Solid state drives have been in existence for some time. However, they have not been readily available due to price and lack of demand…until now.
Though the age-old question still applies…how can this benefit me? Very good question, and for most, it may not, but to those looking to, or require, the capability of going with a SSD, acronym for solid state drive, can improve computing performance tremendously.
In this article, we will define the what and why of solid state drives, and how to take advantage of this technology. Additionally, help you with the transition from the traditional hard disk drive (HDD) to the SSD, if you so choose, and some tweaks you can make to take full advantage of your SSD.
What is a Solid State Drive?
In a nutshell, this is another form of technology that allows you to store vast amounts of digital data. The terminology derives from the basics of electronics, specifically transistors, vacuum tubes, and semiconductors.
A SSD is intended to replace a traditional HDD, though not entirely, which we will cover a bit later in this article.
In an article, entitled SSD – Solid State Drives, the author does a very good job of defining SSD’s, and states,
In terms of a SSD, it refers to the fact that the primary storage medium is through semiconductors rather than a magnetic media such as a hard drive. ~Mark Kyrnin
When comparing it to technology we already use, Mark says,
…solid state drives and USB flash drives both use the same type of non-volatile memory chips that retain their information even when they have no power. The difference is in the form factor and capacity of the drives. While a flash drive is designed to be external to the computer system, an SSD is designed to reside inside the computer in place of a more traditional hard drive. ~Mark Kyrnin
Benefits of Solid State Drives
There are several advantages to using SSD’s, rather than HDD’s, most being better performance and reliability.
With no moving parts, an SSD can read, or access data much faster, by 20-30% presently, pending data, etc.
Your solid state drive will be more reliable due also to no moving parts. Unlike the traditional magnetic hard drive we have become comfortable with, an SSD does not have any mechanical parts, no spinning platters, or moving drive heads. In addition, they use less power.
At first glance, we don’t consider the power issue when discussing desktop/workstation PC’s. However, for laptops, power is everything. Even though the hard disk drive industry has worked hard at reducing the amount of use by employing larger caches, they still burn energy driving the motors that run the heads, spin the platters, etc.
Are There any Disadvantages?
Yes there are, though the list is very short and most will be minimized due to competition and supply.
- The price for a SSD hasn’t been worth it
- Capacities of a typical SSD at the time was limited
- The write cycle for an SSD is limited. This means the performance of an SSD will be less than that of the traditional HDD
- DRAM-based SSD’s will use more power than a HDD. The power consumption starts and continues while the computer is on
Just remember, not all SSD’s are created equal. If you would like to check the market on solid state drives, please refer to the following link: Solid State Drives
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