Hard Disk and SSD Drives

Useful information on hard disk and SSD drives

A hard disk drive (HDD)

A hard disk drive (HDD)

Almost every modern desktop PC or laptop/notebook PC contains at least one internal hard disk drive (HDD) of the kind shown in the image above as the permanent mass storage device for its software – and/or an internal Solid State Drive (SSD) of the kind shown in the image below, which is a wholly electronic device (does not have the spinning disks and heads used by a hard disk drive, hence the name solid state).

The new very thin and light Ultrabook laptops have an SSD drive instead of a hard disk drive, which means that due to the much higher cost of an SSD drive their data storage capacity is much less than most current standard laptops.

In March of 2017, a typical 520GB SSD could be bought for around £160.00, which is approximately 3GB per £1, the same rate as in 2014. However, the SSD drive capacities have increased since then. Expensive 1TB and 2TB SSDs are available. In March 2017, a 1TB/2TB SSDs were selling for around £270/£530 respectively, but a 2TB hard disk drive (HDD) – twice the capacity – were selling for only around £65. Therefore, cost is still a serious factor to be considered when deciding on whether to use an SSD or an HDD when building or buying computers.

Note that an internal SSD uses the same serial SATA interface as a standard hard disk drive. Also note that, as with external hard disk drives, portable SSDs are available that use the USB interface.

The M.2 motherboard slot interface mostly used for SSDs

M.2 slot (bottom) on a Gigabyte motherboard

M.2 slot (bottom) on a Gigabyte motherboard. Click on the image to view its full size

Note that some motherboards come with a M.2 (m-dot-2) slot. There is too much to know about this motherboard slot to put it on this page, so a good link is provided below instead. At some point I will write my own page on it. The main use of the slot is to provide an SSD as card that exceeds the speed of an SSD drive using the SATA interface. Wi-Fi cards for the slot are available.

The following forum threads deal with the M.2 slot and SSDs.



The image below, from the user manual of an Asus motherboard, show how it is fitted. The screw is removed, the card is inserted in the M.2 slot and is then screwed in. Note that the SSD has to support the M.2 slot. You can’t just buy an SSD and use the slot to install it.

M.2 motheboard slot for SSD and Wi-Fi cards showing an SSD card

M.2 motherboard slot for SSD and Wi-Fi cards showing an SSD card

“There’s a lot to unpack, starting with the fact that there’s more than one kind of M.2 connector, more than one type of interface that can be used with M.2, and more than one kind of M.2 card.” –

Understanding M.2, the interface that will speed up your next SSD –


Best SSDs For The Money –


Corsair Force 60GB Solid State Drive

Corsair Force 60GB Solid State Drive

Page 4: SSDs – Performance, installation and reviews