Does SSD Need Power?

The answer to the question “Does SSD need power?” depends upon what type of SSD you have. There are basically three popular types of SSDs out there, SATA M.2 SSD, SATA 2.5″ SSD, and NVMe M.2 SSD.

Among the popular SSD types, only the SATA 2.5″ SSD needs to be powered separately. The rest of the drives do not need to be powered separately. 

Essentially, all SSDs require power. However, some get their power from the socket they plug into itself, while for others, you need to arrange a separate standalone power source.

Generally, SSDs with a larger form factor tend to utilize more power and thus need to be powered separately. 

Fortunately, the power consumed by an SSD is only a fraction of what a hard disk drive consumes.

In the following text, I will explain in detail the types of SSDs with particular look into the type that requires a separate power source. I will also touch base on the performance of different hard drives.

SSD Types, Their Performance Comparison and Their Form Factor

In order to thoroughly understand whether an SSD drive requires a separate power source or not, you need to understand the different types of SSDs available.

There are three popular types of SSDs:

  1. SATA 2.5″ SSD
  2. SATA M.2 SSD
  3. PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD

1. SATA 2.5″ SSD

SATA SSD
A 2.5″ SSD requires a SATA data cable and a SATA power cable to connect. 

SATA 2.5″ SSD has the largest form factor of the three popular SSDs. It is similar in size to the 2.5″ Hard Disk Drives found on laptops.

SATA SSDs, as the name suggests, use the SATA interface of the PC. SATA interface is one of two main interfaces (the other one being PCIe) that is used to connect hard drives and other components.

SATA interface is slower than PCIe. With the current SATA 3 version, the maximum theoretical speeds of the slot is 6 Gbps or 750 Mega Bytes per second.

Practically though, a typical SATA SSD, such as the one you see above, has a max transfer speed of about 550 MB/s. This is about 2-3 times faster than an average hard disk drive.

SATA 2.5″ SSDs Require Power!

SATA 2.5″ SSDs are the only SSDs, among the popular three, that require power!

does ssd need power
SATA SSD connectors explained

In order to connect to the motherboard, they require:

  1. A SATA power cable coming from the Power Supply Unit to the SSD drive.
  2. A SATA data cable connected to motherboard on one end and to the SSD drive on the other end.
Sata Power Cables
SATA SSDs require a SATA power connector coming from the PSU.
wsata-data-cable
SATA ports on a motherboard. You need a free SATA port in order to connect a SATA 2.5″ SSD.

2. SATA M.2 SSD

The second relatively popular type of SSD is the SATA M.2 SSD.

What are SATA Ports Used For
Samsung Evo 860 SATA SSD with M.2 form factor.

This type of SSD basically uses the SATA interface as well like the SATA 2.5″ SSD we saw above, but has the M.2 form factor.

M.2 form factor is slim stick like form factor for SSDs as you see above.

The M.2 SSDs require, well, an M.2 slot on the motherboard to plug into. 

M.2 Slot Length
A typical M.2 slot on a motherboard. The screw holes at different length interval are intended for M.2 SSDs of different sizes. Source: rog.asus.com

This type of SSD DOES NOT require power separately. It receives its power from the M.2 slot on the motherboard itself.

As far as the performance of this type of SSD goes, it has the same speeds as the 2.5″ SATA SSDs, which is about 550 MB/s max transfer speeds. 

3. PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD

Finally we have our personal favorite and the blazingly fast PCIe NVMe M.2 SSDs.

samsung 980 pro
Samsung 980 Pro. PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD

These SSDs also have the M.2 form factor but use the PCIe interface instead of the SATA interface.

As far as the question of power goes, M.2 NVMe SSDs also do not require power separately. They get their power supplied to them from the M.2 slot itself.

PCIe interface is countless times faster than the SATA interface and depending upon what PCIe version you have on your motherboard, the speeds can drastically vary.

A PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSD can achieve speeds of about 3500 MB/s. A PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD can achieve speeds of about 5500 MB/s!

Also Read: Does SSD Improve Gaming Performance?

So Does SSD Need Power?

The following table summarizes what we learned above.

SSD Type Separate Power Required? Speeds
SATA 2.5″ SSD Yes, SATA Power connector required from the Power Supply Unit. ~ 550 MB/s
SATA M.2 SSD No ~ 550 MB/s
PCIe 3.0 NVMe M.2 SSD  No ~ 3500 MB/s
PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 SSD  No ~ 5500 MB/s

So in the end, 2.5″ SATA SSDs need power. The rest of the popular SSD types do not.

More Resources on SSDs:

FAQ

How Much Power Does SSD Need?

The amount of power an SSD, or any hard drive, needs depends upon whether it is in idle state or in working state.

There are two metrics to consider: average power draw and peak power draw. 

The peak power draw of an SSD can be as high as 5-7W. However, in idle state, the consumption can go down to as low as 0.025W.

Do I Need SATA Power Cable for SSD?

Yes, if you have a 2.5″ SATA SSD then you will need to have a SATA power cable for your SSD.

In case if you have an older Power Supply Unit with Molex power connectors, then you can get a Molex to SATA adapter as shown below:

sata molex
SATA to Molex Adapter

Do You Need to Upgrade Your Power Supply Unit for SSD?

No, you do not need to have a newer or a better Power Supply Unit for adding an SSD.

SSDs do not use much power compared to the rest of the components like the CPU or the graphics card. They also use much lower power compared to a typical hard drive. 

Do SSDs Need Power to Retain Data?

No, you do not need to have an SSD connected to power to retain data.

While it is true that overtime an SSD can start to loose data and is therefore not as ideal for archiving data as hard disk drives for a long time, you do not need to have the fear of immediate data loss if you disconnect your SSD from power.

As far as how long it takes for data loss to occur, it is quite hard to tell. Depending upon the technology used in the SSD and how old it is, it can take anywhere between 2-10 years before the SSD starts loosing data. 

The ambient conditions also determines how fast the data loss can occur in SSDs.

Final Words

So the answer to the question “Does SSD Need Power?” is a yes ONLY if you have a 2.5″ SATA SSD in hand.

If you have an M.2 SSD, then you do not need to provide separate power source.

Also Read: What Does SSD Look Like?

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Author:

Atif Qazi
Atif Qazi is the founder of PCGuide101. He is a digital nomad who loves everything PC. He is a PC builder, tech enthusiast, engineer, and a lover of single player lore-rich RPG games.

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