6 Differences Between Desktop and Laptop SSD

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What are the differences between desktop and laptop SSD? For the first timers, deciding between a laptop and a desktop is not an easy task given the fact that the components in the two differ a lot and so does their performances.

One such component is the SSD, or Solid State Drive, which is an essential component to have in a computer irrespective of whether it is a laptop or desktop.

Now, you may wonder which among a laptop SSD or a desktop SSD will be better to have and is there really any difference between them or are they the same thing.

Well, in terms of the purpose and compatibility, both laptop and desktop SSDs may seem to be the same but there are a few minor differences between the two in terms of technicalities.

This article will let you know about them all as well as help you in making the right choice when you go through the ‘Which is better’ section that follows after the list of differences.

The 6 Differences Between Desktop and Laptop SSD

Differences Between Desktop and Laptop SSD

1. Thickness

One of the major differences between a laptop SSD and a desktop SSD is their thickness.

The 2.5-inch desktop SSD or U2 is twice as thick in comparison to a conventional laptop drive. In fact, the U2 will usually be 15 mm thick.

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On the other hand, the laptop SSD will usually be 7 mm thick.

However, the bay in some of the laptops may support a 9.5 mm thick drive but certainly not a 15 mm thick drive like in a desktop computer.

2. Form factor

The laptop drives typically use a 2.5″ form factor. On the other hand, the desktops use a 3.5″ form factor.

This means that you can use a larger drive in a desktop with larger capacity since weight and space are no constraint in a desktop computer as they are in a laptop computer.

3. Switching

With reference to the form factors of the SSDs, you can use a laptop SSD in a desktop computer because the bay will support the 2.5” SSD that a laptop typically comes with.

On the other hand, a desktop SSD will not fit in a laptop if it is 3.5” in size.

4. Enclosure

Though not related directly to the SSDs, the enclosure of the laptop to fit an SSD may be smaller than the enclosure of the desktop.

This might cause some issues when you want to install a desktop SSD in a laptop SSD being larger in size.

5. SATA Connections

Though both desktop and laptop computers have the capacity to use Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) cables SSD, you can only insert the ones with a 2.5” form factor in a laptop.

However, the desktop computers can support SSDs of higher form factors with the same type of SATA connections.

6. Installation

While installing a desktop drive, you may need to use a mounting kit if you want to install the SSD on a bigger drive bay.

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For example, while installing a 2.5” drive in a 3.5” drive bay you will require a 2.5″ → 3.5″ drive/SSD mount.

On the other hand, there is no such need in the case of a laptop SSD because it normally supports only one type of form factor.

Which One is Better to Use?

Ideally, it depends on whether you have a desktop or a laptop computer.

As you can see from the differences above, a laptop computer will allow using only an SSD with a small form factor.

So, considering the physical dimensions, you really do not have much of a choice left.

Almost all SSDs today come in a 2.5″ form factor which can be used both in a laptop or a desktop computer.

However, mind the word ‘almost’ in the sentence because you do get some SSDs in a 3.5” form factor as well.

Therefore, the internal differences really have nothing to do in deciding which among the laptop SSD or a desktop SSD is better to use.

It is simply about the capacity and the manufacturer that you should focus on.

One most important thing to focus on is the number of bits that can be stored in every cell.

The single-bit cells, also known as Single Level Cells or SLC are fastest, long-lasting and robust but are expensive.

The 2-bit cells and 3-bit cells also known as Multi-Level Cells or MLC and Triple-Level Cells or TLC respectively are good though the quad-bit cell or the QLC is the cheapest choice.

Now, if you want to use a laptop SSD on a desktop computer or vice versa, then you will need to consider a few specific factors in order to determine the compatibility with your computer system.

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In most cases, installing a desktop SSD in a laptop may not be allowed but this is not absolutely impossible.

Everything depends on the size of the drive itself. If it is size of the drive fits into the bay, you can go ahead and make the switch after considering these following factors:

Therefore, as you can see, the main consideration is whether or not the drive will fit in your device.

Finally, no matter whichever SSD you use, make sure that you use one that is manufactured by a reliable company and is of good quality. Researching and reading reviews are crucial.


As it is pointed out by this article, there is really not much difference between a laptop SSD and a desktop SSD.

Apart from the form factor, there is nothing significantly different in the two that will affect the tasks they perform.