What Is SSD (Solid State Drive)? – POFTUT

What Is SSD (Solid State Drive)?

SSD is a new generation storage technology that provides different benefits to computing. SSD is the short form of the Solid State Drive where it is technology is similar to the Flash Disk Drives or USB Drives. In this tutorial, we will learn SSD, SSD Applications, SSD Types, SSD Interface/Connection Types, SSD Advantages, SSD vs HDD comparison.

What Is SSD (Solid State Drive)?

SSD or Solid State Drive is a flash-based disk where it is used to store the data permanently like a regular HDD. Which makes the SSD is its technology where flash technology is the main part.

Let’s start with a disk or storage history where the Hard Disk Drives, Floppy Disks, CD’s where popular for permanent storage. But all these disk technologies were dependent on physical access of operations which makes them error-prone, slow. But the main advantages of these technologies were their prices. Even early SSD-like technology starts with the invention of the modern computer in the 1950’s it is used in special areas like Super Computers, Space Systems, Military applications, etc because of its applicability and price. The price/size ratio was very low for flash-based storage like SSD.

2.5 inch SATA3 SSD
2.5 inch SATA3 SSD

With the new advancement and manufacturing cost cuts the SSD’s prices become affordable for the end and enterprise-level users. Even currently there are some gaps between SSD and HDD, it is closing day by day. It is expected to SSD shipments will overtake HDDs in 2022 which is a revolutionary case.

SSD uses NAND flash cells in order to store data which access, read, write mechanism is similar to the RAM. SSD uses electrical signals in order to access, read, write to these NAND cells which prevents physical actions. This makes SSD’s very fast because of no physical activity. NAND cells are designed as blocks like a grid and they can store between 256K and 4MB.

What Are SSD (Solid State Drive) Used For?

As stated previously with the recent price drop for larger sizes of the SSD, it gained a lot of different application areas and use cases. Actually in generall SSD can be used for all situations but some of them are more profitable according to other solutions.

  • Business and Enterprise use SSD in their performance critic applications where it boots the speed of the application from disk or storage point of view.
  • Gaming requires high-performance systems and game consoles in order to perfect in the game joy, game competition. A lot of gamers prefer faster systems which can run games faster even with 5-10 ms which is important for their game experience.
  • Mobility is another area where SSD is used not because of its performance because of its low power consumption and size or form factor. As SSD has no physical movement it only consumes little power for access, read, and write operations which makes it a perfect choice for power constraint mobile devices.
  • Servers are another use case where enterprise servers require performance for applications running on them. SSD provides this performance without complex storage architecture like SCSI, RAID, etc.
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SSD (Solid State Drive) Interface/Connection Types

SSD is a storage technology where data is transferred between SSD and CPU. In order to transfer data between SSD and CPU, there are some standard connection types to connect SSD to Mainboard, etc. Here are some of the most popular them.

  • SATA2, SATA3 is the most popular interface or connection type which is mainly used to connect SSD into the Laptop, PC, Server mainboard like a regular HDD. SATA2 supports 3Gbps which is about 300MB per second. This speed is not enough for most of the cases but SATA2 is not used commonly. SATA3 is the latest version of SATA where 6 Gbps or 600 MB transfer speed is enough for most cases where modern computers support SATA3.
  • mSATA is actually the SATA connection standard which is defined for mobile devices. mSATA is a smaller form factor according to SATA and supports 6 Gbps which is the same as SATA3.
  • PCIe is a connection standard that was designed to connect peripherals to the Laptop, Server, PC mainboard like GPU, Network Interface, etc. PCIe is the short form of PCI express. PCIe is also used in SSD devices to connect the SSD directly to the mainboard. PCIe provides high speeds which easily exceeds the SATA3 connection.
  • NMVe is a similar connection type to the PCIe that was designed specifically for the SSD. NMVe is the short form of Non-Volatile Memory Express. NVMe uses the PCIe interface with some differences which are designed for the SSDs performance for higher IOPS. NMVe interface provides less latency and higher throughput according to SATA like 16 Gbps which is about 2 GB per second. Also with the multiple channels, it can rise to 32 Gbps and 4 GB.

SSD (Solid State Drive) Form Factors

SSD form factor specifies the physical size of the SSD drives. As SSD uses NAND chips which are very tiny this makes SSD very flexible about the size and form. In general, the connection or interface type specifies the form factor of the SSD. There is 3 main SSD form factor popular in IT.

  • 2-5 inch form is the same size with a 2.5 HDD in order to be used or replaces with HDD drives. They have generally used SATA2 and SATA3 interfaces and used in Laptops, PC and Servers.
  • mSATA form is designed to be used with NVMe and PCIe connection/interface types for restricted space requirements. This form is generally used with ultrathin laptops, Intel NUC systems, mini ITX motherboards, Laptops, PC and servers.
  • M2. form factor is designed to be used with NVMe and PCIe interfaces/connections.

Choosing Right SSD (Solid State Drive)

Even SSD drives prices are getting more affordable while buying we have to choose the right SSD for efficiency and cost-effectiveness. We should consider the following issues before selecting the SSD.

  • Usage Purpose is one of the most important things while buying SSD. We should have a reason which will be very efficient with the use of SSD. In order to store photos or videos, SSD usage is not ideal.
  • Operating System Speed is one of the most important factors in general. We can install the operating system and its files into the SSD which will make our system much faster.
  • Applications and Games can be installed into the SSD where they will run faster and response times will be lesser.
  • Other files, folder, and data can be a secondary disk drive like HDD or SSHD which is a hybrid HDD with some flash memory and caching mechanism.
  • Other files, folders, and data can be also stored in the cloud for rare access and only download when required.
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How To Upgrade SSD (Solid State Drive)

After deciding the size of the SSD we need to select the right SSD drive with the proper form factor and interface/connection type. We need to get information about the interface/connection type supported the system we want to add SSD. For example, we can not connect SSD with NMVe into a SATA only system. Or we can not put 2.5 inch SSD into an mSATA form factor area. After these, we can back up or copy the data already stored old disk drive or use some tools provided with the SSD or freely over the internet.

SSD (Solid State Drive) Advantages

SSD provides a lot of advantages according to the standard disk drives like HDD, CD, Floppy Disk.

  • Higher Speed: SSD drives the main advantage is the speed they provide. They can provide better read and write speeds according to other disk technologies. This high speed is achieved with higher IOPS simply higher Input Output Per Second.
  • Lower Latency is another performance factor which is the time required to read or write a bunch of data. Lower latency provides agile responses from the SSD to the requestions applications.
  • Low Power Consumption is another important advantage of the SSD because of no physical movement or action. SSD works with electrical signals which are at a very low level.
  • More Stability is provided with SSD’s because of the no moving parts and physical operations. SSD’s do not affect by drop, vibration. Also, NAND technology provides higher stability according to magnetic area technology.
  • Less Space Requirement: SSD’s with the NAND technology can provide higher storage sizes with less space. This will make SSD less space required storage.

SSD (Solid State Drive) Disadvantages

Even SSD provides a lot of superior features according to HDD, CD, Floppy Disk it has some disadvantages according to them.

  • Higher Price: Event with the recent manufacturing advancements the SSD prices are higher than HDD per GB. But this disadvantage is getting disappearing as time goes on with the advancements in SSD manufacturing technology and consumer preferences.
  • Lesser LifeTime: SSD uses NAND technology where data is read and written over and over again where the NAND chips are used. NAND chips have a little bit less lifetime according to HDD which is not a big disadvantage according to their lifetime.
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SSD (Solid State Drive) Performance and Benchmarks

In this part, we will explain the most exciting aspect of the SSD the Performance and Benchmark of SSD drives by comparing it with HDD.

  • Access Time: SSD provides very low access time which is 0.1 ms where HDD access time is about 5.5-8.05 ms.
  • Random I/O Performance: Random I/O is the SSD best features where SSD can process 6000 I/O in a second where HDD can only process up to 400 I/O
  • I/O Request Times: SDD I/O request time is about 20ms where HDD is about 400-500 ms.
  • Typical Backup Time: A typical backup can be completed with SSD in 6 hours wherewith HDD in 20-24 hours.

SSD (Solid State Drive) vs HDD (Hard Disk Drive)

Let’s make a complete comparison SSD with HDD about all different aspects in a single shot.

  • Power Consumption: SSD power consumption is about 2-3 watts in general where HDD consumes 6-7 watts in general.
  • Cost: SSD costs $0.20 per gigabyte where HDD costs $0.03 per gigabyte. SSD’s are more expensive than HDD.
  • Capacity:  SSD capacities start from 50 GB to 4TB where HDD capacities start from 500GB to 10TB in general.
  • OS Boot Time: Operating system with SSD disk can boot in 10-13 seconds where with HDD the boot takes up 30-40 seconds at least. SSD is very faster than HDD for OS boot time.
  • Noise: SSD noise is zero because there is no moving part where HDD can create a lot of noise because of disk spinnings.
  • Vibration: SSD does not have vibration because of no moving parts where HDD can create some vibration because of spinning disk plates.
  • Heat Production: SSD creates so little heat because of no moving parts and low power consumption where HDD produces a little more heat because of moving parts and higher power consumption.
  • Failure Rate: SSD means the time between failure is about 2.0 million hours where HDD mean time between failures is 1.5 million hours. This makes SSD more stable.
  • File Copy/Write Performance: SSD file copy/write can provide 200 MB/s in general which can go up to 500MB/s where HDD file copy/write can provide between 50-200MB/s in general.
  • File Open Performance: SSD access time is very low which makes it very fast file opening speed where HDD is slower than SSD for opening files.
  • Encryption: For both SSD and HDD can provide security feature disk encryption in some models.
  • Fragmentation: SSD does not have any fragmentation problem because of its flash technology where HDD can be defragmented which will cause performance and noise problems.

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