Buy the Right SSD

Low storage will undoubtedly slow down your PC, even if it has the best gaming CPU. To ensure optimal performance, you need the best SSD for your computer. Investing in an SSD will give you value for your money as it is much smaller and faster than a hard drive. However, you may consider a hard drive if you are on a budget or need to back up large files.

To get the best out of your SSD, you need to know what to look for so you can align them with your needs. Below are factors to consider when choosing an SSD to help you make the best choice.

Capacity

SSDs come in varying capacities, and your choice will depend on your budget and storage needs. Before purchasing, consider how much data you intend your SSD to hold daily. Below are your available options.

  • 128 GB: This is the smallest capacity storage and is only ideal for boot drives to make your computer boot up much faster. However, it is inappropriate for gaming and only works for browsing and word processing. If you pick this class, consider extending your storage space with the cloud. They also have slow performance due to limited memory modules.
  • 256GB: Although cheaper than their larger counterparts, you can only use it to store the operating system, a few apps, and media. If you have a sizeable photo library, it is a good start.
  • 512GB: This class of drives provides decent room at reasonable prices. Consider the SSD if you like playing PC games and have a large collection of photos and movies.
  • 1TB: 1TB space provides value for money as it offers enough space for your programs and operating systems. It also leaves room for future files and software. It is a great place to start if you have a lot of 4K movies or like to play AAA games at once.
  • 2TB and above: It is appropriate if you deal with large media files and an extensive game library. The capacity is good for anything but is also pricey.

To be safe, always buy an SSD with a bigger capacity than you need. Alternatively, you can pair a small SSD with a larger hard drive whenever possible.

Performance

While any type of SSD is faster than a hard drive, they have varying performance. Usually, this relies on the read/write speed. High read speeds give you faster loading times, while high write speeds make actions like uncompressing files much quicker. SSDs are available in two main categories, SATA and PCIe, with a difference in bandwidth. Although SATA SSDs are much cheaper, they operate at lower speeds, in the range of 500MB/s. PCIe (including NVMe)SSDs are much faster, with 1GB to 7GB speeds. If your computer supports NVMe/PCIe or Optane drives, consider an SSD with the PCIe technology as it offers faster speeds.

Form Factor

The SSDs’ physical configuration and size determine whether it is compatible with your computer. SATA SSDs come in 3.5″ or 2.5″ form factors, the smaller mSATA, and modern M.2 form factors. PCIe, on the other hand, can be in M.2 form factor via NVMe SSDs or expansion cards for desktops.

Check your laptop’s slot size to ensure you get a compatible SSD. Most SATA SSDs are available in 2.5″ form factors and offer the best compatibility. They are also the most common. However, you can buy a bay adapter if you are installing the SSD on a desktop with a larger 3.5″ slot. For M.2 SSDs, ensure your laptop or computer has enough space in the motherboard alongside the NVMe slot.

Manufacturer

The type of brand matters when it comes to buying an SSD. You want to purchase an SSD from a trusted and reliable brand that offers quality products. Consider highly-rated companies like Samsung, SanDisk, and Crucial. Stay away from no-name or generic SSDs, especially if they are significantly cheaper than their counterparts with similar specs.

While you may think you’re making savings, opting for low-rated brands is inviting trouble. You may not get the performance you need, and you put your data and operating system at risk. 

The type of SSD you buy will depend on your budget and needs. Always check the specifications and understand your computer to ensure you get the best option for you. 

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