Should You Upgrade Your Mechanical Hard Drive To A Solid State Drive?

By Mike Darrow
Should You Upgrade Your Mechanical Hard Drive To A Solid State Drive

It is time to switch to SSDs (solid state drives) to improve your computer's performance. SSDs offer better performance than mechanical hard drives in many aspects, such as reading & writing speeds, stability, and durability. Nowadays, SSDs for regular consumers can easily achieve reading & writing speeds at about 4GB/s - 5GB/s. As you can see, it's a lot faster than HDDs.

A solid-state drive includes multiple memory chips on a circuit board with an In & Out interface that allows transferring data and feeds the power supply. It doesn't have any moving mechanical parts as spinning magnetic platters, read/write head, or actuator arm like traditional hard drives. Besides, the SSD's price has come down dramatically over the years. So it's not a surprise that many people are selecting to replace mechanical HDDs with SSDs.

Types Of Solid-State Drives And Which One You Should Purchase

Basically, SSDs are classified based on the type of connectivity interfaces such as SATA, mSATA, SATA Express, PCI Express (PCIe), M.2, or U.2. The most common options are SATA, M.2, and PCI Express.

SATA Solid State Drives

A SATA solid-state drive regularly comes in the 2.5-inch form factor like a mechanical hard drive for laptops. It uses a SATA cable to connect to the mainboard and has a maximum transfer speed of 600MB/s with the SATA 3.0 interface. The price of these SSDs is relatively low compared to other form factors. It often uses in mid-range laptops and desktops.

M.2 Solid State Drives

An M.2 SSD is developed on a long and thin PCB printed circuit with numerous NAND flash modules. It connects through an M.2 male connector to an M.2 slot on the mainboard. Its old name is NGFF; the M.2 form factor was developed to support multiple types of interfaces and controllers, including SATA snf PCIe.

  • M.2 SATA SSDs don't look like regular SATA SSDs. They come in the same form factor as M.2 SSDs but use a SATA interface with transfer speed limited at 600MB/s.
  • M.2 PCIe SSDs connect to the mainboard through an M.2 slot but use PCI Express lanes to increase the transfer rate. Two different controllers that M.2 PCIe SSDs can use are AHCI and NVMe.
    • AHCI PCIe SSDs are backward compatible with SATA supported systems. However, they have limited efficiency because AHCI is designed for mechanical hard drives.
    • NVMe PCIe SSDs have a much better performance because the NVMe interface is designed for high-speed flash storage. The transfer speed of these SSDs is several times faster than the regular SSDs. M.2 PCIe NVMe SSDs support thousands of processing queues, unlike older interfaces with only one processing queue.

PCIe Solid State Drives

Unlike the two types above, these dedicated SSDs are quite large and use one PCIe slot on your mainboard, similar to single-slot graphics cards. Designed with heatsink, these PCIe SSDs use the NVMe interface to provide the best performance for gaming desktop PCs, workstations, or enterprise systems.

Benefits Of Upgrading Your Hard Drive To A Solid State Drive

Your computer inevitably gets more benefits than you might think when switching to an SSD.

For example:

  • Faster startup.
  • Faster backups.
  • Copying or moving files faster.
  • Load apps quicker.
  • Better system responsiveness.
  • Lower energy consumption.
  • Low temperatures when in use.
  • No noise as no moving parts.

Are you done with your mechanical hard drive? Why don't you get one to replace your current hard drive to an SSD?

Which Type Of SSDs Can You Use On Your Computer?

Before deciding to purchase an SSD, check that your computer supports it. If you want to use a SATA SSD, buy one and replace your traditional hard drive.

But if you want to buy an NVMe M.2 SSD or NVMe PCIe SSD, recheck to see if your computer has an M.2 or PCIe slot. It would help if you also verified that it's entirely compatible with your mainboard. If you are purchasing a high-performance SSD, you will need a PCIe 3.0 x4 slot to utilize its speed completely.

White Image - SSD Comparison
  • Product Name   
  • Rating   
  • Description   
  • Availability   
  • Price   
Samsung 970 PRO SSD 1TB NVMe M.2 SSD MZ-V7P1T0BW
  • Samsung 970 PRO 1TB NVMe M.2 SSD

  • 794 Reviews

  • Samsung 970 Pro 1TB NVMe M.2 SSD is the best flash-based consumer SSD to get the class-leading performance. It's faster and more reliable than ever. It has amazing endurance, offers full disk encryption and comes with an excellent software package and five year warranty like others.

    However, its price is higher than many other NVMe M.2 SSDs that keeps a part of users away from Samsung 970 Pro.
  • In Stock
  • $293
  • ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro 1TB NVMe M.2 SSD

  • 477 Reviews

  • Designed for overclockers, gamers, and video content creators, ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro offers fast speeds - reading & writing speeds at 3.5 & 3 GB/s - for a PCIe M.2 SSD at reasonable price.

    It comes with a nice black PCB with stylish DIY heatsink and five years warranty. It's one of a good choice in the family of NVMe SSD drives.
  • In Stock
  • $199
WD Black SN750 1TB NVMe M.2 2280 SSD - WDS100T3X0C
  • WD Black SN750 1TB NVMe M.2 SSD

  • 480 Reviews

  • With heatsink and non-heatsink versions, WD Black SN750 NVMe SSD delivers maximum performance at all times. It's a great choice for play games, video content creating, or other activities that involve reading & writing vast amounts of data to a storage drive. The SN750 SSD comes with five years warranty like many others in the same segment.
  • In Stock
  • $199

It's easy for desktops to tear down everything and look inside to find whether an M.2 or PCIe slot is available. But if you use a laptop or notebook, then open it carefully. If you aren't confident in taking your laptop apart and put it back together, it's better to find a professional to do it.

One thing you should consider is that if you buy an M.2 SSD with a SATA connection, it's no different than you use a traditional 2.5 inch SATA SSD. Therefore, if your computer has an M.2 slot, I would recommend you consider picking an NVMe M.2 SSD or a PCIe M.2 SSD to get the best out of this format. If you use an old computer, let's say, a few years old, and it doesn't have an M.2 slot, you can get an M.2 PCIe adapter and mount SSD into it.

Got a question? Let's drop a comment below, and I will try to give you an answer as quick as possible.

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