How to Buy a New SSD for Your Laptop Today

How to Buy a New SSD for Your Laptop

All computer processing starts from the internal storage, which is where the operating system is loaded from. Buy a new SSD for your laptop to get the fastest, overall performance gain.

In the recent past. Most users were reluctant to get a laptop with an SSD because of the high price, limited storage capacity, and compatibility issues.

But, hard drives are no longer the fascination they were when Reagan was in office. The world of personal computing is moving toward solid-state drives.

An SSD upgrade can as much as double your laptop’s performance without even upgrading things like RAM and CPU. Stick with us to find out how to buy the best solid-state drive to unlock the performance potential of your laptop.

Buy a New SSD for Your Laptop

If you’re looking for actionable tips on:

  • the benefits of SSD
  • how much SSD you should buy
  • what form factor will suite your laptop best
  • the 3 most important things to consider when buying an SSD

We’d love to help you answer these questions in this article.

MUST READ: Signs Your SSD Is Going Bad

What Are Solid-State Drives (SSDs)

Super-fast storage solutions.

SSDs are based on NAND flash memory which are also used in USBs, and memory cards. This technology allows solid-state drives to track down information you request much faster than the magnetized, moving platters on a hard disk drive can.

The Performance of Solid-State Drives versus Hard Disk Drives

Source: technofaq.org

The 3 Most Important Things to Consider When You Buy a New SSD for Your Laptop

Form-factor, performance and capacity.

Buying a new SSD for a laptop is not that hard. Just don’t go about it the same way you would a hard disk drive. Here are a few tips on just what to consider so you’ll buy the right one for your needs.

Form Factor

This relates to the physical size.

For the most part, solid-state drives have a standardized size of 2.5-inches exclusively for laptops. Which is the same size as the hard disk drives.

The Z-Height refers to the thickness of the SSD. And it’s something you’ll want to make not of to ensure you buy the one that best fits your laptop.

The typical z-height is 7mm (Millimeters) and 9.5mm. But some can be as thick as 12mm. Consult your laptop’s manual for the specific thickness.

Buy a New SSD for Your Laptop: The M.2 SSD Is An Even Smaller, Faster Form Factor

Newer, thinner laptops have SSD cards much smaller than 2.5-inches. That’s because SSDs never needed to be that big in the first place. The bigger design was meant to fill the space of traditional hard drives.

As laptops became slimmer, the form factor of SSDs were reduced to a wafer-thin design, roughly the size of a stick of chewing gum, meant to slide directly into the motherboard to save space in a laptop.

M.2 drives come in different lengths. This is differentiated by a 4 or 5-digit number in the specification name. The measurement is given in millimeters (mm). The first two digits are the width. And the last two are the length. Keep in mind what size your laptop supports when buying one.

Consider Performance When You Buy a New SSD for Your Laptop

Calculate all the times you turn on your laptop, move/copy files or save large videos and photos in a year. Even the slowest SSD will deliver faster performance than the most top-end HDD.

And since there are no moving parts. You get better reliability. A laptop that weighs less. And you won’t hear the constant whirring and chitter synonymous with HDDs when looking for files.

An SSD means your laptop boots-up in a matter of seconds. Programs launch almost instantaneously. And files transfer up to 10 times faster, which is why they’re so poplar on Ultrabooks and Chromebooks.

The performance of a solid-state drive in the Toshiba Satellite P75-A7200 vs the performance of a hard disk drive in the same laptop

Source: PCWorld.com

But not all solid-state drives are created equal. The difference is how quickly they’re able to read and write. The controller is a chip that manages how quickly an SSD can read/write data on flash memory.

This means that due to the architecture of low-capacity SSDs. A 128GB SATA II drive may be slower than a 256GB SATA II drive.

Knowing these speeds will help you determine the best fit for your application.

Capacity Is Also Important Whey You Buy a New SSD for Your Laptop

When you buy a new SSD for your laptop, it’s useful to think about the most mission-critical apps you use regularly to determine how much space you really need.

If you’re a gamer, for instances, look at the minimum requirements for space the most intense games you play take up.

Business users will want to consider how much space their most robust programs like CAD, or Video Editing program requires.

MUST READ: RAM Problems and How to Fix Them

Other Considerations If You Want to Buy a New SSD for Your Laptop

Price

Price: Buy a New SSD for Your Laptop

As more and more manufacturers produce laptops for gaming and business with SSDs. The price of this storage solution has significantly dropped.

In 2010, it wasn’t un-heard of to spend over $750 for a 256 GB solid-state drive. Today, you can pick up that same drive for a staggering $660 less.

Size Matters

A large capacity solid-state drive will give you the best value for the money (in general).

Case in point: the PNY CS1311 SATA III has 120GB and currently goes for $53; which equals about 44 cents per gigabyte. Comparatively, the SanDisk Ultra II SATA III is a 250GB drive that goes for $95; which is about .38 cents per gigabyte.

And still, the Samsung 850 EVO SATA III gives you 500GB for $175; .35 cents per gigabyte. But as you can see, there is a case to be made for diminishing returns with the more space you get.

Interface

Most consumer SSDs will have a Serial ATA (SATA) interface.

These are usually SATA II with a transfer speed of 3Gbps. And SATA III with 6Gbps transfer speed.

6Gbps SATA drives are becoming more common. But whether you should go with a 3Gbps SATA. Or upgrade to 6Gbps depends on your laptop’s ability to handle those speeds.

3Gbps SATAs are usually cheaper. But we recommend consulting your laptop’s manual for more precise information. (You can stick in a SATA III when your laptop only calls for a SATA II. But you’ll only get 3Gbps transfer rates.)

Click here to learn the difference between the SATA, PCIe, and NVMe interface.

TRIM

When you buy a new SSD for your laptop, you’ll see that most current generation operating systems support the TRIM function.

Like with HDDs, when you delete files on SSDs it’s not really deleted. You just prevent the drive from being able to find that particular piece of information.

The TRIM function supports the operating system to help the SSD know which files it can permanently discard. Definitely something to look into if creating more space when old files are deleted is important to you.

MLC and SLC

These are the two different types of flash memory technology you may encounter when you buy a new SSD for your laptop.

MLC (multi-level cell) is the more common, and less expensive type. It stores multiple bits per cell. But it’s very limited in the number of times it can be rewritten.

SLC (single-level cell) is more expensive. But since it stores only one bit per cell, it’s faster. Longer lasting and more reliable.

Computerweekly.com can help you decide which is the best fit for you.

RAID

The RAID Configuration for the SSDs In Your Laptop

When speed and space are primary considerations, this is the configuration for you. Just as you can with hard drives, you can combine multiple drives to create one big one.

All you need is a RAID controller, which many motherboards have today. Find out more about RAID levels here.

Longevity

This goes across the board for all solid-state internal storage, so it’s definitely something to think about when you buy a new SSD for your laptop.

The good news is SSDs have a lifespan of 5 to 7 years compared to a hard-disk drive’s 4 to 5. The downside is the memory blocks in an SSD have a limited number of times on which they can be written to before they fail beyond 5 and 7 years.

Since an SSD can only be written to a certain number of times. Defragmenting it will accelerate the degradation of the component. But many SSDs come with warranties of three years are more for peace of mind.

Another thing that will shorten the life-span of your SSD are electrical anomalies-blackouts, brownouts and other loss of electricity. These can result in data corruption. And worse complete device failure.

We recommend investing in a power surge protector or Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) for your laptop and other computing devices.

And here are some tools put together the knowledgeable folks of Makeuseof.com to help you maintain the health your SSD.

The Best SSDs You Can Buy for Your Laptop

There’s no need to settle for a slow laptop anymore. SSD upgrades nowadays are too cheap and effective to pass up.

Here’s a video to show you how to perform the replacement after you buy a new SSD for your laptop.

The best place to get more information about things like how to access your drive is your laptop’s tech-support site, forums and documents maintained online by the manufacturer.

Click here for CNET.com’s list of the best SSDs.

Conclusion

All computer processing begins from the internal storage. Solid-state drives are super-fast storage solutions.

The 3 most important things to consider to buy a new SSD for your laptop are: form-factor, performance and capacity. Some other thing to consider are price, interface and longevity.

We hope this information helps you make the best decision for your laptop. We’d love to continue this conversation in the comments section. See you there.

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