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.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share

Recent News

pc-clean

Most people, if given the choice, will try to skip out on doing the evening dishes, or for that matter even loading a dishwasher. It’s not exactly the most thrilling of chores to undertake, but if you don’t clean your dishes somehow, everything ends up dirty and unusable. It’s much the same story for your… More 

fb

Facebook is a service beloved by many, because it makes it so very easy to keep in touch with friends, family, acquaintances and more in an environment that’s generally easy to use and that can be quite fun. It’s one of the world’s busiest web sites, and one of the tech world’s most valuable companies…. More 

browsers

The chances are good that when you browse the web, you’re doing so via Google’s own particular browser, Google Chrome. Chrome has anywhere between 47% to 60% of the browser market sewn up. That might not seem that impressive, but the next largest market share is usually given to Apple’s Safari browser at between 13%… More 

mackeyboarda

Apple sells itself as a premium brand, both in style terms, but also for the quality of the computing equipment it sells. That’s a proposition that can very much become quasi-religious for some folks, although few would suggest that Apple sells bad computing equipment. Wherever you sit on that spectrum, there’s no doubting that consumers… More