Solid State Drives

Hard Drives: Solid State Drives Versus Regular Hard Drives

Hard Drive

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Solid State Drives are coming down in price, making them more affordable for the average computer user. But what is a Solid State Drive,

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how does it differ from a regular Hard Drive, and more importantly, do you need one?

Traditional Hard Drive versus a Solid State Hard Drive

To understand the difference between these two technologies, it is important to understand how each item works. (Note: this is a basic explanation that does not get into all the exact technical details about how each drive is different.)

It’s easiest to think of a traditional Hard Drive as being like a record player – there is a record, or platter, and an arm that moves back and forth over the platter to write data. Inside a hard drive there are several platters stacked on top of each other, and the arm moves to write to them. With a traditional drive, there are a lot of moving parts, and writing and accessing data from different platters takes a little time.

A Solid State Drive has no moving parts. Instead, it operates more like a jump drive or flash memory. Because there are no moving parts or multiple platters to access, a Solid State Drive tends to read and write data more quickly than a traditional hard drive.

Capacity: Currently, Solid State Drives are much smaller than their traditional Hard Drive counter parts. As this technology continues to change and adapt, you should begin seeing larger sized drives at a more affordable price.

Cost: Comparing price vs. size only, traditional Hard Drives are still a better deal than a Solid State Drive. For example, right now you can get a standard 2 Terabyte Hard Drive for approximately $119.00, whereas you’ll spend at least $139.99 for a 128 Gigabyte Solid State Drive. (*Prices are as listed at time of writing, prices tend to change drastically and quickly.)

Reliability: It is hard to say which is more reliable, a traditional Hard Drive or a Solid State Drive. This is because Solid State technology is still so new, and the life expectancy on these drives is considerably shorter than a traditional Hard Drive. (Even though the SSD life is shorter, it should out live any normal computer user’s needs.)

However, because a Solid State Drive has no moving parts, it tends to be more reliable in portable devices, such as laptops, because it can handle being bumped and jostled, whereas a traditional Hard Drive cannot.

Speed: Solid State Drives tend to be significantly faster at reading and writing data compared to a traditional Hard Drive.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line? If you’re mobile with your computer, want extra speed, and don’t mind paying a little more for a smaller drive, you’re probably better off switching to a Solid State Drive. However, if you have a desktop computer or aren’t mobile with your computer, or if you want more space for your dollar, you’re better off sticking with a traditional hard drive, at least for now.

What do you think? Have you recently switched from a traditional Hard Drive to a Solid State Drive? How do you like your SSD drive? Leave us a comment telling us about it.

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who wants to help you understand your technology. Email: [email protected].