The Future of Solid State Drives

Solid state drives (SSDs) are becoming more and more ubiquitous, and are pretty much standard in laptops these days. While they are more expensive to produce, costs are dropping as technology becomes more advanced, and capacity is increasing, too. At present, most SSDs utilise SATA and SAS interfaces, but these technologies could soon be overturned.

How do SATA and SAS SSDs work? Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (or SATA) is a hardware connection interface that is used by an SSD to communicate data with your system. Created in 2003, it has firmly cemented itself as one of the world’s most widely-used connection types. SATA drives have fantastic compatibility – most desktops and laptops will support the connection, even if they’re a decade old. The downside is performance – with a data transfer speed of between 4.8 and 6gb/s. While this is usually more than adequate for most home users, it loses the race when compared with PCIe.

An alternative to SATA is Serial Attached SCSI, or SAS. These drives use another type of interface, and are able to read and write data faster over SATA. SAS drives are also designed for environments that need a prolonged read/write life.

An alternative to SATA and SAS drives is the PCIe SSD. These SSDs offer vastly superior transfer rates compared to other types, and the technology is being adopted by many of the world’s leading manufacturers as the standard for desktop and laptop storage. Apple’s new MacBook Pro models are fitted with PCIe drives, for example. It is possible that SSD data recovery will improve as the technology of the drives does, too.

The latest in PCIe SSDs are using non-volatile memory host controller interface specification (NVMe), which allows SSDs to exceed the limited data transfer speeds of SATA drives. The downside, though, is that NVMe SSDs are around double the price of SATA drives.

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