Different types of PC Storage

Different types of PC Storage Overview.

We are going to discuss three different types of Storage for your Desktop., specifically the Hard Disk Drive (HDD) , Solid State Drive (SSD) and an M.2 storage.


Hard disk drive is a non-volatile memory hardware that permanently stores and retrieves data on a computer and commonly consist of a disk platters that are position around the spindle as well as read-and-write magnetic heads and mecha-arm (actuator) all  inside a secured casing. Internal SATA Hard drives connects to the motherboard using a SATA cable, and a SATA power cable from the PSU.

SATA or Serial ATA is a bus interface that connects HBA or host controllers to mass storage devices.

SATA Revisions

  1. Serial ATA-150 : 1.5Gbit/s or 150MB/s
  2. Serial ATA-300 : 3.0Gbit/s or 300MB/s
  3. Serial ATA-600 : 6.0Gbit/s or 600MB/s

HDD has an average of 25 seconds boot-up time which make this likely to be a secondary drive for storing files and for back-up purposes, and the SSD will be the boot-up drive. Avoid using contacting magnets from this drive because it may erase your data. Some hard drives at different rates of speed, the faster it spins the faster your PC responds  on your data. An average spindle rotation of a desktop hard drive is usually 7,200 revolutions per minute (RPM) and there’s also an enterprise type of HDD with 10,000 RPM but much more expensive and draws more power so an SSD is a better option for this.


Solid state drive is a non-volatile memory hardware that also stores data permanently but there’s no moving parts on the drive unlike the HDD with spinning platters on it, the data stored on IC chips that retains data even when powered-off. SSD is typically sized 2.5″ SATA III (6.0Gb/s) form factor as the standard for both desktop and laptop, it uses NAND-based flash memory with a data transfer rate of up to 2,500MB/s+ therefore SSD performance considered to be much faster than any mechanical hard drives in the market.

SSD also connects to the motherboard using a SATA cable, and a SATA power cable from the PSU, since it’s a 2.5″ drive you can also replace a hard drive on a laptop to upgrade an SSD.

NAND Flash Memory

  • Single-level Cell (SLC): Stores 1- bit of data per flash cell. It is the fastest, most reliable and most expensive type of NAND flash.
  • Multi-level Cell (MLC): Stores 2-bits of data per flash cell.  It is slower than SLC but less expensive.
  • Triple-level Cell (TLC): Stores 3-bits of data per flash cell. It is less expensive than SLC/MLC which makes more interesting to storage manufacturers for client-consumer-based flash memory.

SSD draw less power and quiet operation than HDD and has an average boot-up time of 10 seconds which makes this as a primary drive for OS installation.

m.2 (NGFF)

m.2 or Next Generation Form Factor is one of the smallest storage device that is a new interface for both SSD and PCIe card with higher speed than a regular 2.5″ SSDs with speed of up to 4GB/s using PCIe Bus 3.0 X4 connection that are currently available on the market. This little drive delivers huge performance for desktop or laptop usage.

m.2 does have different sizes in terms of its length such as 2242 which is 22mm width : 42mm length and so on so be sure to check your motherboard before you buy.

Storage m.2 have Key-M and/or Key-B modules depending on the host controller which can be SATA, AHCI or NVMe transfer protocols. In terms of speed, NVMe M.2 is typically faster than AHCI also with a better latency.

m.2 is a V-NAND technology that stacks memory cells vertically and uses Charge Trap Flash (CTF) architecture. The vertical layers allow larger areal bit densities without requiring smaller individual cells. CTF is an architecture that uses smaller process geometries wherein reducing chip size and cost, less susceptible to defects and multiple bits can be stored on a single flash memory cell as well as improving reliability.

Modern motherboards and laptops (including 2-in-1) already have an m.2 slot which takes place to be a primary OS drive in replace of a particular 2.5″ SSDs, and partner with 3.5″ hard drives for storing large files and archiving.


In conclusion, if you need to store large files, you’re on a budget and doesn’t care about boot-up time, then you should get a Hard Drive; if you want to load programs and games faster or lessen boot-up time, building a small form factor PC and you got a budget for storage device, then reward yourself an SSD or m.2

[DATE PUBLISHED: November 18, 2017] Last updated on November 18, 2017 by kierddt


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