Which hard drives contain no moving parts?

In recent years, a new type of hard drive has emerged that contains no moving parts. These solid state drives, often abbreviated as SSDs, offer several advantages over traditional hard disk drives (HDDs). SSDs are faster, more durable, operate silently, and consume less power. This has led to their increasing adoption across many computing devices. But which specific SSD models contain no moving parts? Here we provide a quick answer, followed by a more in-depth look at SSD technology and which drives qualify as containing no moving parts.

Quick Answer: SSDs or solid state drives contain no moving parts, unlike traditional HDDs. All SSDs use flash memory chips rather than magnetic platters and read/write heads, so they qualify as containing no moving parts. Leading SSD brands like Samsung, Crucial, Western Digital, and Kingston offer SSD models with just flash memory inside.

How Do SSDs Work?

SSDs use flash memory chips rather than magnetic platters to store data. This key difference is what allows SSDs to operate without any moving parts. Here’s a quick look at how SSDs work:

– Flash memory – SSDs use NAND flash memory chips to store data persistently. Flash memory retains data even when power is removed, similar to hard drives. But flash chips have no moving parts.

– Controller – An SSD controller manages the flash memory and interfaces with the computer. It has firmware that runs the SSD and optimizes its performance.

– Interface – SSDs use standard interfaces like SATA or PCIe to connect with computers. The interface enables data transfer between the SSD controller and computer.

– Caching – SSDs use RAM caches to boost performance. A portion of fast DRAM chips store frequently accessed data temporarily.

– Case – All the SSD components are housed in a sturdy, compact case. Some SSDs come in a 2.5″ HDD form factor so they can fit in laptops.

With just NAND flash chips, a controller, caching memory, and an interface, SSDs can operate without any moving mechanical parts. This distinguishes them from traditional hard drives that must physically spin platters and move read/write heads to access data.

SSD Advantages Over HDDs

SSDs offer several major advantages over HDDs specifically because they do not rely on moving parts:

– Faster performance – SSDs provide much lower latency and higher IOPS than HDDs because they do not have to mechanically seek to data.

– Higher durability – With no moving parts, SSDs are less prone to component failures from shock, vibration, or degradation over time.

– Silent operation – SSDs run silently with no audible noise since there are no spinning platters or moving heads.

– Lower power – SSDs consume much less power than HDDs, extending battery life in laptops and mobile devices.

– Compact – 2.5″ SSDs weigh less and take up much less space than 2.5″ HDDs with the same capacity.

These benefits make SSDs highly desirable for consumer devices, enterprise servers, industrial applications, and any use case where performance, reliability, and efficiency matter. The lack of moving parts unlocks SSD capabilities that traditional HDDs simply cannot match.

Leading Brands With No Moving Parts SSDs

All SSDs have no moving parts, but here are some leading brands offering high-performing and reliable SSDs:


– Samsung 870 EVO
– Samsung 870 QVO
– Samsung 980 Pro
– Samsung 980

Samsung is the world’s largest SSD manufacturer and makes SSDs for every use case from their budget QVO line to prosumer EVO drives to blazing fast Gen 4 NVMe drives like the 980 Pro. All Samsung SSDs contain no moving parts, just their proprietary 3D V-NAND flash memory paired with efficient controllers.


– Crucial MX500
– Crucial P5
– Crucial P2

Crucial focuses on the consumer SSD market and offers compelling choices like the balanced MX500 SATA SSD, the NVMe P5, and the budget-minded P2. Their SSDs achieve solid real-world performance with competitive pricing.

Western Digital

– WD Black SN750 NVMe SSD

Western Digital brings their substantial storage expertise to their consumer SSD lineup. The WD Blue 3D NAND SATA SSD offers a great value option, while the WD Black SN750 NVMe SSD provides high-end performance perfect for gaming.


– Kingston A400 SATA SSD
– Kingston KC2500 NVMe SSD

Kingston offers SSDs covering entry-level, mid-range, and high-performance segments. The Kingston A400 provides an affordable way to upgrade from a hard drive, while the Kingston KC2500 hits impressive speeds via PCIe Gen 3.0 x 4.

Are Hybrid Hard Drives SSDs?

Hybrid hard drives, sometimes called SSHDs, combine flash memory with a traditional HDD. They do contain moving parts since they have physical platters and read/write heads. The flash memory acts as a cache to store frequently accessed data for faster speeds. But hybrid drives are still fundamentally mechanical HDDs, so they do not qualify as true SSDs. All true SSDs contain no moving parts whatsoever.

Do M.2 SSDs Have Moving Parts?

M.2 SSDs have no moving parts. The M.2 form factor defines the physical dimensions and connector of the SSD module. But M.2 SSDs utilize NAND flash memory for storage, so they contain no moving parts. Their compact M.2 form factor allows M.2 SSDs to be used in small devices and laptops where space is limited. M.2 SSDs help eliminate moving parts in PCs altogether when coupled with fanless, passively cooled processors and components.


NVMe or Non-Volatile Memory Express SSDs also contain no moving parts. NVMe is a high-performance protocol for accessing SSDs directly over PCIe. NVMe SSDs still rely solely on flash memory chips for storage. The NVMe protocol enables much higher speeds compared to SATA SSDs by reducing latency and overhead. NVMe drives deliver exceptional performance for applications like gaming, content creation, simulations, and more. But they achieve these speeds while still operating silently without moving parts.

2.5″ vs M.2 vs PCIe SSD Differences

While 2.5″, M.2, and PCIe SSDs use different form factors and interfaces, they all utilize flash memory and no moving parts.

2.5″ SSDs – Use the traditional 2.5″ hard drive form factor and connect via SATA interface. Easy to install and provide a storage boost over HDDs.

M.2 SSDs – Designed in a compact M.2 form factor to conserve space. Communicate via PCIe or SATA.

PCIe SSDs – Directly attached to PCIe lanes for maximum bandwidth. Offer the fastest speeds but take up PCIe slots.

The interface and form factor differences allow SSDs to suit various applications. But the core technology of flash memory remains the same across 2.5″, M.2 and PCIe SSDs, meaning no moving parts are involved.

SSD Reliability

SSD reliability is a concern for some considering flash memory has a limited lifespan. However, modern SSDs are remarkably durable for consumer workloads. Reasons SSDs are reliable storage options:

– Write endurance – Continually improved with some SSDs rated for hundreds of TBs written. Enterprise drives can exceed 1 petabyte.

– Data integrity – Advanced error correction protects data from corruption.

– Fail-safe features – SSDs handle sudden power loss safely.

– Monitoring – SSDs provide SMART data on drive health and usage metrics.

– Warranties – Most SSDs carry 3 to 5 year limited warranties guaranteeing a minimum level of endurance.

– Backup – As with any storage media, backups provide an additional layer of data safety.

For most users, SSD reliability should easily exceed the useful lifespan of the computer where it’s installed. And without moving parts, SSDs avoid the mechanical failures inherent in HDD designs.

SSD Endurance Explained

TBW Ratings

SSD endurance is measured in terabytes written (TBW). This indicates how much data can be written to the drive before flash memory wears out. TBW ratings now commonly reach 600-1000TB or more for consumer SSDs.

P/E Cycles

TBW correlates to P/E or program/erase cycles. This is the number of times flash memory cells can be programmed and erased before wearing out. Higher density flash provides 10,000 P/E cycles or more.

Wear Leveling

SSDs optimize wear leveling or distributing writes across all cells evenly. This avoids exhausting a small number of cells from excessive writes.


Extra flash capacity is set aside to compensate for worn out cells over time. This allows the SSD’s usable capacity to remain steady until the drive reaches end-of-life.

Thanks to these technologies, modern SSDs offer satisfactory endurance for years of intensive use. And with no moving parts, SSDs avoid the mechanical wear and tear of traditional hard drives.

Do USB Flash Drives Have Moving Parts?

USB flash drives, also known as thumb drives or memory sticks, contain no moving parts. Flash drives use NAND flash memory chips to store data. This solid state flash memory retains data after power is removed. And since flash memory has no moving parts, flash drives can operate without any motors, gears, or actuators.

Which External SSD Models Have No Moving Parts?

External SSDs connect over USB or Thunderbolt while providing fast flash memory storage. Here are some top external SSD models that have no moving parts:

– Samsung T5 Portable SSD
– WD My Passport SSD Portable Storage
– SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD
– Seagate Barracuda Fast SSD
– LaCie Portable SSD
– G-Technology G-Drive mobile SSD

These and all other external SSDs contain just flash memory. Some include a compact DRAM cache to further boost performance. But external SSDs never use mechanical hard drive technology, thus ensuring no moving parts.

Do SD Cards Contain Moving Parts?

SD cards and other solid state memory cards contain no moving parts. SD cards rely on NAND flash memory chips to store data. Flash memory in SD cards and other formats like CompactFlash and xD Picture cards have no motors or mechanics. This makes flash memory cards shockproof and removes moving components that can fail. SD cards are commonly used in consumer devices like digital cameras, phones, and handheld gaming systems where their solid state durability provides practical advantages.


Solid state drives offer major benefits over traditional hard disk drives thanks to their lack of moving parts. With no platters, read/write heads, or other mechanical components, SSDs operate silently while resisting shock, vibration, and general wear and tear. Leading brands like Samsung, Crucial, Western Digital, and Kingston offer high-performing SSD models containing just flash memory chips. While form factors and interfaces like 2.5″, M.2, and PCIe may differ, all categories of SSDs eschew moving parts in favor of flash memory technology. This makes SSDs the clear choice for modern computing applications where reliability, speed, and efficiency matter.