The trend of modern technology is to make things smaller and thinner. What used to be huge and bulky has now become pocket-sized and paper-thin. The big magnet-operated hard disk drives now have a competitor, the so called Solid State Drives or SSDs. Through SSDs, we are able to develop thumb-sized drives which have storing capacities that reach to a couple of terabytes. But are SSDs a good match for your own specific needs? Read on.
When SSDs were first introduced into the market, they were so expensive that only a few people were able to afford them. However, as the market grew and as the competition heightened, the cost of SSDs has also dramatically decreased. Nonetheless, compared to HDDs, SSDs are certainly more expensive even with its reduced price.
Even though solid state drives only made it into the mainstream just recently, the technology behind SSD is actually old. This technology has been available for a couple of decades now, although it came in a different form. For example, the earliest super computers which are extremely expensive in the late eighties were RAM-based.
Sometime in the nineties, flash-based SSDs were slowly introduced into the market but only a very few people were able to afford them. The cost of producing SSDs inhibited mass production that only a limited circle of computer users were able to make use of them.
However, in the beginning of the new millennium up until today, there has been a significant drop in the price of flash memory. This made the production of SSD relatively less expensive that more and more people were able to afford them to use in their personal computers.
To understand what a Solid State Drive is, we have to be clear first of how our traditional Hard Disk Drive works. A basic HDD is made of a ferromagnetic material that coats a later of metal platters. These platters are mounted on a spindle similar to that of a record player. Data is written into these magnetic platters with the use of a tiny mechanical arm which is called the “actuator arm” which has a very fine tip.
The layer of platters has magnetic bits on its surface. The polarity of these magnetic bits is changed in order to store data into the disk. The process is complicated by you can picture it out when you imagine that it works just like how an automatic record player works. The process is fairly the same, although in HDDs, the process is digital and not mechanical.
On the other hand, an SSD doesn’t have an actuator arm or any moving parts. SSD looks like that of an ordinary flash drive, although their sizes and scales are significantly different. Majority of the SSDs available and sold in the market are NAND-type.
NAND-type drives are non-volatile and doesn’t need electricity to retain the data stored in it (RAM loses data stored once you turn off your computer). Moreover, NAND-type memory is also faster than traditional mechanical HDDs.