SSD Types and Form Factors – An SSD Primer


The 2.5″ SSD is the most popular size solid state drive and will fit into just about any consumer PC, given exception new ultrabook designs which are just too thin to house anything but a mSATA SSD as it is only as think as a 25 cent piece.  Notebook SSDs have become so popular, in fact, that most manufacturers don’t even sell the larger and much heavier 3.5″ desktop size, choosing instead to include a 2.5″ to 3.5″ adapter with their notebook SSD kits.  Below is the Kingston HyperX 240GB SSD which is probably the best looking of the crop for 2011 and also includes an adapter, very attractive pen and complete migration kit.

The notebook SSD is available in either SATA 2 or SATA 3 which means that performance speeds as high as 285MB/s (SATA 2) and 550MB/s (SATA 3) are possible IF you have a system that supports the appropriate interface.  It is an important to consider that buying a SATA 3 SSD serves no purpose if your laptop (or desktop) only supports SATA 2 as 95% of those on the market presently do.

The Kingston HyperX SSD PCB (printed circuit board) does a very good job of displaying the SATA 3 interface on the left, SandForce SF-2281 SATA 3 processor as well as eight of the 16 modules of NAND flash memory which provide storage for this SSD.


The normal consumer SSD available today has dimensions of approximately 69mm wide x 100mm long x 9.5mm thick.

One of the first solid state drives released, the Intel X25m, was actually a superslim SSD and they have recently followed suit with the Intel 320 Series SSD, both of which are only 7mm thick with a black adapter that allows their fit in typical notebooks.

Most recently, we added a Lenovo U265 12.5″ to our test systems and, in replacing the hard drive with an SSD, the first thing we noticed was that it would only accept a slim form factor SSD such as the Intel 320 Series with the plastic ring removed.