For Solid State Drives, I believe you are familiar with it. But if someone asks you what is the M.2 and what is the NVMe, I believe that you may not be able to answer these questions. Here, I will popularize the SSD Terminology and introduce an easy way to upgrade hard drive to SSD.

About SSD Interface: SATA/M.2/PCIe

SATA Interface

At present, Most SSD products on the market use SATA interface. First of all, the SATA interface, in essence, is inherited from the traditional mechanical hard disk era, and is the mainstream of hard disk interface. As the result of being born out of the traditional mechanical hard disk, the SATA interface has extremely high compatibility and can perfectly support all kinds of motherboard. The SSDs with SATA interface sell well.

SATA interface

In the era of SSDs, SSDS with SATA interface always maintains the highest shipment and market shares, and it also becomes the first choice of solid-state type for computer users to configure computers. Different from the HDD era, SSD SATA interface generally uses the highest performance level SATA III, whose theoretical maximum speed is 6 Gbps.

According to the actual usage situation, the final read and write performance of most SSD based on SATA interface should be more than 500MB/S irrespective of he transmission loss. In other words, if the read and write performance of SSD with the SATA III is less than 500MB/S, then they have bad quality.

M.2 Interface

As for the M.2 interface, it is a new interface for SSD. According to the size of the SSD, the card slot of the M.2 interface has many dimensions such as 2280 and 2256. Currently, the mainstream dimension of M.2 interface is almost 2280.

M.2 interface

In essence, the M.2 interface can be understood as the PCIe slot, and the transmission ability is various because of different transmission protocols of SSD. Just because of different transmission protocols, the inside of the M.2 interface can be simply divided into M.2 interface using PCIe channel and M.2 interface that does not use PCIe channel.

That is to say, in the world of the M.2 interface, there exist different interfaces depending on the different transmission protocols. You need to pay key attention to this point for many unscrupulous merchants conduct word games to deceive consumers. The performance and price of the M.2 interface using PCIe channel are higher than the ordinary M.2 interface, but there is almost no difference in their appearances.

When you purchase the M.2 interface products, you need to look through the product parameters and confirm repeatedly whether you bought M.2 interface products with high price.

RECOMMENDED: How to Get Best Performance from SSD in Windows 10/8/8.1/7?

About SSD Transmission Protocols: AHCI and NVMe

SSD Transmission Protocol: AHCI

As we have mentioned above, the performance and prices of M.2 interface products differ largely depending on the different transmission protocols. Actually, since the development of SSD industry, there are two most popular transmission protocols. One is the AHCI protocol, the other is the NVMe protocol.

The SSD Terminology – AHCI, whose full name is Serial ATA Advanced Host Interface/Advanced Host Controller Interface, is an interface standard developed by several companies together lead by Intel, which allows storage drivers to enable advanced Serial ATA functionality.

As to the meaning and function of the AHCI protocol, there is no need for the ordinary consumer to know it in detail. However, the only thing to be noted is that the AHCI mode must be opened in the motherboard setting when selecting and using the SSD with SATA interface.

open AHCI mode in the motherboard setting

That’s because, after open AHCI mode, it can greatly reduce the number of useless seek track and the time for searching data. So the hard disk under multi-mission can exert its full performance and effect. According to the related tests, SSD read and write performance can be increased by approximately 30% after the AHCI mode is turned on.

At present, all popular SATA interface products on the market only support the AHCI mode, and some M.2 interface products also support AHCI.

SSD Transmission Protocol: NVMe

Another SSD transmission protocol is NVMe protocol, which is in the teeth of storm in recent years and represents the future performance trend.

The SSD Terminology NVMe protocol is a transmission specification based on non-volatile memory. The NVMe specification is customized by a working group including more than 90 companies. Intel is the main leader. Team members include Micron, Dell, Samsung, Marvell, NetAPP, EMC, IDT and other companies.

The purpose of this specification is to take full advantage of the low latency and parallelism of PCI-E channels, as well as the parallelism of contemporary processors, platforms, and applications, to greatly increase the read and write performance of SSD under the controllable storage costs as well as to decrease the high latency caused by the AHCI interface, completely liberating the extreme performance of SSD in the era of SATA.

In other words, the occurrence of the NVMe protocol is to improve SSD transmission protocols and further to improve the actual read and write performance of SSD and to improve the product transmission efficiency.

In general, the read and write performance of SSD based on NVMe protocol is about 1000 MB/S, which is far beyond the maximum speed of the SATA interface – 6Gbps.

In addition, the SSDs currently supporting the NVMe protocol almost employ the M.2 interface using the PCIe channel. That is to say, all SSDs based on the SATA interface cannot support the NVMe protocol and cannot enjoy the ultimate performance brought by the new protocol.

On this point, you can preliminarily judge the transport protocol used by the SSD based on whether the maximum read speed exceeds 600MB/S.

About Core Components: Flash Memory and Master Control

Core Components: Flash Memory

At last, we will simply talk about the core components of SSD, which are Flash memory and Master control chip.

Flash particles, also called Flash memory, is a non-volatile memory that can save the written data in fixed blocks rather than single bite in the case of power failure.

According to different usage and specification, there are many different variants of Flash particles. Today, we mainly discuss the most commonly used NAND Flash particles used in storage devices such as SSD.

NAND Flash particles, is a member of Flash family. It was first developed and marketed by Hitachi in 1989. As NAND Flash particles have many advantages such as lower power consumption, lower price, and better performance, it has become the most important storage raw material in storage industry.

different storage cells

According to the difference of electron density in the NAND Flash memory, Memory cell can be divided into SLC, MLC and TLC, which vary a lot in service time and price.

SLC (Single-level Cell), employs single-layer electronic structure. SLC brings small voltage change when writing data. It has long lifespan and the times to be read and write can exceed 100,000. However, its price is high, thus it is mostly used in enterprise-level high-end products.

MLC (Multi-level Cell), employs dual-layer electronic structure constructed with different voltage. It has long lifespan and its price is acceptable. Then, it is mostly used in civilian high-end products and the times of reading and writing is about 5000.

TLC (Triple-level Cell) is an extension of the MLC and it reaches 3 bit/cell. The storage density is the highest and even is 1.5 times capacity of the MLC. The TLC enjoys the lowest price, but its lifespan is the lowest and the times of reading and writing is about 1000 to 2000. Thus, the TLC is the first choice of mainstream manufacturers.

With the development of the times, the technology of NAND Flash particles has made great progress and several large-scale professional flash particles manufactures have gradually formed. These manufacturers are called flash particles factory, which can cut wafers directly and separate NAND Flash particles.

These manufactures respectively are Samsung, Toshiba, SanDisk, Intel, SK Hynix, and Micron. According to the statistics, the Flash memory outputs of the six manufacturers have occupied 90% of NAND flash market. Almost all of the creation and upgrading are dominated by above manufacturers.

When selecting SSD, you can start from the Flash particles and try our best to choose the Flash particles SSD which are produced by the above six manufacturers.

Core Components: Master Control

As for the Master control chip, just like the CPU in PC, it is equivalent to the brain of the SSD, playing the role of conducting, operation and coordination.

Its specific functions are shown as follows: First, allocate the load of data on each flash chip so that all flash particles can work under a certain load and coordinate and maintain the collaboration of different block particles. Second, assume the transfer of all data and connect the Flash memory chip and the external SATA interface. Third, be responsible for the completion of the internal instructions of SSDs, such as trim, CG recovery and wear balance.

As the differences in the absolute performance of current major master chip manufacturers are not obvious, the major leading chip manufacturers, Silicon Motion, Phison, Marvell, and Samsung and Toshiba are relatively high-quality choices. The only point needs to be noted is the aging and stability of Master control chip.

When selecting SSD Master control, you can make a simple judgment based on the number of manufacturers who have used the main control scheme through internet query. After all, as the highly monopolized industries, there are few options for SSD manufacturers. The Master control scheme used by most manufacturers may not the best choice, but it must be the safest.

After reading this article, I have got some knowledge about SSD Terminology and have got many benefits from itClick to Tweet

Upgrade Hard Drive to SSD

As the SSD has better read and write performance, more and more users like to upgrade hard drive to SSD disk. MiniTool Partition Wizard can help you to clone disk because it is a partition manager that focuses on managing partition and disk use.

With its various powerful features, it can help you to align SSD partition, migrate Windows 10 to SSD without reinstalling OS and so on. As to clone hard drive to SSD, you can download the free edition from following button.

Now, we can see how to clone hard drive to SSD disk simply.

Step 1: Install the software and launch it to enter its main interface.

Step 2: Select the disk you want to clone to SSD disk, and choose Copy Disk from the left pane or toolbar or choose Copy from the context menu.

select the source disk and choose Copy

Step 3: In the popup window, choose the SSD hard drive as the target disk and click Next to continue.

choose the target disk

Step 4: In the popup window, you will see there are four options. Read them carefully and choose available ones according to your own needs. Then click Next to continue.

choose copy options

Step 5: Next, you can see a notice and need to read it carefully, then click Finish to continue.

read the notice and click Finish to continue

Step 6: After that, you can preview the changes in the main interface and click Apply to confirm these changes. Then restart your computer to finish the process of disk clone.

click Apply to confirm these changes

I have used MiniTool Partition Wizard to clone Windows 10 to SSD disk without data loss. Don’t you want to have a try?Click to Tweet

Bottom Line 

From interface to protocols and core component, we hope that the common sense of SSD can be useful in some extent. When you are buying the SSD, you can take these as a reference so as to avoid being deceived. After all, SSD is not cheap.

And if you want to clone hard drive to SSD disk, try to use MiniTool Partition Wizard. Or if you have some better solution to clone to SSD disk, you can share it in the comment zone. If you have any question about MiniTool Partition Wizard, you can contact us via [email protected].

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