In the realm of information storage, HDDs are still a thing. And that’s for good reason. As they have been tested time and time again, improved upon and made more affordable.
At the same time, another option is out there. SSDs can serve the same purpose and, in many ways, can often be even better to traditional HDDs.
Join us as we discuss the benefits of installing an SSD, compare it to HDDs, and help you decide which solution is best for your storage needs.
What Is A SSD (Solid State Drive)?
An SSD, a.k.a solid-state drive uses flash memory to deliver durability, and superior performance. Because a hard drive possesses many small moving parts, such as magnetic heads, spinning platters, and spindles—it’s easy for you to lose all of your important data.
Without moving parts, an SSD runs cooler, uses less energy, and is more durable to any type of strain.
SSDs are like a large USB drive, they use the NAND technology, which is a type of flash memory. At the lower levels, a floating gate transistor records a charge or lack thereof to store data.
The gates are in a grid pattern, which helps organize them into a block. Block size can vary, but each row that makes up the entirety of the grid is a page. An SSD also has a controller that performs various functions, but primarily keeps track of where the data is located.
Reading & Writing
Data updated on an SSD are more complicated. All of the data within a block has to be refreshed when any part is updated. The data on the old block is copied to a new one, then the block is erased, and the data is rewritten with changes to a new block.
Each time you ask the computer to update or retrieve data, the SSD control looks at the location of the data and reads the charge.
When the drive is idle, a garbage collection process occurs, which makes sure the old block information is erased, and the new block is free to be written again.
Another process called TRIM, informs the SSD that it can skip rewriting certain data when it erases a block. Because a block can only be rewritten a finite amount of time, this process prevents premature wear on the storage drive.
To prevent even more wear, a special algorithm makes sure that each block in the drive gets an equal distribution of reading & write processes. The process is called wear leveling and occurs automatically.
Because the read & write process requires data movement, an SSD is usually overburdened with storage. Each drive has a specific amount of storage not reported to the system, and not accessible to the user. This allows the driver to move and delete items without affecting storage capacity.
Benefits & Drawbacks
SSDs deliver faster loading times for applications, movies, and games. Because of their structure, an SSD is lighter and withstand droppings and movement. Not to mention, they use less energy allowing a computer to run cooler.
However, even though they are newer, they are more expensive than an HDD. Even though they are catching up, it can be hard to find extremely large-capacity SSDs. HDDs can be as much as 4 times larger for the same price of a moderate SSD.
Installing an SSD sounds like a good idea now, doesn’t it?
What Is A HDD (Hard Disk Drive)?
The technology used in HDDs is well-tested and broadly known. HDDs have been around for over 50 years, steadily increasing in storage and decreasing physical size.
HDDs rely on platters or spinning disk to read & write data. A hard disk drive consists of one or many magnetically-sensitive platters, an activation arm with a read/write head for each platter, and a motor to spin the platter and move the arms.
It also has an I/O controller with firmware that tells the hardware what to do, in conjunction with the rest of the functionality.
Each of the platters is organized into a track. A track is divided into logical units, which are referred to as sectors. Each track and sector has a unique address that can be used to locate and organize data.
The data is written to the nearest vacant area. There is an algorithm that processes before the writing process, which allows the firmware to detect and resolve errors.
A consumer computer HDD platter spins at 4200 to 7200 RPM. The higher the speed, the faster the drive can read and write the data.
Reading & Writing
Every time that you ask a computer to update or acquire data, the I/O controller has to tell the activator arm where the data is located. And then the read & write head gathers the data by reading the charge or lack thereof in each of the addresses. If the request was to update, the read & write head changes the charge on the specified sector of a track.
And the time it takes for a platter to spin wilt the activator arm finds the correct sector on a track is known as latency.
Benefits & Drawbacks
Hard disk drives are proven technology, and less expensive than an SSD. Currently, HDDs are leading in terms of storage space and can be a lucrative option for those who work with big data sets.
However, HDDs don’t come without downsides. The mechanical parts used to read & write take more time to retrieve data. They can fail or skip if they are mishandled or dropped even once. This is a problem for laptop users, not so much for desktop enthusiasts.
Not to mention, HDDs are heavy and use a lot of energy – in comparison to an SSD.
Installing An SSD, The Right Thing to Do
Now that you know what an SSD is, and how it fairs against an HDD. You have most likely come to realize that installing an SSD is a better thing to do. Not only do you improve the performance of your computer, but you also secure it from data loss via small bumps and irregularities.
SSDs are catching up in terms of capacity, even though they are more expensive. However, when it comes to data, do you want security and speed for a lucrative price? Or do you want steady and vulnerable data for a lesser fee?
The choice is behind you, so choose wisely.
If you would like to install an SSD but are not sure how to, get in touch with us and we will gladly help.