SSD Buying Guide: Which SSD is Right for Your Computer?

Wondering How to Buy an SSD (Solid State Drive)?

The traditional hard disk drive (HDD) has been common in consumer desktops since the time of the first personal computers in the 1980s. HDDs consist of a mechanical arm that seeks across a metal disk to find and store data. Unfortunately, mechanical parts mean that hard drives are often the first components to wear out in a computer, while the rate of data retrieval is limited by mechanical realities. In contrast, solid state drives (SSDs) have no moving parts and rapidly store data using electronic means. Technological advances have finally brought down the price of SSDs to a point where they are now practical for everyday computing.

How do SSDs Work?

SSDs work in a way that is similar to how a computer’s memory retrieves information in a faction of a second. The information in an SSD is wired directly to microscopic electronic cables that can relay information straight to a computer’s processor. The instantaneous availability of data makes solid state drives ideal for small files that would otherwise entail a significant seek delay. SSDs can also retrieve large data files much faster than traditional HDDs.

Advantages of SSDs

The ability of SSDs to quickly retrieve information means that users can enjoy faster loading times and a more responsive computing experience. An operating system that boots with a solid state drive can finish initial loading in a matter of seconds. Applications can also load instantaneously, while the seek rate can actually improve application performance during use. Users who utilize SSDs can load their documents without significant delays. SSDs also reduce the need for disc defragmentation as a computer ages.

Compatibility Considerations

Some computers are not capable of leveraging the full potential of an SSD. The hardware components inside a computer, including the motherboard, memory, and CPU, must be capable of supporting the high transfer rate that SSDs can offer. Many older computers use either SATA I or SATA II, with maximum data transfer rates of 1.5 and 2.9 gigabits per second, respectively. SATA III, however, supports transfer rates of up to 5.9 gigabits per second. The additional speed enables a computer to leverage the full potential of an SSD.

The system memory in an existing computer can also be an important constraint. Older machines sometimes have memory that is slower than the transfer rate of an SSD. Computers will usually run properly when memory is slower than the storage drive, but the potential value of purchasing the faster drive can be greatly reduced. Users with slow system memory should consider upgrading more outdated components before adding an SSD.

Picking the Right SSD

The most significant consideration for selecting an SSD is how the drive will be used. Users who want to completely replace their traditional HDDs should consider purchasing several SSDs, since smaller drives are more cost-effective. In contrast, users who only need SSDs for booting and a small range of applications should consider starting with a single drive. SSD technology is rapidly evolving, so by the time a drive fills up, better SSDs will be available on the market.

If you’re deciding to buy an SSD and would like to know what’s out there on the market right, you can check out SSDs available at Mwave on their SSD page right now.

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