An SSD drive is a solid-state storage device that uses NAND flash memory to store and retrieve data. In contrast to traditional magnetic hard disk drives (HDDs), which use moving parts, SSDs do not have any mechanical components and hence operate more reliably, consume less power, and have lower latency and failure rates than HDDs.

An internal SSD can provide a significant performance boost for desktops and laptops, particularly in older systems with slow HDDs. However, upgrading to an SSD isn’t without risks, so it’s important to prepare for the possibility of issues that may arise before proceeding. Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to ensure your SSD upgrade goes smoothly.

Most SSDs follow the 2.5-inch form factor used in laptop computers and can be mounted in a laptop or desktop computer with a standard hard drive adapter plate. Other form factors include 1.8-inch, M.2 and mSATA, and some SSDs are embedded inside other circuitry.

SSDs are based on semiconductor memory chips that can hold electrical charges, and each chip has a different level of reliability. Manufacturers stack the chips in a grid to achieve different density levels. Each cell can store a single bit of information, designated as either a “1” or a “0”.

An SSD is controlled by a flash controller that manages error correction, wear leveling and data distribution so that all writes are spread evenly across the physical blocks in the drive. Some SSDs also feature built-in capacitors that help maintain data integrity in the event of an unexpected power loss.

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