By Don Trauger – Kennett
A solid-state drive(SSD) (also known as a solid-state disk though it contains no actual disk, nor a drive motor to spin a disk) is a data storage device that uses integrated circuit assemblies as memory to permanently store data.
SSDs have no moving mechanical components as opposed to the traditional computer hard drive. This distinguishes them from hard drives or floppy disks, which contain spinning disks and electro-mechanical movable read/write heads. Compared with electro-mechanical disks, SSDs are typically more resistant to physical shock, run silently, and are faster in response to system commands. However, while the price of SSDs has continued to decline over time, consumer-grade SSDs are still roughly five to six times more expensive per unit of storage than consumer-grade hard disk drives (HDDs). This is one reason why they have not entered the main stream of “off-the-shelf” consumer computers. Hybrid drives or solid-state hybrid drives (SSHDs) combine the features of SSDs and HDDs in the same unit, containing a large hard disk drive and an SSD cache to improve performance of frequently accessed data. However, they only boost the speed of booting a computer and don’t materially affect the speed of programs. Hybrid drives are not worth the extra cost. SDDs, on the other hand, can be ordered with a new computer as an option from a computer manufacturer.
Hard drives slowly wear after a period of time. This can affect the reliability. Five to ten years ago a drive could cause problems after just a few years of use. Since then reliability has improved but wear is still a problem. Built-in circuitry will compensate for wear – to a point. The main issue now is that a hard drive is slow in comparison to a SSD. That’s due to its moving parts. SSDs have no moving parts. All operations move electronically making it much faster. The advantage of hard drives is basically in two categories, cost and the amount of storage. However, SSDs are catching up to HDDs in the storage area.
SSDs are the same size as a laptop hard drive making them ideally suited for replacement. They also can be installed in a Desktop computer but that requires a kit consisting of a mounting tray that goes in the space where the hard drive is located. Replacing a hard drive in a laptop does not require the knowledge of a rocket scientist. It does require a small Phillips head screwdriver to remove a bottom panel of the laptop and the old hard drive.
Here’s how it’s done. You can order from either TigerDirect.com or Newegg.com. I prefer the SSDs made by Samung. You should order a size that is commensurate for your needs. A 128 or 256 Gb size should be adequate. What you will receive is the SSD, a software disc, a special cable and instructions. Plug one end of the cable into the laptop’s USB port and the other into the new SSD then turn on the laptop. Next you run the Samsung Data Migration program from the supplied CD disc. This copies (clones) your hard drive to the SSD. I highly recommend that you do your routine maintenance on the hard drive BEFORE you run the copy program. This includes running CCleaner and Disk Cleanup. Defragging is also recommended. This provides a better environment for the process. After the copy process is completed, shut down the laptop and remove the back panel and the hard drive. Using the mounting frame from the old hard drive, plug in the new SSD and secure it in place. Replace the back panel and turn it on. Next install the Magician software. This program optimizes the operation of the SSD. You can expect to see anywhere from 30 – 50% decrease in boot time over the former hard drive. Program speed will also be much quicker.
To help you with questions about this or any subject, we meet on the second Tuesday of every month at 7 PM, upstairs in the Ardmore room of the Community Center.