What is a Solid State Drive?

Part of our diagnostic process includes testing the hard drive in your machine. We see failing hard drives several times per week. Our recommendation is normally to replace the failing hard drive with a solid state drive. 

Likewise, if you are in the market for a new computer, we recommend you specifically look for a machine with a solid state drive. 

What is a solid state drive? Why are we recommending it?

To get a better idea of what a solid state drive is, we need to take a look at a traditional hard drive first.

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A traditional hard drive, above, consists of small metal “platters” that contain the data and a mechanical arm that moves back and forth to read that data. These platters hold all of the data that your computer uses. The operating system, programs, documents, pictures are all stored here. When a hard drive dies, all of this is at risk of being permanently lost. When the computer is in use, the platters spin at speeds of 5400 to 7200 rotations per minute. Fast. The arm then moves back and forth to access the data you need. If this sounds familiar, this is the same basic premise as a record player. This has several problems and limitations.

  • Moving Parts: Anything mechanical that moves is going to fail at some point.

  • Speed: The drive can only ever access data as fast as the mechanics can move. When you are waiting for the computer to boot up, the speed of the hard drive accessing information plays a role in that.

  • Movement: Just like a record player, if you move or bump the computer while it is on, it could “skip” and kill the drive.

These are all contributing factors in why we see so many failing hard drives in the shop. Some of these drives are in the process of failing, where we can still recover data. Some of them require us to ship them to a data recovery clean room. And some of them are a lost cause.

Now let’s take a look at a Solid State Drive.

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A Solid State Drive has no moving parts. While this is similar technology to a USB Flash Drive, this technology is much better and offers a lot of benefits over a traditional Hard Drive.

Since there are no moving parts, they are much, much faster. The drive doesn’t have to wait on a platter to spin and a mechanical arm to find the data. Opening files, programs and saving changes takes much less time.

If you have a hard drive in your machine, it can take a LONG time to boot up. And when it finally loads into your Operating System, you still have to wait for everything to finish loading before you can actually use it.

With a Solid State Drive, your computer can boot AND be completely ready to use in under 30 seconds.

The biggest benefit of having no moving parts, is lifespan. The drive won’t be affected by drops and bumps, and won’t mechanically wear down over time. We have only seen 1 failing Solid State Drive. Ever. And it was like that out of the box.

Personally, I will never own another computer with a traditional hard drive in it. I highly recommend you do the same. When you are in the market for a new computer, make sure this is something you look for.

We can also upgrade your current computer to a solid state drive. Whether it is a Mac or a PC, replacing a Hard Drive with a Solid State Drive can add years to the lifespan of a machine and make it much faster! Give us a call or come by to get started or if you have any questions.