A solid-state drive, also known as a SSD, is the latest step in the evolution of data storage. SSDs are slowly but surely looking to replace the old and somewhat outdated hard disk drives. Because of their size, durability and other economic qualities, SSDs are often thought of as laptop drives, but they are actually a better option for any type of machine utilizing data storage. There are many things to mention when looking to outline precisely why SSDs are a step up in technology from HDDs, and why we can only hope that every machine adopts solid-state data storage sooner rather than later.
The first thing to point out is the great difference in speed when compared to traditional hard drives; solid-state drives are usually twice as fast compared to any HDD, sometimes even more. This is thanks to the fundamentally different technology used for storing data on a SSD. Where hard drives use noisy mechanical parts that are constantly moving in order to read or write data, solid-state drives, similar to USB memory sticks, have no moving parts and instead store their information on microchips, giving them incredible reading and writing speed. Many actions performed on the computer that come with a slight loading time while the hard drive reads the data become instantaneous with solid-state drives. The quality of a SSD is largely determined by the controller, a type of processor tasked with overseeing the drive’s various tasks, and how fast it can make decisions related to data storage.
When pitting a SSD vs regular HDD, a huge thing to consider is the solid-state drive’s greater durability. Anyone who has owned a hard drive knows they are not exactly the most durable pieces of hardware, sometimes not only breaking down way before its life expectancy would have you believe, but also being very susceptible to damage and shock because of its core parts moving. A SSD, on the other hand, is not mechanical and contains no moving parts, granting it decent shock resistance; this is, in part, why SSDs are such a popular choice for laptops, as they are usually moved often and sometimes experience impacts. Solid-state is also a preferred choice in portable computers because its energy consumption is usually only a third of what a hard drive would use, which can lead to prolonged battery life and more efficient cooling. They are also considerably lighter, weighing only around a tenth of what a regular 700 gram hard drive does.
The main reasons why someone would opt for a hard drive over a solid-state one in this day and age are price per gigabyte and overall storage capacity. A SSD can cost several times the price of a HDD of the same size, and SSDs that exceed 512GB, not to mention 1TB, can be very expensive. This is why SSDs are typically used as the operating system drive and HDDs are used for data storage – hard drives can have the capacity of several terabytes while still maintaining some level of affordability. However, as technology progresses, solid-state prices will continue to decrease and their capacities will continue to move up, so if you can’t afford one now, keep an eye out as a significant price drop could be right around the corner.