A solid state drive or SSD is a very fast hard drive option for your computer. I’ll note from myself that until you work at a computer where an SSD is installed as the main (or better - the only) hard drive, you won’t understand what is “fast” behind it, it’s very impressive. This article is quite detailed, but in terms of a novice user, we’ll talk about what an SSD solid state drive is and whether you need it. See also: Five Things You Should Not Do With SSDs to Extend Their Life
In recent years, SSDs are becoming more affordable and affordable. However, while they still remain more expensive than traditional hard drives HDD. So, what is an SSD, what are the advantages of using it, what will be the difference between working with an SSD from an HDD?
What is a solid state drive?
In general, the technology of solid-state hard drives is quite old. SSDs have been on the market in various forms for several decades. The very first of them were based on RAM memory and were used only in the most expensive corporate and super-computers. In the 90s, flash-based SSDs appeared, but their price did not allow them to enter the consumer market, so these disks were mostly familiar to computer specialists in the USA. During the 2000s, the price of flash memory continued to fall, and by the end of the decade, SSDs began to appear on ordinary personal computers.
Intel Solid State Drive
What exactly is an SSD solid state drive? First, what is a regular hard drive. A HDD is, if simply, a set of metal disks coated with a ferromagnet that rotate on a spindle. Information can be recorded on the magnetized surface of these discs using a small mechanical head. Data is stored by changing the polarity of the magnetic elements on the disks. In fact, everything is a little more complicated, but this information should be enough to understand that writing and reading to hard drives is not very different from playing records. When you need to write something to the HDD, the discs rotate, the head moves, looking for the desired location, and the data is written or read.
Solid State Drive OCZ Vector
SSD SSDs, by contrast, have no moving parts. Thus, they are more similar to the well-known flash drives than to ordinary hard drives or record players. Most SSDs use NAND memory for storage - a type of non-volatile memory that does not require electricity to store data (unlike, for example, RAM on your computer). NAND memory, among other things, provides a significant increase in speed compared to mechanical hard drives, if only because it does not take time to move the head and rotate the disk.
Comparison of SSDs and Conventional Hard Drives
So, now that we’ve got a little acquainted with what SSDs are, it’s nice to know how they are better or worse than regular hard drives. Here are a few key differences.
Spindle spin time: this feature exists for hard drives - for example, when you wake the computer from sleep, you can hear a click and a spin signal lasting a second or two. In SSD, there is no promotion time.
Data access time and delays: in this regard, the speed of an SSD differs from ordinary hard drives by about 100 times in favor of the latter. Due to the fact that the stage of mechanical search for the necessary places on the disk and their reading is skipped, access to data on the SSD is almost instant.
Noise: SSDs make no sound. How can a normal hard drive make noise, you probably know.
Reliability: failure of the vast majority of hard drives is the result of mechanical damage. At some point, after several thousand hours of operation, the mechanical parts of the hard drive simply wear out. In this case, if we talk about the lifetime, hard drives win, and there are no restrictions on the number of rewriting cycles in them.
Solid state drives, in turn, have a limited number of write cycles. Most SSD critics most often point out this very factor. In reality, in the normal use of a computer by an ordinary user, reaching these limits will not be easy. SSD hard drives are on sale with a warranty period of 3 and 5 years, which they usually endure, and a sudden SSD failure is more an exception than a rule, because of this, for some reason, there is more noise. For example, 30-40 times more often they turn to our workshop with damaged HDDs rather than SSDs. Moreover, if the failure of the hard drive is sudden and means that it is time to look for someone who will get the data from it, then with the SSD this happens a little differently and you will know in advance that it will need to be changed soon - it’s exactly “Aging”, but not abruptly dying, some of the blocks become read-only, and the system warns you about the status of the SSD.
Power Consumption: SSDs consume 40-60% less energy than regular HDDs. This allows, for example, to significantly increase the battery life of a laptop when using an SSD.
Price: SSDs are more expensive than regular hard drives in terms of gigabytes. However, they have become much cheaper than 3-4 years ago and are already quite affordable. The average price of SSD drives is around $ 1 per gigabyte (August 2013).
Solid State Drive SSD
As a user, the only difference you will notice when working at a computer, using an operating system, or launching programs is a significant increase in speed. However, with regard to extending the life of an SSD, you will have to follow a few important rules.
Do not defragment your SSD. Defragmentation is completely useless for a solid state drive and reduces its operating time. Defragmentation is a way to physically transfer fragments of files located in different parts of the hard disk physically in one place, which reduces the time required for mechanical actions to find them. In solid state drives, this is irrelevant, since they do not have moving parts, and the time to search for information on them tends to zero. By default, in Windows 7, defragmentation for SSD is disabled.
Disable indexing services. If your operating system uses any file indexing service to find them faster (it is used in Windows), disable it. The speed of reading and searching for information is sufficient to do without an index file.
Your operating system must support TRIM. The TRIM command allows the operating system to interact with your SSD and tell it which blocks are no longer in use and can be cleared. Without the support of this command, the performance of your SSD will decrease rapidly. TRIM is currently supported on Windows 7, Windows 8, Mac OS X 10.6.6 and later, and also on Linux with kernel 2.6.33 and later. Windows XP does not support TRIM, although there are ways to implement it. In any case, it is better to use a modern operating system with SSD.
No need to fill out the SSD completely. Read the specifications of your solid state drive. Most manufacturers recommend leaving 10-20% of its capacity free. This free space should remain for the use of utility algorithms that extend the life of the SSD by distributing data in NAND memory for uniform wear and better performance.
Store data on a separate hard drive. Despite the price reduction of SSDs, it makes no sense to store media files and other data on SSDs. Things like movies, music or pictures are best stored on a separate hard drive, these files do not require high access speeds, and HDD is still cheaper. This will extend the life of the SSD.
Add more RAM. RAM is very cheap today. The more RAM installed on your computer, the less often the operating system will access the SSD for the page file. This significantly extends the life of the SSD.
Do you need an SSD?
You decide. If most of the items listed below are suitable for you and you are ready to pay several thousand rubles, then take the money to the store:
- You want the computer to turn on in seconds. When using an SSD, the time from pressing the power button to opening the browser window is minimal, even if there are third-party programs in startup.
- You want games and programs to run faster. With SSD, starting Photoshop, you do not have time to see its authors on the splash screen, and the download speed of maps in large-scale games increases by 10 or more times.
- You want a quieter and less gluttonous computer.
- You are ready to pay more for a megabyte, but get a higher speed. Despite the reduction in the price of SSDs, they are still several times more expensive than regular hard drives in terms of gigabytes.
If most of the above is about you, then go ahead for the SSD!