If you’ve been out computer shopping or browsing computer specs somewhere you may have noticed the term solid state drive (SSD). A solid state drive is a newer alternative to the traditional hard drive in your computer. The big difference between older hard drives and new solid state drives is that the SSD has no moving parts. Hard drives use a mechanical arm (think record player arm) to read and write data to exact locations on a spinning platter (much like a record). SSD’s use flash memory much like a USB thumb drive to store information on a chip.
What are the advantages of a SSD? It’s much faster than a traditional hard drive. Read and write times are lower because there isn’t a spinning platter and a mechanical arm trying to locate the data. This also means it is quieter, no whirring or clicking noises. Boot times are faster as well. It takes less power to operate, so your body life in a laptop computer will be longer. They are also more resistant to damage from shock (i.e. dropping or bumping your computer).
There is one main disadvatage too. SSD’s are still relatively expensive when compared to equivalent sized traditional hard drives. A 1 TB SSD will cost around $300 and up, whereas a 1TB hard drive can be found for $60-$100. SSD’s are more cost efficient at smaller sizes though. If you only need a 250 GB drive you can find one for around $100.
If speed is important to you and you don’t have lots of huge files to store, you may want to consider an upgrade to a SSD in your computer.