Should you make the switch to Solid State Drives?
If you have bought a computer recently then you might have seen the option for adding a solid state drive (SSD) to the computer. These hard drives usually have less than half the capacity of normal computer hard drives but are priced more than double of the same hard drives. It might seem strange that people will pay more for less storage, but once you see the advantages of SSDs you will realize that there’s a good reason to pay that extra amount.
What makes SSDs so great?
Your old hard drive stores data on disks, or platters. When you need to access a file the platters spin, and a needle reads the data. This is why when you open a resource-intensive program (like Visual Studio’s tools or Photoshop) you will often hear a whirring sound coming from your desktop computer or laptop. It is the sound of the discs spinning at a high speed to read all the data and load it onto the RAM. Hard disc drives like these have been used in computers for decades now and are much cheaper than SSDs.
An ‘SSD’ is a solid state drive. It is called solid state because, it stores data in nonvolatile flash memory that has no moving parts. This helps with speed and protection from damage that can be caused from dropping the computer while the platters are spinning.
We don’t really think of hard drives as being the culprit when the computer starts or runs slow, but SSDs are very, very fast. They are so fast that you won’t realize that your computer could run so fast. Do you know why your computer takes so much time to start up? It has to load up all the operating system files (Windows, Apple, or Linux) from the hard drive and into the RAM. With an SSD you can start your computer in a matter of seconds. Computers that use SSDs usually take around 10 seconds from the moment you press the power button to the moment when you can begin using them.
Do you need SSDs?
The prices of solid state drives are going down, and eventually people will just stop using hard disc drives in favor of SSDs everywhere. Right now getting an SSD means that you will have to pay considerably more for your storage per GB than you usually do.
However, if you use your computer for data intensive work then SSDs are highly recommended. If you are dealing with image editing work or access a lot of records then SSDs will make an immense difference for you.
If you only use computers for basic office administration tasks and email then the extra cost of SSDs may not make enough of a difference to see the value. Tasks like video editing or manipulating architectural CAD/CAM files may make SSD’s prohibitively expensive for you to use.
Try using a hybrid solution.
A great way to get many of the advantages of SSDs without selling breaking the bank is to use both SSDs and traditional hard drives in tandem. Add a small SDD to your system, and install your operating system and most frequently used programs on it. This way your computer will boot up fast while you still have lots of inexpensive storage on the HDD.