Solid State Drives (SSDs) are based on flash storage technologies that store information within silicon chips. This is in contrast to conventional Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) which use a spinning platter and magnetic read and write heads attached to an arm like a record player.
Due to this mechanical nature of the standard hard disk drive, they have inherent latency and bandwidth limitations.
Since SSDs do not need to seek to find the information required and can access more data at once, they provide superior latency and bandwidth performance.
As computer technology has improved over the years, hard drives have increasingly become the bottleneck in any system. CPU’s have increased in computing power by around 20,000 fold in the last 30 years where hard drive have increased by around 20 fold in bandwidth over the same time period. Getting the information to the CPU faster means it does not have to wait.
SSD drives are fast enough to saturate the SATA III connection used by conventional hard drives and now have their own dedicated interface that connects directly to the CPU in modern hardware (M.2 interface).
Bandwidth is not the only factor that affects the speed of the computer. Seek time and latency makes a huge difference. If a program loads using files spread over the hard disk, latency is added as the hard drive moves the seek head over the spinning platter and waits for the data to spin past the read head for each non sequential file. SSDs have extremely quick access to all files at the same time. This reduces the overall latency.
What does this mean for real world performance though?
Upgrading a hard disk drive to even a standard SATA III SSD will halve the time it takes the computer to boot or load programs. Some software with many different plugins like Photoshop will see load time drop to a quarter. Even older computers built in the last 10 years will see a significant speed boost with a SSD upgrade.
It is far cheaper than upgrading any other component of a system and has the greatest affect on real world usability.
I have been using SSD drives since 2011 in all of my PCs and Laptops and have not looked back. Working on machines using a spinning disk is like going back to 56k dial up after using broadband.
Although the speed advantages make SSDs an easy upgrade there are a few drawbacks.
If a SSD drive fails it is a lot harder, if not impossible, to recover the data. This is why I recommend either using cloud backup of all important files on a laptop using a SSD or using a HDD for file storage on a PC.
The other drawback is cost. A 2TB Hard Disk Drive at the time of writing this is less that $100AUD where a cheap 240GB Solid State Drive is over $100AUD. This is still almost 10 times the cost per GB.
If you as a user need a large amount of storage, then a spinning disk should be a secondary drive for this purpose. The primary drive should be a SSD where all your program and operating system reside. A 240GB SSD is enough for most people as a primary disk.
UberNerd can help you upgrade your current system with an SSD and transfer your files. Contact us for a quote today.