An easy way to speed up and increase reliability on an old computer is to replace the hard drive (HDD) with a Solid State Drive (SSD). What is the difference between the two? The fundamental difference is that a SSD has no moving parts. The mechanical workings of a HDD is very similar to a record player. A platter is spun and read by a header to attain information. Therefore, the speed of a HDD is limited to how fast the platters can spin. This is measured by the amount of Revolutions-Per-Minute (RPM). A HDD’s RPM can vary from model to manufacturer, but on average it is between 5,400 to 7,200 RPM and up to 10,000 RPM on servers. On the other hand, SSD’s use NANDs as storage. NANDs are a electrical memory component on a circuit board. The CPU can access data on a SSD instantaneously.
Replacing a computer’s HDD with a SDD can also have a huge improvement in boot up time. Computers equipped with a SSD usually take half the time to boot up when compared to computers with HDDs. An average SSD can read and write at 400 to 500 MB per second. This performance gain equates to productivity. In today’s business environment, the average employee is a multi-tasker. However, productivity is slowed down due to waiting for applications to load, as there is a significant lag between the speed of the HDD and the CPU. SSDs help reduce this lag, and files saved on the SSD are instantly accessed by the CPU. Users are able to search for files, save documents, and access programs much faster than computers with HDDs.
Another benefit of having SSDs is power saving. Due to no moving parts, SSDs require much less power than HDDs. This reduction in power can mean longer battery life on an old laptop. On certain laptops, users were able to get as much as 20 percent longer battery life. Laptops with SSDs also produce less heat output. This reduces the chance of overheating the laptop when it is used on a hot summer day.
The fourth benefit of switching over to a SSD is the reliability it can provide. With no moving parts things are less likely to break. Every year that goes by, the chances of a HDD failure increases. This is due to wear and tear on the moving parts. However, HDD failure can also happen on new drives from physical impact. For example, if you shake or drop your laptop while the HDD is spinning, it can damage the platters and therefore corrupt any data that was saved on it. This is more likely to happen on a laptop than on a desktop, since laptops are highly mobile. An SSD doesn’t suffer the same consequence when being dropped or shaked, and therefore is an excellent upgrade to a mobile user’s laptop. Although SSDs are highly reliable, users should still have a backup of all their data.