Are you overspending on SSD?

 Those who know me personally, they see me sharing a lot of SSD deals time to time on my social media. But recently encountered someone who was intent on getting a Gen 4 SSD for his budget gaming laptop. Now I get that it's his money, he can buy whatever he want as long as his PC supports it. But it was a clear example of overspending on something that you may not need. 

I wrote an article last year explaining different types of SSDs. It can give you basic understanding of various types of SSDs and their best use case, but it still doesn't clarify which SSD should you be getting and when you're overspending. So I'll try to do that in this article.

Can you see the difference between SSD types?

While it is clear that Gen 4 PCIe SSDs are faster than Gen 3 and Gen 3 is faster than SATA SSDs, also Gen 5 SSDs are nearing launch which will fastest of all. But choosing the fastest isn't always the best choice. Specially when you're on limited budget. 

First I'll list the scenarios where most people expect to see the speed difference.

  • OS Startup Time - Unless you have dozens of startup programs, Windows startup time difference between fastest Gen4 SSD and slowest SATA SSD will be under 10 seconds. Difference between Gen3 and Gen4 will be even shorter(2-5 seconds). 
  • Software installation - While it is a known fact that having a SSD does improve the installation time compared to HDD, it is less obvious between various SSD types. You will need to compare them side by side to tell them apart. 
  • Gaming - Installing games on SSD is beneficial for all games, specially the ones that take a while to load. But again, most games aren't yet capable of fully utilizing additional speeds of Gen4 SSD over regular SATA SSD.
  • Productivity/multimedia works - In the last few years, many people are interested in making YouTube channel. So there was a wave of 'video editing pc build guide" videos. But most of the big tech YouTubers collaborated with content creators for those videos. Those content creators work with 4K-8K videos, so they definitely need faster storage. An average beginner Youtuber typically work with 1080p videos, they'll be perfectly fine on HDD+Project SSD(250-500GB SSD for working on current project) combo. Again, 1080p editors won't notice the difference between SATA SSD and Gen4 SSD.

Other than these 4 scenarios, SSD makes your system overall more responsive. 

You may have noted that I wrote "you won't notice" in all scenarios. And that's not just my speculation. There were some blind tests conducted by various people that show that if you weren't looking for speed difference, you wont be able to tell if the given PC has SATA, Gen3 or Gen4 SSD. 

So why do we(tech enthusiasts) typically share Gen3 and Gen4 SSD deals and not SATA SSD?

That's because Gen3 NVMe SSDs often go on sale for a price closer to SATA SSDs and Gen4 for the price of Gen3. In such scenarios, even the slowest of Gen3 SSD are almost 2x faster than SATA SSD. So why not go for Gen3 NVMe over SATA?

Also, if you are one my fellow Indians, You should look out for deals on following SSDs for the upcoming Great Indian Festival that starts on 23rd September on Amazon. 

Best Cheap SATA SSD:

Best Value SATA SSD:

Best Cheap Gen3 SSD:

Best Value Gen3 SSD:

Keep an eye out for deals on that one:

Best Value Gen4 SSD:

Most Reliable Gen4 SSD:

Keep an eye out for this:

Note: If you can't see the SSDs above, disable adblock. 


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