DISK ACCESS EXPLAINED
The next point worthy of consideration is that, unlike the hard drive which may require several passes to gather all the required information, the SSD works much like a pipeline where the information storage, or removal, is a continuous flow and much faster. This results in a significantly quicker disk access time for the SSD which translates into a muc shorter boot time and visibly faster computer when using typical OS functions or installed software. In fact, the hard drive disk access time may typically be around 9.2ms whereas the SSD rounds out at around .01-.02ms, this being UP TO 92 TIMES FASTER by numbers alone. Let’s do a performance comparison.
The test consists of the application creating three different files (an .iso. an application and a game) and simply moving them from one part of the hard drive or SSD, to another. The results consist of the highest transfer speed reached as well as the length of time it took to move the file. On the left is the Samsung 2TB F4 hard drive and on the right is the new Samsung 840 Series 250GB SSD:
Examining this, it becomes a bit more realistic as to how efficiency is improved above and beyond our startup alone.
HOW ELSE WILL AN SSD HELP ME?
This isn’t really a fair question to answer because visible performance upgrade isn’t even close to being the only reason to consider an SSD. Let’s examine a few other reasons.
NO MOVING PARTS– It only takes one drop or sudden movement of a laptop to crash a hard drive, destroying everything on it, making it so easy to understand why an SSD is so vital to so many mission critical situations. SSD testing has shown solid state drives to be pretty much indestructible as a result of external elements and that means data security;
SILENT OPERATION – We are all familiar with the typical noise of the hard drive, especially when it is hard at work. The SSD, on the other hand, is completely silent;
LESS HEAT – Although the SSD is not completely cool to the touch, it avoids the high temperatures seen in hard drive use which, in turn reduces noise from constant fan use. In fact, some new razor thin ultrabooks today don’t even have fans any longer; and
LONGER BATTERY LIFE – Given that there are no moving parts, and less heat negates excessive fan use, uncreased battery life is pretty much guaranteed and today we are seeing laptops capable of 10 plus hours on a single battery charge.
ARE THERE ANY NEGATIVES?
In comparing the hard drive and the SSD, the only disadvantage that the SSD has can be found in the price/capacity comparison. Hard drives can today be found in notebook sizes as high as 2TB in capacity while SSD capacity above 512GB is still new ground for most. Similarly, the SSD is more expensive, pound for pound, but significant price drops and SSD advance in the last few years have moved this technology to the verge of main stream. Today, just about every tablet or ultrabook you find, including IPADs, has an SSD in it. If the typical consumer’s actual storage need is less than 50-60 GB anyway, an SSD can be found for that price or cheaper.
So many people live their lives around flash technology and solid state drives and they don’t even know it. If you own an IPAD or any modern tablet, chances are that there is an SSD inside that affords just about everything we spoke of. Any smart phone you can find uses flash technology of some sort and today’s MacBooks and Ultras cannot be had without an SSD any longer. Solid state has leaked from the hidden compartments of mission critical applications and is now front and center for us to grab.
To think that what used to be known as simply a storage device can now provide visibly increased power, a cooler laptop, less fan noise, longer battery life and the worries you once had about losing your data to a hard drive crash or accident are gone. Well, almost anyway as nothing can replace the security of a backup. Albeit it long before SSDs were even considered for consumer use, I still remember someone running by and accidentally catching my laptop, sending it flying and an inevidable hard drive crash destroying what then was just under 600 pages and two months work. No back up…
Lastly, if not for any other reason, we need to consider what our time is worth. Considering that the typical PC user spends in excess of two days a year just waiting for their computer to start is mind boggling when you think that, with an SSD, we are cutting that down to just seven hours. Then again, even seven hours seems like too long now doesn’t it?
Here is one last helper for you. This video depicts the start times of our Asus Z77 Premium Test Bench, MacBook Air, Toshiba Z830, Lenovo Carbon X1, and then we go so far as to time the MBA booting from OSX Mountain Lion to Windows 7.
In case this article has reached you through one of the many search engines, we should mention that this is the third in our series of SSD Primer articles meant to help us all along in our understand of solid state drives.
- BENEFITS OF A SOLID STATE DRIVE – AN SSD PRIMER
- SSD COMPONENTS AND MAKE UP – AN SSD PRIMER
- SSD TYPES AND FORM FACTORS – AN SSD PRIMER
- SSD ADVERTISED PERFORMANCE – AN SSD PRIMER
- SSD MIGRATION OR FRESH INSTALL – AN SSD PRIMER
- GC AND TRIM IN SSDS EXPLAINED – AN SSD PRIMER