Technology Explained

How Do Solid-State Drives Work?

Joel Lee Updated 13-06-2018

These days, whether you’re buying a new computer or upgrading an old computer, you’ll want to buy a solid-state drive (SSD) instead of a traditional hard disk drive (HDD). Indeed, switching from HDD to SSD is one of the best PC performance upgrades you can make.


But how? And why? What makes the SSD such a breakthrough technology?

In this article, you’ll learn exactly what SSDs are, how SSDs actually work and operate, why SSDs are so useful, and the one major downside to SSDs that you should know about. If you’re looking for buying advice instead, we recommend reading our article on what to consider before buying an SSD 5 Things You Should Consider When Buying An SSD The world of home computing is moving towards solid state drives for storage. Should you buy one? Read More .

Understanding Computers and Memory

To understand how SSDs work and why they’re so useful, we have to first understand how computer memory works. A computer’s memory architecture is broken down into three aspects:

  1. The cache
  2. The memory
  3. The data drive

Each of these aspects serves an important function that determines how they operate.

The cache is the innermost memory unit. When running, your computer uses the cache as a sort of playground for data calculations and procedures. The electrical pathways to the cache are the shortest, making data access almost instantaneous. However, the cache is very small so its data is constantly being overwritten.


how do solid state drives work
Image Credit: AddyTsl/Shutterstock

The memory is the middle ground. You may know it as RAM (Random Access Memory). This is where your computer stores data related to the programs and processes that are actively running. Access to RAM is slower than access to the cache, but only negligibly so.

The data drive is where everything else is stored for permanence. It’s where all of your programs, configuration files, documents, music files, movie files, and everything else is kept. When you want to access a file or run a program, the computer needs to load it from the data drive and into RAM.

how do solid state drives work
Image Credit: Scanrail1/Shutterstock


The important thing to know is that there’s a vast speed difference between the three. While cache and RAM operate at speeds in nanoseconds, a traditional hard disk drive operates at speeds in milliseconds.

In essence, the data drive is the bottleneck: no matter how fast everything else is, a computer can only load and save data as fast as the data drive can handle it.

This is where SSDs step in. While traditional HDDs are orders of magnitude slower than cache and RAM, SSDs are much faster. This can significantly cut the amount of time it takes to load various programs and processes, and will make your computer feel much faster.

How Do Solid-State Drives Work?

SSDs serve the same purpose as HDDs: they store data and files for long-term use. The difference is that SSDs use a type of memory called “flash memory,” which is similar to RAM—but unlike RAM, which clears its data whenever the computer powers down, the data on an SSD persists even when it loses power.


If you took apart a typical HDD, you’d see a stack of magnetic plates with a reading needle—kind of like a vinyl record player. Before the needle can read or write data, the plates have to spin around to the right location.

On the other hand, SSDs use a grid of electrical cells to quickly send and receive data. These grids are separated into sections called “pages,” and these pages are where data is stored. Pages are clumped together to form “blocks.”

SSDs are called “solid-state” because they have no moving parts.

how solid state drives work
Image Credit: Jiri Vaclavek/Shutterstock


Why is this necessary to know? Because SSDs can only write to empty pages in a block. In HDDs, data can be written to any location on the plate at any time, and that means that data can be easily overwritten. SSDs can’t directly overwrite data in individual pages. They can only write data to empty pages in a block.

So then how do SSDs handle data deletion? When enough pages in a block are marked as unused, the SSD commits the entire block’s worth of data to memory, erases the entire block, then re-commits the data from memory back to the block while leaving the unused pages blank. Note that erasing a block doesn’t necessarily mean the data is fully gone. (How to securely delete data on an SSD!)

This means that SSDs become slower over time.

When you have a fresh SSD, it’s loaded entirely with blocks full of blank pages. When you write new data to the SSD, it can immediately write to those blank pages with blazing speeds. However, as more and more data gets written, the blank pages run out and you’re left with random unused pages scattered throughout the blocks.

Since an SSD can’t directly overwrite an individual page, every time you want to write new data from that point on, the SSD needs to:

  1. Find a block with enough pages marked “unused”
  2. Record which pages in that block are still necessary
  3. Reset every page in that block to blank
  4. Rewrite the necessary pages into the freshly reset block
  5. Fill the remaining pages with the new data

So in essence, once you’ve gone through all of the blank pages from a new SSD purchase, your drive will have to go through this process whenever it wants to write new data. This is how most flash memory works.

That said, it’s still much faster than a traditional HDD, and the speed gains are absolutely worth the purchase of an SSD over an HDD.

The Downside to Solid-State Drives

Now that we know how a solid-state drive works, we can also understand one of its biggest downsides: flash memory can only sustain a finite number of writes before it dies.

There is a lot of science that goes into explaining why this happens, but suffice it to say that as an SSD is used, the electrical charges within each of its data cells must be periodically reset. Unfortunately, the electrical resistance of each cell increases slightly with every reset, which increases the voltage necessary to write into that cell. Eventually, the required voltage becomes so high that the particular cell becomes impossible to write to.

Thus, SSD data cells have a finite number of writes. However, that doesn’t mean an SSD won’t last a long time! Check out our article on the average lifespans of HDDs, SSDs, and flash drives Hard Drives, SSDs, Flash Drives: How Long Will Your Storage Media Last? How long will hard drives, SSDs, flash drives continue to work, and how long will they store your data if you use them for archiving? Read More  if you want to know more. Hopefully you now have a better understanding of how solid-state drives work.

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  1. Jane D
    April 12, 2019 at 6:00 pm

    Great article! Thank you :)

  2. Johan N
    January 9, 2018 at 3:24 am

    Great info! Thanks! Helped me a lot!

  3. IT Guy
    October 11, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    I have a MacBook Air from 2011 with an SSD.
    I have been relentlessly beating against that drive as a developer, DBA, and musician for 6+ years. It's late 2017 and there is no sign of that thing having any trouble. It works like a champ.
    While it's theoretically true an SSD will eventually "wear out", considering the average lifespan for a PC is 3-4 years (not a scientific number there), there's a good chance you'll want to upgrade for other reasons long before the drive has issues (if you get a good drive). I bought my wife a MacBook Air the same year. It is still her primary computer and shows no sign of slowing down. One article I read said the lifespan could be hundreds of years. //

    • Fatih19
      May 15, 2018 at 10:20 am

      I think SSD lifespan is not capped at the time, but how much data ever written into it.

  4. Raven
    December 14, 2016 at 10:35 pm

    So do i need cable in order to get. Wifi router. I have a firestick i just need wifi. So do i still need a modem?

    • joe
      April 10, 2017 at 4:16 pm

      I'm 84+ and with folks like you even I can keep up

  5. Gregory A. Solomon
    December 11, 2016 at 2:28 am

    Is SSD memory principal is built on chemically different elements ?
    This is the only way maked it possibly SSD sustain memory without electrical feed.
    Thank you so much for "info" ! Greg

  6. Rob Down Under
    August 23, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    Thanks for the explanation.
    Is the memory in USB3 Thumb drives the same or different ?
    IE Does it suffer the same deterioration after many writes ?

    • Anonymous
      August 23, 2016 at 12:16 pm

      OOPs I see that you have answered this question.
      Possibly I should rethink my intention to place bootable OS's onto a Thumb Drive

  7. Ajaykumar chandran
    June 30, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    i have an alienware 15 r2.. with 256 gb SSD can it be upgraded to 512 gb ?

  8. Anonymous
    February 2, 2015 at 6:14 pm

    do you know which website can you use to find out how does SSD works

  9. Anthony
    December 21, 2014 at 3:46 am

    I really wish you had talked about the benefits of Solid-State Drives, especially before mentioning the drawbacks, which are almost non-existant with quality SSDs and a modern OS that uses Trim.

  10. Greg Marino
    December 14, 2014 at 2:52 am

    I work in and around and under and over commercial airliners. The durability of SSD on my laptop, used to quickly accesd troubleshooting and other pertinent data, has been priceless. Good read and thanks!

  11. MIng
    November 7, 2012 at 8:02 am

    Great article, very informative.

    Before reading your article, I was advising my friend to get a SSD, now I would have second thought.

    This may be on different topic, but would CF or SD card be similar to SSD such that by writing and rewriting on them, the blocks would require more and more energy so that it would break down in the same way as SSD?


    • Joel Lee
      November 9, 2012 at 4:00 am

      I don't think CF or SD cards would ever receive as many write requests as an SSD would. To reiterate, SSDs have a "limited number of writes" but that number is in the millions or billions. Operating systems are constantly writing to disk, so if an OS is installed on an SSD, it's likely to reach that limit.

      I highly doubt that a CF or SD card would ever be written to that many times, so I don't think you have anything to worry about.

      • Ming
        November 9, 2012 at 4:28 am

        Thanks for the info.

  12. otojunk
    October 10, 2012 at 3:05 am

    Very well written and informative! Ditto for all of the comments - you have a great number of well-informed followers!

    I subscribe to the MUO email newsletters -- Can I subscribe to your articles specifically?

    Most sites recommend using the SSD for the OS and a HD for programs until prices drop.

    Commenting on a previous post, it is possible to move the paging file to a drive other than C:\. However, too many developers do not give the user the option of selecting a drive for installation. They insist on using C:\program files.

    I imagine that ways to "refurbish" SSDs, to overcome the "number of writes" limitation, will be developed in the near future.

    Don't USB flash drives have the same "number of writes" limitation? I hope that you answer this question -- I have been worried about it for quite a while.

    • Joel Lee
      October 10, 2012 at 3:30 am

      Thanks for your kind words. I'm flattered! Unfortunately, I don't know if there's a way for you to sub to my articles specifically. The MakeUseOf Twitter tweets whenever a new article goes up; if the article is mine, it will be tagged with my Twitter name: @carbonduck. Perhaps you can try utilizing that somehow?

      And as far as I know, all flash-based media (including SSDs and USB sticks) have a limitation on the number of writes. One difference between SSD and USB, though, is that USBs are rarely used as a primary drive. If you used a USB stick for your OS, for example, then I imagine it would die quite quickly.

      But since USBs are used mostly for transferring files, the limited writes are used up much more slowly than they would be on an SSD. Also, files on USB sticks are more likely read than written, and reading doesn't have an impact on the limited writes.

      Hope that helps. If you have more questions, I can try to answer them. :)

  13. Jim Spencer
    September 15, 2012 at 8:17 am

    WOW! I wish I had read this before I got my OCZ Vertex 3 SSD! I still probably would have gone with that choice, but this guide really explains the pros and cons involved! I am very glad that I bought into it! The main thing I took into consideration was what to put on the SSD! I decided it would only be for Windows and the programs that I used, and keeping all other data that I did not want to lose onto another drive! Great Post!

  14. Lynda Sanders
    August 10, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    After reading all the pros and cons, I wonder if I should buy my new laptop with an SSD. So many SSDs have small gb and I wonder if Win 7 or Win 8 would fit on them.
    I know that I want a hard drive with the SSD. If you didn't put the os on the SSD would it still boot up fast? As you can tell, I am a novice at learing about SSD's. Thanks for the excellent article.

    • Joel Lee
      August 10, 2012 at 9:52 pm

      If your main concern is for your computer to boot up quickly, then you will need to put the OS on the SSD. There's no way around that.

      As for OS memory space, Windows 7 and 8 (as of now) both recommend having 16GB (32-bit) or 20GB (64-bit). Keep in mind that that's just for the OS alone.

      Hope that helps. If you have any more questions, feel free. :)

  15. Dave Clark
    July 27, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Started with a 64 GB boot drive and due to capacity issues and the fact that they're getting cheaper all the time, I replaced it with a 128. I'm never going back to platters, unless they're in a backup hard drive. Really, make the jump.

  16. Anil A
    July 26, 2012 at 4:56 am

    Nice simple explanation ! Thanks

  17. Dan Whitcomb
    July 26, 2012 at 3:58 am

    fascinating my dear watson

  18. Fayz
    July 25, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    Even though you have provided the workings of SSDs', I still prefer the clunky HDD.

  19. denny Gl
    July 25, 2012 at 6:58 am

    nice article

  20. nahid saleem
    July 25, 2012 at 5:28 am

    Future of hard-drives would get even better!

    • Jack Morgan
      September 30, 2016 at 11:06 am

      You are the most annoying person i have ever has the displeasure to meet.

  21. Al
    July 24, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    I see the dat connector is same as sata, is it? can I replace a mini sd on a netbook such as dell mini 910 ccd with a sata hdd?

    • Joel Lee
      July 25, 2012 at 6:37 am

      I'm not too knowledgeable when it comes to that and I don't want to give you an incorrect answer, so I'm going to have to say, "I don't know." Sorry!

      Maybe another MUO reader who knows the answer can share.

    • Barry
      July 25, 2012 at 9:58 am

      Yes you can replace the internal HD with a SSD drive as they are physically the same. However, I'd not use Windows for one basic reason tied in with the limited life when writing to SSD. The paging file on Windows is a fixed location and this is used very intensively (even if you have masses of RAM) so those areas will quickly reach their end of life well before the rest of the drive. Personally I use a 60Gb SSD for the OS (Kubuntu 12.04) and a 1Tb WD HD for data storage but not many laptops/netbooks have space for two drives. Remains to be seen how long the SSD lasts when used like this so 'watch this space' LOL

      • Al
        July 25, 2012 at 10:51 pm

        Thank you kindly, Greay answer, didn't know ssd gets tired quickly, my sata hd are all fin for over 5 yrs now, if ssd can't muster-up 7 yrs I will stick with hhd. it seems they can't write random, sequential like flash, thank you sir.

  22. Darryl Park
    July 24, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    You mention that the number of writes are limited because of the increased amount of voltage needed for each write ... after how many writes will a block or page take until they need too much voltage?

    Do you have any suggestions on OS setup where page files and other high write files are concerned? Would it be smart to have two hard disks, one SSD and one standard HDD?

    • Joel Lee
      July 24, 2012 at 3:47 pm

      The exact number of writes to cause a cell's resistance to be too high isn't known. Even if we knew it, I doubt we could track each cell's life and determine how many writes are remaining before it dies. I do hope to be proven wrong one day, though.

      As for the best setup, I think SSDs are too new to know for sure. However, if I had an SSD, I would set it up so that the SSD only contains my OS, then I would use a secondary HDD for everything else (Office, Photoshop, games, music, video, miscellaneous programs, etc).

      Until more is known about SSD performance, I think that would be the best way to reap the benefits without doing too much harm.

  23. setlintun
    July 24, 2012 at 8:06 am

    after i installed OS on SSD,,,,should i install games on SSD .. playing games on SSD will it shorten the lifspan of the SSD ??????? or should i play on the hardisk and boot from the SSD ??? what should i do ?? joel??

    • Joel Lee
      July 24, 2012 at 3:43 pm

      The less stuff you put on the SSD, the longer its life will last. If you have access to both an SSD and HDD, I would put only the OS on the SSD and everything else on the HDD. With this method, games will still take their time to load, but your OS will boot up and shut down near instantly.

  24. David
    July 22, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    So would it be better to use an SSD to run specific programs (like a game or your operating system) but have an HDD to run every day programs that might require frequent changes? That was the impression I was under before I read this article, and you seem to support that with what you wrote. However, I am kind of ignorant when it comes to very specific technical stuff regarding how computers work.

    • Joel Lee
      July 23, 2012 at 2:53 am

      Theoretically, that's how you would want to do it. In execution, though, it could be difficult to pull off. The gains might not be worth the effort.

      However, as Ibrahim suggested, it might be worthwhile to just install your operating system onto an SSD and then keep everything else on an HDD.

  25. Muhannad Agha
    July 22, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    Still pretty expensive

  26. Ibrahim Alodah
    July 22, 2012 at 5:11 am

    nice article, thanks for the info.

    i think if you want to get the most out of your computer you get one with hybrid drivers:
    SSD for your operating system and HDD for your other stuffs

    what do you think about that?

    • Joel Lee
      July 23, 2012 at 2:52 am

      That sounds like a good compromise. Having your OS on an SSD will make boot times lightning fast and keeping everything else on an HDD will help alleviate some of the data writing pressure. In theory, it should work!

  27. druv vb
    July 21, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    Going to stick to a Hard Disk Drive for future years to come.
    Games, Music, Movies, Video Editing are my main purposes when I switch on my PC.
    An SSD will die within months, even if I use it for the OS only.
    My 2 HDDs are still going strong for 5 years.

    Maintenance and proper use of software are the only 2 things that can make it work longer...

  28. Marsnik1
    July 21, 2012 at 8:03 am

    Wow, interesting
    haven't heard of it until few weeks ago my laptop's hd died

    Does anyone have an idea what's it's 'average' life span?

    • Joel Lee
      July 21, 2012 at 2:19 pm

      Hey Marsnik1. I point you to Joses Lemmuela's question and my reply earlier in this article's comment section. Basically, you can expect to squeeze out a few years from your SDD as long as you aren't doing data-intensive activities.

  29. Shawn Ashree Baba
    July 21, 2012 at 7:45 am

    Great insight on how Solid-State Drives works. Thanks for the post!

  30. Don Richardson
    July 21, 2012 at 4:25 am

    Looks to me as though these are still in an embryo stage. Fun to play with, great if you 'must have' the latest bits. You pay the price of being expensive, short life, and non-permanent.

    • Joel Lee
      July 21, 2012 at 6:05 am

      I agree. SSD technology has a lot of room for improvement. I'm more of a guy who waits a few years and only purchases something when it's been tried and tested. Looks like I won't be fiddling with an SSD for a few years. ;)

  31. Adjei Kofi
    July 20, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    wow. I used to think that reinstalling the OS would make the HDD blank or even make it run faster than it used to. I guess I was wrong. I do hope that SSDs are made to have infinite number of writes in the future. Technology will always get better.

    • Joel Lee
      July 20, 2012 at 9:19 pm

      As far as I understand it, in the case of an HDD, that's actually partly true. When you format an HDD, the data blocks aren't completely erased, but they are flagged as empty. So when you reinstall an OS, the HDD does look at itself as if it were completely blank (as long as you formatted the drive).

      This can boost PC performance temporarily until you start to delete and uninstall and reinstall a lot of stuff. Then you have to deal with leftover data everywhere, which can slow down HDD read times.

      • Adjei Kofi
        July 21, 2012 at 9:52 am

        Nice. Thanks for the info.

  32. Mani Ahmed
    July 20, 2012 at 11:09 am

    An excellent article, i was under the impression that the SSD are just larger and more reliable form of the usb flash drives, we already have 32GB flash drives which are significantly faster then the normal data access. However this article has not touched that part about the different of USB flash drive and SSD comparison.

    If this has specific life then we need at least two tools.

    1. A self diagnosing mechanism for the life of the drive because in a country like mine; where second hand drives are available in abundance either imported from abroad or locally used, if we dont get a diagnosing life system them can be duped
    2. Comparison of reliability w.r.t times between the current typical sata drives and SSD's.

    • Joel Lee
      July 20, 2012 at 1:46 pm

      You bring up a good point. I hadn't thought about the implications of buying/selling used SSDs, which can be problematic due to its finite lifespan. A diagnostic tool would be extremely useful, indeed.

      As for the differences between USB vs. SSD and the comparison of reliabilities between SSDs and SATA drives, those would be article topics unto themselves. Perhaps I will write those articles in the near future. :)

  33. Francisco de Gusmão
    July 20, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Great article, there were some stuff that I didn't know, like that problem with the SSD not erasing it's memory. In that matter, do you think there might appear some programs to fix that over time? kinda like defrag the disk...
    About the finite number of uses, I think that, one day, will not matter because SSD's will be so developed that the number of uses will be much greater.
    But many thanks, anyway!

    • Joel Lee
      July 20, 2012 at 1:44 pm

      I think the fundamental design of an SSD really discourages any type of "defragging" behavior. In fact, one of the things you should NOT do with an SSD is defrag it because it shortens the lifespan. The SSD's processor acts as an on-the-go defragger anyway, juggling around memory and freeing up space as you need it.

      But SSDs are still very young. Maybe there will be a few technological advances in the future that really boost SSDs in a longer-living direction. I can only hope!

  34. Humza Aamir
    July 20, 2012 at 10:06 am

    So SSDs tend to work a bit like caches? Apart from caches being completely volatile. The writing technique somehow resembles the cache miss/hit/replacement algorithms. And as you mentioned that the cells require a higher voltage overtime, I think a laptop battery would be drained faster as the SSD gets older. Plus the face that each new write operation is going to be slower than the previous one, not that it would come down to HDD speeds but none the less, the user is spoiled with blazingly fast speeds in the first place. I still reserve a soft spot for HDDs though ;)
    By the way, a very informative read :)

    • Joel Lee
      July 20, 2012 at 1:41 pm

      My knowledge of caches has become fuzzy over time, so I'm not exactly sure if SSDs function in the same way (though you are right: caches are volatile and SSDs are not). As for me, I too have a soft spot for HDDS--at least for now. :)

      Glad you enjoyed the read.

  35. Vanja Gorgiev
    July 20, 2012 at 10:01 am

    so if i notice that my ssd is running slower, can i format it and reinstall the OS and get blank pages ( i mean the used one format, so i get new one?)

    • Joel Lee
      July 20, 2012 at 1:39 pm

      While it may be possible in theory to reset the whole SSD to blank, I'm not sure if formatting/reinstalling the OS would actually do it. And even if it did, there are problems with that.

      Like I mentioned, resetting/overwriting pages in an SSD shortens its lifespan because an SSD has a finite number of writes available before it begins to malfunction. You may be able to regain the blazing speeds of a new SSD, but at what cost? You'd spend valuable time in reinstalling the OS and reinstalling all the programs, plus wasting some of the SSD's life.

  36. Vipul Jain
    July 20, 2012 at 8:37 am

    is there any chances of SSD's coming as external HDD's?
    i plan to buy and external in future (not of urgency), so can wait if SSD's are being developed as externals

    • Achraf Almouloudi
      July 20, 2012 at 8:58 am

      They will, in 2 years, but you can do it now if you just bring a new SSD of choice and an SATA to USB external reader and put it on, you got an external SSD drive .

    • Joel Lee
      July 20, 2012 at 1:35 pm

      I'm not too sure on this, but Achraf's response sounds plausible enough.

      If you want an external SSD for the purpose of large portable memory, then you may just want to consider a flash drive for now. Yes, USB drives are much slower than SSDs, but they're an adequate alternative until external SSDs become common.

      A 256gb flash drive (the Kingston DataTraveler) costs about $200 on Amazon, whereas a 256gb internal SSD (Samsung 830 series) costs about $250. Again, a USB drive isn't a perfect replacement, but it's something to think about while waiting the next few years for external SSDs to develop.

  37. Joses Lemmuela
    July 20, 2012 at 4:50 am

    Well, I saw somewhere(I forgot) that with a heavy usage using SSDs, it will still take decades to make it really unusable. Is this true?
    Either way, I still want one in the future.

    • Joel Lee
      July 20, 2012 at 5:00 am

      From what I hear, SSD manufacturers will say that their SSDs can withstand approximately 10,000 hours of operation. That comes out to about 415 days--or a little over 1 year--if you're constantly writing and rewriting data to your SSD.

      It comes down to how much you use your computer. Are you doing a lot of data-intensive work, like video editing? Do you regularly move around big chunks of files (movies, tv shows, music, etc.)? How often do you install and uninstall and reinstall big programs?

      The more data you manipulate, the faster your SSD is going to die. You can probably expect to squeeze a few years out of it, but "decades" is much too long unless you only plan on using your computer once a week or something like that.

      • Vipul Jain
        July 20, 2012 at 6:45 pm

        wow thats expensive, i guess i'd better get a 3.0 SATA. it'll cost me around $100 for 1TB in WD

      • Austin Halsell
        July 23, 2012 at 9:10 pm

        How does this work in regards to saving something in a word processor like Word or Pages? I'm a writer and I save obsessively when I write, even though I have autosave set to every 5 minutes. Would saving repeatedly like that work differently, or is it all the same to an SSD or HDD?

        • Joel Lee
          July 24, 2012 at 5:14 am

          You know, you ask a good question. I'm also a writer (surprise!) and I mash my Ctrl+S at the end of every sentence. Would this kill the SSD? Honestly, I don't know.

          My gut instinct says that the file size for a text document (whether it's .txt, .doc, .rtf, or whatever) is so small that it would be insignificant in the grand picture. 1 KB out of 50 GB is like 0.00000001%.

          I think it's safe to say that you have nothing to worry about. :) Hopefully I'm not proven wrong in the future when there's more data on SSD usage available. Ha!

        • Austin Halsell
          July 24, 2012 at 3:30 pm

          That's what I'm assuming as well. But I'm not sure which I'd prefer: the same document saved over and over one sentence at a time, or an SSD continually re-writing over tiny documents so much that it uses all the re-write life just doing that small task a million times. It's kind of a pros/cons pick-your-poison kind of deal between HDDs and SSDs I guess.

        • dragonmouth
          November 10, 2012 at 4:36 pm

          If I were you, I'd put your data (documents) on a HDD. The less writes you do to an SSD, the longer it will last.

          The speed advantage of an SSD shows up in reading huge (multi-gigabyte) files such as an O/S. For smaller files the difference in read/write speeds between a fast HD and an SSD cannot be noticed by a human being. To us there is no difference between 1/100 sec and 1/10,000 sec.

      • Joses Lemmuela
        July 24, 2012 at 2:40 pm

        I see. Well, never mind the decades, I read again from a site that SSD theoritically will last 18 years on average computer use, and on another site people said they will last about longer than most HDDs, about 5-10 years, few years better than HDDs. Since I am a n00b at drives, these are pretty confusing.
        What about if I only use the SSD for the Operating System? Does Windows write/read a lot, considering that I use the computer every day and boot once on the afternoon and turn it off at night, with rare gaming?
        I'm still really excited with under 30 seconds of boot and ultra fast program launches, though. And thanks for answering my questions! :D

        • Joel Lee
          July 25, 2012 at 6:35 am

          For most users, the lifespan of an SSD will be long enough that it won't matter. Even if you get a few years out of it (which is extremely likely), I'd say that's worth the value.

          Yes, operating systems do a lot of reads/writes as you use the computer. If you have HDDs available, then sure, go ahead and put the OS on the SSD and everything else on the HDD. It's a good compromise in my opinion.

          And you're welcome. :)

  38. TheProudNoob
    July 20, 2012 at 4:15 am

    Well HDDs are also finite due to eventual mechanical failure, due to moving parts. We just can't quantify or accurately predict the failure, or even watch it happen. A lot of the time, the HDD just stops working or data is inaccessible.

    SSDs allow the user to know when their drive is getting worn out and how much time it has left.

    • Joel Lee
      July 20, 2012 at 4:55 am

      That's true. It's really a tradeoff, then.

      With HDDs, sometimes they'll last 1 year or they'll last 10 years regardless of how often it runs--it all depends on the quality of the manufacturer and how you care for the HDD itself. With SSDs, you get a finite amount of writes; the more you use it, the faster it dies. That's the choice that you have to make as a consumer.

  39. Owen Dubsub
    July 20, 2012 at 3:43 am

    You need a proof reader.

    • Joel Lee
      July 20, 2012 at 3:47 am

      Thank you for your valuable feedback. I appreciate it.