Will a SSD work in my system?

After doing a bit of research and reading several reviews on Newegg I am wondering if there is an easy way to tell if a particular SSD will work in a particular computer. Like the memory apps that tell you which module to buy.

I have 3 desktop systems. Two will need hard drives in the near future for various reasons. I am thinking of replacing the system drive in my HTPC with a SSD. Although if the price is right I might replace the drives in the other two as well, so I need a fast way to tell if the SSD will work in those systems since I imagine the units will sell out fast.

I don't plan to upgrade to SATA III so I will be looking for a SATA II drive of around 120GB.

When I find a great deal on one (I can wait for Black Friday or longer) is there a way to determine if that particular drive will work in one of my systems?

In some reviews I read that the drive works great in their laptop (something about mSATA) but not in their desktop. Some mention other problems with motherboards, types of controllers, power, etc.

I am not a gamer. I expect the SSD to be $70 or less and already have enough other storage in the HTPC (Of course you can NEVER have enough storage, let's say I have adequate storage for now.) so I'm just looking for a boot drive and a fast startup and no problems once the new drive is installed and configured.

Added questions:
I'll check the forums for an answer but a little more research raises the question of what is the difference between a 2.5" and 3.5" SSD? Does it matter which I choose if I'm going to use it in a desktop? I already have adapters since I'm using old laptop drives in all my systems. (Hence the reason they will need to be replaced they are old (3+ years) and small (70GB). It seems that the 2.5" generally cost less since they are more readily available and popular.
14 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about will work system
  1. Any SSD will work in any computer - the question is whether the computer has SATA 3 bus speed capability to support the full speed of the SSD - size doesn't matter

    SLC (single level cell) is faster and more expensive than MLC (multi level cell)


    Fresh off the Press!!!,3269.html
  2. Thanks for the input. The Tom's article was the impetus for my questions. However, I am a frugal computer not an enthusiast.

    I am trying to limp along by moving hard drives around among my systems. I can move two drives from my HTPC to the other systems that need a bit more space. Leaving the HTPC as is would mean less work reconfiguring it.

    My thought with putting a SSD in the HTPC is that it would provide more of an "instant on" type feel for when we want to watch a movie or listen to music. But we tend to leave it running and sleep it overnight.

    Putting SSDs in the other two systems would boost their performance without having to upgrade other components. While SSDs might be overkill for those systems since the price point I'm targeting is about the same as a fairly large standard hard drive (the sweet spot for hard drives seems to be about $50) I thought the performance of a SSD would be cost effective and extend the usefulness of those systems. Most of our media storage is done on the HTPC so 120GB SSDs would be adequate.

    Of course as with most of my projects as I do more research I find new options. The latest for this one is a PCIe card that would allow me to put a SATA III model into a system. While the cost of that card is about $30 right now, it might be less come Black Friday. Not sure if there would be any advantage to that. I'll have to do more research.

    I doubt that any of the mobos in question are SATA 3 compatible but I'll check. They are all 3 years old and were older technology when I bought them. They are however 64-bit capable and that will also be a way to boost their performance. Right now I'm running 32-bit Win 7. I recently added HD6450 (bought on deep discount with rebates) cards to all of them and Office 2010 and Office is significantly faster with the GPU acceleration and my son is pleased with the sharper graphics he gets with online games.
  3. Most SSDs out there will be MLC (Multi Level Cell), 2.5" and SATA-3. They should be able to run on a Sata-2 controller, you just won't get the kind of performance you would if it was using a Sata-3 controller.

    If you are looking to spend $70 you will probably be looking at a 64GB size and you may find some older Sata-2 out there being cleared out. This should be fine MicroSoft drive space required for installing Windows 7 is around 20GB, so 60GB should work. SLC (Single Level Cell) is much more expensive and for military or industrial solutions, you can get a 8Gb for around $100. A mSata SSD drives use a special bus to connect, so if you motherboard doesn't have it (and you paid extra for it if it does) you can't use it.

    So a standard MLC SSD drive Sata2 or Sata3, it will most likely be 2.5" should work you'll need a 2.5"-3.5" bracket to install it. Besides the price also compare the Read and Write speeds when comparing these units.

    I just got a SanDisk Extreme 120GB for my boot drive and its been great I'm in Windows in under 7-10seconds depending on how fast I type my password, lol.

    Good luck and best wishes on your purchase.
  4. What is the brand and model of the motherboard that the ssd will be connected to?

    For $70.00 you should be able to purchase a 128GB SATA 3 6Gb/s ssd.

    Tom's Hardware home page usually has a link on the left hand side in the news section to daily deals, sale prices, and special promotions listed by Logic Buy.

    Logic Buy also has a web page with ssd daily deals, sale prices, and special promotions. Here is the link:

    You have to check every day. Prices and sales change daily.
  5. The HTPC has an Asus P5N7A-VM. The other two an Akonii P4N7050 and ECS G41T-M.
  6. BlueCat57 said:
    The HTPC has an Asus P5N7A-VM. The other two an Akonii P4N7050 and ECS G41T-M.

    The Asus has 5 SATA 3 Gb/s ports - no problem there

    The Akonii P4N7050 has 4 SATA ports...
  7. dingo07 said:
    The Asus has 5 SATA 3 Gb/s ports - no problem there

    Ah ha! I was getting confused. SATA 2 is 3GB, SATA 3 is 6GB.

    Good thing we are talking about this since its current configuration is already using all 5 ports.

    It also has on eSTATA port.

  8. The eSATA is probably 1.5 Gb/s, without looking at the specs


    I stand corrected - it's a SATA2 3 Gb/s connection
  9. dingo07 said:
    The eSATA is probably 1.5 Gb/s, without looking at the specs

    Another ah ha! I was wondering why my backups to an external drive were so slow when SATA is supposed to be fast.

    I have an external case with USB 2.0 and eSATA. I switched from the USB to eSATA and the backups didn't seem much faster. Since I'm happy that I just remember to back up the systems I haven't looked into why.

    The main mystery on the HTPC is why when I use my webcam the system keeps telling me that I can speed up the device by using a USB 2.0 port. I've plugged it into every other USB port and still get the same message. Again, it works and nothing I do right now requires top speed so fixing it is low priorty.
  10. dingo07 said:
    The eSATA is probably 1.5 Gb/s, without looking at the specs


    I stand corrected - it's a SATA2 3 Gb/s connection


    You were right the first time:

    "eSATA, or external SATA, is a variation on a standard SATA port for connecting external hard drives to a computer. eSATA requires different cables than standard SATA and slower maximum speeds. eSATA can transmit data at up to 1.5 gigabits per second, one-quarter of SATA's maximum speed and three times USB 2.0's maximum speed."

    So I still need to figure out why the backups seem slow. It is several hours for a complete back up of a 70GB drive.
  11. well... ok then...

    1.5 Gb/s = .1875 GB/s * 60 seconds = 11.25 Gigabytes per minute (theoretical)

    that means it should take roughly 6.2 minutes to backup 70 GB of data, theoretically speaking
  12. dingo07 said:
    well... ok then...

    1.5 Gb/s = .1875 GB/s * 60 seconds = 11.25 Gigabytes per minute (theoretical)

    that means it should take roughly 6.2 minutes to backup 70 GB of data, theoretically speaking


    That's what I was thinking. Hours is too long. Maybe I have some settings wrong. I'll have to do some research here at Tom's.
  13. Best answer
    An external HDD on estata performs very close to USB3 connection. USB3 has higher bandwith, but esata has native working in it's favor.

    On SSDs, Don't sweat the Sata II vs SATA III to much. I do recommend getting the SATA III as they generall will out perform an older SATA II SSD.
    HOWEVER with a SATA III SSD you will not LOOSE a lot in performance by going with a SATA II port.
    Reason; if you look at say the bench marks for a "Good" Sata III drive, YES You will loss a lot on Sequencial performance (Saturates a sata II port), HOWEVER this is the LEAST important parameter for an OS + Program drive. What is Important is the 4 K random performance DOES NOT saturat a sata II port). Don't get me wrong, you would notice the difference - IT's just not as much as you might think.

    Another point, many of the Low end SF22 XX Sata III SSDs that use Async NAND in fact Gain NOTHING by placing them on a sata III port verse a SATA II port - Did someone yell Agillity III.

    Have 3 M4's 3 Samsung 830's, 2 Agillity IIIs and 6 oloder Gen 1/2 SSDs. Daul SSDs in two desktops and one laptop. Single SSD in one desktop and on laptop. I Even Had a pair of SSDs that I could swap in/out of a older laptop at work.

    PS Yes Older SLC SSDs for pata systems are very expensive, Paid $100 for a 8 gig pata SSD to replace a 2 Gig Windows 3.11 computer SCSI HDD. However newer SATA SSD with SLC have also come down in price, ie the Intel SSD designed for SRT (I think it was 40 gigs and fairly cheap)
  14. Best answer selected by BlueCat57.
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