All of you regular readers may be thinking, ‘huh, what do we take you for? Noobs?’ but we all had to start somewhere and with all the fuss about solid state drives being the next big thing and even the Dell Mini 9 now offering an impressive 32GB SSD option, GadgetHeat thought that we would do a public services and give you the 411 on solid state drives.
1 What is it?
A solid state disk drive, technically speaking is not even disk in the traditional sense but can be (and is being) used as a hard disk drive to all intents and purposes. It is essentially a storage device
2 What’s Solid About it Then?
The phrase ‘solid state’ comes about as there are no moving parts as opposed to a conventional hard disk drive which has a disk, a read head and other moveable parts which makes it more prone to mechanical failure.
3 Why Does Everyone think It’s So Special?
Because you can access data almost instantaneously and technically speaking at the speed of light. You do not have to wait for the disk to start up, the read / write head to find the right section of the disk and then to start reading or writing which is how a traditional HDD operates. A solid state drive operates like RAM (random access memory) and the data is stored n byte sixed system-wide addresses that makes it a cinch to locate and read / write.
You also do not have to wait for anything to start up and as SSD’s are airtight, there is no worry that alien objects (such as dust particles) will get into the drive and start causing havoc with the read / write operation. In short, a solid state drive is pretty robust and the best you can get in terms of ‘disk’ storage (that is, of course, until the next best thing comes along).
4. Why does it cost so much more than normal HDDs?
Haven’t you been reading? It pretty much pwns them when it comes to functional use and added to that it has no problem with fragmented data due to the way it stores information in small, uniquely addressed chunks (as mentioned above if you were paying attention). This means all your games, applications and even operating systems load much much faster.
HDD’s have trouble when data is stored all over the place on the drive and have to take a while to figure out where all the relevant parts are on the disk (remember they are reading a spinning disk so they have to go from point to point to gather all the relevant parts). With a solid state drive, there is no relation to the physical location of the data and it can be retrieved instantly via its address. All this goodness comes at a premium you know.
If you think they are expensive now, you should count yourself lucky as the were far far pricier only a short while ago and the price is only going to go down as they take over from HDD’s (yes they will).
5. So can I get a TB solid state drive then?
No. Firstly because you would probably have to take out a loan at current solid state drive prices and secondly because the largest at the time of this article is the 256 SSD so you will just have to wait for a 1TB SSD to be released (or quadruple the number of drives you buy).
So there you have it. A five-point guide to SSD’s. Now you know what all the fuss is about, the next step is trying to find the biggest and cheapest one you can find.