How to Find an SSD for Your Laptop

Solid state drives have developed new form factors and connection protocols in the last few years. This is to facilitate replacing drives in ever-smaller laptops, notebooks, and tablet computers. Form factors are smaller, without external cases, allowing the SSDs to fit into smaller spaces. Changes in connection protocols have also enabled smaller form factors and increased data flow speeds.

But new form factors and connections have brought with them more acronyms and a greater chance of purchasing an incompatible drive. The easiest way to find the right SSD is with the Crucial® Advisor™ tool or System Scanner tool.

SSD form factors and connection protocols

Solid state drives now come in different shapes, making it more difficult to know what size SSD will fit in your laptop. The 2.5-inch drive was formerly the only commercially-available SSD. That has changed and there are solid state drives available in 2.5-inch and M.2. Which size you choose is really dependent on the size of the slot in your laptop. Drive slots are usually labelled with the correct size and connection the slot will take, or you can look in your owner's manual. Learn more about SSD form factors. 

You'll also want to check the connection protocol for the drive. The most common connectors are SATA, mSATA, and PCIe.You can look in your owner's manual to see both the size of the drive slot and the connection protocol. If you use Crucial® Advisor™ tool or System Scanner tool, it will indicate the size of the drive needed and the connection protocol.

Two Crucial RAM memory modules stacked on top of each other to indicate the potential difference in size and shape of SSD modules

SSD capacity

The biggest choice you'll have the opportunity to make is the data capacity of the drive. Most drives are sold with data capacities between 120GB and 2TB. Of course, the higher capacity comes with a higher price. You want to balance the size of the drive with your budget. 

You always want to get a drive with some free space beyond your current needs. It is inevitable that you will continue to produce files and photos that need to be saved and download music and videos. You don't want to have to increase the capacity of your storage drive in a year.

If you're having difficulty fitting your data on a solid state drive that you can afford, read here for strategies to clean up your computer without losing valuable files.

Solid state drive capacity


The most important thing about a solid state drive for your laptop is making sure that you get a compatible drive. You need to consider the size, shape, connection protocol, and capacity. Because of the existing hardware in your laptop, only the capacity of the drive is in your control. To make things easier, use the Crucial® Advisor™ tool or System Scanner tool, then you can choose the capacity of the compatible drives based on your budget.

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