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.

blankThe 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.


blankThe 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.



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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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