Solid State Drive’s (or more commonly abbreviated to SSD), are one of the biggest technology advancements in recent times for speeding up the modern PC.
Their name is a little incorrect in describing what they actually are as they in actual fact don’t contain any mechanical disks or drives like the more commonly used and known storage devices such as Hard Disk Drives and Floppy Disks.
Solid State Drives use a technology similar to computer RAM called NAND-based flash memory, which retains the data onto the memory module without the need of constant power, unlike RAM.
Having no mechanical parts to spin, seek, search, read and write to, SSD’s have much faster seek times, lower latency and shorter access time than traditional mechanical drives.
This in turn allows SSD’s to have over ten (10x) times the read speed of traditional mechanical or electromagnetic drives.
Another benefit of no moving parts is that they run silently no matter what they are doing.
Personally besides the speed increase, this is one of my most adored features of SSD’s as I always seemed to have hard drives made of loose pebbles, rocks and crunchy biscuits in my old computers as a kid.
Their development in the recent past has really pushed hardware manufacturers to further develop the SATA I/O interface technology to take advantage of the SSD’s increased performance.
Most SSD’s require the SATA 3 interface standard to fully utilise the extra performance.
The only major drawbacks currently are the price and the available sizes.
Prices have really come down in the past 3 years and the sizes have gone up to 1TB, but they still lag behind the price per GB compared to traditional mechanical HDD’s.
The current best solution?
Buy a decent sized SSD, anything between 120GB to 256GB; install your preferred OS and all your programs on it. Then store all your files (videos, music, images, backups, documents etc.) on a traditional HDD, preferably in a RAID configuration.