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The truth about SSD

6 January 2010 33,217 views 69 Comments

 

No doubt you have heard about solid state drives (commonly abbreviated, SSD). So you might be wondering what are they and is it important that I get one. Well in basic terms a solid state drive is exactly what the name implies, a hard drive that carries no moving parts. A regular hard drive is made up of a bunch of disks (about the size of compact disks) that spin at high speeds (average between 5400rpm and 7200rpm) which allows you to store information as well as read and write to the device. On the other hand a solid state drive carries none of these moving parts.

Advantages

Now the advantages of a solid state drive can be great or not so great depending on what your requirements are. Generally speaking, it’s harder for your information to be lost on a solid state drive because it carries no moving parts, thus if you should drop your device (in this case a netbook, notebook or desktop), your hard drive will still be in tact. Another advantage is the fact that solid state drives use less power and so are much better for power consumption in mobile systems (like netbooks and notebooks) then regular hard disk drives (HDD). Since the SSD use RAM like memory modules to store its information, the battery does not have to work very hard to keep spinning the hard disks it would have to do had it been a regular hard disk drive.

Another great advantage is the speed of SSD’s. They are much faster because their technology is similar to random access memory (RAM) in that they can be written to and from fairly fast. Last but not least SSD’s are smaller in size then regular HDD and so can hold more information in a smaller amount of space.

Disadvantages

Now as usual with any type of technology there are a few disadvantages that one might want to take into consideration before purchasing said thing. Dealing with SSD’s the major drawback is price. Since the technology is pretty new (at least to the consumer public) it is quite expensive. You can pay round about $2-300.00 on a 320-680GB HDD for your desktop or notebook. On the other hand most SSD’s double in price for their equivalent in a regular hard disk format. For instance if you were to buy that same amount of space on an SSD you would have to be willing to pay nearly or in excess of $1,000 (600+GB = $1,000).

Another major drawback is the “bugginess” of a lot of SSD that are on the market. As I said before the technology is pretty new on the consumer front and just like any new technology, bugs and troubles always follow. Without calling names, many manufacturers have been plagued with problems such as their SSD loosing space over time due to firmware problems. More importantly sometimes fixes are not available in a timely fashion.

Another problem is the sheer performance upgrade and speed of most computers is quite minimal, and unless you are a power user you will not notice any major differences in performance. In fact if you’re reading this article chances are you won’t need an SSD for performance reasons. In terms of battery life, it would be cheaper in most cases to buy another battery of the same size or an extended one then installing an SSD on your laptop or buying one with the option as it would be less expensive.

Conclusion

So here is my proposition. Unless you are filthy rich, or you are a computer power user you might want to think twice before getting yourself one. But if you are clumsy and prone to drop your system then you might want to consider going with an SSD for data protection. Speaking of which, your best option in that case would be to combine an SSD with a ruggedized notebook so you’re not just securing one component, but the whole system.

As I have said many times before, the best thing to do is to wait a few years before adopting a new technology because if you do wait, you will save yourself headache and money as the prices of anything in the technology field always go down and never up.

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69 Comments »

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  • Brian J. Smith said:

    Great article. I haven’t given the Solid State Drives much thought as most of my computing needs are desktop based. Having said that, I have been waiting for the technology to drop in price so that we can replace some of our backup drives with a more efficient model. I think when they become more affordable, they will also increase in capacity just like we’ve seen in regular hard drives.

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    Great article. I haven’t given the Solid State Drives much thought as most of my computing needs are desktop based. Having said that, I have been waiting for the technology to drop in price so that we can replace some of our backup drives with a more efficient model. I think when they become more affordable, they will also increase in capacity just like we’ve seen in regular hard drives.

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    It honestly amazes me that people have tolerated Microsoft products as long as they have. I have been waiting for the technology to drop in price so that we can replace some of our backup drives with a more efficient model. Thank you.

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    The great thing about SSD drives is they are so much faster and quieter, and if you are thinking about purchasing one I would just wait 6 months or so, the prices will drop dramatically!

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