SSD Types and Form Factors – An SSD Primer

Our SSD close up today is going to examine the different SSD types and form factors common to the consumer.

This is the third paper in a series of recent articles that explained the benefits and components of a solid state drive and will go so far as to make up our SSD Beginners Guide.  Each article is designed to be easily understood and will enable the reader to become proficient in every aspect of the SSD as it relates to their specific computing needs.


Our featured picture might seem a bit intimidating to most simply because the average consumer isn’t used to seeing, much less buying, anything that shows its circuitry and is not nicely packaged as the SSD in the middle is.  It displays the OCZ RevoDrive 3×2 480GB PCIe card on the bottom, followed by the Crucial M4 512GB SATA 3 SSD with the Renice x3 mSATA 120GB SATA 2 SSD on top. A simple click on any of these links will bring you to the analysis we did of each on their release.

All three comprise of the main types or ‘form factor’ SSDs we may consider for purchase as they fit into the Ultrabook, notebook or desktop systems that we see available in any electronics store today.  Don’t misconstrue my words because I’m definitely not saying that each will fit into any of the three type of computers and, in fact, if you take a close look you will see that the OCZ Revo 3×2 card is actually thicker than our Toshiba Z830 Ultrabook.

Pik 1

There are key differences in each form factor that go beyond size and placement alone which just may help you along in determining the solution for your specific need.  Specific interface type, speed, and capacity are as similar to the group as a whole as they may be different given a specific need for the end user.


In as much as their are key differences, a key point that we learned in the last article, SSD Components and Make Up, is that each and every SSD has to have specific parts regardless of its form factor.

blankblankThese parts are easily identifiable in all three shown here and are the interface which connects to your computer, processor which coordinates travel of information, circuit board and NAND flash memory which stores your data.

blankblankJust to keep things interesting, I thought I might throw in the OCZ RevoDrive Hybrid 1TB PCIe Hybrid SSD (which will be later discussed) and the OCZ 1.6TB Z-R4 PCIe SSD as both are recent releases and stand out in the crowd.  The hybrid contains, not only a RevoDrive SATA 3 SSD for performance but also, a 1TB hard drive for capacity while the Z-R4 Drive is just about the fastest available PCIe card on the market as it has lightning speeds as fast as 2.8GB/s.


My absolute two favorite reviews that show our sites….creativity… just happen to be the RevoDrive Hybrid PCIe Review and the Runcore T50 SATA 3 mSATA SSD Review.  The Hybrid review was based on a high school science experiment and even included Cold Play’s song, ‘The Scientist’ whereas the Runcore T50 review drew comparison to that SSD and the 1969 Ford Mustang with the ‘monster’ 429 Boss engine.


For those new to our reviews, a quick click on any picture will bring up a much better high resolution version whereas a click on any word that is shown in orange will bring you directly to the article discussed.


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    Paul Andrew Mitchell

    We L-U-V all the fine photos, Les.


    /s/ MRFS

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    The writing here is terrible. You should hire an editor.

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    Just how massive is your Mastiff.
    An effective warning about your security system to potential evil-doers.
    Great picture… I did a double-take.

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    Great article! very benficial, helped me understand the SSD arena and how to make an informed decision at purchase time. keep up the good work.

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    You mention on page 3 “The mSATA SSD measures about 50mm long x 49mm wide x 4.85mm thick, or 1/3 the size of a business card”. Measurements are 50.8mm x 29.85mm x 4.85mm. Not 49mm.

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    Articles like these are one of the reasons I hold your site in such high regard. You do not cater only to the high-level enthusiast crowd, but instead work hard to ensure that you maintain as technologically-diverse an audience as possible. While many have tried to do this before, it has almost always inevitably resulted in failure, likely as a result of many websites “talking to” their more mainstream consumers as if they are stupid. You guys have managed to avoid this, and as such, I recommend this site to everyone who is considering purchasing a new storage solution, from friends who can barely manage to work an iPhone to others who share the same level of enthusiasm as myself when it comes to building their own PC.

    You guys rock!

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    GC AND TRIM IN SSDS EXPLAINED link does not work

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    A few words to tell you how much I have enjoyed reading your articles. I am preparing for my leap to an SSD. My lack of knowledge has prevented me until now. You have a skill of explaining things that has helped me greatly. Thanks.

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    Thanks for your article. I’m about to purchase the Sonnett Tempo Pro Plus.
    Do you have an opinion on this one. I like the idea of utilizing my current 250gb Samsung SSD which has been plodding along in the bay drive. I have a Mac Pro, Early 2008 which has the second PCI slot only being used by a 3.0 USB that I put in last year. I need processing power for Final Cut multi-cam editing. I can get by with this cheaper than the OWC 480gb version. Of course no 3 year warranty. The Sonnett looks cool, but no reviews on B&H. What would you do?

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    This one badly needs an update Les 🙂

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