SSDs are becoming popular with modern laptops. They perform similar functions as traditional HDDs. However, they are more durable and faster than the former. They lack moving parts like HDDs, which keeps them cool and less likely to break down. SSDs are also lighter and more energy efficient, which makes them ideal for portable computers.
These memory units come in various types and varying performances. If you are considering upgrading your laptop or buying a new piece, read on to find out the best types and characteristics to pick for your SSD.
Types of SSDs
You will find various SSD types for laptops on the market today. Let’s explore the major ones.
SATA SSDs have a similar interface to traditional hard drives. They come in various capacities and sizes, which makes them ideal for upgrading older laptops and desktops. They have all the features explained in the introduction, are widely compatible with older units and consume less power. However, the SATA interface limits their performance.
NVMe SSDs use a non-volatile memory express interface to transfer data to the CPU. They offer high transfer speeds and low latency. You find them in high-performance computing applications like data centre workloads and video editing. NVMe SSDs come in various form factors like U.2, M.2, and PCIe cards.
However, these SSDs are quite expensive compared to SATA cards. They are also not compatible with many systems.
Just as the name suggests, the SSDs connect to your laptop via PCIe (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express) interface. This enables them read and write at speeds of above 15,000 MB/s, higher than SATA and NVMe. You find them in computing equipment requiring low latency and high speeds, such as data centre applications, gaming and live streaming.
PCIe SSDs are also very expensive, which raises the price of computing devices. They are also not compatible with some order systems.
Factors to Consider when Buying SSDs
Consider the following when determining the best SSD for laptop.
- Capacity: Look at the memory size of the SSD. Ideally, the best SSD for laptop should have a little more space than you need. Depending on your requirements, 256GB SSD would be fine for day-to-day tasks & if you do not store large files. However, 512GB SSD will be a better choice.
- Performance: Check the read speeds of the SSDs. Go for the PCIe and NVMe options where you will be using the laptop for activities such as gaming and data centre applications.
- Durability: Durability is largely determined by the brand. Go for a reputable brand that has a warranty for your SSDs.
- Budget: The prices of SSDs vary widely according to brands, sizes and types. Strike a balance between capacity, durability, and performance by following our laptop SSD buying guide.
Upgrading Your Existing Laptop
Check Compatibility and Upgradability: Check the current size of the HDD, which includes thickness (7mm or 9.5mm) and width (2.5 inches). Determine the location of the HDD and the procedure for removing it from the manufacturer’s website.
Put all the tools you need in place: You need a small Philips screw to unlock the nuts, a USB to SATA adapter and of course, the SSD.
Do the prep work on the current system: You will need to transfer the information from the current hard drive to the SSD. Remove any programmes and files you do not want to transfer to the SSD and save backup copies of your files.
Connect the SSD: Connect the SSD to the laptop using the USB-to-SATA adapter via the USB port.
Initialise the SSD: You will need to initialise the disk through the Windows disk management tool. Right-click the drive letter under the external drives section and select ‘initialize disk’. Then, use the tool to partition your SSD similarly to the existing HDD.
Clone the hard drive: Use free cloning software to clone the OS and other files on the HDD. Make the HDD the source file and the SSD the destination. Wait until the process is done. Look for tutorials if you have challenges using the cloning software.
Swap the SSD: Now shut your PC and use the manufacturer’s guide to remove the HDD. Use the Phillips screw to unscrew the nuts. Put the SSD drive in the HDD tray and re-screw the laptop. This might also be challenging and you may need to view your model-specific opening tutorials.
Switch on the laptop and check if the transfer went smoothly. If the above-mentioned process seems challenging, it is advisable to consult professionals to perform this activity.
SSD Brands and Models
Below are the popular SSD brands and models. We also check the best SSD types for laptops that each makes.
Samsung: Samsung has built a name in the SSD world with its models like the 990 Pro and 970 EVO Plus PCIe SSD, which are rated as some of the best models in the market. PNY also offers quality PCIe 4.0 SSDs for high-quality gaming pieces and data centres.
Cosair is known for M.2 form SSDs with capacities between 500GB and 4TB. Its models have a heat sink, which helps in cooling. Cosair SSDs work with PS5. Kingston is known for its competitive price points. It has an excellently designed heat sink and provides leading sequential performance. Patriot Viper provides high endurance M.2 SSDs with a capacity of up to 2TB. It has phenomenal performance and high endurance ratings. However, it is more expensive than rivals.
Speed and Performance
The speed and performance requirements for an SSD card depend on the activities you are carrying out. For general computing tasks, SATA SSDs will do the work. You will experience higher speeds and better performance after upgrading laptop SSD. However, if you need gaming capabilities, go for SSDs with significantly higher random access speeds, such as NVMes. For high-end applications, such as data centres, go for the best-performing PCIe SSDs.
When assessing your storage capacity requirements, determine your needs in the near future, such as two years down the line. This gives you enough space to handle files. For general use, consider up to 20% of the current capacity. However, if you create content or record gaming activities, get as much storage as possible.
Price and Budget Considerations
Your budget should tally with the capacity and performance requirements. A good rule of thumb is to determine the minimum values for the two and then explore brands within the range. However, if you have money to splurge, go for the best quality in town.
Let us explore a few laptop SSD performance tips to keep it in tip-top operation for a long time.
Update SSD Firmware
Check for new firmware updates from time to time to ensure optimal performance. Check the updated information on the manufacturer's site.
The Advanced Host Controller Interface enables the computer to support all the features unlocked by the SSD. Turn on AHCI in the BIOS under the system settings.
Keep the Defrag On
Defragmentation is a way to optimise the SSD by making files easy to access. Keep the option on for the computer to do it on its own.
Indexing takes part of the SSD speed. Consider disabling it by right-clicking the SSD drive and disabling it in the properties section.
Exploring Refurbished Laptops
Consider buying refurbished laptops. They come at a lower price point than the new units while offering you the same quality of service. Refurbished laptops are pre-owned units that are then maintained and refreshed before being sold to third parties.
Wisetek Store provides quality, genuine refurbished laptops that have undergone quality checks. They are guaranteed to work as well as the new pieces. We also sell other refurbished electronics, like refurbished phones, refurbished tablets and refurbished MacBooks.
Use our laptop SSD buying guide to get the ideal SSD for your machine. Always think about the future when making a selection so that upgrading a laptop SSD is not a requirement soon. Our laptop SSD performance tips enable you to enjoy tip-top performance for a long time.