What is a SATA SSD, NVMe M.2 SSD, and HDD?

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What is a SATA SSD, M.2 SSD, and HDD?

An SSD, HDD, and NVMe M.2 are all forms of storage used to save content such as games, applications, videos, and documents. These different storage devices have certain advantages and disadvantages that we will break down to make deciding what you need easier. Below are some examples of these devices we currently carry.


What is a SATA SSD?

A Solid State Drive (SSD) is comprised of multiple NAND flash memory chips, a controller, and a DRAM chip. The combination of these components creates a form of storage drastically faster than an HDD. The word "SATA" refers to the interface that a storage device uses to connect to your motherboard. Unfortunately, the SATA (Serial ATA) standard is a bit dated and has a reasonably low max speed compared to an M.2 SSD.

This does not mean a SATA SSD is bad, a SATA SSD will easily be able to handle any tasks you can throw at it.  

WD Blue™ SATA SSD 2.5”/7mm cased | Western Digital Store

What is an NVMe M.2 SSD?

An NVMe M.2 SSD is very similar to a SATA SSD, as its combination of components behaves in the same way. NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) is a protocol that allows for devices via the appropriate connection (M.2) to transfer files at significantly higher transfer rates.

A SATA SSD has a max speed of 600 MB/s, but the Generation 3.0 NVMe M.2 standard can transfer up to 3500MB/s, almost six times the speed! These speeds are achieved by a mix of new technology and the connection standard improving over the years.

WD Blue™ SN550 NVMe™ SSD | Western Digital Store

What is an HDD?

An HDD, or Hard Disk Drive, is a more traditional form of storage that has been used in computers since 1957. This was for a good reason as this was the most reliable form of storage you could use up until SSDs became mainstream in 2004. Hard drives consist of multiple coated magnetic platters that rotated in order to allow a magnetic arm and head to read and write data on these platters. Kind of like a vinyl record player!

This does not mean that HDDs are dated, these days HDDs are extremely affordable. HDDs are perfect for storing large amounts of information or information you don't need to access often or don't need faster transfer rates for. Mass content such as movies, photos, documents, or any system backups will be perfectly at home on your HDD. 

WD Blue PC Desktop Hard Drive | Western Digital Store


So, what storage device do I get and how much storage do I need?

There are a lot of factors that can go into a purchase of storage for your build, so it can make it a bit difficult to decide. It is really important to keep in mind what you intend to do with your PC. Additionally, your budget when picking your storage, as well as SSD M.2 storage, is generally more expensive. SATA SSDs generally give good speeds and are good for the price. HDDs are the cheapest and slowest.

Keep in mind, that on our BLD service we will always pick the fastest storage device to be the one with your operating system installed to it.

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