TechSpot: What you need to know about SSD form factors

The term ”form factor” is used in the computer industry to describe the shape and size of computer components, like drives, motherboards and power supplies. When hard disk drives initially made their way into microprocessor-based computers, they used magnetic platters up to 8 inches in diameter. Because that was the largest single component inside the HDD, it defined the minimum width of the HDD housing—the metal box around the guts of the drive.

The height was dictated by the number of platters stacked on the motor (about 14 for the largest configurations). Over time the standard size of the magnetic patter diameter shrank, which allowed the HDD width to decrease as well. The computer industry used the platter diameter dimensions to describe the HDD form factors, and those contours shrank over the years. Those 8” HDDs for datacenter storage and desktop PCs shed size to 5” to today’s 3.5”, and laptop HDDs, starting at 2.5”, are now as small as 1.8”.

When solid state drives first started replacing HDDs, they had to fit into computer chassis or laptop drive bays built for HDDs, so they had to conform to HDD dimensions. The two SSDs shown below are form factor identical twins—without the outer casing—to 1.8” and 2.5” HDDs. The SSDs also use standard SATA connectors, but note that the SATA connector for 1.8” devices is narrower than the 2.5” devices to accommodate the smaller width.

Read: SSD Form Factors: Everything You Need to Know

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Well desktop drives are 3.5inch, laptop drives are 2.5inch but you can fit 2.5inch drives into 3.5inch bays using an adapter (and there generally cheaper) or if you got an awesome case like mine with pull out trays using mostly screwless design you do need to screw the drive to the tray unless you want it just hanging around, the screws are smaller but the thumb screws on the back of the case should be small enough to screw it in.

Everything you need to know about SSD sizes... done!

psionicinversion said,
Everything you need to know about SSD sizes... done!

Only if you don't take mSATA, M.2 and PCIe SSDs into account.

sialivi said,

Only if you don't take mSATA, M.2 and PCIe SSDs into account.

Anyway 99% are SATA3 (or SATA 6Gbps whatever) #trytounderminecommentfaillolxdsorry

id think that anyone tech savvy to want an mSATA, M.2 or PCIe SSD is going to know, for joe public those 2 are the only 2 that really matter for example my SSD 250GB 840 Evo came in basic or desktop version on site... basic is 2.5inch desktop = 3.5inch, slightly confusing but nothing that a bit common doesnt sort out