What type of SSD should you buy?

Solid-state drives have clear advantages over old-school hard-disk drives: SSDs are faster, quieter, and consume less power. Problem is, they also come with an array of acronyms listed in their specs, which can make it hard to figure out what you need. 

Cutting through the clutter is really quite simple—you just pick a form factor and a speed. Our guide explains how.

Need the super fast version? Read our summary below.

SSD form factors: M.2 drives vs 2.5-inch drives

We’ll start with form factor. SSDs come in multiple shapes and sizes, but the two most common types are M.2 drives and 2.5-inch drives. Each type has its advantages: gumstick-shaped M.2 drives connect directly to your motherboard (thus reducing cable clutter in desktop PCs), and some types are faster than 2.5-inch drives. For their part, rectangular 2.5-inch drives, which slot into a PC like a conventional storage drive, are often cheaper.

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