For the most part, I have been using a standard hard disk drive as a boot drive in my computer for a very long time. I have thought about using a solid state drive(SSD) as my boot drive for some time now and in the end, I opted not to use an SSD. So let’s take a look at the two.
SSDs are different to traditional hard drives in that they don’t have magnetic disk platters. Instead, the SSD consists of a circuit board with chips of flash memory(similar to that found in a USB flash drive). In fact, Apple’s MacBook Air and the current MacBook Pros(released last week) also use SSDs. So with that out of the way, what is so good about an SSD? First of all, the speed: when you have a standard computer, it can take a few minutes for a computer to boot up. In my own testing, my Windows 7 PC takes about 1.5 minutes to completely load up into Windows(or Mac OSX). However, your start times may vary depending on how powerful your PC is. When you use an SSD on a computer, this boot time will be a lot faster. Because there are no moving parts inside an SSD, they are quieter and smaller than a traditional hard drive. That being said, they do share a form factor similar to that of a laptop hard drive. At the time of writing, SSDs are generally a lot more expensive than hard drives and the biggest capacity of SSD you can buy is a 1TB SSD. However, a 1TB SSD would be very expensive.
Traditional hard disk drives are constructed of a few silver, magnetic disk platters and have a drive head which moves to and from the different disk platters. Although they take longer to boot into Windows, they provide a larger capacity than SSDs. At the time of writing, the largest hard drive available to the general public is 4 terabytes.
With all this being said, why do I still use a traditional hard drive in my computers? Long story short, I don’t really need one. I don’t use any applications on my computer which warrant me having to upgrade my computers to an SSD. You should not feel pressured into buying an SSD just because a lot of these technology blogs or podcasts tell you to. Simply put, if you don’t want(or need) to buy an SSD, then don’t buy it. A good example of something that might need an SSD would be video editing as you want to be able to have your videos render or encode as quickly as possible.
That being said, just how much faster is an SSD against a HDD?
Of course, the best way to find this out is by doing a side by side test. Stay tuned as I will try and get hold of an SSD and put it through it’s paces against a HDD in a test of overall performance.