A solid-state drive or SSD is a storage device that uses integrated circuit assemblies as memory or interconnected flash memories to store data persistently even without power. Unlike a hard disk drive or HDD that uses rotating metal platters or disks with magnetic coating to store data, an SSD has no mechanical or movable parts.
The stark difference between a solid-state drive and a hard disk drive also speaks of their unique advantages and disadvantages. While SSDs have become common in recent years due to improving technology and market demands, some manufacturers and consumers still favour HDDs as their choice of storage device. Below are the advantages and disadvantages of SSD:
Advantages of SSD: Solid-state drive vs. hard disk drive
1. Faster than hard disk drives: Because an SSD has no mechanical parts, it is considerably faster than an HDD. This is one of the advantages of a solid-state drive. Fragmentation of data in a solid-state drive is negligible unlike in a hard disk drive making it inherently faster. An SSD is 25 to 100 times faster than a typical HDD. This translates to faster boot times, quicker file transfers, and greater bandwidth for enterprise computing.
2. Low power consumption: An HDD consumes more power because it relies on the rotation of the magnet-coated metal platter for reading and writing data. An SSD has no moving parts and it does not require mechanical work to become operational. This low power consumption gives solid-state drives another advantage. This means that an SSD is suitable for energy efficient computers and consumer electronic devices. Furthermore, using a solid-state drive lessens that susceptibility of a computer or device to overheat.
3. Durable than hard disk drives: One major drawback of an HDD is the susceptibility to data loss and overall device breakdown due to drops and shudders. This drawback stems from the mechanical or movable parts inside a hard disk drive. Because an SSD has no moving or mechanical parts, it is more durable to drops and shudders thereby making it more resilient against data loss caused by physical or external trauma. This is another worthy advantage of a solid-state drive especially when taking into consideration mobile computing.
4. No noise while in operation: The absence of a rotating metal platter to store data and a moving read arm makes an SDD completely quiet while in operation. Zero noise is impossible in an HDD. The rotation of the metal platter and the back and forth movement of read arm create noise and even subtle vibrations.
5. Compact than hard disk drives: An SSD is considerably compact than HDD because of the absence of mechanical or movable parts. This also means that a solid-state drive is a more suitable or advantageous storage component for portable consumer electronic devices such as ultrabooks and tablets.
Disadvantages of SSD: solid-state drive vs. hard disk drive
1. More expensive than hard disk drives: An SSD is more expensive than an HDD in terms of dollar per GB. This is one of the primary disadvantages of a solid-state drive. Compared with a hard disk drive, a solid-state drive with a similar storage capacity can be twice as expensive. This translates to more expensive computers or other devices with solid-state drive systems than those that have hard drive systems.
2. Limited storage capacity: Current SSDs in the market have limited storage capacity. Computers or devices with an SSD storage system usually have a base storage capacity of 128GB. Higher storage capacity contributes to the overall price of a computer or device. Although there are solid-state drives with a capacity of 4TB, they are very rare and expensive.
3. Poor availability: Another disadvantage of a solid-state drive is availability. HDDs are more abundant in the market. From internal storage of computers or devices to external media storage, hard disk drives are easier to find and they are considerably cheaper than solid-state drives. But the consumer electronic market is now leaning toward more compact laptops and tablet computers. This means than SSDs are becoming also more available but not as abundant as HDDs.
4. Shorter lifespan than hard disk drives: An SSD has a limited write cycle. The flash memories of a solid-state drive can only be used for a finite number of writes. An SSD cannot write a single bit of information without first erasing and then rewriting very large blocks of data at one time. As each cell goes through this cycle, it becomes more useless. However, this decaying process does not affect the read capability of the entire SSD. In addition, because of technological advancements, the lifespan of an SSD lasts until the natural consumer-driven product lifecycle of a computer.