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Solid State Hard Drives

If you pay attention to high tech things at all, you have probably heard of SSD drives or Solid State Drives. But what is an SSD drive? Do you need one? How would you get one if you needed it?

For many years computers have used hard drives to store data. Your PC at home likely has a C: drive that can hold many gigabytes of information. There is a constant push to increase the capacity of these drives and they are now available in sizes once unimaginable. You can easily find new PCs for sale with 1 TB (Terrabyte) hard drives and larger drives are available. There is also a push to make these drives faster. Hard drives have spinning platters inside that contain the data. The data is read from the platters by an arm that sweeps across them much like the needle on an old record player. Several years ago, most hard drives spun at 5,400 RPM, but now most spin at 7,200 and some high end drives used in servers spin at 15,000 RPM.

The latest technology moves us away from the spinning drives. These new SSD drives store data on chips similarly to a flash drive or a digital camera card with no moving parts, but while the capacity of an SSD is much larger than the typical flash drive, they still do not hold the amount of data that a traditional spinning drive will. Traditional drives are available up to 4TB, but SSD drives only go up to about 750GB (0.75 TB). Price is also an issue. You can buy a 250GB spinning drive for about $70, but the same size SSD drive will cost almost $500.

To work around the size and price issues, you typically see both an SSD drive and a larger traditional spinning drive in the same computer. The SSD drive contains the operating system and programs while the bulk of the user's data is stored on the spinning drive.

So do you really need an SSD drive? Well no one has to have one, but they are faster and we do love the speed! The typical consumer for SSD drives is someone who is pushing their computer to the limit and they are looking to make it as fast as possible. Photographers, graphics designers, video editors, engineers and certainly video gamers are good candidates.

If you would like a system with an SSD drive, you will have to buy a high-end desktop or laptop computer or have one built custom just for you.

If you would like to talk more about SSD drives or know someone who needs help with their business or home computer systems, have them contact SugarLandPC.

Posted by Charles Swihart on 7/1/2012

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