Last updated: 16/10/2022

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For many, the world of computers and the accessories that go with them seems like a journey in a paddle boat across a huge sea, with no hope of reaching the saving shore. But with a little initiative and interest, this huge sea doesn’t seem so big anymore and you’ll soon realise that you can learn all the relevant things about hard drives in no time at all.

Because one thing in advance: SSD hard disks are the standard in every PC these days. Just like with cars, you want to get to your destination quickly and not lose precious time in data jams.

With our big SSD hard disk test 2023 we want to help you find the right solid-state disk for your PC and your requirements. We have listed the most important purchase criteria and presented the current bestsellers.

This should make your decision for the right hard disk as easy as possible. We have also listed and answered the most frequently asked questions about SSDs so that you are fully informed.




The most important facts

  • So-called solid-state disks are many times faster than conventional magnetic hard disks. At the same time, SSD hard disks achieve shorter access times and significantly higher data rates with regard to booting the PC, starting programmes or accessing large mountains of data.
  • SSD hard disks are shock- and drop-proof, which is due to the fact that no moving parts are installed. So your data is safe in that respect. This is particularly suitable for notebooks that are transported a lot and used on the road.
  • Solid-state disks are divided into internal and external hard disks. In addition, the storage capacity can be between 16 gigabytes and 4 terabytes.

The Best SSD Hard Drive: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for SSD hard drives

In the following, we would like to help you find your way through the confusing multitude of SSD hard drives. We will show you the most important aspects that you can use to decide on the right product.

The criteria with which you can compare the solid state disks with each other include:

In the next few paragraphs, we’ll explain the criteria in detail so you know what to look for.

Storage capacity

With any form of storage, the capacity of the storage is the most important factor. The spectrum of solid state disks ranges from 120 gigabytes to several terabytes.

Did you know that 1,000 gigabytes is a terabyte?

A gigabyte, in turn, is equal to 1,000 megabytes. The next largest units are petabyte, exabyte and zettabyte. The conversion is always done in steps of 1,000

As always, there is no upper limit in terms of both quality and price. Therefore, you should consider how much storage space you really need. The more capacity the hard drive has, the more expensive the device will be.

If you don’t have much budget for a large SSD, you can also consider combining a smaller SSD with a conventional hard drive.

You can store frequently used data on the SSD, which you are more likely to use in everyday life, and all other important data that you don’t need very often on a large external hard drive, which is much cheaper than SSDs.

It should also be noted that, in the best case, 20 to 30 per cent of the SSD hard disk should be left free to ensure smooth operation without a drop in performance.

A good indication of the required capacity is the current storage requirement. If you add the storage space for the operating system, frequently used programmes and games, you get the minimum storage space requirement.

Interface

The interface is the limiting factor when it comes to speed. Basically, faster is always better. In the case of the hard disk, this means that you can copy files, open programmes or start the system faster with SSD hard disks. SSD hard disks are particularly advantageous for huge amounts of files because of their short waiting times.

There are clear differences in the interfaces of internal and external hard drives.

The internal hard drives are connected directly to the mainboard of the computer/notebook via SATA, the universal PCIe connection or M.2. This allows a much higher data rate than USB, for example.

External SSD hard drives, on the other hand, are usually connected to the computer via USB ports. Nevertheless, external hard drives with other connections are also available, but you must make sure that your PC also has the appropriate connection.

Read and write speed

Like the PS on cars, SSD hard drives also have specifications for power and speed. This speed is particularly noticeable in two points: faster programme start and shorter boot times. Translated, this means that there are differences between the various models when starting programmes and booting up the computer.

As described above, internal SSDs have SATA interfaces; the current SATA III type achieves a speed of 6,000 Mbps.

External hard disks, which are connected via USB 3.0 or mSATA, achieve speeds of up to 5,000 Mbps.

The speed of the hard drives is specified in megabytes or gigabits per second. However, the manufacturers’ specifications should be treated with caution, because the data always refer to theoretical speeds that can only be achieved under very specific conditions.

Here, too, if you are unsure, we refer you to the internet or your specialist advisor, as there are a lot of “great and big numbers” among the offers. Nevertheless, you should not go into the shop naively and let yourself be charmed by any numbers.

Dimensions / weight / form factor

Especially for internal solid state disks, the size is of immense importance, as it guarantees whether the hard disk with its dimensions will fit into your computer or not.

In practice, internal hard disks are generally smaller and lighter than their external counterparts

The issue of weight can also be important for you. If you’re going for lightweight laptops that you transport a lot, you should compare the weight. But the good news is that all internal hard drives weigh just a few grams these days and are therefore flyweights.

The size of a hard drive is always specified as the form factor. However, in the case of SSD hard drives, the form factor is not necessarily the same as the size. The form factor generally refers to the diameter of the spindles in the hard disk drive, which are installed in conventional hard disks. The form factor and thus the “size unit” has remained on the market and the solid state disks have been adapted to this standard.

There are two variants of the form factor: on the one hand the 2.5 inch models and on the other hand the 3.5 inch models. However, the size only refers to the size of the drive in which the hard disk is to be integrated. The 2.5 inch models have a lower noise level during operation. Otherwise, the models do not differ greatly from each other.

It can happen that the drive is too large for the 2.5 inch hard disk. In this case, there are adapters that expand the hard drive to the appropriate size and are thus compatible with the end device. However, the reverse is not the case. For this reason, many manufacturers now offer flatter versions, especially for notebooks.

Memory cell type

There are three different types of memory cells in SSDs: SLC, MLC and TLC. SLC stands for Single Level Cell and this takes up one bit per cell. The Multi Level Cell, or MLC for short, takes up two bits per cell, and the Triple Level Cell even takes up three bits per cell.

The SLC memory cells trump the other two variants with their faster write rate and longer service life.

In addition, SLC consumes less power.

Unfortunately, the production of this variant is also much more expensive. MLC and TLC memory cells, on the other hand, enable greater storage density, which means that larger storage capacities can be achieved.

MLC and TLC have established themselves in the mainstream. SLC is more suitable for servers and high-performance PCs

These memory cells influence the lifespan of SSD hard disks. The service life of internal hard disks is usually given in hours. This is because the internal hard disk is in operation more often and permanently. Internal hard disks now achieve half-lives of up to 2 million hours, which corresponds to about 228 years.

For external hard disks, the service life is given in write cycles. The spectrum here ranges from 1,000 to over 100,000 cycles per cell. This roughly corresponds to a service life of up to 300 years.

Decision: What types of SSDs are there and which one is right for you?

If you want to get an SSD, there are two types you can choose from:

SSD Festplatten

Internal SSD hard disk

external SSD Hard Drive

In the following sections, we will explain the two product types in detail so that you are fully informed on this topic and can make the right decision.

Internal SSD hard disk

Internal SSD hard drives are, as the name suggests, integrated and built into the PC or notebook. This means you don’t have to worry about forgetting your memory. In addition, internal hard drives work somewhat faster than external ones, which is due to the fact that the hard drives are directly connected to the end device and form a unit. In addition, the internal variant is significantly cheaper than the external counterpart.

When connecting the SSD hard drive to the PC / notebook, no special connections are required. It does not matter whether the hard disk is connected via Sata or similar – once the connection is established, it remains in place.

However, there is one thing to consider when choosing a hard drive: whether the end device can accommodate the size of the hard drive and then also “read” it. In most cases, this is no longer a problem. Nevertheless, if you have an older device, you should make sure that the hard disk is compatible with your device. If you are not sure, you can ask a consultant in the shop or look for opinions on the internet.

Advantages
  • Disk is in the device
  • faster because directly connected
  • cheaper
Disadvantages
  • not compatible with every device
  • device may not be able to accept disc

External SSD hard disk

An external hard disk is the counterpart to the internal variant. The external hard disk is particularly convincing because of its mobility, as it is not built into a terminal device and can therefore be connected to all electrical devices with the appropriate connection. This hard drive serves as a separate storage device for any data or backups that you would like to store in a second location in addition to your computer.

Furthermore, an external SSD hard drive offers the advantage that it has several connection options, such as USB 4.0 or WireFire, which is relevant for the transfer speed, among other things. But multiple connection options are also advantageous for connecting to end devices.

The purchase of the external hard drive becomes problematic primarily with regard to the price. This external variant is significantly more expensive than the internal counterpart. Furthermore, the USB connection is usually much slower than the SATA connection of the internal hard drives.

This is reflected in the transfer speed. In addition, due to the size of the hard drive, you may not have enough space in your backpack to transport it. Or you may forget the hard drive at home.

Advantages
  • multiple connection options
  • separate storage for data
  • mobility
Disadvantages
  • Lower transfer speed due to USB
  • more expensive

Guide: Frequently asked questions about SSDs answered in detail

We want to use the following questions in our guide to answer the most important questions about solid state disks. We have selected the questions for you and answered them briefly. In this way, you are optimally and comprehensively informed on the topic of SSD hard disks and know the most important facts.

For whom is an SSD hard disk suitable?

In principle, solid state disks are suitable for everyone who owns a computer / notebook. So as soon as you need storage for data, because you prefer to back up some data as a copy or simply want to store data, an SSD hard disk is exactly the right thing for you. SSDs offer several advantages compared to magnetic hard drives, also known as HDDs.

Due to the shorter loading and access times and the enormously higher data rate, SSDs are also well suited for “gamers” or graphic designers who work a lot on their notebook / PC at work or in their free time.

The SSD hard disk is particularly noticeable due to the fast booting of the computer, the high productivity and hardly any to no loading time for programmes.

A combination of SSD and HDD can be the optimal alternative for many. The solid state disk as a hard disk in the PC / notebook and the magnetic hard disk as an external hard disk for the data that you do not need to access daily.

However, these advantages are also reflected in the price. SSDs are much more expensive than HDDs. So consider exactly how much storage you need, what you want to use the drive for and how big your budget is. With SSDs, you can work much more efficiently and quickly, but this is also reflected in the price. The conventional magnetic hard disks offer much more memory and are cheaper.

What does SSD mean and what is the difference to conventional hard disks?

The abbreviation SSD stands for Solid State Disk. The German term for it is “Halbleiterlaufwerk”. They are electronic storage media that use flash-based memory chips and SDRAMs. This is where SSDs differ from conventional magnetic hard disks.

SSDS essentially consist of a logic board with memory chips. In addition, there may be a controller or a housing. The simple design of these hard disks makes it easier to prevent and avoid defects.

Type Advantages lag
SSD hard disk shorter access times, higher data rate, lighter/smaller/flatter, almost noiseless, more power-saving, crash/shock-proof significantly more expensive, less storage space
HDD hard disk significantly more storage capacity, cheaper more susceptible to defects, significantly slower, heavier/larger/clunkier, more power consumption

There are several advantages that an SSD hard disk offers compared to an HDD hard disk. First of all, SSDS are much smaller, flatter and lighter than their magnetic counterparts. In addition, they operate almost silently. Due to the lower power consumption, the SSD generates less waste heat, which means that it also needs to be cooled less, which in turn saves the computer’s energy.

Solid state disks have a much higher data rate and shorter access times than HDDs. This means you can run programmes faster, your computer boots faster and you can access large files faster.

Furthermore, SSDs are shock and drop resistant, which is due to the fact that there are no moving parts in the SSD. This is a real advantage, especially for transport and mobile use. HDDs, on the other hand, have moving parts inside the housing, which can lead to a so-called head crash in the event of shocks or a fall. The hard disk is damaged inside and it can happen that all data on it is lost and cannot be recovered.

SSD Festplatte-1

This small device offers great performance. Thanks to its low weight and flat, small shape, the SSD hard drive is ideal for notebooks.
(Image source: Claudio Schwarz / Unsplash)

Unfortunately, the manufacturers have to pay dearly for all these advantages. SSDs are much more expensive than HDDs. In addition, the solid state disks offer far less storage space than the magnetic hard disks. However, it has to be said that SSDs are now available with four terabytes, which is an astonishing size. HDDs have up to sixteen terabytes.

Is an SSD compatible with all end devices?

Basically, yes. External hard drives in particular are characterised by the universal USB connection, which can actually be found on all end devices today. Whether TV, notebook or receiver, there is a USB connection everywhere.

The speed of data transfer can be increased through various connections

If you have huge amounts of data and a USB connection, you may have to wait a little longer until the data has been transferred to the external storage device.

You can avoid this speed problem by using a faster Thunderbolt, SATA or WireFire connection, for example. However, you must make sure that your end device has these connections.

With internal hard drives, the connection is usually always established with one of the aforementioned connections.

Once again, you should either consult the operating instructions beforehand or unscrew the computer and look inside to see which connections your end device has.

If you are unsure, you should consult an expert who is familiar with this technology and the installation.

What size SSD should I buy?

This always depends on the purpose for which you are buying the hard drive, how much data you want to store on it and, if applicable, how large your drive is if you want to buy an internal SSD hard drive.

First of all, you should always think about what you want to buy a solid state disk for. Usually this is the same case: you need storage space for data. Or you might want to revamp your somewhat outdated computer and give it some speed when booting.

SSD Festplatte-2

SSD hard drives are the standard for efficient work these days. Whether at home or at work, solid-state disks give you fast load times and high data rates.
(Image source: Hoan Vo / Unsplash)

No matter what reason is decisive for you, besides this reason it is essential to at least estimate how much storage space you need. After all, it doesn’t make sense to buy a state-of-the-art SSD with 512 gigabytes if you want to store twice as much data on it.

A good indication of the capacity you need is your current storage requirements. If you add the storage space for the operating system, frequently used programmes and games, you get the minimum storage space required. In addition, please remember the tip from above that for smooth operation of the hard disk, about 20 to 30 percent must be left free.

When it comes to the physical size of the hard disk, you can easily find the size of your drive in the operating instructions or on the Internet as a guide.

The internal SSD hard disk should then also be the same size so that you can integrate it into your end device.

In terms of the physical size of an external hard drive, it hardly matters how big it is. It all depends on you and your personal feeling.

What does an SSD hard drive cost?

Solid state disks are generally more expensive than conventional magnetic hard disks. But even among SSDs there are differences between internal and external storage devices.

Above all, however, the prices differ according to the different storage capacities. An internal solid state disk with 120 gigabytes can be purchased for as little as about 27 euros. If, for example, you prefer an internal SSD with two terabytes from Crucial, you will be looking at a good 430 euros. As always, the sky’s the limit. With external SSDs, depending on the storage capacity, you’re looking at between 40 and over 500 euros.

Model price
Internal SSD up to 1 TB from about 27 to 250 euros
Internal SSD from 2 TB from about 210 euros
External SSD from about 40 euros

What are the alternatives to an SSD?

There are several ways to find a replacement for a solid state disk. The two most common methods are the conventional magnetic hard disk or the hybrid hard disk, a combination of SSD and HDD.

As we described earlier, HDDs are the predecessors and thus the direct alternative to SSDs. The magnetic hard disks convince with an enormous amount of storage capacity and a very low price compared to the SSDs.

SSD Festplatte-3

The hard disk drive, or HDD for short, has a large storage capacity. At its core are moving parts that must be protected from shocks.
(Image source: Art Wall / Unsplash)

Another alternative is the combination of HDD and SSD hard drive, the so-called hybrid hard drive or SSHD. This alternative combines the advantages of both types. Most of the storage capacity is provided by the HDD model, but there is also a small flash memory that is found in the SSDs.

The hybrid HDD automatically detects which data on it is accessed particularly frequently and stores it on the flash memory, so that this data can be accessed directly without long waiting times.

Furthermore, the SSHD is almost as fast as a normal SSD, which is a good alternative for many, especially to conventional HDDs.

In addition, the lifespan of the SSHD is longer than that of an SSD, as the flash memory is protected by the storage capacity of the HDD part.

Another big plus for the SSHD is the storage capacity and the price. SSHDs have a significantly larger capacity than solid state disks due to the combination of flash memory and conventional magnetic storage. And the price for SSHDs is also lower than for SSDs.

Only the noise level is somewhat higher here, which is due to the mechanical functioning of the HDD. The sensitivity is also the same as with a conventional magnetic hard disk. If the SSHD falls once, it is usually ruined, which is rather unlikely with SSD hard drives.

Can I format or clone an SSD hard drive?

Yes, you can do the same things with an SSD as you can with a conventional hard drive. Whether it is cloning an operating system or the hard disk itself, whether the hard disk is to be formatted, defragmented or deleted, everything is possible in the age of computers.

Picture source: Sriwilat/ 123rf.com

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