Solid State Drive (SSD) has transformed storage technology for personal and business use, proving its efficiency and durability. You can now see it in mobile devices and notebooks, where users can rely on the storage medium without experiencing read-write delays or a hassle. SSDs were introduced for business use in 1970, while a Colorado-based company launched the first commercial 45 MB STC 4305 enterprise SSD in 1978. From Seagate’s Pulsar to Western Digital’s MyPassport, companies started rolling out SSDs thereafter. To learn why, we’ll study the advantages and disadvantages of SSD in terms of performance, speed, value-for-money, capacity, and other factors.
Advantages of SSD
Solid-state drives are storage devices that use integrated circuit assemblies as memory to store data. Be it compact size or faster speed, several benefits SSD has over HDDs make for a better experience on Ultrabooks and tablets where it’s built-in. Let’s explore more pros of an SSD.
1. Faster Read/Write Operations
Solid-state drives are highly efficient at storage and input/output operations and superior to Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) in that regard. In contrast, HDDs contain spinning disks with magnetic platters to fix the rotational speed, limiting their performance. To clarify, magnetic platters and the seek time of actuator arms have a speed beyond which HDDs can’t perform. Since SSDs have no moving parts, there are no delays, restrictions, or failures while performing I/O operations. This also contributes to faster data access, since there is less latency between the system’s processor and this storage device.
2. Less Heat Generation
SSDs don’t contain moving parts and consume less power than HDDs so they generate little heat. This is particularly beneficial for laptops. The heat reduction can prolong the lifespan of internal components such as batteries and cooling fans. Reminder: these components wear out quicker due to excessive temperatures. Less heat also means that SSD runs more quietly than traditional hard drives. After all, there isn’t a constant hum coming from miniature motors spinning at thousands of revolutions per minute inside an enclosure with small vents.
There are exceptions, however. Enthusiasts design some solid-state drives specifically for gaming PCs or servers where high performance is more desirable than noise reduction. These models will typically include large heat sinks attached directly onto memory modules using thermal paste. Thus, additional case-mounted cooling fans are unnecessary.
3. No Noise
As mentioned previously, solid-state drives are nearly silent compared to HDDs. This benefit of SSDs is particularly useful for users who run multiple computers on the same desk or within a workstation. Those are use cases where quiet operation becomes increasingly important over time. Admittedly, most notebooks include built-in fans that produce noise even when idle. Fortunately, these can be toned down or disabled altogether.
To do so, you merely need to enable “passive cooling mode” under System Settings/Power Management, depending on the model and the operating system. The cooling system usually works out on the entire mechanism, including the motherboard and ports. When there is less load on the system due to storage, fans do not have to spin as often or as hard. As a result, you can work on your notebook or tablet without noise.
The size of the storage medium determines the shape and size of any device. Solid-state drives are much smaller than traditional hard disk drives because they lack any moving parts, making them ideal for laptops, netbooks, tablets, and smartphones. Size is a major consideration, especially when trying to maximize battery life.
Admittedly, memory modules used in solid-state drives are still relatively large compared to other computer components. Luckily, technological advancements continue to reduce their size further over time. It won’t be surprising to know that solid-state drives have earned a reputable spot in the storage systems someday, from network servers to SD cards.
5. More Durable
SSDs are less vulnerable to damage after a shock or a fall. Case in point, if you drop your smartphone or notebook accidentally, chances are the inner components will likely stay safe. On the other hand, a hard disk drive comprises magnetic disks rotating at a certain speed and actuator arms moving at certain angles. A flyspeck of misalignment can result in permanent damage. This means if your laptop with a built-in HDD unexpectedly falls, it will easily damage the internal components, perhaps beyond repair.
Disadvantages of SSD
Despite so many advantages, solid-state drives still fall short on some parameters such as storage capacity and affordability. The following concerns remain a point of contention as many companies still opt for their counterparts. These are some cons of SSDs:
1. Restricted Lifespan
A major disadvantage of SSD over HDD is the lifespan itself. Unfortunately, the lifespan factor is determined by the number of erasing and rewrites on a solid-state drive. It means the more data gets rewritten, the shorter the lifespan. The process continues until the drives become useless permanently. This is the reason storage in laptops doesn’t last longer than the ones in desktop machines.
Every SSD’s lifespan is recorded in terms of “Terabytes Written”. You can see it on the packaging of an SSD with a specified “time of death,” which depends on how often you read, write, or rewrite data onto it. Moreover, you can check the current status using specialized software.
Price is usually the second most challenging drawback of SSD, as they oftentimes cost double as much as a hard disk drive, if not more. For example, a single TB of HDD storage costs around $50, but the equivalent storage for an SSD would cost about $100 or more. The story remains the same when you go up and down in size. SSD is ultimately a lot more expensive option than HDD. That’s why you have to pay more for a laptop with built-in SSD storage than the one using conventional storage.
3. Storage Capacity
Next to cost, storage capacity remains a big bottleneck for laptops with SSDs. To date, you can find laptops with SSD storage ranging from 128 GB to 256 GB capacity, that too at higher prices. By contrast, laptops with HDDs can offer 500 GB to 1 TB storage space at a similar cost. Although a solid-state drive can go up to 4 TB, it would certainly fetch a substantially higher price than a comparable hard disk drive.
4. Difficult to Recover Data
Many people consider SSDs superior to HDDs. However, there are still compelling opinions from data management and recovery companies that say otherwise. Solid-state drives are notoriously difficult to handle when rescuing data from a damaged or a dead one. Even if you believe you can fix a minor error yourself, trust us, you’ll need specialists’ help to make the drive usable and running. You may face errors related to bad blocks, read/write process, repair of files system, crashing during boot, or the system becoming read-only. All these indicate that you require professionals to fix it immediately to prevent further damage.