Feeds

Buy Smarter: what you need to know about... SSDs

Speed up your laptop

Boost IT visibility and business value

Smarter Memory The solid state drive (SSD) is like a fast hard disk drive (HDD) with no moving parts. Many SSDs can be used as direct replacements for mechanical hard drives, although usually with a capacity restriction.

They are better suited to notebooks, netbooks and Ultrabooks because capacities in these tend to be lower than in desktop PCs, where storage can easily run into terabytes. Even in desktops, though, there is good reason to fit an SSD alongside mechanical storage.

The lower cost of SSDs is the reason they are fitted as standard in some portable devices, such as the Apple MacBook Air and in many rivals on the PC side, but not, usually, in new PCs.

They can be retro-fitted, though, so this guide looks at buying for both replacement and supplementation.

Samsung SSD830 240GB SSD

SSDs are faster, less noisy and more robust than hard drives

An SSD is an array of Flash storage chips combined with a sophisticated controller, so it acts like a hard drive. It can perform random and sequential reads and writes like an HDD, but at much higher speed because the data transfer is not governed by the speed at which each bit can be moved through a read/write head to or from the surface of a spinning disk platter.

Instead, the data is stored in much the same way as on a USB drive or memory card, but with a more intelligent controller distributing and buffering it.

Watch Video

Good things about SSDs

SSDs have several advantages over HDDs, particularly when it comes to access time, transfer rate, robustness, power consumption and noise level.

The access time, which is the time before data starts to flow, is typically about 0.1ms for an SSD compared with 5ms-10ms for a hard drive.

The transfer rate of an SSD is between 100MBps and 500MBps, depending on the model, while a typical hard drive comes in at the lower end of this range. If you combine the access time and transfer rate, you will see a noticeable storage speed improvement when using an SSD.

SSDs were originally developed for military use, which demanded toughness

Since there are no moving parts in an SSD, it is considerably more robust than an HDD with its spinning disks and floating heads. SSDs were originally developed for military use, which demanded this kind of toughness.

The lack of moving parts also means that an SSD is completely silent. Modern hard drives are also pretty quiet, but you can still hear them in operation.

Portable devices also benefit from an SSD's lower power consumption, which is about half that of a comparable hard drive.

The essential guide to IT transformation

Next page: Things to watch

More from The Register

next story
Top Gun display for your CAR: Heads-up fighter pilot tech
Sadly Navdy kit doesn't include Sidewinder missile to blast traffic
FEAST YOUR EYES: Samsung's Galaxy Alpha has an 'entirely new appearance'
Wow, it looks like nothing else on the market, for sure
iPhone 6 flip tip slips in Aussie's clip: Apple's 'reversible USB' leaks
New plug not compatible with official Type-C, according to fresh rumors
TV transport tech, part 1: From server to sofa at the touch of a button
You won't believe how much goes into today's telly tech
YES YES YES! Apple patents mousy, pressure-sensing iVibrator
Fanbois prepare to experience the great Cupertin-O
Apple takes blade to 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
Shaves price, not screen on mid-2014 model
NVIDIA claims first 64-bit ARMv8 SoC for Androids
Mile-High 'Denver' Tegra K1 successor said to rival PC performance
XBOX One will learn to play media from USB and DLNA sources
Hang on? Aren't those file formats you hardly ever see outside torrents?
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.