How to Choose the Right SSD？2019 SSD Buying Guide
Once you've used SSDs, you may never back to HDD. After a mechanical hard drive switched to an SSD, the performance of computer significantly improves. Users can clearly feel the huge difference. Why is this happening? Because while the CPU can run billions of cycles per second, it spends more time waiting for the hard disk to provide data for it.
Although the speed of our brain is fast, powerful brain can’t play its power if the speed of obtaining information is very slow when we process information. For the same reason, the transmission delay of information is the computer system's short board. To improve the performance of the system, it is necessary to improve the transmission delay and speed of information.
While the response of traditional mechanical hard disk is particularly slow, because their mechanical structure determines that its transmission delay of data is much higher than SSD. As result, the mechanical hard disk can not play the power of the CPU. SSD can play out the power of the CPU, so it is necessary to equip your computer with SSD.
- Interface: The common SSD interfaces are M.2, PCI-E and SATA interface at present. First find out whether your computer motherboard has a corresponding M.2 interface or extra PCI-E interface before purchasing SSD. If not, you can choose SSD with SATA interface.
- Capacity: It is not recommended to consider SSDs with a capacity of less than 256GB. At present, the 500GB SSD is a good choice, which has a good balance between price and capacity. Of course, choosing a 1TB SSD is also a good choice if you have enough money.
- SATA interface SSD: SATA interface SSD has low price, but the performance is not good, which is suitable for users pursuing cost-effective. It is not recommended for users seeking performance to buy SATA SSD while SSD with NVMe is worthy of buying.
- Any SSD is better than HDD: even the perform of worst SSDs if several times better than HDDs. But mechanical hard disk has advantages in capacity. For users who have demand for capacity, they can equip their computers with mechanical hard disk used as a warehouse disk.
Budget for buying SSD
The capacity of current mainstream SSD is between 120GB and 2TB, of which 120GB SSD is the cheapest. The number of installed software will be limited without large enough capacity. As the used space of SSD increases, the speed of SSDs will also be affected. So many people buy 120GB SSD mainly as system disk. But in fact, the capacity of SSD basically start with 250GB. Considering the number of interfaces, 500GB SSD is a more balanced choice.
When buying SSD, the main consideration is the price and brand after determining the interface. The price of the first-line brand is often more expensive, but its performance and after-sales will be more secure. While the main advantage of non-first-tier brand is the price. So, suppose you want to buy a 250GB SSD, then prepare a budget of $40. Of course, with the increase in capacity, the price can also be reduced, 1TB of SSD may only need about $100.
SSDs mainly have SATA, PCI-E and M.2 interfaces, as well as the unusual U2 interface and the decommissioned MSATA interface. Considering that the application surface of the two is very small, so the U2 interface and MSATA interface is not introduced.
SATA interface: Currently there is mainly 2.5-inch SATA interface SSD on the market, which is launched for compatible with computer with the traditional 2.5-inch mechanical hard disk. The advantage of this type of SSD is strong compatibility and easy to install. Most computers still retain SATA interface, but the disadvantage of it is that slow speed and poor performance.
PCI-E Interface: This interface is for desktops and requires a PCIe x4 or x16 slot, so it takes up a lot of space. Because it can take up more space, heat dissipation performance design can be better. It goes to the PCI-E bus, so speed of it is the fastest and performance is the best. It is recommended for users pursuing of the ultimate performance to choose such products, of course, the price is also the highest.
M.2 interface: This interface is characterized by a small footprint, so the M2 interface of the SSD has become a standard interface for ultra-thin notebooks. Of course, the new desktop board also has such an interface now. It can be said that the M2 interface SSDs will be the mainstream of the future.
Most M.2 SSDs are currently 22 mm wide and 80 mm long, but there are shorter models than this one, mainly for laptops. We can distinguish they by the four or five digits of its model, the first two of which represent the width, and the next few indicate the length. For example, 2280 represents 22 mm of broadband and 80 mm in length.
In addition, the M2 interface of the SSD is also divided into NVME supported and NVME not supported, of which does not support NVME is the SATA channel, its performance and SATA interface of the SSD is similar, while the NVME-enabled M2 SSD, the PCI-E channel , its performance is much stronger than that of M2 SSDs that do not support NVME, but this also requires the motherboard interface to support NVME, so pay attention to this issue when purchasing.
SSD capacity selection
The capacity of SSD is not only a capacity problem, it is also related to performance and lifespan. The larger the capacity is, often the stronger the performance is and the longer the life is. The performance of SSD will also decline with the increase space used, so the selection principle of SSD capacity is to choose as large as possible.
120GB SSD: it is not recommended. With low capacity and poor performance, it can only install one system.
250GB SSD: it is recommended for multi-hard disk users. If only install one hard disk in computer, 250GB capacity is still small at the current situation. If computer can install more than one hard disk, additional hard disk can enhance the overall capacity. If the SSD does not partition, it is used as a system disk.
500GB SSD: it is recommended. 500GB SSD is currently more balanced between price and capacity, which is more suitable for single drive users.
1TB SSD: The current price is still a bit high. For single hard drive users, 1TB hard disk not only can provide enough space for most users, but also can take into account some demand for audio and video media space. With the continued decline in the price of hard disk, this capacity will become increasingly competitive.
2TB SSD: If you have storage demand for large media file or want to install a lot of large games on an SSD with limited interfaces, you can choose 2TB SSD.
4TB SSD: Too expensive. It is suitable for those have enough money or really have a job need.
In short, if you are a desktop user, or your laptop has an additional interface, choose a 250GB SSD as a system disk, and then add an additional hard drive as a warehouse disk, which is a more balanced option that can provide a good performance experience and ensures enough storage space. For users with only one interface on computer, it is recommended to select SSD with a minimum capacity of 500GB, and a 1TB SSD can also be considered.
Power dissipation & heat dissipation
The issues about power consumption of desktops is not a matter, while it will have a little impact on laptop, but the actual impact is limited. The main problem needed to care about the is heat dissipation. cooling is mainly for M.2 and PCI-E interface SSDs, because many of the two interfaces of SSDs are supporting NVME, which is characterized by fast but not low heat. High heat will affect the performance of the SSD. If it is installed in a notebook, high heat will also affect the cooling of the entire machine.
So, the relevant information should be queried to avoid buying that kind of heat too large products when we purchase SSD, especially notebook users need to pay attention. In desktop, we can install heat sinks and fans in the surrounding areas to improve the heat dissipation performance of SSD, but notebook have more restrictions in space and volume, it is not possible to dissipate heat by additional means.
SSD Controller and NAND Flash
We can regard the controller as an SSD processor. The first-line brand SSDs is characterized by the high-end controller and independently developed firmware. Through subsequent firmware upgrades, the performance of SSD will be improved or system hidden dangers will be repaired . But the SSD controller is now relatively stable, so it is not main factor we focus on. In general, the more expensive SSD may use a more advanced controller.
NAND flash has a great impact on the performance of SSDs. So, NAND flash memory is worthy of our attention. In fact, the current mainstream NAND flash is mostly TLC flash on the market.
In terms of flash levels from high to low, single-tier units (SLC), multi-layer units (MLC), three-tier units (TLC), four-tier units (QLC). These flash drives are degraded in terms of performance and their lifespan is degraded, but the cost is also down. So SSDs with same capacity, TLC is much cheaper than MLC.
So for users with requirements of higher performance and lifespan, it is recommended to buy MLC flash SSDs, of course, SLC can also, but its price is too expensive and not cost-effective. For ordinary users, choose the mainstream TLC flash SSD is advisable.
Because flash memory has a limit on the number of writes, when the maximum number of times is reached, the flash will end. So the SSD also has a limited life problem. But on this point manufacturers have long thought on this problem, they have the relevant methods to improve the lifespan of SSDs, so we do not need to worry too much about SSD lifespan.
In general, all SSDs today can be used for at least 5 years unless you write and erase them in 7X24 mode. If you want SSD with long lifespan, you can buy a larger SSD, or buy an SSD with MLC flash particles and avoiding QLC SSDs.
It is also recommended to buy first-line brand with warranty and technical capabilities to ensure longer life of hard drives. Of course, for most users of hard disk life is not really a problem needs to pay special attention to. But for the particularly important data, or to develop the habit of backing up data, good habits are the most important.
How about Intel Optane?
There are currently three products for Intel OptaneO, one of which is a cache disk design that works with existing hard drives to accelerate current system storage performance. The other, like the Optane 900p/905P, is a stand-alone hard drive design. There is also a type of intel 800p that can be used as a cache disk or a stand-alone hard drive (because of its small capacity, it is more suitable for making a cache disk).
Optane's hard drive is very strong in performance, which has great potential, but as an emerging technology, its disadvantages are also obvious, low capacity, high price. If you need the strongest performance SSD, then Intel Optane 905P is the best choice.
Through this article, we will have a certain understanding about SSDs and have some ideas about how to buy SSDs. Overall, when shopping SSD what needs to pay attention to are the interface, capacity and performance. Then make reasonable trade-offs and balances based on your budget. Of course, with the development of SSD, now choosing SSD is much easier than before. It is not difficult to buy favorite products if you don't get cheap and fully understand related knowledge.