Hard drives - Part 4 - Solid State Drives - Geek Guru

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Hard drives – Part 4 – Solid State Drives

In this series of mini-blogs we’re looking at hard drives. What are hard drives, why do they fail and what can you do to extended their life and prevent data loss?

What is a solid state drive? (SSD)

If you read the last few days blog posts you’ll have a pretty good idea how a standard hard drive works. They are a tried and tested form of bulk storage. They are cheap, relatively reliable and pretty much represent the basis for data storage in most modern laptops and desktop machines. The are however relatively old technology and, as the previous blog posts show, subject to mechanical failure in a way that most other computer parts are not.

An SSD is a hard drive that uses flash chips to store data instead of a magnetic platter. Just like a USB pen disk stores data on a portable stick an SSD stores data on a hard drive sized array of chips. SSDs are preferable for a number of reasons but these all boil down to one thing. They contain no mechanical parts. This leads to a number of benefits:

  • They are less likely to fail through movement or knocks as there are no moving or spinning parts.
  • They do not suffer from mechanical wear in the same way (although they do wear in other ways).
  • They are faster, as there is no delay whilst the read head moves across the platter to accesses data
  • They are cooler and use less power, as there is no loss through mechanical heat – this means better battery life for your laptop

Next Time – It’s not all good though

Whilst SSDs are certainty bringing huge benefits it’s not always a win/win situation. Keep an eye out for our next instalment when we look at some of the drawbacks of solid state drives.

Posted on by Tim
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