PCs have come a long way over the decades; even the most basic computers on the market today offer a variety of customization virtually unheard of 20 years ago. One of the big choices when buying, or building, a new computer is storage: Should you go with the old standard HDD, or the new convenient SSD?
What is a SSD?
Most people who use a computer for any length of time probably know what a hard drive is, or at least know that their computer has one. A Hard Drive Disk (HDD) is basically a small magnetic plate that stores all of your data even when the power is off. It has an arm with a special head that reads the data when the plate spins. It’s sort of like a fancy high-tech record player.
A Solid State Drive (SSD) still stores your data when the computer is off, but uses memory chips instead of a mechanical spinning disk. Some SSDs are installed inside the computer, while others can be plugged in externally. A SSD typically costs more than a HDD, but they also have some features that give them more advantages.
What advantages does a SSD have over a HDD?
The topmost benefit a SSD has is speed. With a standard HDD you have to wait for it to boot up once you turn on the power. Depending on how much information the disk has to read, you can end up waiting several minutes before you can even log in to the computer. (Even longer if you have a lot of programs set to start up automatically.)
A SSD takes seconds to boot; that’s why it’s called a Solid State. Since the drive can access all of its memory chips at once, there is virtually no time needed to find the right “packets of data” as with a HDD. Not only this, but an SDD will also run apps and programs faster. That’s a big boost for both work and entertainment.
Anyone who’s accidentally dropped a laptop on the floor has experienced a heart-stopping moment of worry that all your precious data is now toast. That’s because even the most secured HDD still has mechanical parts that can break with enough force.
A SSD doesn’t have moving parts, so it’s less likely to suffer damage or data loss when your laptop tumbles down the stairs or your desktop gets manhandled by the movers. Even external SSDs can take quite a lot of abuse and keep running smoothly.
SSDs are more energy-efficient because they have no moving parts to power. That means more battery life for portables and lower electric bills for desktops. Another bonus is a SSD runs virtually silent, whereas HDDs make more noise the faster they have to spin.
Variety and Portability
HDDs are limited in size and storage capability. The smaller you make the disk, the less storage you can put on it. Since most are internal, it takes a bit of effort to be able to transfer one disk between devices. Then there is always the risk that the moving parts inside will become damaged if it’s roughed up during transfers.
SSDs only get more varied with time. This allows us to make super slim laptops without sacrificing speed or storage. Internal SSDs are more rugged for transfer and fit conveniently into different types of computer. External SSDs are even better for taking mounds of data on the go.