Boosting Performance in Your Old PC
Now you’re probably thinking, how is this possible?
There are numbers of ways of speeding up a computer today, but one of the more cost effective and simpler options is called a Solid State Drive, or SSD for short.
Let us elaborate… Computers and laptops are all built with various parts inside that work together for that picture on your screen; a bit like a car and its internals functioning in tandem to get you moving.
One of those parts is known as a storage drive. It’s where all your documents, pictures and videos are kept and it’s where the system files that your computer needs to operate are stored.
Hard Disk Drives, the more common storage drive available today (which have been around for decades), have a mechanical arm that searches a spinning magnetic platter to find what you’re looking for. It’s like a jigsaw being pieced together by one person, which can take a bit of time to complete.
This is what the inside of a Hard Disk Drive looks like, you can see the mechanical arm just above the magnetic round platter.
Solid State Drives operate differently to a Hard Disk Drive as they have no moving parts instead using something called flash memory, which uses electronic signals to find or save what you need. They are pretty much like a large USB memory stick, but inside your computer. Since its all electronic, moving or getting you what you’re looking for takes a fraction of the time. Imagine the same jigsaw as before but this time several people working simultaneously to accurately piece together what you need very quickly.
Here’s a video showing the performance difference between a Hard Disk Drive and a Solid State Drive: Click here to watch on YouTube
So it’s faster, what else is good about it?
Here are a few other benefits of having an SSD instead of an HDD:
- No noise – No moving parts = no noise!
- Lightweight – Less metal parts inside = less weight.
- Size – SSDs can come in smaller sizes and so laptops can be manufactured slimmer
- Longevity – No moving parts means they are less prone to physical damage or wear. They are also less likely to be severely damaged if dropped, making the likelihood of data recovery more successful
- Longer Battery Life –since the SSD draws less power than an HDD, you’ll have more battery life.
There are a couple of downsides to SSDs though:
- Price – Though the price has come down a lot in recent years, they are still more expensive than a traditional HDD.
- Capacity – SSDs are typically smaller and the larger capacities are significantly more expensive than their Hard Disk counterparts.
Given the downsides, it’s still worth upgrading to an SSD. We’ve all upgraded our systems at both at home and the office to SSDs – so we’re not waiting for our computers to respond when trying to help you!
Is it a good time to upgrade?
If you’re finding that your computer is slow to turn on in the morning, opening documents and programs take a long time or even trying to move pictures from your phone/camera is slow, then it may be worth considering an upgrade.
If you have any questions or concerns about upgrading don’t hesitate to contact us.
The future of Solid State technology (warning… a bit geeky)
The standard for the past 20 years to connect a Hard Disk Drive or a Solid State Drive has been the Serial-ATA protocol. This protocol has always been the limiting factor in how fast SSDs can be. However, in more recent years the NVMe (Non Volatile Memory extension) protocol has been gaining traction as it allows significantly faster speeds achieved by the SSD having a direct connection to the CPU/processor (called PCI Express) rather than connecting to SATA chipsets playing the middle man between the SSD and CPU
The latest PCI-E SSDs can Read and Write files at up to 5,000 MB/second whereas the “standard” SATA SSDs can “only” achieve up to 550 MB/second (which is still more than fast enough for day to day use!)
SSDs are becoming increasingly more popular in consumer products and with the ongoing development of flash memory, manufacturers are constantly battling each other for their slice of the SSD market pie, meaning that prices will continue to drop and the performance will continue to increase. All good news for all of us!