSD 2.5 “is the cheapest, but at the same time their speed is enough for most users.

    SSD 2.5 Samsung 850 EVO

    Which SSD is better to choose and why

    Everything You Need to Know Before Buying a Solid State Drive for Your Desktop or Laptop.

    If you are building a powerful computer or want to speed up an old one, then an SSD will come in handy. Finally, the cost of THESE drives has dropped so much that they can be considered a reasonable alternative Hard Disk Drive (HDD).

    The SSD features listed below will help you choose the best drive that is compatible with your computer and meets your needs.

    2.5 “SSD compatibility with computers

    This SSD form factor can be installed in any desktop or laptop computer that has a free 2.5-inch drive bay. If your system only has room for an old 3.5 “Hard Drive, you can also insert a 2.5″ SSD into it. But in this case, look for an SSD model that comes with a special hard drive.

    Like modern HDDs, a 2.5 “SSD connects to the motherboard using a SATA3 interface. This connection provides up to 600MB / s bandwidth. If you have an older motherboard with a SATA2 connector, you can still connect a 2.5” SSD.. but the bandwidth of the drive will be limited by the old version of the interface.

    External SSD

    Besides the internal ones, there are also external drives. They vary greatly in shape and size. choose the one that will be more convenient for you.

    As for the interface, external SSDs are connected to computers via the USB port. For full compatibility, make sure the port on your computer and the drive connector support the same USB standard. The fastest data transfer rate is provided by the USB 3 and USB Type-C specifications.

    SanDisk Extreme 900 External SSD

    Which memory is better: MLC or TLC

    According to the number of bits of information that can be stored in one flash memory cell, the latter is divided into three types: SLC (one bit), MLC (two bits) and TLC (three bits). The first type is relevant for servers, the second two are widely used in consumer drives, so you have to choose from them.

    MLC memory is faster and more durable, but more expensive. TLC is correspondingly slower and withstands fewer rewrite cycles, although the average user is unlikely to notice the difference.

    TLC memory is cheaper. Choose it if economy is more important to you than speed.

    The description of the drive can also indicate the type of mutual arrangement of memory cells: NAND or 3D V-NAND (or just V-NAND). The first type implies that the cells are located in one layer, the second. in several layers, which allows you to create an SSD of increased capacity. 3D V-NAND Flash is more reliable and performant than NAND according to developers.

    M.2 SSD Compatibility with Computers

    Before buying an M.2 SSD, you should make sure it will fit your motherboard. To do this, you first need to check the physical and then software compatibility of the connector on the drive with the slot on the board. Then you need to find out the length of the drive and compare it with the allowable length of the socket allocated for M.2 in your system.

    1. Physical compatibility of interfaces

    Each connector on the motherboard for connecting M.2 drives has a special cutout (key) of one of two types: B or M. At the same time, the connector on each M.2 drive has two BM cutouts at once, rarely only one of two keys: B or M.

    An SSD with a B-connector can be connected to the B-connector on the board. To the M-slot, respectively, a drive with a M. SSD type connector, the connectors of which have two M B cutouts, are compatible with any M.2 slots, regardless of the keys in the latter.

    M.2 SSD with key B M (upper) and SSD M.2 with key M (lower) / www.Wdc.com

    So, first make sure your motherboard has an M.2 SSD slot at all. Then find out the key of your connector and select the drive, the connector of which is compatible with this key. Key types are usually indicated on connectors and slots. In addition, you can find all the necessary information in the documents for the motherboard and drive.

    2. Logical compatibility of interfaces

    For an SSD to fit your motherboard, it is not enough to take into account the physical compatibility of its connector with the connector. The fact is that the drive connector may NOT support the logical interface (protocol) that is used in the slot of your board.

    Therefore, when you understand the keys, find out which protocol is implemented in the M.2 connector on your board. It can be SATA3 and / or PCIe x2 and / or PCIe x4. Then choose an M.2 SSD with the same interface. See the device documentation for supported protocols.

    3. Dimension compatibility

    Another nuance that determines the compatibility of the drive with the motherboard is its length.

    In the specifications of most motherboards, you can find numbers 2260, 2280 and 22110. The first two digits in each of them indicate the supported width of the drive. It is the same for all M.2 SSDs and equals 22 mm. The next two digits are the length. Thus, most boards are compatible with 60, 80 and 110 mm drives.

    Three SSD M.2 drives of different lengths / www.Forbes.com

    Before purchasing M.2, be sure to check the supported length of the drive, which is indicated in the documents for the motherboard. Then choose an SSD that matches this length.

    As you can see, the M.2 compatibility issue is very Confusing. Therefore, just in case, consult the sellers on this matter.

    Less popular form factors

    Perhaps your computer case will NOT have a bay for a 2.5 “SSD, and the motherboard will not have an M.2 slot. The owner of a thin laptop may face such an atypical situation. Then for your system you need to choose a 1.8” SSD or mSATA. check your computer documents. These are rare form factors, which are more compact than 2.5 “SSD, but inferior in data transfer speed to M.2 drives.

    Kingston SSDNow V180 Compact Drive 1.8 “

    Additionally, Apple’s thin laptops may NOT support Traditional Form Factors either. In them, the manufacturer installs a proprietary SSD format, the characteristics of which are comparable to M.2. So, if you have a thin laptop with an apple on the lid, check the supported SSD type in the documentation for your computer.

    Transcend’s JetDrive 725 Proprietary for MacBook Pro 15