Recent improvements in technology have led to the development of Solid State Drives, known as SSDs for short. These are new forms of hard drives that enable computers to work at higher efficiency. This article looks at what SSDs are, and explains why they are so revolutionary.
Many people have become accustomed to working with computers and laptops that often take their time to execute any command that is asked of them. Just a couple of decades ago, the processors were extremely slow by comparison to today’s marvels.
The gold standard just a decade ago was the Pentium 4, which was a tremendous improvement over what had been offered before. As chip manufacturers began to improve on their designs, they came out with a completely new design architecture, named dual core processors, which actually had two separate processors on the motherboard, as the name implies. This allowed various tasks to be performed simultaneously, routing them to one or both of the processors available.
Then, more recently, the quad core designs were introduced, which as the name implies, doubled once again the available processors to four. Things really started to speed up with these new chips, which are typically what is offered with the latest computers and laptops.
There Was Still a Problem, and That Was the Hard Drive
Until recently, computers all had magnetic hard disk drives. Simply put, these are electromechanical devices, which incorporate a series of magnetic disks, with little read and write heads which etch and retrieve information to and from the discs. The very first computers from 30 years ago didn’t even have this: they worked almost exclusively with floppy drives, which contained very little information and were terribly bothersome to work with. If you have ever tried saving a large file that includes pictures onto a floppy disk you will understand.
The magnetic hard drive was seen as a tremendous improvement, because everything could be stored inside the computer, and as the years passed, manufacturers were able to build them in such a way that they could store more information, while at the same time reducing their size. The challenge was that information retrieval from hard drives involved movement of mechanical parts, which meant that there was large amount of delay between the user making a request, or issuing a command, and the computer being able to execute it. This is one reason why computers often seem to take eons boot up, as the hard drive has to start from scratch, collect all the various information required to operate the computer, and get it up and running.
The Times They Are a-Changin’
Recent improvements in hard drive technology have brought about a new and revolutionary approach, which promises to make everyone’s life a lot simpler, as well as faster. The introduction of solid state drives, known as SSDs for short, has been a quantum leap in computer efficiency, and finally broken down what may be considered today as the final speed barrier towards optimal computer efficiency.
Here are some of the really cool reasons why SSDs are all the rage today:
- Unlike traditional magnetic hard drives, solid state drives don’t have any moving parts. Nothing wears out or breaks.
- Engineers have figured out how to store information on chips. Even when the computer is turned off, no information is lost (just like traditional hard drives).
- Because all commands and instructions are routed electronically, and not mechanically, all operations move at lightning speed. No longer will you have to take time to get a cup of coffee while your computer boots up. Now, you’ll barely have time to add sugar, before your computer is ready to be used 😉
- As the manufacturing of these wonderful devices progresses, the prices continue to drop.
- Today, you can replace your old magnetic drive with a new SSD drive without breaking the bank.
Nowadays, many new laptops and netbooks include a solid state drive. There’s even a new range of portable computers called ultrabooks which use SSDs as the norm. With many consumers opting to buy these over the more basic laptops, SSDs have more or less become mainstream devices.
Related reading: Why You Should Get a Solid State Drive