It is likely that you have heard of SSDs or Solid State Discs lately. Until recently, the only storage option on the computer was the traditional hard drive or HDD, but today many modern computers come with SSDs installed as standard. Also, more and more users choose to use an SSD as an external disk and store their data, movies, music, photos … But what is an SSD? And what’s more important: Is it worth buying one? In this article, we will try to solve these doubts.
What is an SSD?
In a solid state disk, the information is stored in semiconductors and not in magnetic metal plates, as in traditional hard drives. The technology used in the SSD is similar to that used in flash memories that connect via USB, only with a much higher capacity and speed.
HDDs have a motor that rotates an arm that must be moved to write or read the information. In the SSD these mobile parts are not present, and therefore have several advantages over traditional discs.
The SSD is connected to the motherboard through a SATA interface, the connection for standard hard drives for years, so it is possible to replace the magnetic disk with relative ease by an SSD in any moderately modern PC. As an alternative, there are external SSDs, which connect via USB.
What are the advantages of SSD hard drives?
SSD hard drives have several advantages. The most appreciated by the user is speed. In an SSD, access to data is almost instantaneous. Therefore, if it is the main memory unit, the start-up of the computer by pressing the power button is much faster, the programs are loaded earlier and the overall performance of the machine is higher. Also when opening files that are stored in an SSD are faster, whether it is an internal or external disk.
Magnetic disks also present the problem of fragmentation. As the disk becomes full, the new information needs to fragment and occupy the gaps that remain free. Being dispersed in different parts, its recovery requires more mechanical movements and the performance declines.
In an SSD, however, it does not matter where the information is since the recovery time is always the same. Therefore, performance does not diminish nor do they need to be defragmented.
Another advantage is that SSDs consume an average of one-third of the energy consumed by an HDD-type hard drive. Therefore, there is less electricity, the equipment heats less, less cooling is needed … In addition, they weigh only one-tenth of a traditional HDD and are much quieter.
And what about the inconveniences?
As almost always happens, with the advantages come some drawbacks. The main drawback in the case of SSDs is the price. Although they have become considerably cheaper in recent years and continue to do so every day, they are still more expensive than hard drives, and this is even more evident when you look for large storage.
The second drawback is that an SSD disk has a limited number of writes, and therefore a shorter useful life, due to the technology used. It is difficult to give an estimate since it depends on the use that is given, but for the average user, this period can be about 5 years, although the most modern SSDs last much longer and little by little the industry is overcoming this obstacle
Disadvantages of SSD
- Price: The final cost to the user is much higher. Despite this, the advantages are greater, so the tip is to wait for a while for new models to come out in the market with better cost-benefit.
- Storage is considered low compared to HDD, however, it is ideal for editing programs.
- Useful life: every time the memory receives a new recording (a new electrical voltage), the cell loses somewhat the capacity to hold the electric charge. After a number of times this occurs, memory dies.
- Being a recent technology, it is difficult to know how it performs for a long time.
How to take care of SSD?
- Do not record files constantly.
- Do not fill the SSD, because full drives are slow.
- Do not delete files. The SSD has a function called TRIM that deletes files permanently.
- The SDD is made for use in more modern systems. Do not use in Windows XP or Vista.
- Do not save large files or they are poorly accessed.
- Do not defrag the SSD: the process is useful, this is totally unnecessary.
What problems can happen to an SSD?
- Corrupted data may indicate that there are frame faults, drive short circuits, or software problems that may occur with improper computer shut down. At the first sign of corrupted data, start the backup.
- Badblock is storage problems. They happen when the computer takes a huge time to save data and some error happens in the end.
- Boot issues: Errors and crashes occur when the computer is turned on until it is ready for use, having to restart it several times. To resolve this, you need to back up immediately, but if the problem persists it may be necessary to discard the drive.
- Change write-to-read: This is a serious error as it is necessary to connect your disk to another secondary drive to safely back up and then format the drive and use it normally.
Advantages of HDD
- Price: is ideal for those who are low budget and need more storage capacity.
- The service life is longer.
- Increased storage capacity.
Disadvantages of HDD
- It is not silent.
- The HDD can be damaged in case of fall.
- It has a large structure, besides being heavy.
- It has a higher temperature, so heats up the whole system
- It consumes more energy.
What problems can happen to an HDD?
- Avoid falls. Always leave it in a protected place.
- Do not leave the computer near magnets or magnetic devices, as data loss may occur with the attraction of magnetism.
- Take care of the HDD temperature. The device manual cites the proper temperature at which it supports.
- When the computer is not in use, use protective covers to avoid dust.
Conclusions: SSD or HDD?
After all that we have exposed, we can conclude that the best option for most users is to enjoy the best of both types of hard drives. That is, install both discs and give each one a specific use. In general, it is best to install the operating system and the programs in the SSD, since we will gain in speed at the time of turning on and loading the applications, while the data (movies, music, photos, etc.) will be can store on a traditional hard drive, since in this case speed is not such an important factor.
However, if you have a limited budget to build your PC, it is better to invest the money in other components and install an HDD, since it is always possible to purchase an SSD later.