Should I Get a Solid State Drive (SSD)?

Solid State Drives (SSD) is the new rage in the computing world. Promising better performance and quieter operation since there are no movable parts that first need to spin-up like normal hard disk drives. Currently, these promises are just dreams for most users since these drives still are expensive, and they cannot compete with the capacity of current Hard Disk Drives (HDD). The last few months have seen the prices drop and the capacities are slowly expanding, and 512GB SSD's is already available, although extremely expensive.

But why the rage? Getting a SSD's offer some nice advantages over normal HDD's. They are faster since no start-up is required and the operation is completely silent. They use less power than normal HDD's, thus giving laptop owners better battery performance. The lack of moving parts also make them more reliable and the dangers of irrecoverable data damage are lessened.

Currently there is a few unfortunate disadvantageous to SSD's. The first is price. Secondly, SSD's performance dropped visibly the more you use it, although this is more apparent in the earlier models. The reason for this is that they write data in large blocks, rather than bit by bit. Performance is severely crippled as the availability of free writable blocks decrease. The way SSD's handles deleted data aggravated this problem. Under Windows 7 blocks containing deleted data can be recovered with TRIM. A Trim command allows the operating system to clear these blocks for future use. Newer manufactured SSD's support the TRIM command. While writing large amounts of data, SSD's shine, but when writing smaller files performance drops significantly.

This begs the question: should I get a Solid State Disk? Currently, they are still too expensive to warrant buying one. They do offer certain advantages over normal HDD's, but not enough to defend the price premium. If you do not use Windows 7, or another operating system that supports TRIM, the performance will drop with use. Unless you are a technology junkie that must have the latest technology, wait for a few more years for this to mature. SSD's certainly is a viable technology, but it is just not ready for mainstream use yet.
SJP Babrevian

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