Solid State Drives (SSD) – New solution to the slower HDDs

Solid State Drives

Solid State Drive is the type of non volatile data storage that stores and retrieves data digitally with the help of electronic circuits. Lacking any moving mechanical part, Solid state drives are much faster than the traditional HDD.

Solid State Drive use electrically programmable non volatile Flash memory to store data. But some devices use battery-backed volatile random-access memory (RAM).

Why this name?

Solid State Drives get their name from their structure. Unlike the traditional Hard disk drives which have rotating disks and actuator to read/write data physically on disc by using magnetism, SSD doesn’t have any moving parts. Solid state drives rely on the integrated circuits that help in storing data without the involvement of any moving part. Hence they got this name “Solid State Drives”.

Working of Solid State Drives

The data on SSDs is saved to a pool of NAND flash. NAND is made up of floating gate transistors. Unlike the transistor designs used in DRAM, which must be refreshed multiple times per second, NAND flash is designed to retain its charge state even when not powered up. This makes NAND a type of non-volatile memory. Based on the charge inside the transistors they are assigned a value of ‘0’ or ‘1’. ‘1’ if a transistor is charged and ‘0’ if a transistor is uncharged.

Based on the number of 0s and 1s stored in one cell of a NAND flash, they are divided into the following

  1. SLC NAND – Stores one bit per cell
  2. MLC NAND – Stores multiple bits per cell

MLC flash delivers higher capacity, but it wears out more quickly. Still, it’s less expensive per gigabyte than SLC and, as a result, is the preferred technology in almost all consumer-level SSDs.

Advantages of SSD over HDD

  1. Solid State Drives are much faster than traditional Hard disk drives.
  2. SSDs consume less power than HDDs.
  3. Solid State Drives does not make any noise like the Hard disk drives make in some cases.

Limitations of Solid State Drives

  1. SSDs are very costly as compared to hard disk drives
  2. The NAND flash used in Solid State Drives starts decaying slowly over time. Each time the data is erased, some charge is left in the floating transistors, which gives it a resistance. This makes it to use more power to change its state and eventually over time its state cannot be changed.

So should you replace your hard disk drive with a solid state drive?

By checking out the advantages and limitations of the SSDs, It is a good idea to use a combination of both the SSD and the HDD. We can use SSD for the data we don’t need to change more frequently like an operating system, and the data like music, pictures and other media which needs to be changed more often can be stored in the Hard Disk Drives. This combines the best of both worlds, the ultrafast, random data access of SSD with the relatively inexpensive, high capacity of HDD.

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