Saturday, January 22, 2011

Solid State Drives Review

The hard drive of a computer is where information is stored and then accessed when needed. The more traditional storage device is the hard disk drive (HDD). It is essentially a moving disk, like a CD spinning in a player. The information is written onto it as it moves and in order to access that info again, it must spin again. The danger in moving parts is that they break down more easily than parts that don’t have to move. Solid state drives (SSD) have no moving parts and store information with flash technology. They are faster to write and read information and there is little danger of a hard drive malfunction.

SSD Drive

Solid state drives cost far more than HDD. An average SSD costs about $3 per gigabyte while HDD costs about $.10- $.30 per gigabyte. The difference in cost is expected to remain for the next several years. So this begs the question, is it worth it? SSD are mostly popular with the techies of the world, but for a normal everyday use, many find that it is an unnecessary component. Average computer users are more focuses on the capacity of the drive rather than the speed. Many don’t even know whether they have SSD or HDD. For mostly word processing and internet surfing an HDD is usually sufficient. But for those who are running multiple applications and downloading video at the same time, SSD will make a considerable difference in speed.

High end solid state drives can get up to 250 MB read rates and reach into the terabytes for capacity. But they can cost over $400. A tamer SSD will start at about $130. These SSDs can withstand between 350 and 1500 Gs before sustaining damage. They can get read rates as good as 250 MB/second. Write rates are sometimes enhanced with extra power and can get up to 1000 MB/second. Many read/write rates advertised cannot be trusted because in actual use the numbers can be much more random. Some companies will not even list read/write rates.

Solid state drives can decrease boot time to seconds. Some of the better boot times were as low as 20 seconds. CPU use is also something that differs from HDD. Random access time can get down to .2 milliseconds and use only 5% of the CPU. A file transfer of 1 GB takes under one minute in most cases. Watch out for what a SSD will do to your laptop battery usage.

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