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.