To understand the hype over SSD, you should first know how it works and how it’s different from a storage technology like HDD. Even though SSDs and HDDs are both used to store data, they operate differently.
How HDD Works HDDs have been around longer than SSDs. You can find them in various electronic devices such as desktops, laptops, game consoles, mobile phones, and tablets. However, it’s now considered an old technology for storing data due to its method of operation.
If you’re familiar with old record players, an HDD is a bit similar. An HDD is an electro-mechanical, volatile storage device that consists of multiple platters (disks) that spin around a spindle (central axis). It has a mechanical arm to enable it to write and read data.
There are two popular HDD sizes: 2.5-inch HDD used in laptops and 3.5-inch HDD found in desktops. The speed of an HDD depends on the number of spins/rotations it makes per minute.
How SSD WorksUnlike HDDs, an SSD storage device doesn’t have moving parts and almost instant access times. With SSD, the data is stored in microchips, making it faster. SSD is smaller in size in comparison with HDD and can even be mounted to the motherboard directly. You can say that it’s a more advanced and sophisticated form of a USB memory stick.
SSD depends on flash-based memory, with NOR and NAND being the two most popular flash types. Most SSDs use NAND flash memory because it’s faster for writes and smaller in size than NOR. NAND is a non-volatile flash that keeps data stored in it even if the disk is off.
While HDDs have a mechanical arm to read and write data, an SSD uses a processor (controller) to read and write data. It’s also in charge of storing, restoring, caching, and cleaning up data.
The SSD speed of reading and writing data, together with its overall performance, is determined by its controller.