The hard disk drive, also called the hard drive, is the brains of your computer. The larger and faster the hard drive is, the more information a computer can store and the faster it runs.
Hard disk drives consist of two motors, one of which spins the disk while the other operates the disk reading and writing arm. It has coils and magnets and cables to hold all these parts in place. And because the drive spins very fast indeed, it’s prone to overheating, so it needs a fan as well.
Solid state drives (SSDs) represent a leap forward in drive technology. A basic SSD consists of a controller chip and a number of memory chips. The controller moves data back and forth between the memory chips and takes care of encryption and error handling.
Because it has no moving parts, an SSD is less likely to break down than a traditional hard drive. Because it doesn’t spin at high speed or need a cooling system, it’s much quieter. And because it doesn’t need to get up to speed before accessing data, it can boot your system up as much as 20% faster.
What are the Drawbacks to SSDs?
If the above has convinced you to run out and buy an SSD for your own computer, there are a few things you should keep in mind before you shop.
First, SSDs are quite a bit more expensive than standard hard drives, often costing ten times as much as traditional drives of the same size. If price is a big concern you may want to wait for the market to even out.
Second, SSDs often don’t have as much storage capacity as regular hard drives. Most SSD manufacturers offer drives up to 256GB in size. Toshiba has unveiled a 1TB (1000GB) SSD, but it won’t be released until at least 2012. On the other hand, traditional hard drives top out at 3TB.