The Advantages & Disadvantages of SSDs

Posted in Apps & Software, Gadgets & Reviews, Technology6 years ago • Written by MAKNo Comments

Solid state drives, or SSDs for short, have been part of the world of technology for more than a decade. However, high prices have kept them out of reach for most users, with many preferring to use older, magnetic disk based storage options instead. In recent years, the cost of SSDs has fallen dramatically, with prices becoming low enough for consumer and business use. This article examines SSDs, pointing out their advantages and disadvantages over traditional hard drives.


How SSDs work

SSDs work very differently than traditional hard drives.

Traditional hard drives are made up of a number of different moving parts. Data is stored on magnetic disks that are stacked upon each other and a needle-like head is used to read the data, much like a needle on a vinyl record player.

SSDs, however, store data on flash memory chips. Data is transferred by electronic cells that quickly send and receive the data through a controller built into the SSD.

The main advantages of SSDs

The two main advantages of SSDs over traditional hard drives are speed and reliability.

Since SSDs don’t rely on moving parts, they are less prone to breaking. With traditional hard drives, if the needle or the disk were to become damaged, the hard drive would be rendered inert and all data would be lost. This type of damage is common, with failure rates of hard drives believed to be higher than 1% [1]. Hard drives found in mobile devices such as notebooks are also more prone to fail than hard drives located in desktops or servers; sharp jolts and sudden movements can easily damage the disks and the head leading to a hard drive malfunction.

The lack of moving parts in SSDs also means that SSDs are significantly quicker than traditional hard drives. Modern day SSDs are able to transfer data more than 3 times quicker than traditional hard drives, and this gap is expected to grow as the technology continues to mature and be improved upon. [2]

The main disadvantages of SSDs

The main disadvantages of SSDs are capacity and cost.

While traditional hard drives are capable of storing as much as 3TB of data in a single drive, SSDs normally are able to hold no more than 512 GB. This is due to the large size of the flash memory chips that the data is stored upon. However, as SSD technology matures and manufacturing processes improve, the size of these chips will gradually fall, allowing for higher capacity SSDs.

The use of flash memory also means that SSDs cost significantly more than traditional hard drives. The cost per GB for a SSD drive can be as much as 10x higher than a traditional hard drive. This figure is falling quickly, however. The cost per GB of SSD storage halved when comparing figures from 2011 and 2012[3].

SSDs in consumer Electronics

SSDs have gained a great deal of prominence in consumer electronics with a number of small format media devices such as smartphones, mp3 players and tablet devices exclusively utilising SSDs for storage. There are a number of reasons why this happened…

– Firstly, the read/write performance of SSDs is unmatched.

– Secondly, SSDs take up less space which is important in consumer electronic devices where space is at a premium.

– Thirdly, SSDs have been shown to be more reliable than magnetic disk storage options, particularly in the consumer electronics field where the devices are often portable and prone to sudden movements.

– Finally, the high cost of storage is normally passed on to the consumer who is often willing to pay above average prices for extra storage.

SSDs in the business world

SSDs have also become increasingly popular in the world of business. The quick read/write performance of these drives has dramatically sped up computing performance, meaning that more work can be done in a shorter amount of time.

SSDs are also becoming more common in servers. Websites and applications running on the server perform dramatically better, as do large databases, high volume exchange servers and streaming media servers.


Analysts expect annual sales of SSD drives to exceed more than 200 million by the year 2016[4], and it’s easy to see why. The superior read/write speeds provides a level of performance that a traditional hard drive could never hope to match, and the improved reliability ensures that drives will last longer, too. As the cost of SSDs continues to fall, SSDs will assuredly become the de facto storage option of choice.


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