If you're interested in the latest technology, then solid state drives have probably been on your radar for awhile now. Also, known as an SSD, these drives are being hyped as the next wave of greatness for laptops and for computers in general. The big question, however, is do they deliver on all of these promises or, like so many grand advancements promoted in the past, just overhyped. To answer those questions, we first need to learn a little bit more about these drives.
Then we'll delve into how they stack up to their promises. A Little Background Basically, these drives aren't new but they made a huge splash in 2007 at the Consumer Electronic Show held in Las Vegas. They were heralded as the solution to many problems facing those of us who love portable computing. Basically these devices are types of hard drives which do not rely on magnetic media for their memory storage.
Instead, they use semiconductors much like flash memory drives already do. In fact, both of these storage devices use similar non-volatile memory chips. However, the main difference between the two is that the solid state drive is not used as an external memory storage system like flash drives. They are built to be installed internally in place of a traditional hard drive. If you're wondering why using SSD's would be a good idea, there are several advantages being promoted by industry insiders.
This is where most of the promises come into the picture. Basically, these drives are considered great inventions because they are believed to deliver three amazing benefits: reduced power usage, faster access to memory, and improved reliability. All of these benefits are a result of the differences in the way solid state drives and traditional hard drives work. Most of us have at least a basic understanding of how our hard drives work.
Inside them are spinning magnetic platters where everything we do on our computers is saved. To work though, they rely on drive motors to move them. If anything happens to those motors or to the drive heads, then our hard drive ceases to function correctly and we'll end up shopping for a new laptop or desktop. These alternative drives don't have all of those extra parts.
Everything is done through Flash memory chips and most of us know that the portable Flash memory we use in our cameras and other storage devices does a pretty good job of saving quickly and of working when we need it to. As you can imagine, having a drive that uses less power, is less vulnerable to damage, and is able to retrieve data faster would be a dream for most laptop owners. That's why it's important to look at whether or not these drives really deliver on these promises.
Do Solid State Drives Deliver? Many laptop manufacturers have already released products contains solid state drives so there are some on the market which allow us to get an idea of how they are stacking up to these promises. First, we can look at the promise of quick data access. Unfortunately, there have been some problems with customer satisfaction in this area because of the hype.
People are promised the moon and are disappointed when the drive can't live up to their elevated expectations. Evidence has shown that these drives do wonderful when you're reading average size files. You'll be able to access them quickly. However, if you're working with large files or trying to save large files, you won't see those fast speeds. Now remember these drives are still in their infancy in terms of this type of use so that doesn't mean these problems won't be corrected down the line.
Another huge promise is improved battery life for laptops because of the reduced power requirements. For one, this promise could never really deliver because the hard drive isn't what uses up most of your laptop's battery in the first place. The screen, the RAM, and your CPU are doing most of that for you. Generally, you're only talking about a 5% improvement in battery life and that's not much of a bargain considering how much these drives add to the price of a laptop. Finally, we can look at reliability.
Since the drives haven't been available that long, we really need more time to evaluate this claim. However, we do know that unlike traditional hard drives which can be written on indefinitely. Solid state drives can only a certain number of times depending on the technology used. This is still sufficient for most needs but given the costs , and whilst these writes will Only time will tell if these problems can be rectified so that solid state drives can truly live up to everything they are promised to be.
Buying a new computer may not be necessary when all you need to do is defragment your hard drive . This can be often all that is needed to speed up a slow computer along with a memory upgrade.