I’ve been using computers for quite some time now and I even remember having a really old 128 MB hard drive. We’ve had a computer before that but at that time I didn’t know what the computer parts are. Anyway, today we’re seeing more and more SSD or Solid-state drives entering the computer hardware market. SSDs are drives that do not use the same mechanisms as the conventional hard drives. It uses microchips to store data which makes it a lot faster to access.
To translate that into performance: it takes a few seconds to load your operating system, your applications open up really quickly, you don’t need to defragment your drive and it requires less power because there are no moving parts. These are just some of the advantages of SSDs over conventional hard drives. But we’ll have to wait until it becomes more available and affordable to consumers to see if there are any other benefits.
Now that SSDs are creeping into the industry, I started to look back more than a decade ago. I’m pretty sure a lot of you have thought about this. The computer memory is way faster than a hard drive. Have you asked the question, “Would it be possible to just increase the memory to the same size as a hard drive since it will be significantly faster to access data?”, “Can we just use the memory as our main data storage medium?”
If your hard drive gets cluttered with files, it tends to become slower because of the fragmentation of files. It takes longer to seek parts of the file to read. The only problem is that the computer memory’s data are erased every time you turn your PC off. This is not a problem with SSDs.
So what I’m actually thinking is that is it possible that we eliminate hard drives in the future and make the computer memory work the same way as an SSD? The hard drive still has to pass through your chipset’s Southbridge (SATA/IDE interface) which is a lot slower than the Northbridge where the memory passes through. I guess another issue here is that the architecture of computers will most likely be redesigned radically. Operating systems would then have to be reworked in order to use the new computer architecture.
Looking at today’s market, at least here in the Philippines, the SSDs haven’t really entered the mainstream market yet. There are still very few hefty SSDs reaching 250 GBs and higher and they are significantly expensive compared to the regular hard drives. But I’m pretty sure, if higher capacity SSDs become more available to the public and if it has a pretty decent price, people may actually revert to them completely. Conventional hard drives may be seeing the end of its days but it’s a long way to go. We’ll just have to wait and continue to observe. But if you’ll ask me, I would choose SSDs these are just my expectations and seeing how the technology progresses, it does seem so.
Wikipedia- Solid-state drive