Published on:

3 December 2012


Rachael Adams

What is SSD?

Solid-State Drive (SSD) is a data storage device that uses memory to store data just like a USB memory stick rather than spinning magnetic material as seen in normal Hard Disk Drives (HDD).

Like a memory stick, there are no moving parts to an SSD, information is stored in microchips. Meanwhile, a hard drive uses a mechanical arm with a read/write head to move around and read information from the right location on a storage platter. This difference is what makes SSD so much faster. As an analogy, what’s quicker, having to walk across the room to retrieve a book to get information or simply magically having that book open in front of you when you need it? That’s how an HDD compares to an SSD, it simply requires more physical labor (mechanical movement) to get information.

With no moving parts, SSD drives are less susceptible to physical shock damage, are usually silent, use less power, have a lower access time and latency. The disadvantage of SSD drives is that they are expensive in comparison to a normal HDD and have a limited number of data writes restricting their life to about 5 years, though in this time you will likely have replaced your computer system before you need to consider this limit.

If you can justify the price increase and subject to suitability of its application; I would highly recommend considering an SSD for any power user and for mobile devices that need longer battery life and quick start up and shutdown.