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SSDs vs. traditional hard drives – Making an informed decision
07 June 2011
SSDs vs. Traditional Hard Drives | Making an Informed Decision
Choosing between an SSD and a traditional hard drive depends on how you use your computer. If you’re a college student writing papers and surfing the Internet for information, the advantages of an SSD are small, but if you’re downloading video and using multiple applications at the same time, an SSD will give you a very noticeable performance boost.
Solid state drives have several advantages over the magnetic hard drives. They get their edge by not having any moving parts. While traditional drives have drive motors to spin up the magnetic platters and the drive heads, all the storage on a solid state drive is handled by flash memory chips. The picture to the right shows the clear difference between the two. This gives us three distinct advantages:
Less Power Usage – A disk-based drive will always consume more power absolutely. At the system level, an SSD increases power consumption because CPU and memory use rises in response to improved I/O activity. But an SSD-based configuration will always finish those operations faster, lowering power consumption.
Faster Data Access – Since the drive doesn’t have to spin up the drive platter or move drive heads, the data can be read from the drive nearly instantly
Higher Reliability – Hard drive platters are very fragile materials, sensitive to shock and jarring. Since the SSD stores all its data in memory chips, there are fewer moving parts to be damaged in any sort of impact. OCZ claims its Vertex drive can sustain up to 1, 500 Gs of shock before sustaining damage or a drop in performance
While SSDs have some amazing advantages over spinning disk hard drives, capacity and cost are still significant limiting factors to widespread adoption. According to Coughlin Associates founder Tom Coughlin, per-gigabyte prices for HDDs and SSDs are dropping at the same pace — about 50% per year — so the sizeble price gap between the two will remain for years to come. Therefore, where the amount storage space/price is considered, hard drives still have the upper hand, although the gap is closing slowly.
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