So Many Benefits to a
Solid State Drive (SSD)
Super Fast! Super Strong! Super Reliable! Virtually Shock Resistant! Superior Performance to their regular counterparts. Sounds like I’m describing Super Heroes here. Well, these are super hard drives and they’re getting cheaper and cheaper!
In case you’ve never heard of a Solid State Drive (SSD) before I will attempt to make the case as to why you should consider upgrading to one. An SSD functions like a normal hard drive in the respect that it can load your operating system and store your data. Unlike your normal mechanical hard drive, however, an SSD has no moving parts.
SSD’s are built with semiconductor memory such as NAND flash memory. This flash memory does not even require power to keep the data stored. Normal hard drives use a platter that moves at a minimum of 5400 RPM and data is read and written using a moving arm. There are many more points of failure for a standard hard drive due to higher power consumption, the high speed of the rotating platter and the motor required to move the read / write arm.
The read / write speed of the SSD’s are at minimum 30% faster. For the higher end types of SSD’s this can get to around 60% faster. The read / write speed is how fast the hard drive can store data (write) and retrieve or access data (read). This makes a world of difference with data intensive applications like Photoshop, Auto CAD, and video editing to just name a few.
There are no fragmentation problems with SSD’s because the data is stored randomly among the flash memory and not sequentially into sectors like standard hard drives.
The bottom line is that due to the fact there are no moving parts the SSD is superior in many ways, most importantly speed and reliability. Here are more ways the SSD architecture outperforms it’s standard hard drive counterpart:
Types and Costs of Solid State Drives
The most common type of Solid State Drive is the standard 2.5″ form factor that most laptop drives come in. These will fit into almost any laptop just like a standard laptop hard drive. You can also install these into almost any desktop. If it will not fit in your desktop there is a standard bracket (around $15) that will house the SSD. There is no 3.5″ form factor (standard desktop size hard drive) and probably never will be.
Another not too common type is the mSata form factor seen above on the far right. This style is much smaller and generally used in Netbooks are very small laptops.
These last style is the PCI express SSD. These are generally very expensive and used in Desktops only. The PCI Express SSD is the fastest type as of the time of this writing. It has a much higher data throughput rate since it’s directly connected to the PCI express bus and not the the slower SATA connection on the motherboard.
The cost of Solid State Drives has come down significantly in the past year alone. They are very affordable. The price is higher of course than the standard mechanical hard drives, however the performance difference far outweighs the cost difference.
A typical 240GB SSD can range anywhere from $110 to $170 depending on the manufacturer. The 480GB SSD can get into the $200 to $280 range.
I typically favor the Intel 730 series (above far left with the cool skull logo). The major brands all produce high quality drives like Samsung EVO 840 & 850 series, Kingston HyperX Savage & 3K series and Crucial MX200 series.
I would highly recommend staying away from the cheap low end SSD’s.
I have personally used an Intel SSD in my own laptop for the past few years. Once you use one and get used to the increased speed it would be difficult to go back to a normal hard drive. You can also ask my wife. I put an SSD in her laptop and it is now twice as fast.
So, hopefully you learned something new today. There are many more details regarding Solid State Drives, but I wanted to cover the basics to anyone out there that had no idea these existed and to those who are curious.