General Question

DominicX's avatar

Is there a significant difference between a solid state hard drive and a regular one?

Asked by DominicX (28777points) September 28th, 2010

For people who have used computers with both, have you noticed a difference in performance and speed? How much of a difference? How significant?

As I’ve indicated before, I am planning on getting a PC laptop to go alongside my Mac (as soon as I sell my old PC laptop). I want to get one with a solid state drive, but they are hard to find. Really only the HP Pavilion and the Dell Studio XPS were the ones I could find with solid state drives.

I was really motivated to get an SSD after my Mac’s regular hard drive crashed. I heard SSDs don’t fail as often.

So what’s the deal with SSDs?

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11 Answers

The_Idler's avatar

There are no moving parts, meaning they are more reliable and less susceptible to shock-damage.
They are also faster to read large amounts of data from, as there is no needle to have to move around the platters.

They are, however, more expensive, which means you will have to suffer a much smaller capacity than an equivalently priced disc disk.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

As well as being more reliable and much faster, SSDs are also silent, and they use less power than regular hard drives. I have heard that they have a shorter lifespan though.

92elements's avatar

Yes speed Put your OS on the SD and you have a fast startup and faster response

Ivan's avatar

SSD’s are faster and quieter. They are, however, incredibly expensive. You’ll end up with a lot less storage capacity if you go the SSD route.

As far as reliability, you hear arguments from both ends. While SSD’s have no moving parts, and thus are less prone to mechanical failure, many people say that they are more prone to electronic failures. I have been warned that SSD’s are only capable of so many writes before they fail, and thus you should attempt to reduce the amount of times the OS writes to the drive. But who knows if that’s accurate.

DominicX's avatar

Space is actually not that much of an issue for me. Before my MacBook’s hard drive fried, I had had that computer for a year and I had only used up about 30 GB or so.

I definitely like the idea of it being faster. Windows does tend to take a lot longer to load than Mac OS. If this could accelerate start up time, that would be great.

jerv's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh I am going to have to find the link, but the last time I saw somebody do the math, they calculated the lifespan of an SSD at around 52 years.

DominicX's avatar

Basically why I’m asking this is that I found a perfect laptop that has everything I could want or need except it isn’t available with a solid state drive. :(

The hard drive seems to always be the part of the laptop that fails first. If a solid state drive is never going to fail, it might be worth it to find a different computer and pay the extra money if necessary.

camertron's avatar

Solid state drives do have a finite number of writes they can perform before dying, but the rate at which they lose sectors is very predictable. Your drive’s SMART status is capable of telling you very accurately when the drive will fail, so you’ll have plenty of time to back up your data. Tim, one of Fluther’s employees, wrote an extensive blog post about his SSD here. It’s pretty cool. I’m not sure about a drive lasting 52 years – Intel guarantees the drive Tim bought for 5 years constantly writing 100GB per day, but the drive really should last much longer than that.

camertron's avatar

@DominicX then I would suggest you buy the laptop you want with the smallest hard drive they offer, buy an SSD and put it in your new laptop yourself. You’ll have to make sure you get a drive with the right form factor so it’ll fit, but it should be quite easy.

jerv's avatar

Here it is

My apologies; it’s only 51 years.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@jerv I stand corrected. Thanks!

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