Solid State Drives and why you should invest
Solid State Drives and why you should invest in one
Computers weve been buying for years now have been running on conventional Hard-Disk-Drives (otherwise known as HDD's) - the benefit today of these types of drive is the large amount of storage (as of 2015) you can get 6-8Tb (TeraByte) HDD storage space (enough to store around 1600 2 hour Full High Definition 1080p Movies) and you can get them at a reasonale price, and that a lot of storage, the only issue is these drives can suffer from fragmentation and are certainly not as fast as a Solid Sate Drive (also known as SSD's).
HDD's have moving parts such as the spinning magnetic platters and read/write heads / SSD have no moving parts and so use a heck of a lot less energy saving you money, they say over the course of a year an averaged sized SSD has paid for itself in the money you save on evergy bills.
What is Fragmentation?
over time the files on your computers hard-drive become fragmented which causes it to be slower, this happens because when you save a file it saves it in the nearest location of free space of the same size with some extra thats known as padding in case you add extra to the file, however the padding calculation is not always right as its up to the user how he/she expands that file...i.e. adding content that is larger than the space the file is in, what happens next is the extra block of information is stored on another part of the disk meaning now that one file has become multiple fragments across yor hard-drive...now magnify this with program installation and use, web browsing etc...over time the drive will become heavily fragmented and thus slower - this is why windows have built in Defragmentation Tools (or you can get better ones such as Raxco PerfectDisk which has excellent file placement options).
So what is a Solid State Drive and why are they better?
Basically, a Solid Sate Drive (or SSD) is a drive that is made completely different and has no moving parts saving evergy, in basic term an SSD is memory in the drive instead of a spinning magnetic disk, as it uses NAND or V-NAND memory chips means it can read the data in some cases millions of times faster...for example your typical HDD may read data (not fragmented) at about 160MB/s , perform about 90-100 Input/Ouput Operations per Second (known is IOPS) and have a response time of 5-8ms (meaning it takes that long for the head to move to the next position needed on the drive). SSD's on the other hand (if using a SATA one that plugs into the same SATA port as your HDD) can read data at about 510MB/s (on a SATA-3 port, 300Mps limit on a SATA-2 port). Also SSDs do not suffer from fragmentation because of they way they operate, it doesnt matter if the file is split in 3 it will still take the same time to load this is why you should never defragment an SSD as your wasting your writes (see below).
But two of the most important factors are that they can perform upto 100,000 IOPS (compared to 90?) and have access times such as 0.05ms, it these two combined that make your system really quick and load up in seconds, the faster reading (like the 510MB/s I mentioned before) are good for loading large files very quickly such as games or photshop RAW files or AutoCAD and do so 3 times faster than a non fragmented HDD, because they have no moving parts they are 100% silent.
Thats just the SATA-3 Interface versions ive mentioned, SSD's are now so fast they are limited by SATA-3 because the fastest it can go is 600Mbps, you can get SSD's that are PCE-I and slot into your motherboard allowing it to use a PCI-E lane which (depending on which port you use) has several thousands of MB/s read speeds, you can also get M2 slots for SSDs which free up PCI-E - these can allow an SSD drive to read at 2,500MB/s, have upto 200,000 IOPS and slightly less access times.
The only bad thing about SSDs is they have limted writes, but on a typical 250Gb drive you can write 50Gb of data every day for 5 years before it would start to underperform, test have been done and its now confirmed that your SSD will outlast any other component in your computer, one website has been testing these SSDs and have gotten into Petabytes of writes and the drives are still 100% operational and performing as if brand new, Reads are unlimited, the write limitation is due to the life of the cell being charged and uncharged repeatedly for billions of times.
As SSD is a relatively new technology they do cost more than HDD's but as more people buy them and time goes on they will get cheaper, at time of writing you can get a high end SSD of 250Gb for about £70-£80
So, if you have upgraded to an SSD I would recommend you do so...at time of writing the Samsung Pro range tend to be the best
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