Tips and Advice for Buying SSDs


SSD  (from the English acronym for  Solid-State Drive  ) was a revolution in the personal computer field, whose evolution in performance seemed to have reached the limit of a chasm in which physics had set the limits by pushing hard drives into the void and turning them into a burden for the computer.

Fortunately, this type of solid state memory has managed to cut the rope and free computers from this ballast and to continue to advance in their evolution and  thus obtain computers with better performance and optimization . Currently installing an SSD is one of the most recommended updates to improve the performance of your computer .

What is an SSD?

Most likely, if you are reading this article and thinking about  buying an SSD , you will know roughly what it is. Even if you don’t know, we’re going to tell you.

SSDs use a cluster of memory chips similar to those used in RAM or USB drives called  NAND Flash , instead of using superimposed magnetic disks like traditional hard drives.

When using this type of media as memory, mobile elements are not used, so they are much faster than conventional ones.

Improve the performance of your computer

The advantages are so many and so obvious that it is almost unfair to compare both memory systems, even though we did it in the article above.

The first thing that stands out on a computer that uses an SSD disk instead of a magnetic disk is the speed at which it all starts.

Since the computer starts, there is a drastic reduction in the operating system startup time, but this speed increases instead when the programs and files are started almost instantly.

This increase in speed is due to the absence of mechanical elements of the SSD disks. The hard disk must send a signal to the head of the reader to read or write a certain batch of data to a position on the disk and this must guide the arm of the reader to reach a certain point on the turntable to perform the operation.

In the case of the SSD, this is reduced to an electrical impulse that performs the task entrusted to it.

This causes the SSD’s wait (latency) times to be reduced to its minimum expression.

In addition to the fluidity that every user can notice when changing a  hard drive for an SSD , if it is a laptop, it is also noted that the battery lasts longer and the “scratching” feature of hard drives is not there. it’s more.

 

Architecture of memories

Since its inception, the technology behind the  SSD memory  has undergone several evolutions that have changed the organization and internal structure of the memory chips in which the data is stored.

Internally, the NAND Flash memories of SSD disks are made up of alignments of small cells in which data is stored. In the first generations of SSD disks, the Single-Layer Cell  (  SLC) architecture was used   , in which   only  1 bit per cell can be stored . This means that to write the information of a 10 Kb file, a large number of cells that occupied a physical place were needed, therefore the number of cells was limited. For this reason, the first SSD drives had so little capacity.

Another more advanced architecture called MLC  (  Multi-Level cell  ) is currently used  .

The MLC system allows you to write  two bits per cell by  grouping them into two levels. This doubles the capacity of each cell, which now allows 4 states and duplicates the available storage capacity by entering twice the information available in the same space.

The direct consequence is that it is cheaper to produce and, therefore, we believe that it is one of the main  culprits of the lowering of the price of SSD memories in recent years.

However, this system may be more prone to errors as data density has increased per cell and there is more likely to be an error than a system that has only two states.

Some manufacturers are already starting to evolve this technology by developing the  Triple Level Cell  (  TLC  ) system, which triples the storage density of each cell, and gives memory greater storage capacity, at the same price.

One of the direct consequences of increasing the density of information in cells is that the higher the density of the data, the slower the reading speed. So the SLC systems are the fastest, but with the least storage capacity, followed by the MLC which have lost some speed by increasing their space and finally the TLC which have more space, but are the slowest of the three.

These differences are only appreciable by carrying out a test, since in normal use, the user will not notice differences between one architecture or another.

Connecting the SSDs

The type of  connection used by the SSD  is very important to  obtain maximum performance in the transmission of information , although in reality the one who has the last word is the motherboard of the computer.

If your computer is relatively new, you will most likely have SATA3 connectors that allow for 6 Gb / s data transfer. These types of connections offer the bandwidth required to take full advantage of the read and write speeds of the hard disk.

 

However, if you want to  update the disk of an old computer or laptop with an SSD , which we highly recommend, most likely it will have SATA2 connectors, which could limit the transfer speed and underutilize the SSD memory.

Even if this is your case, it is worth switching to an SSD because, even saturating the 3 Gb / s offered by the SATA2 connection, it is such a brutal increase in speed compared to traditional hard drives that  you will be satisfied with the improvement, even if the disk can give even more .

SSD format

The arrival of the SSD and the elimination of rotating disks have opened the door to new formats with different connection systems and form factors for storage.

The  most common type of SSD drive  is that it maintains the same form factor and size as the 2.5-inch drives that were once mounted on laptops.

This  2.5 ″ SSD disk format  has three variants with different thicknesses of  5 mm ,  7 mm  and  9.5 mm  and is particularly important when the disk must be installed on a laptop where every millimeter of space matters and an error in the thickness may mean that the component does not fit properly in its place.

So  before buying the new SSD, make sure it is the same thickness as the one you removed .

If the disk is intended for a desktop computer, you will not have many problems as many desktop computers already have slots and shelves adapted for this disk size. If yours doesn’t have these slots, you can add an adapter to your purchase to  install the SSD in a 3.5 “slot .

In addition to this change in size, some changes in shape have also been made that are particularly useful for  laptops  or  All-In-One type . These are the so-called  M.2  or  mSATA disks .

These types of disks are the ultimate expression of SSD miniaturization.

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