If you are familiar with computer hardware, you have probably asked the question, “Will hard drives reach the same speed as the computer’s memory modules?” As you may know, the computer’s memory module is significantly faster than conventional hard drives. That’s one of the main reasons why the memory is an integral part of a computer’s system. It temporarily stores data so that it doesn’t have to be read from the slow hard drive again and again.
The problem with using the memory as storage is that when you turn your computer off, all the data that is written onto the memory module gets deleted and you always have to initially read from your hard drive when you turn your system on again. I guess the next question in mind is will there be a way to manufacture mass storage drives that have the same concept as the computer’s memory? At the time of writing, there’s a light of hope since SSD or Solid State Drives are starting to appear on the market.
What is an SSD? It is a disk drive that actually uses microchips (just like the computer’s memory) that can store data even without electricity which means that even if you turn your computer’s power off, the data remains. It uses similar chips as flash memory which is commonly used to store BIOS settings. It is also comparable to your data storage chips for your cellular phones and mobile devices. SSDs have been used for quite a while now but it is relatively a new commodity in the consumer market.
Well, the chip alone may actually be as fast as the computer’s memory since they have similar technology. However, since SSDs utilize SATA connectivity or the PCI-e bus, it has to go to through the Southbridge chip of your motherboard which is slower to access than the Northbridge chip (which handles the computer memory). Even so, it will still be way faster than the conventional hard drive.
And now, the question we need to answer is “Is it advisable to buy SSDs and replace our old spinning hard drives?” If you have extra money with you, then why not? SSDs are a lot more expensive than conventional hard drives and they cost more per gigabyte. But the performance you’ll be getting will be unprecedented since you’ll definitely notice extremely fast load times. Oh and I almost forgot, since SSDs do not have moving parts, it requires less electricity.
There are also some possible drawbacks if you purchase an SSD today. SSD storage capacities are still quite low and there are not many that are over 500 GB and for those that have high storage capacities, it will definitely be costly. Since this is a relatively new technology in the consumer market, there may be problems that may arise from the use of SSDs.
So I guess what I would do is to probably wait until the SSDs get into the mainstream market. Looking at different pricelists at the computer shops and online stores, SSDs aren’t that abundant yet. Considering the computer hardware pricing trends over the years, the prices may dramatically drop when it becomes more available to consumers. But if you can’t wait, there are probably enough SSDs out there in the market you can choose from.
Wikipedia – Solid-state drive