Solid state drives offer several advantages over magnetic hard drives. First, the SSD does not have moving parts. While a magnetic drive uses drive motors to spin the magnetic platters and the drive heads, all the storage on a solid state drive is handled by flash memory chips.

As with most computer technologies, the primary limiting factor of using the solid state drives in laptop and desktop computers is cost. These drives have been available for some time and have come down in price. However, these cost roughly three times or more than a traditional hard drive for the same storage capacity. The higher the capacity the hard drive, the greater the cost difference becomes.

Even with the difference in capacity, most computers have more storage capacity than previous models. Only a large collection of raw digital photo files and high definition video files will likely fill up a hard drive quickly. As a result, solid state drives generally offer a sufficient level of storage for most laptop computers. Additionally, high-performance external options from USB 3.0, USB 3.1, and Thunderbolt make adding extra storage space with an external hard drive quick and easy for non-essential files.

What are solid state drives used for?

SSD adoption began in high-performance technology areas and in enthusiasts’PCs,where the drives' extremely low acess times and high throughput justified the higher cost.But they have since become an accepted option--or even the default choice--in lower cost mainstream laptops and PCs. -

SSDs have specific benefits in the following areas:

Business:Companies working with huge amounts of data (such as programming environments or data analysis) often rely on SSDs, as access times and file-transfer speeds are critical.

Gaming:Gaming computers have always pressed the limits of current computing technology, justifying relatively expensive equipment for the benefit of gaming performance. That is particularly true for storage, as modern blockbuster games constantly load and write files (e.g. textures, maps, levels, characters).

Mobility:SSDs have low power requirements, thus contributing to better battery life in laptops and tablets. SSDs are also shock resistant, which reduces the chances of data loss when mobile devices are dropped.

Servers:Enterprise servers need SSDs to get fast reads and writes in order to properly serve their client PCs.