When talking about HDD vs SDD the answer is easy: Solid State Drives are the way to go. These are the main advantages, to name a few:

  • x10 faster transfer speeds. And even more if compared to M.2 SSDs
  • SSDs are completely noiseless as they have no moving parts
  • for the same reason, the generated heat is lower
  • and again for the same reason, the power consumption is also lower


The only reason you want an HDD is that you maybe need a large storage capacity. In that case, you can combine an HDD for storage and an SSD for the operating system. Keep reading to know how to choose the best SSD, and if you want to know more about the HDD vs SSD pros and cons, read the following post:

If you see errors, misleading information, or you just don’t agree with me I would really appreciate your comments so we all can improve this post together. Try to be nice with each other and be collaborative.

How To Choose The Best SSDs

What Is An SSD?

Solid State Drives are nonvolatile storage devices that use solid-state flash memory, like an ordinary USB for instance, but of higher quality. There are different formats, being the most typical the 2.5″ size format.

The main difference between an HDD and an SSD is the transfer speeds. As I said in the introduction, the SSDs have no moving parts, which makes them a lot faster. Typically, the transfer speed of a 7200 rpm HDD is between 100 – 150 MB/s. On the other hand, a standard SSD can easily reach the 500MB/s. The latest and more expensive models (M.2 format with PCIe 3.0 connection) can reach the stunning speed of 1500MB/s.

The unit price will depend on its reliability, capacity, durability and transfer speeds.

Differences Between Different SSDs Capacities

The SSDs are still much more expensive than HDDs so you need to determine your ideal storage needs. You should note that the SSD will be used only to store the operating system. For personal data, music, photos, etc. the best option is to use an external HDD or an internal HDD as the secondary storage device.

120 GB

Recommended for just installing the operating system. Enough for a Windows installation. For Mac users, a 250 GB SSD is preferable.

250 GB

This is the most suitable capacity for almost all the situations. You can install the operating system and install any number of applications, even some other game.

500 GB or More

There is no point to invest your money on these capacities unless you want to play all your games at full speed, directly from your SSD. In this case, you won’t need any secondary HDD drive.

Understanding The New M.2 Specification

The M.2 specification describes different form factors and interfaces for the SSDs. The most common interface is the PCIe, which allows a higher transfer speed, compared to the regular SATA3 SSDs.

M.2 is supposed to be the successor of the mSATA format, although they are retro-compatible with the SATA3 in two of the four form factors.

Usage Recommendations

The most recommended storage configuration is to install the operating system on the SSD and all your personal data, downloads, games, etc. in the HDD. In the case we are concerned, when games are installed in an HDD, you will free up part of the SSD load, improving the overall system performance.

It is also recommended to not store important data on your SSD because they are not as durable nor stable as the HDDs and you could lose all that data.

Be sure that your motherboard or laptop supports SATA3 in order to take advantage of the 6 Gbps transfer rates, instead of the 3 Gbps that the SATA2 interface allows.

In order to keep the highest performance ratings and extend its durability, the SSD needs some free space, typically around the 10%. The easiest method to do that is to create an empty partition of the desired space and leave it there. You won’t need to care about this anymore.

Buying Guide

2.5″ – From $60 to $90

M.2 – From $90 to $100

The Best

2.5″ – From $90 to $130

M.2 – From $180


Added Products

  • February 7, 2018: Samsung 860 EVO 250GB & Samsung 860 PRO 256GB
  • September 25, 2017: Crucial BX300 240GB, ADATA SU800 3D-Nand 128GB
  • June 20, 2017: DREVO X1 Series 120GB
  • June 9, 2017: SanDisk Plus 120GB, PNY CS1311 120GB
  • February 1, 2017: OCZ TL100 240 GB
  • December 23, 2016: Corsair Force MP500 M.2 PCIe 240GB, Samsung 960 EVO M.2 PCIe 250GB, Crucial MX300 275GB
  • September 9, 2016: Corsair Force LE 240GB, SanDisk Plus 240GB, ADATA Premier SP550 M.2 240GB

Removed Products

  • February 7, 2018: Samsung 850 EVO 250GB, Samsung 850 PRO 256GB
  • March 18, 2017: Crucial MX200 250GB, Samsung 950 PRO M.2 PCIe 256GB

How did you find this guide? What kind of storage are you using? Do you use any RAID configuration? Are you planning to buy a PCIe SSD anytime soon?

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Adrian Benavides

I've been always an avid gamer with limited resources. This led me to learn how to build the best gaming computers within tight budgets. Now, I want to share the knowledge I've acquired over the years with the world!

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