What is an SSD?

The technology inside computers is one that is always evolving and improving each year. What was once a high end-spec desktop computer just a few years ago is now pretty outdated in terms of performance, and the technology it was built with.

The storage capacity of computers has also greatly increased over the past decade or so. Today you can even pick up flash sticks that can hold a whopping 125 GB, as well as hard drives that can hold multiple TB of data, and there are no signs that storage capabilities and their constant improvement is going to slow down any time soon.

The evolution from HDD to SSD

Over the past few years, more and more computers and laptops have been fitted with a solid-state drive (SSD) as the main boot drive of the system, and they have slowly been replacing HDD (hard disc drive) ever since. HHDs haven’t been completely replaced and there are still huge numbers of people who use them.

The difference between the two types of drive is how they actually work and save the data. The size of a SSD is much smaller than a traditional HDD, which is why you’ll find that most new ultra thin laptops are fitted with them. More and more prebuilt desktop computers are also fitted with SSD drives, though you can still find a number of cheaper options that still use HDD.

The differences between HDD and SSD

HDDs use what is known as spinning disc platters that store and provide access to the information on the drive. A SSD works differently, and as there are no moving parts inside, it stores the data the same that a smartphone or USB drive does, which is on flash memory chips.

This means that the SSD data is able to provide much quicker access to the information stored on them, as a HDD drive would have to wait a few seconds for the platter so spin to the location of where your data is stored.

This difference between these two types of laptop storage in how they work is the reason that they are completely different shapes and sizes. SSDs are much more compact and lighter in weight than their HDD counterparts are, which is why they are preferred inside think desktops and laptops. They offer the manufacturers a lot more flexibility when it comes to designing the unit, and a lot of the newer high-end laptops are being built with the SSD being mounted onto the actual motherboard.

However, they are much more expensive to develop, and as such, they are around double the price of a HDD that offers a similar data capacity. 

Benefits of SSD

NVMe drives offer even more performance

There are a number of advantages of using an SSD over a HDD. Below we will take a look at the main highlights of solid-state drives.

They are faster

The complete lack of moving parts inside means that SSDs are much faster than HHDs. The instant-load performance that they offer means that a user will be able to experience much faster boot times, as well as your applications loading quicker. Most SSDs will have access speed of between 35 to 100 microseconds, which is approximately 100 times faster than the average HDD. The random access times of an SSD are in microseconds compared to milliseconds, which is why systems that are using SSD technology work a lot smoother and are more responsive.

They are more durable

One of the main advantages that SSD has over HDD, in addition to speed, is that they are much more durable. The fact that there are no moving parts inside means that there is less heat being generated, which is one of the main causes of hard drive failure. 

SSDs are much more reliable and more resistant to being mishandled or dropped. If you were to drop your HDD, nine times out of ten that would be the end of your drive. But an SSD is much more durable simply due to the fact that there are no moving parts that can be damaged.

They are more portable

An SSD is a lot lighter in weight, as well as physical size, than a regular HDD, and this means that they are much more portable and easier to carry around. This is why most modern laptops will use SSD over HDD, simply as it means that the manufacturer can offer an extremely light device for people to use on the move. Some of the smallest SSD devices are just a few inches in length and mere millimeters in width.

They are easier to install

The size of an SSD makes it a much easier device to install into your desktop compared with a regular HDD. It’s simply a case of connecting it and maybe tightening a screw or two. Installing a classic HDD takes a more time and is much more difficult, due to the fact that it can only be installed in a certain place, often with wires and other parts around the area making installation a little trickier.

Disadvantages of SSD

Though there are more pros than cons when it comes to solid-state drives, it’s only fair that we mention the bad points as well as the good. There are a few main disadvantages of SSDs.

More Expensive

First up is the cost. Though the average price of an SSD drive has decreased over the past few years, it is still much more expensive than a HDD. 

Less Storage Capacity

Another major disadvantage is the data storage capacity on an SSD. Due to limitations in the cell write memory of NANDs

Difficult Data Extraction

If data extraction is required on an SSD, it will be a much longer and difficult process than a HDD due to the structure of the file system on SSD devices.

Short Lifecycle

HDDs are far superior when it comes to their write lifecycle. This is due to the fact that SSDs must erase blocks of data first before writing new data as it cannot overwrite existing blocks. Over time, this process will cause a decrease in the performance of the writing capabilities.

A few final words

SSDs are a far more popular and powerful choice than HDDs, and it’s obvious that the technology is only going to improve over the years. More and more people are turning to SSDs for their computers and laptops, simply because it gives them a much faster performance. 

After all, in this digital world that we now find ourselves living in, everything should be accessible as quickly as possible, and in terms of speed and performance, SSDs are far superior to their predecessors.

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