What is a solid-state drive?

A solid-state drive is a replacement for a traditional hard drive, and uses solid-state memory rather than moving parts such as the platters found in normal hard disk drives. Known as SSD for short, it generally comes in standard hard drive form factors - both 2.5" and 3.5" are available - so it can easily be placed in the same bay where a hard drive would have otherwise been located.

Solid state drives have both benefits and drawbacks when compared to standard hard drives. In most areas of quality, the solid state drive comes out ahead. The areas holding it back are cost, as it is more expensive per GB than a traditional hard drive, and capacity, as its sizes available publicly do not reach over 1TB as those of normal hard drives now do.

The benefits to using a SSD over a hard drive can be found in many different aspects. The lack of moving parts in a solid-state drive, along with its greater tolerance to things such as shock, magnetic forces, vibration, and temperature, make the devices more rugged and secure. They also weigh less, and are therefore more portable. They are virtually silent, making SSDs a quiet option compared to hard drives. Additional positives include greater data transfer speeds in some circumstances, and longer mean time before failure (MTBF).

Most solid-state drives use flash memory, although some make use of DRAM or SRAM. The flash memory variety includes two forms: single-level cell (SLC for short) and multi-level cell (MLC). SLC is faster, more reliable, and consumes less energy, while storing only one bit of data per cell, although drives that employ it generally cost more. MLC has multiple electrical charge levels which are used to store more data per each cell.

Overall, prices for solid-state drives are dropping on a per-GB level, while the amount of GB available in capacity is increasing. The drives haven't yet reached standard hard drives in the affordability department, but as they approach that level, they may be useful for individuals or corporations in particular situations that call for the added benefits that the SSDs have to offer.

To read more about these drives, please continue to this solid-state drive website.

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