Do You Need an SSD?

You’ve probably heard about solid-state drives, the expensive new data- storage devices that are faster and more reliable than traditional disk drives.

You’ve probably asked yourself, “Do I need an SSD? Is it worth the price?”

I bought myself an SSD for my laptop not knowing what to expect. I knew the SSD would make it faster but I had no idea to what extent I would notice the performance benefit. Now that I’ve installed it and had a few days to test it out I’ll explain how an SSD could help you and if it’s worth the investment.

What is an SSD?

A solid state drive is a hard drive for your computer without the disk. A normal hard disk drive has multiple spinning disks from which data is written and read. In contrast, a solid state drive uses flash memory to store your data and has no moving parts.

What are the advantages of an SSD?

Because solid state drives have no moving parts, they are much more durable and reliable. A HDD is prone to mechanical failure from vibrations or drops – an SSD is not. No moving parts also means that an SSD works on less power than a HDD and could increase your laptop’s battery life. Flash memory is also much faster than disk drives.

Do you have technical data?

My laptop’s HDD ran at 5400 RPM and had a benchmarked read speed of about 60 MB/s. The SSD I bought benchmarks with a read speed at around 250 – 280 MB/s.  My HDD’s seek time was advertised at 12ms. The SSD’s seek time was advertised at .1ms (and benchmarks below 1ms at various file sizes. You’ll notice that most SSDs have similar speeds.

What are the noticeable performance benefits?

My laptop now boots up much faster. I can now turn it on and wait for it to start, instead of pushing the button and walking out of the room. I can also start programs right after boot with no delay. I even ran a test to show this new speed to my friends; I copied every shortcut I could find into my Startup folder and restarted the computer. Right after boot, applications started quickly launching on top of each other. The whole Microsoft Office suite, Photoshop, Skype, Movie Maker, etc. all launched in under 10 seconds. This amazed me; I’m no longer afraid of having startup programs. My computer feels very responsive and everything launches instantly.

Is it worth it?

For the price of my 60GB SSD one could buy a 1.5TB HDD. SSDs are still expensive and it can be hard to trade-off storage space for performance. Windows 7 can take up about 20GB on a fresh install with updates, and you’ll be putting software on top of that too. If you have a PC with expansion space it’s no problem, just put your operating system on the SSD and pictures, videos, and music on your HDD. If you’re looking to upgrade a laptop it can be harder to decide. There may be other, cheaper ways to increase performance, such as a RAM upgrade. If you’re serious about performance however, an SSD can bring a great performance boost at a great price.


I am Techie, the webmaster and main author for the w3techie blog.

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5 Responses

  1. Joe says:

    Solid State hard drives are, in my opinion, the only computer upgrade in the last couple of years that will actually make you sit up and take notice at the improved performance it gives your machine. The benefits of a new multicore processor or extra RAM isn’t really noticeable unless you’re playing a demanding 3d game with maxed out settings, but a SSD will immediately impress you with faster boot speeds and much quicker disk access. It just makes everything seem more zippy than before. Even with the added cost it’s totally worth going with a SSD.

  2. Guest says:

    Yes SSD is definitely worth it. Even though its price is much higher than the current HDD, its speed is unbeatable. It’s like adding power on your processor or RAM, so the price is reasonable to me. You can also install your windows system files on SSD and use HDD as a secondary storage. It works great too.

  3. Jeppe says:

    SSD’s are pure awsome. And the performance is only part of what makes an upgrade from standard HDD to SSD so sweet. When you are using a notebook/laptop you’ll se improved batterylife as well. At least if you buy a quality drive. made a survey of a few laptops with and without SSD’s and found siginificant improvements in both performance and battery life. A pure win-win.

  4. Nasul says:

    It’s great but it’s expensive especialy if it’s a larger one. A SSD is probably the best upgrade for a laptop better than RAM memory especialy if your not a gamer. The old HDD can be used like a external drive with a rack on which you can store movies, music, games …

  5. Capcom says:

    SSD’s are fantastic until they fail. When they fail its hard and fast with absolutely no way of of recovering data. Backups are a required necessity unless you want to cry and cry and cry.

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