The Best Cheap SSD Deals for January 2021
It doesn’t seem that long ago when solid-state drives, now the norm on most computers, were a unique (and expensive) new technology. It didn’t take long for these drives to catch on in a big way owing to their speed and reliability, and today even the cheapest laptops come sporting snappy SSDs instead of the slower platter-based HDDs of years past.
SSDs are still a bit more costly per gigabyte than traditional HDDs, though, so discounts are always welcome. Below, we’ve got a curated list of all the best cheap SSD deals on tap now from major online retailers. Whether you’re building a PC, upgrading your current system, or looking for a portable SSD you can take on the go, we’ve got what you need right here:
Today’s best SSD deals
How to choose an SSD
Computer hardware keeps getting better, faster, and smaller, and recent advances in data storage technology have also been impressive (even if hard drives admittedly aren’t as exciting as CPUs and graphics cards). The introduction of solid-state drives, so-named due to their lack of moving parts in contrast to older hard drives which store data on rotating platters, has sparked a small revolution by offering fast and reliable storage that delivers far greater read/write speeds than the HDDs of yesteryear.
Solid-state drives store data on static chips in a fashion not dissimilar to USB flash drives. Standard internal SSDs typically follow the 2.5-inch form factor that has been used in laptops for a while now (in contrast to the bulkier 3.5-inch HDDs often found in desktop PC towers), and given the smaller size of solid-state drives and the fact they’re much cheaper than they once were, there are also plenty of portable USB external SSDs on the market today.
For internal SSDs, you have two form factors to consider: A more traditional 2.5-inch drive or an M.2 stick. The 2.5-inch SSDs have been commonly found in laptops for years, but M.2 SSDs are becoming more popular. M.2 SSDs look almost like sticks of RAM and slot directly onto a computer’s motherboard — no SATA cables necessary. Their smaller design makes them ideal for laptops, and many laptops now feature these drives (although desktop PC builders are also increasingly using them as well).
Solid-state drives provide several advantages over traditional platter-based hard drives, but there is one notable drawback: storage capacity. More specifically, SSDs are more expensive per gigabyte than HDDs, meaning you’ll pay more for a solid-state than you would for a similarly sized hard drive. That’s the basic trade-off for the SSD’s enhanced read/write speeds and reliability.
If you have more demanding storage needs, a cost-effective solution to this problem is to buy a smaller SSD for use as your system drive (your operating system and primary software will be installed here to take advantage of the faster speeds) and pairing it with a larger HDD for storing bigger files. Many laptops even come with both a solid-state system drive and a hard storage drive, and it goes without saying that you can easily do this with a desktop PC build as well.
Another thing you’ll want to consider when shopping around for SSD deals is the manufacturer’s warranty. Even without moving platters, SSDs are still active parts of your computer that are constantly reading and writing data, and while they’re typically more reliable than HDDs, they can still fail. That’s not something that any of us wants to happen (not least of all because it often involves losing saved work and other important data), but buying from a reputable brand that offers a good warranty is something that’s usually worth the little bit of extra money you’ll pay.
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