IT decision makers have two choices when their systems get to a certain age: they can upgrade their existing systems or buy new ones. Upgrading is usually the more cost-effective option.

Why SSD?

Adding a solid state drive (SSD) to an existing system can increase the system speed substantially — often more than a CPU or RAM upgrade. With new systems, SSDs are the norm, but it’s important to pick the right type to optimize system performance without increasing costs.

SSDs feature significantly faster read and write speeds. And because SSDs use flash memory to store data, they don’t have mechanical moving parts, making them more reliable, power efficient and quieter.

SSD tiers: Choosing the right SSD for your needs

There are many levels of SSDs, from consumer-grade drives and workstation-grade to enterprise-class SSDs, and including both SATA and NVMe® units. Their performance levels vary drastically. Lower-end SATA SSDs top out at about 500 to 560 MB/s, while consumer-class and enterprise-class NVMe SSDs reach up to about 7450 MB/s . Random write speeds range from 1400K to 1550K IOPS for consumer-class SSDs to up to 200,000 IOPs for enterprise-class NVMe SSDs.

Here’s a rundown of each tier of SSD performance:

1. Consumer

Consumer-grade SSDs like the Samsung 990 PRO PCIe® 4.0 NVMe and the Samsung 870 EVO provide performance beyond the best that HDDs can offer in both transfer rates and IOPS. They are generally used in regularly operating laptops and other devices that use standard desktop applications.

If you don’t need the 24/7 endurance or ultra-high transfer speeds and IOPS of the higher-level SSDs, the relatively low cost of consumer-grade devices can save you quite a bit of money.

2. Workstation

Workstation-class SSDs are commonly used in heavy-duty workstations where fast performance is essential, such as video and 3D editing, data analytics and gaming. Examples such as Samsung 990 PRO and Samsung 990 PRO Heatsink, which both support PCIe 4.0, offer more than twice the sequential read and write speeds of consumer-grade NVMe SSDs and more than 10 times the sequential read and write speeds of consumer-grade SATA SSDs.

Workstation-class SSDs offer better endurance, as well, though, they do not quite have the ability to handle the heavy loads and 24/7 writes that enterprise-grade SSDs are capable of.

3. Enterprise

Enterprise applications are used for high-level and -volume database processing, artificial intelligence, data analysis, e-commerce and other real-time applications where IOPS and throughput are critical 24/7. That’s where data center SSDs like the Samsung PM893 SATA and the Samsung PM9A3 NVMe thrive.

PM893, for example, features sequential read and write speeds of 550/520 MB/s and random read and write speeds of up to 98,000/30,000 IOPS and offers storage capacities of between 960GB to 7.68TB, making it ideal for handling massive amounts of data.

For even more demand, PM9A3 delivers sequential read and write speeds of 6,900/4,100 MB/s and random read and write speeds of 180,000/100,000 IOPS in a U.2 form factor. Storage capacity ranges from 960GB to 7.68TB.

Meeting needs with type

When choosing to upgrade to a new SSD, the necessary first step is to determine the requirements of your applications and match those to the drive type. Considering the volume of reads and writes, throughput and IOPS, reliability, thermal load, operating temperature and power usage will all help you narrow down the right drive for your business needs.

Explore our full line of enterprise SSDs to find the best solution for your business.

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Wylie Wong

Wylie Wong is a journalist and freelance writer specializing in technology, business and sports. He previously worked at CNET, Computerworld and CRN, and loves covering and learning about the advances and ever-changing dynamics of the technology industry.

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