Staples offers a large selection of Solid State Drives (SSD), backed by our price match guarantee, including internal solid state drives from Samsung, Crucial and OCZ to ensure we carry the right solution for you. Customers often ask the question, what is an SSD drive? Below is a brief overview of the overall benefits of solid state drives and some distinctive features to consider when making your purchase.
Speed Is Key: Solid state drives are significantly faster and access data at greater speeds than traditional hard drives. When time is important, this means less waiting for everything from booting up your computer to transferring files.
Less Power Means Longer Battery Life: Solid state drives do not require very much power to operate, and it is substantially less than a traditional hard drive. You’ll save on your monthly electric bill, but most importantly you will extend the battery life of your laptop – great news for all road warriors.
Light As A Feather: Solid state drives utilize flash based memory to operate, similar to what you might find in a USB thumb drive. Installing an SSD in your laptop reduces the overall weight significantly, saving much need energy for that next great presentation.
Durability & Reliability: Solid state drives have no moving mechanical parts, unlike standard hard disk drives, that have spinning platters. If you are a little rough with your laptop in the security line, or have kids, you will appreciate vibration and shock resistance features. Solid state drives are built to last, and most importantly to keep your data safe and sound.
Interface: Solid state drives are manufactured with several different types of interfaces. The interface required is dependent primarily on your computer system and your needs. The most common form of interface is SATA (Serial ATA), and is the standard for most consumer desktop computers and laptops. There are currently two versions of SATA today in the market. SATA III (6 Gb/s) and SATA II (3 Gb/s). SATA II (3 Gb/s) is a second generation SATA interface supporting a bandwidth throughput of 300MB/s. SATA III (6 Gb/s) is the third and latest generation of the SATA interface supporting a bandwidth throughput of 600MB/s. SATA III (6 Gb/s) is also backwards compatible with the SATA II (3 Gb/s) interface, and should be the primary choice for most consumer due to improved throughput and compatibility.
Speed: Speed is an important consideration factor when making your purchase, especially if you want to maximize the benefits of your new SSD drive. Speed can be summarized through for key specifications, random read (4KB Random Read), random write (4KB Random Write), sequential read (Max Sequential Read) and sequential write (Max Sequential Write). Random read and write specifications generally indicate data access speeds for small files, the higher the number, the greater the speed. Sequential read and write specifications generally indicate sustained data access speeds for large files. If you primarily work with large files, you will want to favor higher sequential speeds over random speeds. If you rarely work with large files, you should favor higher random speeds over sequential speeds. Understanding this, you will also want to ask yourself whether you are primarily reading and opening files or are you frequently creating, copying and moving files.
Capacity: Offered in a variety of storage capacities, solid state drives are typically smaller than traditional hard drives and intended to support higher data access speeds when working with your operating system (OS) and resident programs or applications. Unlike external hard drives, an SSD is not intended to provide large amounts of storage for backing up or archiving files. When deciding on an appropriate storage capacity needs, it is important to consider the requirements of your operating system (e.g. Windows, Mac OS, Linux) in addition to any programs or applications you want to use (e.g. Microsoft Word, Adobe Photoshop). You should factor in not only your storage capacity needs for today, but also in the future. The most popular capacity in the market today is 120GB and 128GB models, which is sufficient for most consumers and their needs.
Form Factor: Solid state drives are manufactured in several different form factors, 2.5”, 3.5” and mSATA. The most common form factor is 2.5”, which is a standard format for most laptops that offer a 2.5” housing for a hard drive. The 2.5” form factor is also compatible with desktop computers, utilizing simple brackets that allow the 2.5” SSD drive to be mounted into 3.5” desktop hard drive housing. Many manufacturers offer included upgrade kits where the brackets are provided with the drive. The 3.5” form factor is intended to be used primarily in desktops, and are not compatible with standard internal laptop installations. mSATA is a fairly new form factor. Compact laptops and ultrabooks, frequently utilize the mSATA form factor. Some laptops also include a traditional 2.5” hard drive slot, with an optional mSATA slot. In this scenario, customers utilize the mSATA SSD as a boot drive, and utilize the additional 2.5” hard drive slot for additional storage with the benefit of enhanced data access rates that a solid state drive provides.
Upgrade Kits: Some SSD manufacturers offer solid state drives with included upgrade kits. Upgrade kits help simplify the process of upgrading your desktop or laptop computers hard drive by transferring existing data onto your new drive. This is typically done with an included cable and cloning software. Some manufacturers even include an external enclosure to allow you to continue to utilize your old hard drive in the future as an external hard drive, either for archiving purposes or additional storage.
The best solid state drives available today are the Samsung 840 series and the Crucial M4 series. Whatever SSD you choose, you can shop with confidence from brands you can trust including Samsung, OCZ, Crucial, Kingston, Intel, SanDisk, Patriot and Corsair. These brands offer the best value and are quality tested for reliable and optimal performance.