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Solid State Drive (SSD) The Future of Hard Drives

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A technology that is competing with the conventional hard disk drive (HDD) is a solid state drive (SSD). SSD is not mechanical, it is based on “flash memory”, the same technology as computer chips used to store pictures from your digital camera. SSD drive was a novelty only 3 years ago, but now not anymore.

SSD can outperform conventional mechanical hard drives because it is 4X smaller and lighter to 50X faster, is more reliable because there are no moving parts, SSD produces less heat and use less energy. SSD drive memory capacity has improved from 125-250 gigabyte SSD drives upto 1TB SSD are now available. Currently, the only disadvantage of SDD is the high price as it cost 5x more then HDD.

SSD drives are still more expensive than a regular hard drive. SSD is now worth about $2 per gigabyte, and HDD drive costs less than $1 per gigabyte. The price of SSD continues to improve (SSD drives once sold for more than $30 per gigabyte), as well as the expected production volumes, the price difference should be further reduced.

Flash memory is capable of a finite number of rewrites to each memory cell (as conventional hard disk drives). Significant improvements in the technology have been made in recent years. Moreover, Intel has developed a “load balancing”. This method ensures that all the memory cells on the SSD receive a similar workload. Most manufacturers of SSD are now using comparable methods. SSD should last 10 years or more for the average user.

The main reason for rosy future of SSD is access speed. Fast normal HDD has access times equal to about 5 milliseconds. This sounds quickly, but when the microprocessor is capable of millions of instructions per second (MIPS), is 5ms bottleneck. SSD can have at least a 100 microsecond access time (50X faster).

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SSD drive will be more tolerant to harsh operating conditions and will be more reliable. Computers that use SSD drives will experience faster application load times and better overall performance. SSD drive can emulate a traditional mechanical hard disk drive (HDD). This makes replacing the traditional HDD to SSD in your current system less complicated. The SSD, probably is the future the only question is when.

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