What’s an SSD? Do I need one?

You have heard about these new upgrades called SSDs that are supposed to make your old computer faster and are not exactly sure what they really do, or better yet, what they actually are?  Your computer upgrade specialists at Chips Computers are here to fill in the blanks and impart some knowledge!

What Is It?

Let’s first break down just what an SSD is.  SSD stands for Solid State Drive.  It is a data storage device that instead of using spinning discs and a moving read/write head; is composed of electronic circuitry technology similar to a USB flash drive.  There are no moving parts.  Most SSDs use NAND-based flash memory, which retains data without power.

Which brings us to the next question:

Why would I get one?

With the current level of SSD technology, there are a couple distinct advantages to installing an SSD in your computer.

Speed – the most obvious and most popular reason for adding or upgrading to an SSD is read/write speed.  By moving your systems OS and programs to an SSD, your computer will boot substantially faster, and any applications installed to an SSD will load/access data quicker.  Typically the OS (operating system) files are what is loaded onto the SSD, but as prices for larger drives continue to fall, more application files are being installed on them.

Reliability – because there are no moving parts, an SSD isn’t susceptible damage from physical shock (such as drops) like their hard disk drive counterparts.  They also tend to run quieter and cooler.  SSDs, like flash drives, do have a finite read/write life but it numbers in the hundreds of thousands of writes.  It would most likely outlast the computer it is installed in!

There are also Hybrid Drives.  The drives combine some of the speed benefits of an SSD, with the lower cost technology of a traditional hard disk drive.  These combine the features of SSDs and HDDs in the same unit, containing a hard disk drive and an SSD cache to improve performance of frequently accessed data. These devices may offer improved performance for many applications, reliability and speed are not nearly as ‘fleshed out’ with hybrid drives. The main benefit is the larger storage typically offered with legacy/standard spinning drives, with the speed boost of an SSD on select, most often used files cached to the SSD portion of the drive.

If you are looking to improve the performance of your PC, upgrading to or adding an SSD is a good way to go.  I’d recommend talking to one of the experts at Chips Computers to see what is the best solution for your computer and your needs.  We want to make your computing experience easy!

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