Traditional SATA hard drives have become one of the biggest performance bottle necks in most laptops, desktops and servers. SSD hard drives solve this performance issue, but also have many other benefits. Before we jump into them it is important to note that not all SSD drives are equal and it is important to select the best SSD relative to what you will be using it to do.
- When looking at the performance impact an SSD will give you there are two facets that need to be considered:
- Read / Write speed - The latest SSD hard drives have are able to read and write your data at speeds in excess of 500MB per second. Compare to a SATA hard drive which has a typical read and write speed of 40MB per second. This is a 12x performance improvement. It is important to bear in mind that these stats are based on perfect world conditions and depending on what you are doing the performance difference will vary. For example when you are downloading a large file from the internet and saving it onto a SSD you will not notice any improvement, but if you were copying that same large file from one SSD to another performance improvement would be massive.
- Access Speed - This is how long it takes the drive to find the file / data on your hard drive before it can either read or write it. To use an analogy it is in essence like the start of a F1 race. From when the light turns green how long does it take for the driver to react so the car will start accelerating. SSD's offer near immediate access speeds typically under 0.1ms where a conventional SATA hard drive will have +- 8ms access speed. The low access speed has particular benefit when processing a large volume of transactions.
These two performance factors above have great real world benefits to a user who has a device containing an SSD. Your device will start up faster, applications will load faster and you will be able to run more applications simultaneously.
With the cost of electricity constantly rising and the need to be portable the 90%+ power consumption saving a SSD offers is a big benefit. In one computer you will not see a noticeable power saving on you bill, but in larger businesses or data center environments the cost saving does become substantial. What every individual will notice when using a laptop is a +-10% increase in battery life.
Another benefit is that SSD's have a much cooler operating temperature and as a result you require less cooling in your device.
SSD's have no moving parts. This not only means they reduce noise, but they are also less prone to failure. It is however very important to choose the correct SSD for your application as the lifespan of an SSD is determined by the amount of data written to the drive over its life. "Enterprise class" SSD's like we use for storage in our cloud environment are specifically designed to amongst other things have a much longer life span. There is however a substantial price difference between a standard SSD we would ordinarily use in a laptop or desktop to the "Enterprise class" SSD's we would use for Servers, CCTV footage storage and more critical applications in general.
Long term SSD drives are the way to go. In this article we have focussed on the main benefits, however there are some downfalls and like stated above it is important to match the correct SSD to the tasks it will be required to perform.
If i had a laptop or desktop and wanted additional speed out of it this definitely one of the first components we would suggest upgrading. The same can be said when buying new equipment. If it has a SSD and the price difference versus a model with a SATA Hard Drive is affordable you will definitely not regret it.