Geeks2U Promise
We guarantee you'll love our fast, friendly service - or we'll refund your money.  
133,572 Happy Customers & Counting
Need tech support?
1300 769 448
Extended hours, 7 days a week
Home  /  geekspeak  /  Understanding SSDs

Understanding SSDs

Tags : 

The chances are high that the next time you go to buy a laptop, you’ll have the option of either a standard mechanical hard drive or an SSD. On the surface, the numbers would appear to favour mechanical drives; even the cheapest notebooks tend to pack in at least 320GB into a drive, whereas the SSD option is typically under 256GB, and often very small. That’s what you’ll see on the in-store sticker, but understanding what an SSD is, and why they’re becoming more prevalent in the consumer notebook market can help you make an informed buying decision, rather than just looking at the straight storage numbers.

SSD stands for Solid State Drive, and unlike traditional mechanical hard disk drives, they’re not a bunch of spinning platters and an LP-style read head, instead reducing all that moving clutter into a what is essentially a bunch of microchips. Why would that be a good thing? Well, for a start, because that makes them substantially more resistant to shock and bumps. Drop or bump a working laptop while the read head is spinning and you may lose data or crash the machine; with no moving parts this is no real issue for an SSD. The lack of moving parts also makes most modern SSD drives notably fast, leading to quicker startup times in particular, but also improved application performance in cases where the application can benefit from the SSDs write structure; not every application can.

No moving parts also means no whirring noises and a reduced heat footprint, which leads to fewer spinning fans and even less working noise in operation. An SSD-based notebook at the time of writing still won’t be silent, but it’ll often be a lot quieter than a mechanical hard drive based notebook. All that can also make SSDs more energy efficient, which for a notebook should equate to longer battery life. Finally, the lack of moving parts and reliance on chips rather than platters makes it possible to design SSDs that are smaller than traditional hard drives, although to date most manufacturers of installable SSDs have opted for traditional hard drive sizes in order to make them easier to fit. So what’s the downside? As mentioned, the price per gigabyte for an SSD is still a lot higher than for mechanical drives, which is why SSD options usually either invite a price bump or storage drop, and typically both. There’s some concern about the life cycles of SSD drives compared to their mechanical counterparts, although you’d be wise to be backing up all of your data in any case; any drive can fail, and it’s really just a matter of when.

There’s been a huge drop in the prices of SSDs in the past couple of years, just as the storage capacities of those same drives has gone up, and that’s pretty much exactly why they’re becoming a more commonplace option within notebooks. It’s worth considering the SSD option if the notebook you’re after needs to be thin, light and quick, but for the moment those who need large media libraries or primarily use a notebook as a desktop replacement are probably still a little better served with the traditional mechanical type.


Recent News

Social media can be a huge force for change, and in these times where many of us are bouncing in and out of lockdowns, also a vital lifeline for communication on everything from important matters to the wildly trivial. We’re all allowed our personal obsessions, after all. However, many of us don’t think about the

Microsoft recently released its first public-facing beta version of the Windows 11 operating system that it will ship later this year. You’ve got to be signed up to its Windows Insider program to get it – and be willing to accept a little risk in terms of unstable operating systems – but then this is

Telstra recently announced that its 5G coverage for its mobile phone network covers around 75% of the Australian population. It’s also announced the “longest” (as in range) 5G phone call in the world, spanning some 113km in Gippsland. Meanwhile, rival telco Optus has claimed that it’s hit 300mbps upstream on trials of its emerging mmWave

Microsoft recently announced its next generation of the Windows operating system, Windows 11. If you’re thinking that seems odd given it did announce some years back that Windows 10 would be the “final” version of Windows, you’re not alone. For many years now, Microsoft’s simply provided Windows 10 updates rather than “new” versions of Windows,

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Learn about the precautions we are taking and our new contactless pick-up and remote service options. Read More
Get help setting up your home office or homework area today. Learn More