Choosing your new SSD can be a real challenge. The enormous variety of solutions available on the market today, their different features and price ranges make this decision very complicated, especially if you have little knowledge or if you are not up to date.
In the end it is easy to make a mistake with all the variables that we must take into account, and that’s why today I want to share with you this guide dedicated to discovering five mistakes you should not make when choosing your new SSD. In this article I will explain them in detail, as usual, but if you have any questions after reading it, remember that you can leave them in the comments.
I want to remind you, before we start, that an SSD drive is a must-have component todayeven in the cheapest computers that are only going to be used for office, web browsing and multimedia content playback. The reason is very simple, even in such modest computers an SSD makes a huge difference compared to an HDD, because it reduces startup and shutdown times, improves the overall responsiveness of the computer and makes basic actions run instantly.
Five mistakes to avoid when choosing your new SSD.
1.-Format incompatible with your motherboard.
It is one of the most common mistakes, and one of the most serious that you can make when choosing your new SSD, because it will prevent you from using it and you will have no choice but to return it. Today there are, in the general consumer market, two major types of formats that are the most widely used, the 2.5-inch and the M.2.
SSDs in 2.5-inch form factor have a virtually identical installation process to a 2.5-inch HDD, which means we can either bolt it to the chassis if it has dedicated spaces, or we will need to insert it into a dedicated bay. They connect to a SATA port and use a SATA connector for power, so they are connected to the power supply and to the motherboard.
M.2 models are much smaller and compact in size, and plug directly into a slot on the motherboard.e. They do not require an additional power connector, but they come in different sizes, so we must be very careful when choosing one. For example, the M.2 2280 variant is the largest size, while the M.2 2242 is the shortest oneand therefore the smallest.
Before choosing think about which slot or connector on your motherboard you are going to use, consider. if you have PCIe lanes available to mount that drive, and if you have the necessary connectors. Remember that this is key because most motherboards disable SATA ports when we have all M.2 slots occupied. Having a wireless network card also counts.
2.-Standard lower, or higher, than the one supported by your PC.
Undoubtedly another of the most common mistakes when choosing a new SSD. Currently we have three major types of standardsThe SATA standard, which gives us access to SSDs that can exceed 550 MB/s, the PCIe Gen3 standard, which in its x4 mode allows us to use drives that can reach around 3,500 MB/s, and the PCIe Gen4 standard, which in its x4 version makes it possible for SSDs to reach 7,500 MB/s.
The PCIe Gen5 standard has yet to make its debut in the mainstream consumer market, but SSDs compatible with that standard are expected to reach the 16,000 MB/s, provided they are installed in a compatible slot and operating at x4 (four PCIe lanes).
If when choosing your new SSD you go for one that uses a lower standard than what your board supports you will most likely, in general, have more than enough performance to enjoy a good user experience. This would not be a serious mistake except in very specific cases.but the truth is that taking into account that the price difference between them is usually small, it is better to opt for a model according to the performance and capabilities of our equipment.
So, for example, buying a PCIe Gen3 x2 SSD when we have a x4 connector would not be a serious mistake, but. for a little more, we could get a superior model that will be twice as powerful. Keep this in mind especially if you are going to use the PC for gaming, as with the advent of DirectStorage technology this could finally make a significant difference.
On the other hand, buying an SSD drive that uses a higher standard than the one supported by our PC is a serious mistake, because in the end we will have spent too much money on a component that we are not really going to take advantage of. A very simple example would be buying a PCIe Gen4 x4 drive when we only have one PCIe Gen3 x2 compatible slot available.
QLC and TLC drives: choose wisely.
The advent of SSDs with QLC memory helped to reduce the price of this type of storage unit quite a bit, but it had an important trade-off, and that is that it also reduced their resistance to write cycles, and had a certain impact on performance. The most important thing in this regard is the write cycles, mainly because depending on the model we choose the difference compared to a drive with TLC memory can be up to 50%.
This does not mean that QLC units are meaningless.they can be a good option in very specific cases, but the truth is that, in general, TLC solutions are a more interesting option, and it is the one we should choose in most cases. They offer an interesting and balanced value in price-performance ratio, and have a good resistance to write cycles, which translates into a longer lifetime.
If you are wondering when to choose a QLC drive the answer is very simple, when you are going to use that drive for. keeping large files and content that you are not going to delete for long periods of time.and when you do not plan to subject it to frequent write cycles. I give you an example, I have a 4TB QLC SSD that I use only to have installed those games that I would never consider deleting in the short or medium term, and for more frequent write cycles I have a SSHD drive.
For all other usage scenarios I use. SSD drives with TLC NAND Flash memorywhich offer greater resistance to erase and write cycles. The conclusion you should draw from this is very simple, think about what kind of use you are going to give to the SSD you are going to buy and choose accordingly.
4.-Unsatisfactory performance and/or capacity
This is an important issue, especially when it comes to capacity, since in the end even a low-end SSD is capable of delivering excellent performance. When choosing your new SSD you should think, as I said in the previous section, the use you are going to give it, and the amount of storage you are going to need. Don’t be short-sighted, do a long-term analysis.otherwise you will probably outgrow that new storage unit sooner than you would like.
There are several general usage profiles that allow me to give you a fairly straightforward script at this point. For a computer dedicated to office and basic tasks. an SSD with a minimum size of 256 GB would already be enough, and we would not need a very fast and expensive model. On the other hand, if we are going to use it for gaming we should get a drive that reaches at least the 2,400 MB/swhich is the minimum bar set for current generation games due to Xbox S-X Series specifications, and should not be less than 1TB capacity.
If when it comes to choosing your new SSD you opt for a slower model you may not have a problem right now, but it is likely that you will when developments focus on taking advantage of faster drives.and when DirectStorage technology is standardized, your user experience will not be fully optimal in games. In basic applications, browsing and office applications you won’t have any problems.
As far as storage capacity is concerned this is a very easy issue to understand. If in an attempt to save money you choose a unit that falls short in capacity you are going to have a lot of problems. Constantly deleting and reinstalling large amounts of data because your SSD doesn’t have the capacity it needs is hastening its demiseand buying a new drive will cost you additional money, which can ultimately make this mistake very expensive.
5.-The cheap thing can be very expensive.
At this point we could bring up the mistake in choosing the storage capacity we really need, but the truth is that I am referring to the problem that some very cheap SSD drives sold in certain stores are giving. Sometimes, those SSD drives are not really what they look likeas they actually mount pendrives (USB storage drives) that are glued and connected to simulate an SSD.
There are also cases where even though they are SSD drives. they do not deliver what they promiseand they almost always have a low service life. It is true that they have price in their favor, since they are usually very inexpensive, but overall they are a bad investment. I have cases of people close to me who got carried away by the price hook and bought 256 GB SSDs for 10 euros that, in reality, were what I told you before, a USB glued to a 2.5 inch chassis.
All in all, I have also been able to test SSD drives of little known brands that in the end have worked without problems, so with this. I don’t mean to say that a cheap SSD is not an option, I simply mean that we should avoid those offers that seem too good to be true.. Think that, right now, the most normal thing is that a SATA III SSD in 2.5-inch format with a capacity of 128 GB is around 16-20 euros. If we see an offer for 5 euros we have every reason to think badly and avoid it.
In the end it is always better to invest a little more when choosing your new SSD than to rush to the maximum and go for more than dubious models. When in doubt, the best thing you can do is to always buy from reputable stores that guarantee you a refund in case something goes wrong, so you can have complete peace of mind.