Why use an SSD? – SSD Buyer’s Guide

Upgrading your PC to solid-state drive (SSD) storage is an easy way to boost the snappiness and reliability of your computer. Indeed, many new desktops PCs and laptops now include an SSD as standard. But, why are these drives so preferable over the traditional hard disk drive (HDD)?

What’s the difference between SSD and HDD?

While a solid-state drive and a hard disk drive perform the same roles as one another – storing your computer’s data – they’re two unique technologies. Traditional HDDs operate using moving parts, storing data on a spinning platter that’s driven by a motor.

Like a vinyl record, a head attached to an arm has to drop into the grooves of this platter to read and write data. It’s why HDDs are sometimes called mechanical drives.

By contrast, an SSD features no moving parts. It’s all digital, much in the same way as an USB drive. An SSD is comprised of flash memory chips, a controller and optionally some cache – that’s it. As there are no moving parts to slow it down, an SSD lets you boot up your computer and programs considerably faster than an HDD would.  

What is SSD storage?

A solid-state drive is a type of computer storage device. As mentioned, SSDs entirely rely on flash memory chips which makes them incredibly fast compared to clunky mechanical drives.

SSD technology itself has been around for a decently long time, but it wasn’t until 2010 or so when they started to become a viable alternative to HDDs in the consumer market. Year after year, the price of SSD storage continues to drop and as a result HDDs have been largely phased out in favour of SSDs. Nowadays, you’ll be hard pressed to find an off-the-shelf PC that isn’t equipped with SSD storage.

Why use an SSD?

As illustrated above, a solid-state drive is faster than a hard disk drive. But what does this mean in practical terms?

While an SSD doesn’t affect your computer’s performance, at least in the traditional sense, it increases the overall responsiveness. Your frames-per-second aren’t going to increase with an SSD, for example. But everything will load that much faster, from navigating file explorer to launching your programs.

This extends to how long it takes to boot up your computer in the first place. On a hard drive, it can take an agonisingly long time to get into the operating system from a cold boot. This is reduced to mere seconds on an SSD. Imagine the time you’ll save with an SSD over days, months, and years.

SSDs are more durable and reliable than HDDs. Again, as there are no moving parts things can’t be knocked loose as easily. Accidentally drop an HDD and it can very easily incur data loss as the head scratches over the platter. Whereas an SSD can better withstand drops and shocks.

What’s more, no moving parts means that SSDs consume less power than HDDs and they come in a much slimmer form-factor. Altogether, this makes an SSD a great option for portable devices such as laptops.

Why wouldn’t you use an SSD?

So, it’s a win-win situation all around then? Well, not quite. While SSDs are a clear winner in terms of performance, you’ll pay a premium over the cost of an HDD for it. As a matured technology that’s been around for decades by this point, you can get terabytes’ worth of HDD storage at dirt cheap prices.

SSDs continue to drop in price, but they’ve yet to reach anywhere as low as an HDD. For example, you’ll regularly find 2TB HDDs for under £50, but for a 2TB SSD you’re looking at £150 as of the time of writing.

Also, the capacities of HDDs are much larger than SSDs. Current SSDs max out at around 4TB a drive, whereas HDDs can go up to ridiculously large 20TB.

While an HDD may not have the raw speed of an SSD, this makes it a great option for maximising the capacity of an archival/back-up solution, like a network-attached storage (NAS) server.

Choosing your SSD – Finding the best SSD for you

Like any computer component or piece of hardware, SSDs vary in specification and performance. But out of all the different drives available, how do you know which one is best for you? To choose an SSD, you need to look at its specification. It will include…

Read-write speeds

Measured in megabytes-per-second, shortened to MBps or MB/s. So, on a drive’s spec-sheet you will see 560MB/s read and 510MB/s write, for example. The higher the number, the faster the drive.

In most cases the write speed isn’t a big deal, it’s the read speed that’s important. You ‘read’/load data from an SSD far more frequently than you write to it. For a considerable upgrade over an HDD look for at least 400MB/s on the read-write. But go for a faster write speed if your budget allows it.

NAND flash memory type

On SSDs, two types of memory are used: Single Level Cell (SLC) and Multi Level Cell (MLC). MLC memory stores more data in each cell. So, MLC SSDs come in cheaper prices and larger capacities. However, SLC SSDs feature higher endurance.

Serial ATA

Shortened to SATA. This is an interface that connects an SSD to a motherboard. It requires a SATA data connection and a SATA power connection from a PSU. Most, if not all, modern 2.5” SSDs will use SATA III, the latest and fastest iteration of the technology.

SATA III is the same interface used to hook up an HDD. As such, SATA III’s transfer rate caps out at around 600MB/s. It’s why you may see SATA III expressed as ‘SATA 600’ on some spec-sheets.

NVM Express

Shortened to NVMe. An SSD running on the NVMe interface slots right into a motherboard’s M.2 slot and transfers data over the Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) bus – the same as a super-fast graphics card.

PCIe Gen4 SSDs can push read-write speeds of up to 7GB/s (gigabyte-per-second). For a deeper dive into these interfaces, check out our gaming blog NVMe SSD vs SATA SSD vs HDD – Speed Comparison…


Here’s a 3.5″ HDD compared to the 2.5″ Seagate FireCuda 120 Beskar Ingot and M.2 form-factor FireCuda 530 Beskar Ingot.

You can get SSDs in a 2.5” form-factor – the same as the slimmest HDDs – or a M.2 form-factor that’s the size of a stick of gum. Most SATA-powered SSDs are 2.5”, while NVMe drives are M.2. For context, most HDDs come in a large 3.5” form-factor – check out the comparison image above.

An M.2 drive goes right into an M.2 slot on your motherboard, whereas a 2.5” drives slides into a drive bay in your computer case or laptop.


As mentioned above, SSDs do tend to have smaller capacities than HDDs. If you’re looking for a new device, either as a primary boot drive or a secondary storage drive, then you’ll find SSDs up to 4TB at Ebuyer. Though the most common capacities are 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB per drive.

Best SSD brands – SSDs at Ebuyer

From 2.5” SATA SSDs to M.2 PCIe Gen4 NVMe SSDs, Ebuyer stocks a wide range of storage drives from some of the leading names in tech, including…


One of the bigger names in computer memory and computer data storage. If you’re a PC builder, you might’ve heard of Crucial’s Ballistix memory kits.

Crucial produces a range of SSDs that are guaranteed to improve your computer’s snappiness. Equipped with high-quality hardware, all Crucial SSDs are ultra-reliable are the perfect fit for any system. Browse Ebuyer’s range of Crucial SSDs.  


Kingston specialises in flash memory devices such as SSDs, memory cards, USB drives, and more. So, it’s no surprise Kingston’s range of SSDs are high-quality. Ideal for pepping up an existing system or as the primary storage drive for a brand-new build. Fast data transfer, near-instant boot times, and quick-fire programs are all guaranteed on a Kingston SSD. Browse Ebuyer’s range of Kingston SSDs.


They need no introduction and, as you would expect from such a reputable company, Samsung SSDs are incredibly reliable. Built to last and delivering ultra-fast performance, Samsung SSDs are an ideal upgrade for your computer. Browse Ebuyer’s range of Samsung SSDs.


An SSD from Seagate is an easy way to improve the responsiveness of your computer. After dropping an SSD into your system you’ll immediately notice the difference a Seagate makes, from faster OS boot times to game loading times. Check out our gaming blogs 7,300MB/s speeds! – Seagate FireCuda 530 solid-state drive review… and Star Wars SSDs! – Seagate FireCuda Beskar Ingot 530 & 120 Review…

Western Digital

High-performance NVMe SSD, budget SATA SSDs, and traditional HDDs from Western Digital can all be found on the virtual shelves of Ebuyer. Choose from a range of drives that all been built with quality hardware. Check out our gaming blog WD_Black SN850 Unboxing & Testing…


What does SSD stand for?

SSD means solid-state drive.

What is an SSD drive?

An SSD is comprised of flash memory chips used to store and access your computer’s data.

Is an SSD the same as a HDD?

In function, yes. However, an SSD is much faster and more reliable than a HDD.

What’s the difference between a solid-state drive (SSD) and a hard disk drive (HDD)?

Traditional HDDs operate using moving parts, storing data on a spinning platter. An SSD, on the other hand, is all digital. It features no moving parts, instead using flash memory chips.

What are the advantages of an SSD over a HDD?

An SSD is considerably faster than a HDD, is more reliable, consumes less power, and is available in a smaller form-factor. Most notably, the blistering transfer rates of an SSD get you into your computer’s operating system much faster, saving time.

Are there any disadvantages?

Yes. An SSD is more expensive per gigabyte than an HDD. And HDDs come in much larger capacities.

Which is the best SSD?

It depends on your use case. The best budget SSD differs from the best gaming SSD, for instance. In terms of raw performance, however, PCIe Gen4 NVMe SSDs are the fastest. While SATA III caps out at around 600MB/s, PCIe Gen4 reaches all the way up to an eye-wateringly fast 7GB/s.

Are SSDs reliable?

As there are no moving parts, SSDs are very reliable and can better withstand drops and shocks than HDDs. This makes them great for portable devices, like laptops.

How much does an SSD cost?

The price of an SSD varies on the model. Assuming equal capacities, a NVMe SSD is more expensive than a SATA SSD, which is more expensive than a HDD. You’ll find the lowest prices right here at Ebuyer.

How much storage does an SSD have?

Again, it varies. While high-capacity SSDs of up to 4TB are available, you can get HDDs up to 20TB per drive. The most common capacities of SSD are 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB. As SSDs tend to have smaller capacities than HDDs, many people use a super-fast SSD as a primary boot drive with a extra-large HDD as a secondary storage drive.

What sizes do SSDs come in?

You can get SSDs in a 2.5” form-factor or a M.2 form-factor that’s the size of a stick of gum. For context, most HDDs come in a large 3.5” form-factor.

How much SSD storage do I need?

Again, it depends. If you’re planning to run an SSD as a boot drive for your operating system, you’ll want at least a 120GB model. A Windows 11 installation requires 64GB of storage space at minimum, so 120GB gives you a bit of extra space for must-have programs and not much else.

Ideally, we’d recommend at least 500GB. This gives you space for your operating systems as well as programs, without having to constantly shuffle around delete old files to make way for new ones.

Gaming is another beast entirely, however. A single AAA game can easily consume upwards of 100GB, so unless you have only a couple games installed at a time, a 1TB or even a 2TB SDD is recommended. Remember, it’s not just the games themselves that’ll take up space. There’s also high bitrate livestream recordings, mods and more.

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