Fast, reliable and the most advanced solid state drives for compact ultrabooks and full-size desktops.
Why SSD is better than HDD, and which drive to buy
Solid state drives (SSD) use flash memory with a control controller, that is, they get direct access to information without the use of read heads and other moving parts. This increases their resistance to physical damage, which is important for the safety of files.
In addition, this technology provides a much higher read and write speed, an order of magnitude faster than the speed of hard drives. But you have to pay for the benefits: any SSD is much more expensive than an HDD of comparable capacity.
In addition, some SSDs are water-resistant — the device can be used even after being submerged in water if the port covers are tightly closed.
The advantages of SSD in terms of speed and efficiency are also noted by statistics. Quantitatively, 12.2% more SSDs were sold in 2021 than the year before. This growth has been going on for several years and persists even with a global shortage of semiconductors. (source: TAdviser).
Having made a choice in favor of an SSD, it remains only to decide on the required volume, since it is it that will most strongly affect the cost of a solid state drive:
- Laptop for study or work often have to carry. So here you definitely need an SSD, but a small capacity — 256 or even 128 GB. Such media is inexpensive, and its capacity is enough to store text documents and work projects.
- It is better to make a similar choice and travelersthat do not require terabytes of free space. In situations where you plan to work in harsh conditions, where there is no normal maintenance or the gadget may get damaged, it is wiser to take a fast SSD drive up to 1 TB.
- ProfessionalsThose who use powerful workstations for editing graphics or working in specialized applications will prefer not to save money and will choose an expensive, but roomy (1-2 TB or more) and fast SSD.
We have collected the best representatives of all types of SSDs: with different interfaces and performance indicators, so that you can choose the best SSD for your tasks.
The SSD is designed for those who need maximum performance at up to 10 Gb/s throughput. It will suit both video lovers and travelers who want to save important information even in difficult weather conditions.
The speed of this model is twice as high as that of the previous generation. It handles large amounts of information with confidence and offers enhanced security with 256-bit hardware-based encryption.
The rubberized case of the model is protected according to the IP55 standard, that is, it can withstand being in a dusty space and short-term exposure to running water. In addition, it provides protection against falls from a height of up to two meters and shock resistance when working at a level of 1500 G.
Using a special fastener, the drive can be fixed on a backpack or belt. The kit comes with a cable with USB-C and USB-A connectors, as well as a user manual.
- Excellent performance.
- Hardware encryption.
- The rubberized case with protection against water and dust.
- Impact resistance.
- Adapter for USB-A included.
We also recommend:
The Kingston XS2000 is a very compact drive that comes with a rubber boot that protects against water, dust and physical damage. The model shows the highest speed of 2000 MB / s, works with computers based on Windows, macOS, Linux and ChromeOS.
Perhaps the best solution when you need maximum performance in the cramped space of an ultrabook or mini PC. The device runs at speeds up to 2100MB/s, twice as fast as most SSDs on the market.
It was possible to achieve such indicators thanks to NVMe technology. Only the write speed of the youngest version in the line (by 250 GB) sags, but it is quite decent compared to solid state drives from other brands.
Another plus of the drive is minimal heating even when working under heavy load. The manufacturer gives a limited 3-year warranty on the model and promises TLC memory 1.5 million hours of operation to failure.
- Moderate price.
- Top performance.
- Compact format without housing.
- Manufacturer’s warranty.
An excellent high-speed drive that performs best when working with heavy files. Suitable for those who create and process high-definition video (up to 8K), but in general, it can be called universal.
The SSD supports Intelligent TurboWrite technology, which increases the buffer to speed up pre-writing. But unlike the previous generation, an intelligent system is already working here, which flexibly adjusts the amount of buffering to specific tasks.
The solid state drive supports all the monitoring and self-diagnostic functions it needs: TRIM and SMART, automatic garbage collection. Samsung offers 256-bit encryption and comes with a full set of software for the first run, management and upgrade of the SSD.
- High speeds.
- Easy installation.
- Wide compatibility.
- Hardware data encryption.
- 5 years warranty.
We also recommend:
Samsung 860 PRO — with similar performance and functionality, it offers a 25% longer MTBF (2 million versus 1.5 million hours). Also, it already supports 4K sectors.
The ADATA Ultimate SU650 is an affordable option showing close read and write speeds (520 and 450 MB/s, respectively). The 2.5″ form factor drive has a small capacity from 120 to 960 GB, but it has the same high reliability, and the company offers all useful software for it for free.
Despite expecting low write speeds from 4-bit cells, the Intel 660p delivers impressive results thanks to NVMe technology. It is this non-standard combination, as well as dynamic caching, that allowed Intel to offer an affordable and at the same time nimble SSD.
Another important difference is the use of cells with a vertical floating gate, which increases the reliability of storing already recorded information on a de-energized disk.
The solid-state drive is controlled by proprietary SSD Toolbox software, which simultaneously serves to monitor the state of the disk, as well as to configure it and optimize its operation. For example, here you can manually upload a fairly large SLC cache to the main cells in order to write heavy files as quickly as possible.
- Low power consumption.
- Excellent price/performance ratio.
- Ability to manually manage the cache.
- 5 years warranty from the manufacturer.
The solid state comes in two form factors, making it suitable for most desktops and laptops. Even under high load, the drive does not heat up above +42 ° C — so it will feel good in the cramped space of an ultrabook.
The drive offers a decent read speed for all configurations and a slightly lower write speed for younger models of 120 and 240 GB (320 and 350 MB / s, respectively).
SSD supports all necessary technologies: SMART, NCQ and TRIM command. It has quite a decent resource for its small volumes — 1 million hours to failure.
- Small and light.
- High reliability.
- Low power consumption and heating.
- Affordable price.
The budget SSD offers an ample range of capacities, including 256GB and 512GB, for those who don’t want to pay extra for extra capacity. The Adata SE760 works well with gaming consoles, acting as an additional storage solution.
The maximum read speed of the device is in line with other SSDs, and the write speed is only marginally inferior to typical values.
The model has broad compatibility with computers and appliances based on Windows, Linux, Android. Before working with macOS devices, you need to reformat.
The metal case of the drive can withstand shocks and temperatures up to +50 ° C. Compact dimensions allow you to easily take the disc on the road. The package comes with a quick start guide to the SSD, as well as USB-A and USB-C cables.
- Wide range of capacity options.
- Good performance.
- Compatible with many devices.
- Metal case.
- Compact and light weight (95 g).
- There is heating at work.
We also recommend:
Silicon Power PC60 is an inexpensive SSD with a plastic, rather than metal, 1.8″ form factor. Holds from 240GB to 960GB and runs at a maximum read speed of 540MB/s.
How to choose the best SSD
Despite the simplicity of solid-state drives, there are enough nuances here. For most buyers, it will be enough to decide on the optimal capacity and connectivity (interface, form factor).
But those who work with heavy files will have to take into account the features of flash memory, which directly affect the speed of the disk.
SSDs are still quite expensive when compared to the cost of 1 gigabyte of SSD storage and magnetic hard drives. Therefore, buying drives with a large margin of capacity is not very profitable.
What volume will be optimal depends on how you plan to use the SSD and how to fill it:
Mainstream SSDs are typically limited to 2TB of file space — and the cost of these SSDs is very high. Devices with a capacity of 500 GB to 1 TB are noticeably more affordable and more popular.
The performance of solid state drives is affected by the type of memory used, since each type is a separate technology for writing and reading information from a disk:
- MLC — the most durable and fastest drives, but the cost of such devices is higher than other types. Recording density: 2 bits per cell.
- TLC — both speed and durability are lower, that is, the drive does not withstand so many rewrite cycles, although ordinary users will not notice much difference in terms of durability. They cost less than MLC, therefore they are widely distributed. Recording density: 3 bits.
- QLC — the most affordable type of drives, which has the lowest speed and relatively short service life due to the high recording density (4 bits per cell).
- 3D NAND — a different geometry of the cells and their arrangement in several layers are already used here. This approach allows you to increase the capacity of a solid state drive without reducing the size of the cells themselves and an exorbitant increase in price.
As a buffer to speed up the transfer of information to the slowest cells, the SLC cache memory is used, where 1 bit of information is written to one cell.
Video: SSD. How do they work, why do they break? SLC, MLC, TLC, QLC
Read and write speed
SSDs are much faster than HDDs because you don’t have to wait for the read head to move to a specific sector. That is, the time to load applications, the operating system, or transfer files between disk partitions will be almost instantaneous.
The maximum speed of most external SSDs is around 1000MB/s, although there are also more productive models. But even the most affordable devices give reading and writing in the area 300-400 MB/swhich is several times faster than hard drives, which usually operate at speeds up to 125-150 MB / s.
These characteristics determine the performance of SSDs. The high write speed reduces file copying time, and the read speed, respectively, speeds up the retrieval of information from the drive itself.
And be sure to remember that the actual performance will depend on the device to which the media is connected — most often it is the ports of a PC or laptop that cut the speed.
Here, your choice is already limited by the presence in the computer of certain ports for connecting the drive. In case of external SSDthere are only two options: USB or Thunderbolt — but even here there are some nuances.
In addition to the USB 3.0 standard, sometimes referred to as USB3.1 Gen1there are better versions: USB3.2 Gen2 and USB 3.2. Gen 2×2 — with increased potential throughput.
These specifications should be emphasized when maximum speed is required, for example, when working with a high-performance SSD drive. But the computer port must also be compatible with such standards.
A fast SSD connected to a slower port on a PC or laptop will work, but not at its maximum speed.
For indoor installation there are options. They are determined by the configuration of the motherboard slots and are also related to bandwidth:
SATA — offers sufficient performance, while the SSDs themselves with this interface are cheaper and are more common on sale. If you have enough read-write speeds up to 500 MB / s, feel free to choose SATA.
PCIe — works faster, and their exchange rate is limited only by the bandwidth of the corresponding slot on the motherboard. Compared to SATA, the PCIe interface offers 2-3 times the speed.
NVMe is not an interface, but a protocol that may (or may not) be supported by PCIe. If you take an NVMe drive, it will work faster, but also cost a lot. This specification is suitable for those who work with large volumes of heavy files, as it can provide a performance boost of 25 times compared to SATA drives.
The smaller size of the SSD is due to the fact that this type of storage does not depend on the size of magnetic platters or other mechanical parts. But for installation in a computer case, and even more so a laptop, you still need to take into account the dimensions of the drive.
This word refers to the SSD processor, which processes service operations and requests to the drive. The speed and stability of the storage depends on the controller.
An important point is the number of cores and channels. The more of them, the faster the device. The most advanced innovations offer up to 4 cores and 8 channels.
Information about the controller is rarely indicated in the specifications on the pages of online stores and even on the websites of the drive developers themselves. Therefore, it is not always easy to find out the controller model, but when possible, it will help to better understand the performance of the SSD.
Solid state drives wear out over time because flash memory cells are limited in terms of the number of write cycles. To extend the life of the disk while maintaining the speed of work, use the function TRIM. This command tells the repository which blocks of data are currently unused and can be deleted.
SMART is a self-diagnostic function available mainly for SATA SSDs. It controls the operating time of the SSD, the resource “eaten” during use, and a number of other parameters. The list of attributes that SMART checks may differ for different drive manufacturers.
Video: How to connect and configure a SATA SSD drive
Frequently asked Questions
Are SSDs really that reliable?
Surprisingly, there is no answer to this question yet. All because of the relative «youth» of the technology and the ongoing experiments of manufacturers. No statistics have yet been collected to draw conclusions. Yes, and the solid-state drives themselves in real conditions behave differently, sometimes failing after a few months.
The only thing that can be said for sure: due to the lack of fragile precision mechanics, it is much more difficult to physically break an SSD when it falls or shakes than an HDD that is sensitive to such careless handling.
Will my computer run faster if I put an SSD in it?
Rather, it will become more responsive, responding faster to commands and opening the necessary programs, files, the actual operating system loaded on the hard drive. After all, this is just a repository of information that is not directly involved in computing processes.
The speed of the computer will depend on the capabilities of the remaining components: processor, motherboard, ports, etc.
Why is SLC cache needed? How it works?
SLC flash cells are the earliest type of solid state drive cells. Due to the minimum information recording density, they are the fastest, all other types of flash memory are slower, but they are cheaper.
To reduce the cost of SSDs, but not lose in speed, an SLC buffer is created. When writing, it quickly fills up and in parallel transmits information to the «slow» cells. But the cache is small, and when it is full, the memory speed drops to the level of the main one.