Have You Upgraded to a Solid State Drive?

Are you struggling with a slow computer? Are you considering throwing your old computer away due its lack of performance? Well, you’re not alone. At the ITS Help Desk we get many customers that come in with slow performing computers and wonder if it’s time to buy a new computer. Well, we’re here to let you in on a little secret. While not all slow performing issues are the same, there is in fact one particular upgrade that can increase your aging computer’s speed by up to 30 percent. This upgrade involves upgrading your computer’s Hard Drive (HDD) to a Solid State Drive.

Let’s talk about what a Hard Drive is and what it does for your computer. A Hard Drive, in essence, is a piece of equipment in your computer that stores all your data and processes what your computer needs to do at that exact moment. There are 2 major kinds of Hard Drives, HDDs (Hard Disk Drives) and SSDs (Solid State Drives).

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These are HDDs, they are the common default hard drive for computers and laptops. The HDDs have physical parts that spin to read, write, and store data. The image on the right is what an HDD looks like on the inside. The arrow is pointing out what the read/write head is. This read/write head will move back and forth across the disk to read and/or write data onto the disk. If the HDD is bumped, there is a chance that the read/write head will scratch the disk, making it unreadable and therefore, completely damaging the HDD. Overall, HDDs have a larger capacity to store data and comes at a cheaper cost than SSDs. However, HDDs are also slower to process information compared to the SSDs. HDDs also take up more energy to run and they also create noise while running. HDDs are good for people who need large amounts of storage without worrying too much about computer processing speed at a decent cost.

Now, these are SSDs. SSDs use integrated circuits to read, write, and store data. The image on the right is what the inside of an SSD looks like. As you can see, there are no moving parts, which will allow longer durability than that of the HDDs. SSDs do not have as much storage capacity as HDDs, but they do process information and operate much faster than HDDs. The lack of storage can be compensated by utilizing an external hard drive to store more data. SSDs take less energy to operate and create no noise whatsoever. However, due to these characteristics, SSDs are more expensive than HDDs. SSDs are good for people who enjoy and/or need faster processing speeds and overall performance without the extra data storage space.

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Now, that was a lot of information! To make things a bit easier and to provide some numbers and data, here is a comparison table with the general characteristics of both SSDs and HDDs.

SSD (Solid State Drive) HDD (Hard Disk Drive)
Speed 80-250 megabytes per second 65-85 megabytes per second
Cost 24¢ per gigabyte 6¢ per gigabyte
Power Needed to Operate 2-5 watts 6-15 watts
Largest Size Capacity 8TB 4TB
Heat While Running 78.8-86°F 93.2-111.2°F
Noise While Running Quiet Noisy

Hopefully, you now know the difference between HDDs and SSDs and can make a decision on which is better for you and your computer!

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