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They are also storage drives, but much faster than the hard drives. While hard drives have been used for a long time, SSDs are much newer.
They were made in 1976 and since then they have evolved from a large device, storing eight of 256 kb sticks of RAM to the compact, small-sized storage drives that we see today.
The first SSD that looks much like the ones available now was made in 1990 with a capacity of 20 MB. It was intended to be used as flash storage.
Since their creation, SSDs were very pricey and the price of these earlier models in today’s currency would be thousands of dollars.
Fortunately, the ones available for us are affordable, and since there is this constant need for faster access to storage and file transfers, they have become indispensable.
What is SSD?
An SSD or a solid-state drive has no moving components inside.
They use the NAND flash memory, a small memory chip where all the data is stored.
These NAND cells can be stored with a high density and when placed parallel, support a lot of storage space.
This is the reason why data on an SSD can be accessed by the computer much faster, and this is also the main plus they have over other forms of storage drives.
They have been serving as secondary storage drives, but now are increasingly replacing slower hard drives, and many users all over the globe use only an SSD in their system, instead of a hard disk.
The NvMe type can be as fast as 4.4 Gb/s, but they are priced higher. They are further smaller in size.
The largest capacity ever seen on an SSD is a massive 100 TB, but they are not for use in the usual desktops.
Importance of SSD
SSDs are important in those cases where there is a need to move a computer, and faster access to the data is a must.
They can live through shocks and falls and even large chunks of data stored in them can be accessed in a matter of seconds.
Thus, they have found uses in laptops mainly and various MNCs that store their client’s data on a server.
On a daily usage, SSDs no matter what type ensure faster gaming and bootups along with smoother file transfers.
How Does SSD Work?
Unlike an HDD, a solid-state drive doesn’t have any moving parts, rather there is a complex network of electronic circuits inside.
There are NAND flash memory chips where all your data is stored. Every form of data is stored in the memory cells of these chips in the form of electrons.
An SSD works on the technology of a Charge Trap Flash, which is basically a semiconductor form of data storage.
Electrons are placed into each charge trap at various levels. Let’s say each of the data bits has three binary numbers, and if each charge trap has 8 levels, then it can hold 3 bits of electrons.
Electrons once trapped in these cells can last for almost a decade, unless there is a leak. More levels are being introduced in each cell, thus the capacity to hold more electrons is increasing.
In order to read information, the electron charge levels are measured. While saving a picture, for example, the pixels in it are stored in the form of an RGB (Red, Green and Blue) color code.
Each of these colors has a number ranging from 0 to 255, and thus every pixel is a combination of these numbers. Each number takes 8 bits of binary storage, and hence each pixel takes 24 bits.
The SSD also has a controller, which is also known as a processor, that connects the memory chips inside to the main system of the computer in which they are being used.
This data can be accessed very fast, just like you could find a house on a road if you are given the proper address.
The Pros of SSD
1. Faster Operations
Due to the technology on which they are based, SSDs can store and read data much faster than a hard drive which requires the metal arm to move over a particular spot on the rotating disk to gain access to a particular amount of data.
As there are no moving parts, SSDs are tough storage devices.
The data stored in them is safe even after a fall or a shock as there are no such small parts that could have been damaged from said fall.
3. No heat or noise generation
SSDs do not create any heat or sound while operating because of the aforesaid reason.
The data is stored in a chip, and it works much like an SD card or a USB drive.
4. Small Size
Both internal and external SSDs are small in size which makes them ideal to carry around or put in a laptop. They are lightweight as well.
The NvMe SSDs are even smaller which allows you to install one into your system very easily, as long as there is a designated port to do so.
They are efficient forms of storage and consume less electrical power.
This means that in the long run, an SSD will be worth it. You not only get speed, but also efficiency.
The Cons of SSD
6. High Price
One of the drawbacks of the SSDs from the very beginning has been their price.
A 2 TB SSD drive costs much more than a 2 TB hard drive, and hence it is not always possible to afford one with a high capacity.
7. Lower Life
This means that after an estimated time of usage, either you won’t be able to use one anymore or the system will slow down.
8. Random Memory is not supported
SSDs store data in the form of pages in different memory blocks.
The data stored in one of these blocks cannot be overwritten and needs to be deleted completely before some new data is incorporated in the same space.
This is one of the main disadvantages they have compared to hard drives.
9. Data Loss
Data loss in an SSD is very common. Once some data gets removed from your drive for any reason whatsoever, it is not recoverable.
Also, when left unused for a year or so, SSDs start leaking charges thus leading to data loss.
If you don’t have any backup for this data, then you will be having a problem.
10. Slow recording speed
While accessing some data already stored on an SSD is fast, such is not the case when the data is being stored.
This is because the writing speeds are usually slow, and storing a large file might take a considerable amount of time.
The SSDs are not without flaws but having a fast storage has become a necessity so these can be ignored. Also, newer technologies are being incorporated to reduce data loss and make it more reliable.