How to choose an SSD drive for a laptop

How to choose an SSD to speed up your laptop

It is better to read about choosing the right laptop SSD once than to choose the wrong one a hundred times. You should not have any serious problems, but if you are new to this business, it is better to learn about the main “pitfalls”.

Now a solid-state drive is no longer a privilege of expensive laptops, but an almost mandatory component of even models over 60 thousand. Nevertheless, if you ask yourself such a question, then the most interesting thing is yet to come.

As Confucius said: “It’s only one day to work on a computer with SSD, and back the road will not be”. If in the last decade, everyone chased hundreds and thousands of megahertz, then with the arrival of SSD, it became obvious that the bottle of neck was a drive, and not a processor.

If your laptop with four-core i7 downloads Windows and launches an application minute or more. the problem is exactly in the slow hard disk, and not at all in the processor. With SSD, everything starts in seconds, files open and saved instantly. As a result, it becomes much more pleasant to work. So we will be honest: the solid-state drive is not needed only in one case. if you already have.

Why the laptop is better than SSD

In addition to the obvious advantage in the performance gain, you will receive:

  • Long service life. Despite the fact that an SSD disk has a limited rewriting resource (for classic HDDs it is practically unlimited), in fact it is measured in tens and hundreds of terabytes, which is enough for an ordinary user for at least 10 years.
  • High degree of reliability. An SSD is practically immune to shocks and temperature changes, while a classic hard drive can fail after a small shake. Relevant for those who often carry a laptop in a bag or backpack.
  • The power consumption of an SSD is lower than that of an HDD, therefore, the laptop will be able to work a little longer on a single charge.
  • SSD is not noisy.

Among the shortcomings, the high price can be noted: a 500 GB SSD will cost several times more than an HDD of the same volume.


Now a solid-state drive is no longer a privilege of expensive laptops, but an almost mandatory component of even models over 60 thousand. Nevertheless, if you ask yourself such a question, then the most interesting thing is yet to come.

As Confucius once said: “One has only to work once on a computer with an SSD, and there will be no turning back.”. If in the past decade everyone was chasing hundreds and thousands of megahertz, then with the advent of SSD it became obvious that the bottleneck is a drive, not a processor.

If your quad-core i7 laptop boots Windows and runs applications for a minute or more, the problem is definitely a slow hard drive, not a processor at all. With an SSD, everything starts in seconds, files open and save instantly. As a result, work becomes much more pleasant. So let’s be honest, the only time you don’t need an SSD is if you already have one.

Hard drives are still noticeably cheaper than SSDs based on the price of one megabyte, this is a fact. But in most cases, you don’t need a volumetric “solid state”. Series can always be watched online, photos can be stored in the bottomless Yandex storage.Drive, Google Drive or Dropbox, listen to music. from countless streaming services, domestic or foreign.

So it turns out that quite often users on a laptop actually don’t have much information, and the main thing can fit on a quite inexpensive SSD. True, on a gaming laptop it’s not so simple anymore. Of course, I would like to install all the toys on a “hard drive” so that the maps in Battlefield do not load so painfully for a long time. But, unfortunately, modern games eat up too much space to be installed on inexpensive “hard drives”. But there are options described in the next paragraph.

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And where will I store terabytes of photos from my last vacation in Tenerife?

And even if your laptop is packed with media files to the eyeballs, this is still no reason to refuse to purchase an SSD. Even a not very large volume is enough to install the operating system, browser and other essential programs. And then you won’t recognize your laptop.

over, it is not at all necessary to give up a hard drive with hundreds of gigabytes of goodness, acquired by overwork. Firstly, there are quite a few laptops with space for both a fast hard drive and a large hard drive. Secondly, even if you have a super-thin ultrabook, then this is not a problem either. external hard drives have been on sale for a long time. And even hard drives with Wi-Fi for those who don’t like wires. Or, again, you can rent a place in the Cloud. Although, if you plan to use it as a balcony or garage, that is, look only once a year or less and put everything that is a pity to throw out there, then it’s better to take an external hard drive.

Can I install an SSD in my laptop?

In most cases, the answer is yes. It’s definitely impossible to install a “solid state” only in laptops in which it is already soldered right on the motherboard. But cases where the laptop already has an SSD are not of great interest to us in this material.

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If you have only one drive slot in your laptop, and it is already occupied by a hard drive, then the best option is to buy a solid-state drive to replace the hard drive, and for the hard drive, purchase a special container with an adapter to make this hard drive a convenient external hard drive. So you solve the problem with both system speed and storage of a large amount of data. And you don’t actually lose anything.

One way or another, you will have to start by finding out how many drives can be installed in your laptop and what type they are. There are not so many variations, but enough to confuse an inexperienced person. Therefore, it is best to look for forums on specific models, where people have already figured out which drives can be installed in a particular laptop model.

M Socket SSD.2 (top) and 2.5″ SATA SSD (bottom)

The choice of form factor is not up to you, but to your laptop. Older models only support 2.5″ SATA drives. They are not as fast as some modern “hard drives” with an M connector.2. Most often, buying them is just a necessity if the laptop does not have M.2.

Nevertheless, the performance of a high-quality 2.5-inch solid state drive is more than enough for everyday needs, and even more so for a person who has never dealt with an SSD before. over, the connector M.2 by itself is not a measure of drive performance, and among SSDs with M.2 even slower models meet calmly.

However, the fastest of M.2 five times faster than standard 2.5″. But the point here is not even in the name of the connector, but in the interface of data transfer. Faster SSDs are referred to by the abbreviation PCIe 3.0 (or NVMe), but we will not dwell on such subtleties.

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Anything less than 120 GB is not worth attention at all. nothing will fit in there, and you will just experience constant pain. The exception is all sorts of Chromebooks with 32 and 64 GB drives, but often these are not even SSDs, but devices with slow memory and slow controllers that work even slower than hard drives.

With a 120 GB drive you can already live, but only on the condition that you really do not store a lot of programs and files. Otherwise, it is better to pay attention to 256 GB models.

Finally, 512 and 1024 GB are desirable numbers for many, but the cost of such drives in retail is high, and the surcharge for modifying a laptop with similar ones is even higher. You can already put even video games there, or, for example, two operating systems, each with its own set of programs and files, and many other things that your imagination is capable of.

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Disc Installation

After the SSD drive has already been selected and purchased, it remains to install it correctly in the laptop. To do this, it is recommended to disassemble the computer and find a place inside for installation. If there is not enough space, you can replace the HDD already installed on the laptop with a solid state drive (which can then be inserted instead of a drive using a special adapter).

Another option that is suitable when choosing an M2 form factor solid state drive is to install the drive along with the HDD; there is enough space inside the laptop for this. In this case, overpaying for a drive with smaller dimensions becomes justified.

The third option is to buy a special case in order to make the SSD external. Although you can buy such a drive in a version that is already suitable for connecting via a USB connector. True, the second option will cost more and will not allow, if such an opportunity arises, to install a disk inside a laptop.

Tip: External SSD should only be connected via USB 3 ports.0 or Outdated interface 2.0 not only will not provide any speed increase compared to HDD, but may even reduce it.

After connecting the drive, it must be optimized by installing software from the official manufacturer or other suitable applications. For example, the Intel SSD Toolbox program will ensure that the disk firmware is constantly updated and its partitions are aligned. Approximately the same task is performed by the AS SSD utility.

The interface of such programs for optimization does not require much time to master. it is quite intuitive.

Green means the SSD is working properly.

Red warns of possible problems and you need to download the utility no longer for checking, but for fixing errors.

One of these applications is Parted Magic, whose task is to restore lost SSD settings and return them to factory settings.

SSD operation

Immediately after installing the SSD, it is advisable to split it into several sections (just like a regular HDD). One partition will be used for the operating system and system files, the rest for storing other information.

Another option is to store the bulk of the files on a regular hard drive, and give the solid state drive at the disposal of the OS and most often launched programs. This SSD space optimization will extend its lifespan.

If the size of the drive is small (economical purchase option), in the range of 60-128 GB, it is recommended to periodically free it from unused files. You should not allow the disk to work at the limit of its capacity. this affects both the speed of work and the operational life. To remove unnecessary information, you should use the CCleaner program.

When using solid state drives, you should know about the features of deleting information from it. It is advisable not only to delete an unnecessary file with the built-in system tools, but also to additionally clean the disk with a special utility. for example, Eraser, which can be called after installation from the Windows context menu.

Another way to extend the life of an SSD, preventing premature failure of expensive equipment and loss of information, is to provide uninterrupted power supply.

To do this, you need to monitor the sufficient level of charge of the laptop battery.

When connecting the device to the mains (for recharging or in case of problems with the battery), it is advisable to use a UPS.

Unforeseen power failure can erase information on SSD, and a short circuit in an electric grid in 80% of cases displays the drive itself.

Increase the life and efficient cooling of the SSD. using special laptop stands and periodic cleaning of the case.

And finally, the last recommendation to increase the resource is the refusal to defragment the drive. Firstly, it will not increase the speed of work, unlike the HDD. Secondly, by defragmenting the disk, you reduce the number of remaining write cycles.

Top 10 rating according to KP

WD Black SN750 NVMe SSD

Western Digital has been building a name for years with a plethora of SSDs and HDDs, and the WD Black SN750 continues that tradition by claiming the best SSD gaming solution. This SSD has an extremely fast read speed of 412.5MB/s which should result in any heavy game loading in no time. And, if we consider that this is one of the most accessible NVME SSM drives, it is easy to recommend any gamer seeking a new SSD, regardless of its budget.

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Adata XPG SX8200 SSD

If you are looking for an SSD with M technology.2, which would be fast and affordable, then this is it. The Adata XPG SX8200 isn’t the fastest drive on the market, but there isn’t a single drive that matches the price-performance ratio offered. Of course, you can get more speed in more expensive SSDs, but we can recommend this drive to anyone, regardless of budget.

Toshiba OCZ RD400

If you’re looking for multiple looks and sizes, the Toshiba OCZ RD400 drives are one of the best SSDs out there. They are four-dimensional and come in three different form factors: M.2,M.2 2280 and as expansion card (AIC). All sizes have all the necessary connectors, so you can easily find a place for them in your computer case.

What is an SSD drive

In classical hard drives, information is written to the magnetic carrier, which is a flat disk with concentric paths. The case contains many such plates that rotate on a spindle at high speed, while information is read / written by special heads. In other words, this is a mechanical device, and with the rotation of the components at high speeds.

Solid state drives differ from HDDs in a fundamental way: information is written to flash memory located on a microchip, and no mechanical parts need to be used for reading. In a word, information is recorded in a way similar to a regular flash drive. But at a speed comparable to the speed of writing to RAM. If there are no mechanical components, then such a drive works completely silently. They are connected to PC by means of standard SATA intees, and although this tire is considered sufficiently slow, it provides approximately twice the rate of data exchange than in the case of hard drive.

Of course, the dimensions of an SSD are much smaller than those of a mechanical counterpart, which is a particularly significant advantage for netbooks / laptops, for which every centimeter of free space is worth its weight in gold.

Kingston SA1000M8/480G

The Kingston SA1000M8/480G 480 GB drive has the ability to store and process a significant amount of information data. It is worth saying that this SSD can be perfectly used not only in laptops, but also on stationary computers. Write and read speed is up to 900/1500 MB/s.

The Phison PS5008-E8 controller is busy managing the work, which also copes without problems with compressing data that is written to memory. The manufacturer’s warranty period is 5 years, so the SSD should serve you faithfully for a long period of time.


Using the Inteeis PCI-E Gen3 × 4 and NVME1 Support.3 allows the XPG GAMMIX S11 Pro 512GB samples from A-DATA to reach the read and write speed beyond the above samples. The first is 3350 MB/s and the second is 2350 MB/s.

A fan is used instead of the case, it blows over the heat pump, reducing the overall temperature by 10°C. Model memory type. TLC 3D NAND, SLC caching is used, DRAM cache buffer, LDPC ECC technology. The combination of all these features provides high performance, low risk of data loss during interactive games. The operating system starts up instantly, data transfer is not a time-consuming task, the most “heavy” applications work with ease never seen before.

Disk space is 500 GB. Silicon Motion SM2262 controller used. Model supports TRIM command.

Plextor PX-256M9PeY

Plextor PX-256M9PeY uses SLC caching. Because of what the speed of the gadget increases sharply. Read at super speed 3000 MB/s, write at 1000 MB/s. Both characteristics lose to a competitor from A-DATA, but still the OS starts up very quickly.

The model is equipped with a Marvell 88SS1093 controller, memory type. TLC 3D NAND. Disk size. 256 GB. Endowed with high throughput. The device is quite reliable.

The drive is easy to install on the system board. Even an inexperienced user can figure it out here.

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