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  1. Buying a Solid-State Drive: 20 Terms You Need to Know
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  4. Hard disk drive interface - Wikipedia
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  1. How to determine what hard drive is compatible my motherboard.
  2. Do All Hard Drives Work With All Motherboards?.
  3. Check Hard Disk Drive (HDD) Compatibility with Laptop or Desktop Motherboard.
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MLC's higher densities make it cheaper to manufacture you get more chips out of a given wafer , but error compensation in the firmware is necessary to keep it in check. A variant of MLC, enterprise MLC eMLC , uses technologies that forestall cell wear and thus data loss, and premium-price drives based on these "stabler" drives are marketed for business or high-access environments. Then there's TLC. Standing for "triple-level cell," TLC can host eight states and three bits per cell. The even greater density pushes cost down, but TLC requires even more error-correcting overhead, and the increased complexity and varying voltages per cell mean likely faster wear per cell, all else being equal.

TLC, however, has proliferated in consumer SSDs that won't be subjected to mission-critical, enterprise workloads. The technical specifics are irrelevant to most consumer buyers, but the advent of 3D TLC has strengthened competition among the major SSD players.

How To Install a Desktop Hard Drive

The silicon chip that acts as "traffic cop" for the SSD, the controller is typically the biggest differentiator among SSDs if you get down in the technical weeds. Some manufacturers of SSDs have acquired controller makers over the years and incorporated those technologies into homegrown controllers for example, Indilinx and OCZ, before OCZ was acquired by Toshiba , while others make use of widely used controllers from companies such as Marvell and Phison. Drives with the same onboard controller and of the same capacity tend to perform similarly, though different firmware versions and other factors can introduce variation.

Buying a Solid-State Drive: 20 Terms You Need to Know

With a typical 2. For a while, 2. This doesn't matter much for drives being installed in a desktop PC, which can accommodate drives of either height with ease, but for a laptop install, the z-height can be crucial. Though many thin laptops now use M. Some SSD makers will include a "spacer" usually, a frame of plastic with their 7mm models to help them fit securely in a laptop drive bay meant for a 9. As a category, this is software that may or may not come packaged with an SSD to assist in copying a source drive to an SSD.

System requirements for installing Windows 10

The most likely scenario in which it will be used is if you intend to install the SSD as a boot drive. Because this operation needs to happen outside of Windows, special software is required. That said, the lack of migration software does not have to be a deal-killer; freeware like EaseUS's Disk Copy can take its place.

Because memory cells fail over time as they are written and erased over and over, an SSD's effective capacity can drop gradually as memory cells fall out of the running. Some makers of SSDs, to forestall this, provide more memory than advertised, or "overprovision" the drive, in essence reserving some for a rainy day.

Western Digital PCB Swap Replacement Guide

Overprovisioning also can explain the slight variances in published capacities for drives of the same rough class say, GB versus GB versus GB. You won't be able to see this extra memory in the advertised capacity of the drive, or in normal use; the drive firmware may invisibly bring some of these cells online as others die. But it's a sign that the SSD maker is factoring in gradual data-cell mortality.

A secondary consideration: Overprovisioning means that the SSD can write to a wider range of cells, which proportionally reduces wear across the whole array. Sequential reads and writes involve large files; testing in this fashion gives an idea of speeds when transferring large amounts of data. The term is a vestige of such operations on conventional hard drives, in which large files would often have most of their parts in a row, in physical proximity, on the actual drive platter. Random reads and writes, on the other hand, access small usually 4K in size blocks of data, simulating the device saving and reading much smaller bits of data scattered across the drive.

Note that when SSD vendors report claimed read and write speeds, they're usually sequential numbers, both because most data accesses on a client PC tend to be sequential, and because these numbers look the biggest. For "mean time between failures," this is another spec that, if it's meaningful at all when shopping, is only useful for comparison among drives from the same maker. It's a measure of the expected rate of failures in a population of drives, and not as the projected absolute lifetime of any given drive in hours. MTBF is often cited as a measure for other kinds of computer hardware, too, such as platter disk drives, but it's only useful as a measure within hardware of its own type.

A JEDEC standard outlines the testing of SSDs for longevity under reads and writes, but it's not always clear if a given SSD vendor is using the same metrics and workloads as another to test for longevity. As a result, MTBFs are really only relevant for buyers if you're looking at drives within the same manufacturers' families. Wear leveling is an internal management technique used by solid state drives' firmware, to maximize the viability of all memory on the drive.

In it, write and erase operations are spread across the entire drive, instead of concentrated on the same block of cells over and over, even if the drive is not filled to capacity. As we noted earlier, a number of M. But you can also find solid-state drives that are designed with a physical PCI Express interface to fit into a desktop's PCI Express expansion slots, as actual cards.

SRT is an Intel technology that lets you install a low-capacity solid-state drive as a high-speed cache for a standard platter hard drive. With SRT active, the system gradually "learns" which files and system elements you use the most, caching those to the SSD for faster access.

Hard disk drive interface - Wikipedia

In that way, you can get the advantage of the inexpensive high capacity of a conventional hard drive along with some of the access speed of an SSD. Implementing SRT makes sense if you already have a hard drive in place as a boot drive and don't want to go to the trouble of making an SSD your boot drive. However, over time, boot SSDs at capacities of GB and larger have gotten so cheap that there's less incentive to do SRT for cost reasons, nowadays; those capacities are big enough as boot and program drives for most buyers.

And depending on how your system is configured, you may need to reinstall Windows on your hard drive, in any case, to configure things properly for SRT. However, M. However, we mention it in the event you have a desktop PC from a few years ago that has one or more of these ports. No, alas, you won't find an SSD for it. Non-Volatile Memory Express is an open standard backed by more than five dozen companies for accessing solid-state drives over the PCI Express bus. AHCI was originally designed for platter-based hard drives, while NVMe was designed from the ground up for flash-based storage.

Note that an older system may not be able to boot from an NVMe drive. Placed between the processor and the slow hard drive, Optane Memory served as a system accelerator, boosting responsiveness and cutting program load times. These drives draw more power and at this writing cost about twice as much per gigabyte as NVMe SSDs, but they're lightning-fast temptations for desktop enthusiasts with up-to-date Intel CPUs and Windows SSD vs.

HDD: What's the Difference? John is PCMag's executive editor for hardware. A veteran of the popular tech site and magazine Computer Shopper from to , he has covered just about every kind of computer gear—from the SX to core processors—in his long tenure as an editor, a writer, and an advice columnist. See Full Bio. This newsletter may contain advertising, deals, or affiliate links. Subscribing to a newsletter indicates your consent to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

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