2.5" Solid State Drives
2.5" SATA Solid State Drive Classifications
SATA solid state drives (SSD) are commonplace. They utilize the SATA interface, whether in the 2.5” (physical) or M.2 (logical) form factor. One specific characteristic divides the “good” drives from the “bad”: the presence or lack of DRAM. DRAM on a SSD does not act as a write or data cache as you would find on a Hard Drive. Instead, it helps with the flash translation layer (FTL) – the method by which the drive communicates between the OS and the flash. The FTL handles myriad functions and the presence of DRAM assists it in these tasks, improving both performance and endurance. Drives utilized with mixed workloads – reads and writes – and especially many small operations benefit most from DRAM. This includes OS and mixed use.
Entry Level 2.5" SATA Solid State Drives
Entry-Level SATA solid state drives are suitable for light OS use and general data storage or may act as a dedicated game drive. Depending on the need for storage capacity these are generally used in smaller capacity for lighter use with general data storage and larger in capacity for gaming drives. Most QLC drives fall into the entry level category because they require more flash to hit peak performance due to denser flash and the parallel nature of SSD design. QLC drives are also slower and less consistent outside of the temporary SLC cache. Entry Level SATA drives also usually lack DRAM, which is more crucial for SATA drives.
Mid Level 2.5" SATA Solid State Drives
Mid-Level SATA solid state drives are suitable for any use but are a cheaper alternative to the very best drives on the market. They usually have DRAM but may be deficient in some other areas, such as have older or lower quality flash, an older controller, etc. These are an option if budget is important, but you do not want to drop to a DRAM-less drive. Mid level drives are generally used in laptops, PCs and other devices that operate eight hours a day, five days a week, in standard laptop and desktop applications.
Pro Level 2.5" SATA Solid State Drives
Pro-Level SATA solid state drives are the very best on the market. They have newer, more powerful controllers, use the most current NAND flash and have the highest Endurance (TBW) and (DWPD) rating of any SSDs on the market. Pro level drives are suitable for any type of usage. They are commonly used in heavy-duty workstations that create and edit photos and videos, process big data and regularly need to move loads of data through the system in short periods of time.