Guest post by: Peter Lee @ Computer How To Guide
Solid State Drives (SSD) are storage devices like that of Hard Disc Drives or HDDs. But, the technology used is considerably different. The SSDs do not, like in the case of HDDs and other magnetic storage media, use movable heads and instead use non volatile micro memory chips for storage.
Solid State Drives are faster when compared to the traditional Hard Disc Drives. The performance advantage can be attributed to various factors which affect the speed of accessing the information from the disc.
To understand the intricacies involved in the process of computing data, let us first try and understand the way a computer processes data, in brief.
How Data Is Computed
One needs to understand that all the data that is processed by the computer is only done in its RAM i.e. Random Access Memory, which is a volatile storage device. When a request is sent to the computer, it needs to fetch the operands (the variables that are required in the computation) from the non volatile storage and then send it to the RAM, where the request is processed.
The performance of the auxiliary storage device, in this case HDD or SSD, depends on how fast it can retrieve the information and send it to the primary storage i.e. the RAM.
Factors Affecting Performance
There are two factors that affect this time. One is the access time and the other is the latency.
Latency, in case of HDDs, is the amount of time that is required by the read/write head to position itself to the sector where the information is available.
Access time, which includes latency, is the total amount of time that is required to access the information.
SSD vs HDD
Comparing SSD with HDD, we can say that the access time and latency of SSDs are much lower than those of HDDs, thus giving it a performance advantage. This could be attributed to the lack of a moving head in the SSDs.
HDDs have a read/write head which moves at 5000 to 7000 rpm (revolutions per minute). The read/write head is the most susceptible part of the HDDs, leading to head crash, which may prove fatal to your data. Though there are other ways in which a HDD may crash, a head crash is the most common and it results in the loss of your data. Data recovery techniques are extremely expensive and it advisable to avoid losing data.
SSDs were a lot expensive when they first rolled in. There has been a considerable decrease in the prices of the SSDs. Though there has been a decrease in the cost of these devices, SSDs are still costly.
Although the prices of SSDs and HDDs are comparable, the effective price of the device per one gigabyte of storage in case of SSDs is much higher than the price per GB in case of HDDs i.e. you could get a 500 GB hard disc for $100 whereas you’d only 60GB SSD for $100.
Is SSD The Future Of Storage?
Both, yes and no. While SSDs are fast compared to HDDs, they are expensive. SSDs have almost reached their threshold price i.e. cost reduction in case of SSDs is hard, if not impossible.
HDDs, on the other hand, have been evolving and their speeds have considerably increased.
HDDs can be used in arrays called the redundant array of inexpensive discs (RAID), by connecting them in a form of arrays. This technique, though, may seem somewhat unachievable by the masses, is quite common in the computing field and in fact, is easy. It offers higher speeds, more reliability as there are multiple devices in which your data is stored.
As the SSDs are expensive, it would be better if they are used wisely. Also, there is a lot of demand for storage today. So, it would be advisable to have an SSD as well as a HDD. The SSD can be for the OS and other installation files, and the hard disc can be used for storing content like audio and video files. By having this combination of storage drives, you can even format your drives separately, not worrying about your data.
This way, you would save money while having faster accessible speeds.