How to Choose an SSD?3 Helpful Tips

Geekom Official

Staff member
Aug 25, 2022

1. Check and Compare SSD Pricing

SSD prices have plummeted over the past few years. In 2010, the average price hovered around $3.00 per gigabyte, whereas, in 2021, you could find SSDs for as low as $0.09 per gigabyte (as is the case with the Western Digital 2TB WD Blue for $187). Of course, the price per GB for SSDs is only going to drop, too, as capacity increases, but prices remain relatively stable.

Relatively speaking, however, SSDs are still more expensive than traditional spinning hard drives, and this difference is not negligible.
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2. What Are the SSD's Physical Specifications?

Whenever you buy hardware, you have to look out for potential incompatibilities. The best SSD in the world is useless if you can't mount it in your system, right? Fortunately, SSDs are pretty much standardized (for the most part), so you'll be okay as long as you pay some semblance of attention.
Form Factor:
  1. Z-Height
  2. Interface
  3. Noise
Most modern SSDs come in a 2.5-inch form factor, which happens to be the standard size for laptop HDDs. Such a drive is unsuitable in desktop computers, which usually require a 3.5-inch form factor, but you can remedy that with an adapter like this SABRENT 2.5"-to-3.5" Mounting Kit for $7. Furthermore, most modern PC cases now come with integrated SSD mounting options.

Along with the standard 2.5-inch form factor, there is a secondary SSD form factor that you'll find in heaps of devices: the M.2 standard (formerly called NGFF). M.2 SSDs are tiny and thin and fit into ultra-thin laptops and mini personal computers. M.2 drives come in three main types and can offer even faster read and write speeds than a regular 2.5-inch SSD. Furthermore, as they are very slimline, they're useful in a wide range of hardware. For example, you can add an M.2 SSD to your PS5 to increase its storage capacity.
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3. Storage Capacity

There's an important distinction between the way SSDs and HDDs operate. While HDDs often have to deal with disk fragmentation, SDDs have a quirk of their own to worry about: garbage collection.

When data is written to an SSD, it's written in chunks called pages. A group of pages is called a block. At any given time, the pages in a block could be all empty, all full, or a mixture of empty and full.

Due to the way SSDs are engineered, it's impossible to overwrite existing data (which is possible with an HDD). Rather, to write new data to an occupied block, the entire block has first to be erased.

Furthermore, to prevent data loss, whatever information existed on the block must first be moved elsewhere before the block can be erased. Once the data is moved and the block is erased, new data can be written to a previously-occupied block.

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