Picking the Best Laptop Solid State Drive

If you’re tired of the sluggish speeds of a hard drive plaguing your computer, you might want to consider switching to a solid state drive for your laptop. A laptop solid state drive is a non moving storage device that is meant to produce the best of the best when it comes to performance. It produces much less heat and uses a great deal less wattage compared to a typical HDD. Meaning even just by switching over, you can increase the battery life of your laptop. No more plugging it in the charge all the time!

Price

First thing you want to look for is price points. Prices are dropping as we speak on SSDs, making them a more appealing choice for the masses. But cheaper does not always mean better. A cheap SSD can be plagued with issues such as lack of DRAM node, little to no temperature control, and even the chance of lying about the actual space that is usable.

A good 1TB SSD from a reputable company will typically run you around $100-150. Anything less than that and you could be running into any of the above mentioned issues. Anything above that and you may be getting ripped off. Before making a purchase, check that it is sold by a reputable company (like Samsung or Crucial) before pulling the trigger on the purchase.

Read and Write Speeds

Another thing to consider is the read and write speeds of an SSD. With a SATA 3 SSD, you can expect to get around 530-545mb/s of read and write speeds. This puts it around 4 times as fast as a typical hard drive, which at most will max out at around 195mb/s. This means that if your current boot time to start your computer is sitting at around 5 minutes, you can expect to see that fall to around 1 minute and 15 seconds.

Now with an M.2 NVME, you can expect to minimally see around 3500mb/s or more, depending on the type of PCIe your laptop is running, if it has one at all. This increase in speed is due to the fact that an M.2 SSD plugs straight into the motherboard and does not have to worry about cable lag like a SATA 3.

M.2 Versus 2.5-inch SATA

Now that you’ve seen the read and write speeds, you might think it’s a no brainer on which one to choose. But there’s more to consider than just read and write speeds. Everything from size to compatibility makes a difference when making a choice on type of SSD.

Some Pros of a SATA 3 SSD:

  • Cheaper
  • Higher Capacity
  • Usable in every laptop
  • Shell protecting circuit board

Some Pros of an M.2 SSD

  • Faster read/write speeds
  • Easier to install
  • Smaller and form factor
  • Benefits from being slightly hotter

Each has its own benefits and cons and makes a huge difference when it comes to picking one out. If you have the budget and a spot on your laptops motherboard, then an M.2 is my personal recommendation for you.

Lifespan

Regardless of which form of solid state drive you decide on, you’ll benefit from the increase in lifespan for either option. A typical HDD has only an 80% chance of lasting only 4 years and degrades rapidly the longer the hard drive is used. This is due in part to the moving parts found in hard drives that are bound to fail after time. There is also the issue of rewriting data on discs which technically has an “infinite” number of times, but because rewriting increases the use of magnets and moving parts, there is risk involved with rewriting.

Comparing this to an SSD which we know has a finite amount of data that can be utilized. And now that SSD’s contain many more cells to read and write data, we can safely estimate that an SSD will last around 10 years. While early SSD’s would die very fast, this was due mostly to the lack of multiple cells that could be used to read and write data and having very limited capacity. We can expect these issues to disappear over time as cells get smaller and we are able to fit more on a circuit board.

DRAM vs. DRAM-less

One of the biggest issues plaguing SSDs at the moment is the increase in companies not providing a DRAM node to help your SSD file date more appropriate. When you put data onto a solid state drive, you are essentially filing this data into different sections on the cell. A DRAM node will then work like a table of contents, where they are able to quickly locate and read the data again.

The lack of a DRAM node can decrease your load times and almost defeat the purpose of an SSD upgrade. By getting rid of the DRAM node, companies are able to sell relatively cheap pieces and make it seem more compelling. But always try to get manufacturing data and see if they have this node embedded—if not, no deal.

Our Top Picks for Laptop Solid State Drives

Top 10 SATA III SSDs

  • Samsung 860 QVO 1TB
  • WD Blue 1TB
  • Crucial MX500 1TB
  • Kingston 960GB A400
  • Samsung 860 EVO 1TB
  • SK Hynix Gold S31 1TB
  • SanDisk SSD PLUS 1TB
  • WD Green 1TB
  • Seagate Barracuda 120 SSD 1TB
  • Silicon Power 1TB SSD

Top 10 M.2 NVME SSDs

  • Samsung 970 EVO SSD 1TB
  • Sabrent Rocket Q 1TB
  • WD Blue SN550 1TB
  • Seagate FireCuda 510 1TB
  • WD Black SN750 1TB
  • Crucial MX500 1TB
  • Silicon Power 1TB
  • Sabrent Rocket 4.0 1TB
  • Kingston 1TB A2000
  • ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro 1TB

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