11 Things Should Know before you Buy SSD (Solid State Drive)

Last Updated: July 8, 2017
ssd characteristics

Solid State Drivers can offer lightning speed for your PC to boot up and run applications compare to the traditional Hard disks. SSD will be your best bet if you are annoyed with hourglasses and busy icons on your PC when you boot up the system or running heavy duty applications.

SSDs can boot your system so quick, less than 10 seconds for MAC, Linux and slightly higher for Windows. When you switch from traditional hard disk to SSD, you can save at least 15 to 25 seconds in system booting time.

Most of your applications will load instantly with SSD and file moving and deleting will be a breeze. I guess you already set your mind to switch into Solid State Drives before land into this article. Once you buy, it is good to refer Dos and Don’ts of SSD to Maximize Performance and Increase Life.

However, when you shop SSD for your computer, there are a bunch of things you should know to pick the right drive. There are certain parameters you see relevant while selecting your SSD and few of them may not have a significant role in your selection, let’s go through of those things must know before buying SSD Drives.

1. SSD Disk Capacity

When you buy SSD for your laptop or Desktop, you can keep your SSD for OS and Apps and secondary HDD for your data in a Dual Drive Configuration. A 40GB SSD will be enough to run your PC on Windows or MAC operating system with a couple of essential apps. But if you can afford 80GB SSD, that will be a decent size and no need to worry about low memory for a while.

You can’t go with a smaller size if you are planning to replace your entire HDD with new SSD (Single Drive Configuration). An SSD with 250GB should be the starting point for your computer to take care of your OS, Application, and Data. There is a trade-off between the size and price of SSD; you can get 500GB  Crucial MX200 SATA 2.5 Inch Internal Solid State Drive near to $150.00 from Amazon. There are SSDs that comes in Terabytes if you are ready to burn some additional bucks.

2. SSD Performance

Manufacturers are specifying the SSD performance related to the Sequential Read, and Sequential Write speed that typically goes up to 500MB/s in reading and bit lower in write. There are good tools to check your SSD performance, and you can check SSD Health and Monitor Performance with these tools.

Sequential Read Write process perform with large contiguous blocks of data to measure the performance of disk. (Samsung Pro offers Sequential Read up to 550MB/s, and Sequential Write up to 520MB/s). Typically, around 50% read-write operation will be sequential for an actual user.

3. SSD Data Random Transfer Rate:

SSD Random Write Speed and Random Read Speed is another benchmark to measure the performance of SSD. Random Read/Write Testing performs with small blocks of on random locations on the drive.Random writing means you pay more penalty for the disk to seek free space and write. Naturally, this process will be slow compared to Sequential Data handling. Typically, around 25% read-write operation will be random for an actual user. Samsung Pro is one of the best SSD from Amazon gives 550MP/s 550MP/s Sequential Read Speed where Random Read Speed come down to 100K IOPS and Random Write speed measures up to 90K IOPS.

4. SSD Flash Memory:

Solid state drives are based on flash memories with different level of NAND memories. The table below will give us a quick review of technologies those are available in the market now.

Type Name Storage Speed Life Span Expensive Durability
SLC Single Level Cell1bit NAND Fast 100K WritesCell Most High
eMLC enterprise MLC 2bits NAND Medium 30K WritesCell Medium Medium
TLC Triple Level Cell 3bits NAND Less3K WritesCell Medium Medium
MLC Multi Level Cell 34bits NAND Less 3K WritesCell Less Less

In SSD the scope of improvement is not matured yet, manufacturers are bringing advanced technologies and efficient manufacturing techniques every day to improve the life and performance of their drive.

5. SSD Endurance MTBF (Reliability):

Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) is the manufacturer’s estimate of total running hours of product shipped divided by the number of failed units. Long MTBF is always useful indication but no guarantee that the product can last that long. The reliability for SSDs falls in the range of a couple of million hours. If you are not familiar to tweak your SSD, please check the Tools to Tweak-SSD and Recover Performance Back on Your Laptop.

6. SSD TRIM Support:

TRIM support help to keep SSD’s performance same all the time by cleaning the deleted files. This process of performing background garbage collection reduces latency and improves drive performance. Most of the modern Windows and MAC OS, the SSD TRIM will take care of OS itself. But SSD for old OS like Windows XP, you have to buy a disk that provides TRIM feature built in with SSD.

7. Error Correction Code (ECC):

Error detection and correction codes are used in SSDs to protect the data from corruption. If you have any choice to pick what you want regarding ECC, always go with SSD with ECC.

8. SSD Encryption:

Most of the SSDs are offering AES level encryption with 256bit. You have to worry about this if you are planning to use your SSD to write sensitive data other than loading Operating System.

9. SSD Brand, Warranty & Support:

Since this is still an infant technology, SSDs are not 100% reliable like HDDs. Manufacturers keep trying to improve both hardware and firmware in SSD. While you select your SSD, it ‘s nice to buy latest technology known brand for longer life and better performance. We listed a couple of SSDs based on our experience and user reviews.


If you are worried about losing your data, please be wise when you invest on SSDs. Always get a good brand, new technology and go through reviews to pick a right drive.

10. SSD Hardware Interface:

Most of the SSDs are coming with built-in Serial ATA (SATA) interface SATA support. The transfer speed can vary on the SATA versions. The new SSDs support up to SATA III that offer 6GB transfer speed where SATA II is capable of transferring 3GB where SATA I is limited to 1.5GB in data transfer. Please check your computer data transfer rate, but we recommend to buy the highest speed as possible since SATA versions are backward compatible. Even if you buy an SATA III drive, it will work with your SATA I PC hardware.

11. SSD Form Factor:

No need to worry about SSD form factor if you are planning SSD for your desktop. For your laptop, you have to check the available slot size (this will usually be a 9mm slot). Most SSDs are coming in 7mm thick, and you can place SSD with a spacer ring if you have 9mm thick HDD slot in your laptop.

We recommend configuring a Dual Drive Configuration with your new SSD for OS & Apps and Old drive for data. This would guarantee the safety of your data even if you lost your SSD. Rule of thumb always keeps a backup.

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