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What to Know about Common SSD Specifications

There are many words and acronyms associated with computers and servers that can be confusing. If you’re trying to upgrade your system and a slow computer has pushed your frustration to the limit, the last thing you want is to get slowed down further trying to figure out what specific storage terms mean. Below we will cover some frequently asked questions to help you learn more and find the best possible upgrade.

What’s an SSD form factor?

A form factor is the physical form, or physical dimensions, of the drive. SSDs have three form factors: 2.5-inch, mSATA, and M.2. The 2.5-inch form factor is used in many desktops and laptops. The mSATA version is commonly used in ultra-thin laptops and compact systems. The M.2 version is commonly used in tablets and ultrabooks. To ensure that you buy the right form factor, verify compatibility in just a few clicks using our System Scanner tool or Crucial® Advisor™ tool.

What do I need to know about total capacity?

Total capacity refers to the amount of data you can store on the drive, measured in gigabytes (GB) or terabytes (TB – 1TB equals about 1,000GB). The larger the capacity, the better.

What do the “read” and “write” specs mean in relation to SSDs?

Read and write speeds measure how fast data loads (reads) and saves/transfers (writes). Reads measure how quickly the SSD can access data it has already stored (for example, you click on an application and it loads). Writes measure how quickly the SSD can save data and “write” it to the drive for storage (for example, you save a document or transfer a photo from your phone to your computer).

What’s the interface?

The interface is how the drive is physically connected to your system. SATA and PCIe® are the most common interfaces. The interface on the drive must match your system, and you can quickly verify this by using the System Scanner tool or Crucial® Advisor™ tool.

What’s the unit height and why does it matter?

It’s the measurement of the physical height of the SSD (in millimeters). This is more important when installing a 2.5 inch form factor SSD. You’ll need to know this to make sure the drive fits in the storage bay of your computer. 

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