In our society where the technology landscape is constantly moving and shifting, people are always concerned with having the best new thing on the market. So when people are talking about a new form of storage on your computer and replacing your hard-drive, it’s easy to be skeptical. However, if you are interested in having a better experience using your computer, then an upgrade to an SSD (or Solid State Drive) may be for you. Computers used to rely on HDDs (Hard Disk Drives) as the main storage device, but SSDs are becoming more and more prevalent.
So what exactly are SSDs and HDDs?
A Solid State Drive is a storage device containing nonvolatile flash memory, and it is used in place of a Hard Disk Drive because of its speed. A normal SSD offers the largest jump in performance for a regular PC. Most people are familiar with a standard USB drive, so think of the SSD as a larger USB. An HDD, is the mechanism that controls the positioning, reading, and writing of the hard disk. So while an SSD is like a large USB, an HDD is more like a larger floppy disk.
That comparison might be a little harsh, but still. An SSD can perform all of the functions as an HDD, but SSDs store their memory on flash chips that retain data even if there is no power on. As mentioned before, the SSD is nonvolatile, which means that the disk can be turned off and it won’t forget what was stored on it. By storing data in microchips, this prevents the SSD from requiring moving parts, which makes it more reliable. An HDD does have several moving parts, which causes it to be slower and also gives it a higher failure rate because moving parts are susceptible to wear and tear over time.
The main advantage of an SSD is the speed, because the flash memory chips used in SSD are much faster at reading data. When an HDD is crowded with data, sometimes it becomes fragmented across multiple sections. This will cause the HDD to take longer to read the data. Unlike the HDD, the SSD is able to read files simultaneously across multiple sections, which prevents fragmentation. If you are looking to improve the speed of your system, once again we can consider this a win for SSD.
The one advantage HDD does have is that it is cheaper and is still able to store lots of data. However, unless you need to store a large amount of data (and you’ll probably know who you are, if that is the case) a standard 240 GB is probably enough. Also, people may argue that the SSD is significantly more expensive. This is the case if someone wants a huge SSD, because an HDD with 1 TB of data will probably remain notably cheaper than an SSD of that size. However, the price of the standard SSD has declined in recent years, making the price difference not a major issue anymore for the average consumer who likely only needs between 120 and 480GB of storage. With an SSD, you are sacrificing a few bucks for a much more efficient and reliable system.
Comparing the two side by side, the HDD requires much more power and time to operate as opposed to the SSD. The failure rate is higher, and the price of the SSD is continuing to decline, making the price difference a non-factor compared to the past. Given all these factors, we can see how the SSD is a clear improvement over the HDD. When it comes to finding a new computer that is “better, faster, stronger”, the Solid State Drive will turn your old computer into the new one you have been looking for.