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Solid State Drives: Do You Need One on Your Laptop or PC?

Solid State Drives: Do You Need One on Your Laptop or PC?

Solid State Drives: Do You Need One on Your Laptop or PC?

Anyone who is shopping for a new PC or laptop today will probably hear about solid-state drives, or SSDs. If you're not a computer geek who follows all things technology, you might be wondering exactly what an SSD is and whether it's really something you need. After all, you're just planning to use your computer for basic work, browsing the internet, and maybe a little bit of gaming here and there. Do you really need this fancy technology? The answer for almost everyone is yes. Let's talk a little more about what SSD is and why it's great for your computer.

What is SSD?

SSD, which stands for a solid-state drive, is a form of computer memory that uses flash chips instead of moving parts. This is a relatively new technology that is mostly replacing the traditional hard disk drive (HDD). Without getting too much into the weeds of how computer drives work, an SSD that uses flash memory chips can quickly access files and programs on your computer without using a physical spinning hard drive. So everything you do on your machine, from launching a program to accessing a file, will happen much faster. If you plan to play games on your PC or laptop, those will be faster too. Even for someone who's not tech-savvy the boost in speed and performance with an SSD is noticeable.

Why SSDs are Replacing HDDs

As with many technologies, the price of an SSD is going down dramatically. What was once a premium upgrade for your PC or laptop has become only a small price increase in the cost of your machine.

Obviously the faster speeds and better overall performance are contributing to the rise in popularity, but there are other good reasons to consider an SSD over a traditional hard drive too. Since SSDs don't have any moving parts, they won't get damaged from everyday wear and tear like a hard drive might. If you drop a laptop computer that contains a hard disk drive, the force of that impact can cause the physical pieces of the HDD to break. That leads to expensive repairs and the potential that you could lose some of your files without the ability to recover them.

SSDs—especially the newer ones—are also very small and compact when compared to HDDs. That means you can get a faster, lighter, and smaller laptop with the same (or better) performance. It also leaves more room inside your computer for other components, like a larger battery to extend your ability to work without plugging in or more memory. They use less power than HDDs too, which extends your battery life even more.

The Downsides of SSDs

While there are many benefits, there are still some reasons an SSD might not be the right choice for you. Primarily it comes down to two things: cost and capacity. HDDs still have a bigger capacity than SSDs, and getting a lot of storage with an SSD can get expensive. There are some laptops today that have both so you can use the SSD for most of your day-to-day needs, then store stuff on a larger hard drive if needed, but those tend to be more expensive too because you have two drives in there.