By now, you have probably heard the term SSD – it refers to a new form of hard drive, a Solid State Drive (SSD). The SSD drive has been slowly but surely bubbling up the surface and is now the preferred form of storage on almost any device that will accept the format, but why? Here we will take a look at what differentiates the two types of drives from each other, and how to choose the correct format for your computer.
The traditional spinning hard drive (HDD) is the common format of storage on a normal computer. This is where your files are stored – your photos, music, Word and other application files all reside on the HDD, along with the OS system files the computer needs in order to function. The physical appearance of the drive is a stack of metal platters with a magnetic coating, which is accessed by a read/write arm as they spin in the hard drive enclosure – not all too different from how a record player plays your vinyls.
The new format, the SSD, does all of the same things in terms of function – it stores your data, it boots up your system – it allows your computer to function and for files to be saved and accessed. However, instead of the magnetic platters, the data is stored on interconnected flash memory chips that retain the data even when the power is shut off. The chips come installed in a few different ways – some are attached to the motherboard, others on a PCI/PCI-e card, but usually they are in a separate box that’s the same size and in the same place as the HDD. These flash memory chips are basically like a supercharged version of the chips you find in USB drives – making SSD storage more expensive than its closely related USB/Flash storage variety.
So which drive is better? In terms of speed, durability and required maintenance, SSD wins hands down – it will have your computer booting up in no time, your apps will run faster, and since it has no moving parts an SSD is more likely to remain intact when dropped. The HDD still shines when comes to availability, size, and cost – although the format is becoming outdated, you will be paying A LOT more for a 500GB SSD drive than a 1TB HDD drive, so if you are on a budget and need lots of space – HDD is the way to go.