Is the SSD a Super Drive or Not?

There is a lot of buzz lately about SSDs (solid state drives). On the surface, they appear to be a much more attractive option than a HDD (standard hard disk drive) because they are much faster (many many times faster), more reliable, use less power (and generate less heat) and are less fragile (since no spinning platters or other moving parts). Since there are no moving parts that have to “spin up,” SSDs are completely silent (aside from the cooling fan) and they use much less power (good news for laptop and netbook owners). SSDs are based on flash memory, which is a very similar type of technology used in your digital camera card or thumb drive.

The folks at conducted a test using FutureMarks PCMark5 benchmark program, measuring MB/second, and they concluded the following results:

Application loading: ___3.196__11.697
General Use:_________2.528___8.551
Virus Scan: _________21.932__43.041
File Write: __________19.158__16.746

As you see, the SSD is generally faster all the way around, except for the writes. So, on the surface, it would seem like SSDs are the way to go, right? Not exactly.

SSDs are only available in small and mid sizes (no L or XL sizes are available at this time). HHDs are available in three times the size of the SSD. Of course, this is changing, and changing fast. Some say the SSD will catch up with the HDD in size within the next year. Also, as you probably know, the SSD is much more expensive than the HDD.

Also, I read in the August issue of PC World that often SSDs are not compatible with some laptops, and are hard to return if you have a problem. As with any new technology, it may be a while before people have the confidence to pay the extra money to try these. It is safe to say that when you find yourself on the cutting edge, you could also find yourself with a nasty cut.

However, eventually the SSD WILL replace the HDD, so pay attention.