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zNews   >   Tech Blog   >   What About Storage Drives? HDD, SSHD, SSD, SATA, PCIe, NVMe! Huh??
1 week ago
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In a very general way, think of storage drives as your file cabinet(s) next to your desk.  But then, there are screaming fast Solid State Drives (SSDs) that would be more like having your files on the back half of your desk, where you can reach them quickly, without having to turn and open a drawer in your file cabinet, search for it, then pull it out and put it on your desk so you can work on it. We call the fast SSD that sits on the back half of your desk your C: or ‘operational drive’.  For what you use the front half of your desk, see ‘What is RAM?

Hard Disk Drives (HDD) are mechanical.  A spinning platter with a read/write arm like an old record player.  They are the slowest of the drives (around 160 MB/s), but they are also the cheapest per file cabinet capacity (per Megabyte or MB / Gigabyte or GB [GB is 1,000 MB]).  They are typically used for your D: or ‘storage drive’.  For a deeper read see Wikipedia’s ‘Hard disk drive’ 

Solid State Drives (SSD) typically use Flash Memory, and are much faster, up to 5,000 MB/s.  Their speeds will keep going up over the years to come, while HDDs are frozen at around 160 MB/s.  In 2020, SSDs are typically either SATA or PCIe NVMe, and can be installed in either the M.2 Slot(s) or 2.5” or 3.5” Bays in your computer.  SATA SSDs will give you about 500 MB/s Write Speed and 550 MB/s Read Speed, while the fastest PCIe NVMe drives go up to 5,000 MB/s.  They can be used for either your C: ‘operational drive’ or your D: ‘storage’ drive, or both.  For a deeper read see Wikipedia’s ‘Solid-state drive

Solid State Hard Drives (SSHD), sometimes called Hybrid Drive, typically have an 8 to 32GB Solid State Drive installed in a much larger HDD (typically 1 or 2 Terabytes or TB [TB is 1,000 GB]).  They are great storage drives because they always watch which files you are opening most often and copies those files to the SSD portion of the drive.  So, when you need it, it is on the SSD part that is at the back half of your desk, not the file cabinet.  When the SSD portion gets full, but it wants to put your file there because you are currently opening it often, it will look to see what you haven’t been opening recently and delete it to make room for your current file.  Very tidy housekeeping…and do not worry about the delete part, that file will only be deleted from the SSD part, it never left the HDD part of the drive.  For a deeper read see Wikipedia’s ‘Hybrid drive

zTecpc does not advertise the brand or model of the standard 'Global Brand' Drives because neither the manufacturers nor zTecpc will always use the same ones, so do not want to be locked into any particular brand.  However, zTecpc only uses high quality Drives for any of the laptops we build…we cannot afford to provide tech support and warranty service for the cheap stuff!

PCIe x4 M.2 SSDs are the next generation standard and are the fastest Solid State Drives available today with speeds up to 3,500 MB/s with XPG  SX8100 or Samsung M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe SSDs, or XPG GAMMIX M.2 PCIe 4.0 x4 NVMe SSDs for speeds up to 5,000 MB/s. Your Operating System will be installed on the fastest SSD selected, unless you specify otherwise.

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