Benefits of a Solid State Hard Drive

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.

spinning vs solid state hard drive

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:

  • Less power draw, averages 2 – 3 watts
  • Around 10-13 seconds average bootup time
  • There are no moving parts and as such no sound
  • No vibration as there are no moving parts
  • Lower power draw and no moving parts so little heat is produced
  • Mean time between failure rate of 2.0 million hours
  • An SSD is safe from any effects of magnetism

Types and Costs of Solid State Drives

types 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.

Pricing

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.

Brands

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.

Is this article beneficial to you?  Would you consider upgrading to an SSD?  Let me know what you think in the comments below.

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13 Comments

  1. I like the idea of my laptop working at an increased speed. My question is; would you have to remove components from my laptop to add the ssd, or is it just an added drive?
    My second question is; does the computer have to have a certain OS to work with ssd or can it be an older OS?
    This is something that I would consider.
    Please continue sending me great info such as this!

    Thanks!

    • You don’t have to remove anything. Fits in place of the hard drive. Works like any other hard drive. You can install any OS on it.

    • Great to hear from you Dan. Been wanting to put out good info for a long time. Now I’m trying to make the time to do it. Stay tuned.

  2. Great information…will look into this as well as I had not heard of SSD either. Prices seem reasonable, too. So, if I’m reading this right, this doesn’t replace the motherboard in a desktop computer but would be added with a bracket, correct?

    On a personal note, my son just started going to ECPI for Computer Technology (still not sure if he wants to major in Programming or Web design/grahpics) but I have learned some things from him already. They are using MS Office 365 which is new to me 🙂 Will share this article with him.

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