Solid State Drives

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Solid-state drives (SSDs) are currently the fastest form of storage available, and can give your system a massive boost in application and OS load times, data-transfer speeds and overall system responsiveness. Their lightning speed comes from using flash memory chips, which unlike traditional hard drives have no moving parts. This makes them more reliable, smaller, lighter and less power hungry, but they can cost significantly more and oftentimes have less capacity. Scan recommends that anyone in the market for a performance PC opts for an SSD.

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120GB to 550GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSDs

M.2 replaced the older mSATA standard. Available in 120, 128, 240, 256, 480, 500 and 512GB sizes the M.2 SSD connects to your device via an M.2 socket using the newer PCI Express NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) controller variant designed to fully utilise the capability of high-speed PCI Express storage devices to perform many I/O (in/out) operations in parallel. These SSD's can achieve read speeds in excess of 3000MB/s and write speeds over 2000MB/s making them the fastest available.

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Tekspek An in-depth guide into tech: PCI Express SSDs SSD Form Factors

600GB to 4TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSDs

M.2 replaced the older mSATA standard. Available in 960GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB & 8TB sizes the M.2 SSD Connects to your device via an M.2 Socket using the newer PCI Express NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) controller variant designed to fully utilize the capability of high-speed PCI Express storage devices to perform many I/O (in/out) operations in parallel. These SSD's can achieve Read speeds in Excess of 3000MB/s and Write speeds over 2000MB/s making them the fastest available.

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Tekspek An in-depth guide into tech: SSD Form Factors

120GB to 550GB M.2 SATA SSDs

While the M.2 connector can be used for PCIe SSDs, the ones here are SATA 6Gb/s only, so the benefits over standard 2.5" SATA drives are to do with space-saving, not speed. Available in 120, 240, 256, 480, 500 and 512GB sizes they're perfect for small form factor systems and laptops, but make sure your M.2 slot works with SATA devices, and that it supports the SSD's size, both in length (2280 means 80mm long) and thickness.

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Tekspek An in-depth guide into tech: SSD Form Factors

Thunderbolt & USB External SSDs

External SSDs are ideal for users looking for lightweight, portable and speedy storage. Their pocket-friendly enclosures are significantly smaller and lighter than external hard drives, and with no moving parts they're also silent, more robust and less prone to physical shock damage. They use the USB 3 interface, which is 10 times faster than and backwards compatible with USB 2.

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Tekspek An in-depth guide into tech: SSDs USB 3.0
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Enclosure (1.8"-2.5") - SATA - USB 3.1

These external hard drive enclosures do not include a drive as standard, allowing you to pick the perfect drive for your requirements. Using the latest USB 3.1 bus, these enclosures can be as much as twice as fast as an older USB 3 enclosure, with up to 10Gbit/sec bandwidth available.

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Enclosure (1.8"-2.5") - SATA - USB 3.0

Combining Super Speed USB 3.0 with a SATA hard drive interface results in an external hard drive with high data transfer rates. A 1.8" to 2.5" internal SATA hard drive fits into these enclosures. Power to these enclosures are either via the USB 3.0 connection or a separate power lead, check specifications of the individual product to confirm.
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Enterprise 2.5" SATA III SSDs

These SSDs are ideal for businesses looking for reliable, long-lasting and efficient flash storage that will outpace any hard disk. Possible features include end-to-end data protection and full power-loss protection. Speeds are not as fast as PCIe-based drives, but prices are considerably lower and the SATA interface and 2.5” form factor means they're easy to implement in any desktop environment.

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Tekspek An in-depth guide into tech: INTEL Enterprise SSDs SSD Form Factors

Enterprise 2.5" U.2 PCIe NVMe SSDs

Intended mainly for data centres, these SSDs are as good as it gets for high-speed storage. Using fast PCIe 3.0 lanes and the new Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) interface, which is designed specifically to take advantage of SSDs, these drives smash through previous SATA limitations with throughput of 2GB/s or more in some cases and high sustained performance too. The 2.5” models here use the new SFF-8639 connection, sometimes called Express Bay, which means they can be hot-swapped.

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Tekspek An in-depth guide into tech: INTEL Enterprise SSDs Intel PCI-E SSDs SSD Form Factors