Home Tips and Advice for Buying SSDs

Tips and Advice for Buying SSDs

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SSD (from the English acronym of Solid-State Drive) was a revolution in the field of personal computers, whose evolution in performance seemed to have reached the limit of an abyss where physics had set limits by pushing hard drives into the void and turning them into a computer weight.

Fortunately, this type of solid-state memory has managed to cut the rope and free the computers from this ballast and make them continue to advance in their evolution and thus obtain computers with better performance and optimization. Currently, the installation of an SSD is one of the most recommended updates to improve the performance of your computer.

What is an SSD?

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Most likely, if you are reading this article and thinking about buying an SSD, you will know roughly what it is. Even if you don’t know, we’re going to tell you.

SSDs use a cluster of memory chips similar to those used in RAM or USB drives called NAND Flash, instead of using overlaid magnetic disks as with traditional hard drives.

When using this type of media as a memory, no moving elements are used, so they are much faster than conventional ones.

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Insights on the SSD memory

Improve your computer’s performance

The advantages are so many and so obvious that it is almost unfair to compare both memory systems, even if we did it in the article above.

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The first thing that stands out in a computer that uses an SSD disk instead of a magnetic disk is the speed at which it all starts.

From the start of the computer, there is a drastic reduction in the start-up time of the operating system, but this speed increases instead when the programs and files are started almost instantly.

This speed increase is due to the absence of mechanical elements of the SSD disks. The hard drive must send a signal to the reader’s head to read or write a certain batch of data to a location on the disk and it must guide the reader’s arm to reach a certain point on the turntable to perform the operation.

In the case of the SSD, this is reduced to an electrical pulse that performs the task assigned to it.

This causes the wait (latency) of the SSD to be reduced to its minimum expression.

In addition to the fluidity that every user can notice when changing a hard drive for an SSD, if it is a laptop, you will also notice that the battery lasts longer and the “scratching” feature of the hard drives is not there. it’s more.

Architecture of memories

Since its establishment, the technology underlying the SSD memory has undergone several evolutions that have changed the organization and internal structure of the memory chips in which the data are stored.

Internally, the NAND Flash memories of the SSD disks are formed by alignments of small cells in which the data is stored. In the first generations of SSD disks, the SLC (Single-Layer Cell) architecture was used, in which it is possible to store only 1 bit per cell. This means that to write the information of a 10 Kb file it was necessary a large number of cells that occupied a physical place, therefore the number of cells was limited. For this reason, the first SSDs had so little capacity.

Currently, another more advanced architecture called MLC (Multi-Level Cell) is used.

The MLC system allows you to write two bits per cell by grouping them into two levels. This doubles the capacity of each cell, which now allows 4 states and duplicates the available storage capacity by entering twice the information available in the same space.

The direct consequence is that it is cheaper to produce and, therefore, we believe that it is one of the main

responsible for lowering the price of SSD memories in recent years.

However, this system may be more prone to errors as the data density is increased per cell and there is more probability of error than a system that has only two states.

Some manufacturers are already beginning to evolve this technology by developing the TLC ( Triple Level Cell ) system, which triples the storage density of each cell and gives the memory more storage capacity, at the same price.

One of the direct consequences of increasing the density of information in the cells is that the higher the density of the data, the lower the reading speed. So the SLC systems are the fastest, but with the minimum storage capacity, followed by the MLCs that have lost some speed by increasing their space and finally the TLCs that have more space, but are the slowest of the three.

These differences are noticeable only by carrying out a test since in normal use, the user will not notice differences between one architecture or another.

Connecting SSDs

The type of connection used by the SSD is very important to get the maximum performance in the transmission of information, although in reality who has the last word is the motherboard of the computer.

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If your computer is relatively new, you will most likely have SATA3 connectors that allow 6 Gb / s data transfer. These types of connections offer the bandwidth needed to take full advantage of hard drive read and write speeds.

However, if you want to update the disk of an old computer or laptop with an SSD, which we highly recommend, it will most likely have SATA2 connectors, which could limit the transfer speed and underuse the SSD memory.

Even if this is your case, it’s worth switching to an SSD because, even saturating the 3 Gb / s offered by the SATA2 connection, it is such a brutal increase in speed compared to traditional hard drives that you will be satisfied with the improvement, even if the disk can give even more.

SSD format

The arrival of the SSD and the elimination of rotating disks have opened the door to new formats with different connection systems and form factors for archiving.

The most common type of SSD disk is that it retains the same form factor and size as the 2.5-inch disks that were once mounted on laptops.

This 2.5 “SSD disk format has three variants with different thicknesses from 5 mm, 7 mm and 9.5 mm and is particularly important when the disk needs to be installed on a laptop where every millimeter of space counts and an error in the thickness may mean that the component does not fit properly in place.

So, before buying the new SSD, make sure it has the same thickness as the one you removed.

If the disk is destined for a desktop computer, you won’t have many problems since many desktop computers already have slots and shelves adapted for this disk size. If yours does not have these slots, you can add an adapter to your purchase to install the SSD in a 3.5 “slot.

In addition to this change in size, some changes in form have also been made that are particularly useful for laptops or all-in-one. These are the so-called M.2 or mSATA disks.

This type of disc is the maximum expression of SSD miniaturization.

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