Ask Tech Effect: What is a Solid State Drive?
For anyone that uses a computer, storage is always a big issue.
It never seems to be enough, it almost always slows down your computer, and it’s advertised as one of the most important qualities you should be looking for when buying a computer.
Everyone remembers the talk of getting a hard drive, which soon became the word synonymous with storage. We were introduced to terms such as bytes, megabytes, gigabytes and terabytes. You learned what the numbers meant, and how more space was better.
If you studied computer parts in school, you might even remember the components of a hard drive, and how everything worked together to ensure that your data was accessible. Machines are a wonderful thing, and a hard drive is a great example of that.
Hard drives contain a lot of moving parts, and if you have ever seen one, they are quite large. You might have seen external hard drives for sale, and you can imagine having something like that in your computer.
As we travel around the country for business, and in some cases around the world, you might think about the weight of your computer. Many people are now buying laptops and carrying them around for work, and in some cases people are using tablets, as laptops are too heavy.
Weight is by no means insignificant, when you think about how our transport costs are priced entirely around the predicted weight that people will carry. With portability being the number one priority for computer users worldwide, every computer company is looking for smaller and lighter technology.
Thankfully, advances in technology have been able to create another kind of hard drive, known as a solid state drive. You have most likely heard of its abbreviation, SSD.
Stores will often show you normal hard drives and SSD drives. The first thing you may have noticed is that a regular hard drive is cheaper and can store far more information, while an SSD drive is more expensive and stores significantly less information.
It would seem that a solid state drive sounds like a bad deal, or something only computer enthusiasts would buy. So what is it, and why is it so relevant to computing nowadays?
What Is A Solid State Drive?
A solid state drive is a drive that stores data on flash memory. This doesn’t sound like anything significant until you learn that most hard drives store their data on spinning metal platters. That explains the sound you might hear from your computer as it is accessing data.
Solid state drives don’t have moving parts. The data is accessed from the memory chips that make up the flash memory. As there is nothing moving, your data is accessed faster and more reliably. You don’t have to worry about parts breaking or a part moving into the right place. It’s easily pulled and brought up.
This doesn’t sound like a lot at first, but think of a hard drive like a file drawer, and a solid state drive as data laid out in front of you.
You’d have to search through a file drawer for the right file, and it would take some time. But if the data was in front of you, all you would have to do is grab what you need.
We can all agree the second method is faster for finding data.
With no moving parts, a solid state drive is also less likely to get damaged as you move it around. This is very important for laptops and tablets, both of which put portability and longevity as their selling points.
Of course, no one would ever recommend that you put your computer through any hazardous situation if you can avoid it. If you can’t, you will find SSDs harder to damage than any regular hard drive.
Should I Get A Solid State Drive?
It would not be a bad idea, but before you start jumping on the SSD bandwagon, you do need to be aware of some things.
The price tag of an SSD is quite expensive compared to a hard drive. You will find computers with SSDs being more expensive than those who have hard drives. SSDs are a relatively new technology, and it’s not as easy to create one as it is for a regular hard drive.
If you or your colleagues work with a lot of data, you are not going to find SSDs packing the space requirements that you need. As of current writing, the largest SSD can hold about 1 TB of data. Naturally, that’s also the most expensive.
You can find hard drives storing about 4 TB of data, and that amount could increase as time goes on.
Each memory chip in a solid state drive can only hold data a limited number of times. After a while, it will burn out, and you will be forced to replace it. To be fair, a regular hard drive can fail as well, but the process takes longer.
Technology is improving, which would bring down prices and allow SSDs to work better. Until that happens, you may want to think about whether you and your company can afford to work with the price and space that an SSD can offer.
It’s An Improvement Over A Regular Hard Drive
There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that a solid state drive is an improvement over a regular hard drive.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of limitations that may prevent a lot of people from buying the technology, as it comes with a hefty price tag. Space requirements might also be too small for what other people need.
But now that you know what a solid state drive is, you won’t have to wonder what the acronym SSD means. You know what it means for you, your operations and your expense report.
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