Have you ever wondered why people opt for devices with a Solid State Drive (SSD)? To help you with the answer to that and more, this article teaches you all you need to know about SSD.
Beginning this article is an overview of SSD. Then, in section two, you’ll learn how Solid State Drives work.
That is not all, but next in line for the sections are features of SSDs. Furthermore, the next section, which is the fourth, features the pros and cons of the Solid State Drive.
Additionally, this article also has an FAQ section, where I will answer some of the questions people mostly ask about SSD.
A Solid State Drive is a drive built on NAND flash memory chips and a flash controller.
NAND memories are used to store the data of the SSD and they are also non-volatile memories. Non-volatile memories are types of memories that do not require any external power to retain their data.
The flash controller part of the SSD is an electronic interface that interacts with the computer (the housing device).
These data include the system OS (operating system), programs, and all the computer’s files like multimedia and documents. That aside, compared to the standard HDD (Hard Disk Drive), the SSD has no moving part.
As the SSD has no mechanical part, it has more resistance to shock and vibration. Hence, it does not crash, unlike the HDD that crashes as a result of its mechanical part movements.
How Does the Solid State Drive (SSD) Work?
A Solid State Drive is built on NAND flash memory chips and a flash controller.
The flash controller part of the SSD is the part that communicates with the computer (host device). On the other hand, NAND flash memory chips of the SSD store data.
Besides, NAND memory chips are capable of retaining such data even when the power source is removed. The SSDs are mechanical shock resistant, durable, and can withstand high pressure and temperature.
The reason is that they have no moving parts, unlike the HDDs that have moving parts like motors and spindles. Furthermore, the NAND flash memory of an SSD offers fast read access time which helps it to process lots of data.
For this reason, SSDs are considered to offer the fastest processing speed than the traditional hard disk drives. Moreover, since SSDs have no moving parts unlike HDDs, they are ideal for devices that vibrate and shake.
Hence, if your device mistakingly falls, no harm will come to SSD. This on the other hand eliminates drive clashing usually encountered with HDDs.
Features of Solid State Drive (SSD)
The previous sections of this article have provided us with an overview of SSD and how the technology works.
In this section, I will be detailing some of the commonest features of an SSD in the follow-up sub-sections.
Improved Computer Boot-Time
Since SSDs are much faster than the traditional HDDs, when you install your Operating System on them, your OS boots faster. According to research by howstuffworks.com, a Windows 7 PC booted in 22 seconds on SSD.
However, on HDD, boot time doubled (40 seconds!). In practice, it is advisable to install your Operating System on a solid-state drive and store your data on a traditional HDD.
The reason most users may not be able to use SSD for both OS and data is because of the cost – HDDs are considerably cheapy than SSDs of the same size.
No More Hard Disk Crashes
Another benefit of a solid-state drive is that, unlike the traditional HDD, it does not crash. This is because unlike, HDD, they do not have moving/mechanical parts that can fail.
For the same reason, SSDs are much more resistant to dropping shock. If you mistakenly dropped a laptop with SSD, unlike a laptop with an HDD, it will not crash.
A drop may lead to other problems – so avoid it.
Improved File Opening and Gaming Speed
If you are a gamer, you need to be using a solid-state drive for your OS. A test performed by Avast.com, confirms that gaming loading time was reduced by 108s when the computer used an SSD compared to an HDD.
As previously stated, a solid-state drive offers a considerable improvement in file opening times. As I stated earlier in a test (carried out by howstuffworks.com), excel opening time was reduced by 10 seconds from an SSD Windows 7 PC.
Reduced Noise, Vibration, and Power Consumption
Another benefit of a solid-state drive is that it is not noisy. This is because, unlike their HDD counterpart, SSDs have no moving parts.
The moving parts in HDDs mean that they make noise due to their spinning parts. However, an SSD comprises electronic chips – these do not move, therefore, it does not make any noise.
Moreover, compared to HDDs, SSDs consume less power and generate less heat. The reason for this is that SSDs do not cause any vibrations.
Furthermore, less power consumption means more battery life for your laptops.
No Need to Defragment
It is adversable NOT to defragment SSDs. Defragmentation is generally harmful to a Solid State Drive because it wears it out.
Instead, SSDs use a process called “garbage collection” to replace the need for defragmentation.
Pros and Cons of Solid State Drive (SSD)
Knowing the pros and cons of a Solid State Drive (SSD) will make you understand why you need to opt for a device with SSDs.
In the below sub-sections, I will briefly be explaining some of the pros and cons of an SSD.
Pros of Solid State Drive (SSD)
- Solid State Drive devices have ultra-fast speed. This is undoubtedly the main advantage of a Solid State Drive. Compared to other storage drives like HDD and eMMC, the SSDs have the fastest boot-time speed and file transfer speed (both opening and saving speed).
For instance, as I previously stated in a test (carried out by howstuffworks.com), excel opening time was reduced by 10 seconds from an SSD Windows 7 PC.
- Devices that use Solid State Drive cannot crash. Unlike a Hard Disk Drive that crashes as a result of its mechanical parts that can fail, an SSD does not crash.
Hence, if you mistakingly drop a device with an SSD, it will not crash as the SSD is more resistant to shock, unlike a device with HDD.
- Devices with Solid State Drive have improved noise reduction and generate less heat. Since SSD does not have any mechanical parts, it generates less heat. Hence, its (SSD) durability and lifespan are greatly increased.
Also, SSD requires no fan for its cooling. As a result of this, noise emanating from a fan is totally eliminated.
- Less power consumption. Solid State Drive consumes less power compared to the HDD. The reason for this is that SSD does not have any moving parts like a motor.
Hence, an increase in the housing device battery life.
- Solid State Drives occupy lesser space due to their small size and weight. An SSD is very much smaller than an HDD. This is because it does not have any moving parts.
Due to this reason, many portable devices opt to use SSDs instead of HDDs.
Furthermore, since there are no moving parts in the SSD, it requires fewer components for its configurations, unlike the HDD which uses motors and actuators. Hence, SSD weighs far less than HDD.
In fact, a Solid State Drive should weigh about one-seventh the weight of a hard disk drive.
Cons of Solid State Drive (SSD)
- SSDs are expensive in contrast to HDDs. Obviously, measuring the cost per gigabyte of capacity, a Solid State Drive is more expensive than a hard disk drive. To be specific, an SSD should cost twice as much as an HDD of the same capacity.
Hence, devices that have SSD storage tend to be more expensive than the ones with HDD storage.
- Impossible to recover lost files. If a file in a Solid State Drive is mistakingly deleted, recovering it won’t be possible. This may lead to great problems, especially if there is no better backup plan set aside for your information.
- Limited storage size. Due to how expensive SSD storage is, SSDs don’t offer enough storage space compared to HDD. This is because the higher the gigabyte of an SSD, the more expensive it becomes.
Hence, SSDs come in lesser sizes than HDDs to make them more affordable.
- SSDs do not last long. Since clearing and overwriting data on an SSD is limited, at any point time this process is completed, the Solid State drive cells are damaged Hence, SSD does not last as long as the host device.
Although most transistors are said to have a lifespan of 25-50 years (theoretically), this is not the case when they are used in a Solid State Drive, as can only manage to last up to 3-5 years.
Frequently Asked Questions
Obviously, SSDs are more durable than HDDs. This is because a Solid State Drive has no mechanical parts such as motors and actuator spindles.
Hence, in case of an accidental drop, SSD can withstand shocks, vibrations, and extreme temperatures better than an HDD. As a result, data is not easily lost.
Contrary to the other type of storage drives like eMMC and HDD, a Solid State Drive is very fast in terms of boot-time, file transfer, and app-launch time.
A Solid State Drive (SSD) uses NAND memories to store its data which happens to be non-volatile memories. Non-volatile memories mean that these types of memories do not require any external power to retain their data.
Hence, in a situation of power failure, data stored in an SSD cannot be lost.
It is a common notion that some people believe that a Solid State Drive is capable of storing data indefinitely. However, going also with the common saying that “nothing lasts forever”, SSD too, eventually fails at some point in its lifespan.
Although SSDs are more capable of handling extreme temperatures, shocks, and vibrations, they eventually fail. Specifically, the average SSD can last up to 4-5 years.
However, this is all dependent on the external handling and the amount of work it is used for over a period of time. The number of times you save, delete and save data again (read, write and re-write) contributes immensely to how long an SSD lasts.
Compared to other storage drives like the Hard Disk Drive (HDD), SSDs are very expensive. In fact, an SSD should cost twice as much as an HDD of the same capacity.
This is also the reason SSDs have limited storage space compared the HDDs.
Yes, you should replace your HDD with SSD if you seek better performance than storage size. Replacing your HDD with SSD should be the best thing to do if you wish to improve your device performance.
In fact, SSDs are up to 10 times faster than HDDs.
Well, 256 GB SSD should be enough to accommodate all your programs and multimedia files. However, if you intend to use the computer for heavy gaming or huge multimedia collections, then I’m afraid you have to look for a higher SSD capacity.
This is because the most recent demanding games require huge storage sizes for their installation. A typical example is Call of Duty: Modern Warfare which requires about 231 GB of storage size for its installation.
One of the major differences between an SSD and a RAM is that an SSD is a non-volatile memory whereas, a RAM is a volatile memory. As a non-volatile memory, SSDs do not require any external power to retain their data.
On the contrary, if power is lost, RAM loses all its memory (all information saved in it).
When the processor needs information, instead of fetching it directly from the SSD (or any other storage), it fetches the information from the RAM. This process of the RAM proactively fetching the next information the processor will require makes the entire user experience better.
Yes, a Solid State Drive (SSD) uses NAND flash memories to store its data.
Yes, Solid State Drives are smaller and lighter in weight than HDDs. This is due to the fact that SSDs have no mechanical parts.
My Final Thoughts
A Solid State Drive (SSD) is very small and lightweight. Due to this reason, most mobile device manufacturers opt to use it to make their devices more portable.
Also, SSDs are very fast in performance. In fact, compared to other storage drives available, SSD is the fastest.
However, SSDs are very expensive. To be precise, comparing the prices of SSDs and HDDs, SSDs should be twice or even, in some cases, triple the price of HDDs.
Nonetheless, if you want your device like a laptop to be very fast in performance, I advise you to opt for laptops with SSD storage.
I hope I was able to explain Solid State Drive (SSD) and how it compares to other types of storage. I also hope that you found the article easy to understand and helpful.
Finally, you may find other helpful articles on our Storage & Disk Technology Explained page.
References and Further Reading
- datarecovery.com – SSD Lifespans: How Long Can You Trust Your Solid-State Drive?
- backblaze.com – How Reliable are SSDs?
- techtarget.com – flash controller (flash memory controller)
- bgocloud.com – Top 6 Advantages of SSD
- dotnet.com – What are the advantages and disavantages of solid-state storage?
- Itechguides Community