SSD storage technology came to home users in the past decade, but there are still those who wonder what is an SSD. This technology is still relatively recent outside of enthusiast and hobbyist circles, and it is important to understand it now that it is spreading.
What is an SSD?
SSD is the acronym for Solid State Disk, or Solid State Disk in Spanish. It is a storage comparable to hard drives. The Solid State Disk It has the quality of being totally immobile due to the fact that they use non-volatile memories instead of magnetic disks and moving parts as traditional hard disks do, and thanks to this they have a much faster reading and writing speed, and lower energy consumption.
For practical purposes for many home users, it is a faster and quieter hard drive. For higher-end users, it is a much more stable storage system, with fewer errors and lower power consumption. Because their technology is relatively new and their demand from home users is lower, they tend to have higher prices than a hard drive of the same storage because for now their demand is for a somewhat more technical level.
Recommended Uses of SSD
Using an SSD as a boot disk: By this we mean using the SSD as the storage from which the operating system runs and loads, be it Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, Windows 11, any Linux distribution ... By having an SSD a high reading speed and data transfer, loading the operating system when starting or restarting it will make the waiting time much shorter than if it is loading from a hard disk.
It will also make its functions and the loading of applications from the operating system itself much faster. Today it is highly recommended install Windows on an SSD instead of on a hard drive, because it makes the user experience even for the most casual users since the application loading speed is always noticeable. Its that is so widespread that an SSD is put as a requirement of Windows 11 since its uses and applications are optimized for SSDs.
Fast loading of games and applications: If you are an avid video game enthusiast, you are going to want to install the games on your SSD. This can be a problem if your storage capacity is small, below 256 GB, since with 128 GB, the operating system and other applications can fill that space quickly.
If you have space, it is advisable to install games that have a lot of load times on an SSD. For example, a seemingly simple, decade-old game like Dark Souls loads much faster, and it is appreciated if you get beaten a lot; or Genshin Impact with a much faster start. More and more games are putting as a minimum requirement that it be installed on a Solid State Disk because they can put larger resources and more often, as World of Warcraft already asks from the Shadowlands expansion, or Microsoft Flight Simulator. That is, games that you play daily or require a lot of data transfer, it is recommended to use an SSD.
Similarly, we can apply it to browsers, office automation or work tools such as the Adobe suite. As all the internal resources are in an SSD, the processes will go much faster than if we store the applications and programs on a hard drive.
Disadvantages of SSDs
Although we have actively recommended using an SSD for loading operating systems and frequently used programs, it is not recommended to use it for storing important data. Due to the fact that despite having a low power consumption, they require a small amount of power to maintain the saved data, and a long time disconnected can cause them to be lost. And once data is lost, it is difficult to recover. In this way we recommend that if you save important files on an SSD, you have backup copies in the cloud such as Dropbox or Drive, or on a hard drive.
Another big problem they present is that their use over time degrades the components. SSDs have a maximum rating of TeraBytes Written, which is the amount of data they can write and erase before failing. The useful life of an SSD is about ten years for normal use, although these can be shortened more quickly if we use them in a really exhaustive way, such as the mining of the Chia cryptocurrency in an extreme use case.
How to install an SSD in the PC
First you have to know what type of SSD we have, if it is SATA or if it is NVME, since they will require different installations.
If is one SSD SATA, the installation will be done by connecting the SATA power cable and a SATA data cable to the motherboard. For this, it will be necessary to know how to open the tower or the laptop and be careful to use the appropriate connectors. The power supply, if it is non-modular or semi-modular, should already provide enough SATA power cables to power multiple storage units.
Next, you will need SATA data cables, ideally one for each drive; that are quite accessible economically. SATA SSDs are characterized by easy installation and being automatically detected by the operating system.
Brianda SSD NVMe, its installation can vary from simply plugging it into one of the motherboard's PCIe ports, or plugging it into the NVMe port on many modern motherboards. In the latter we may have to install the connectors using screwdrivers, so, for safety, operate the computer with the power supply off or disconnected and if you can, use an antistatic wrist strap to avoid damaging components of the motherboard.
A small drawback that this model of SSD has, is that they require a heatsink to avoid damaging them or nearby components. The heatsinks are quite large, which in fairly compact equipment can be a problem.
If we are mounting an SSD to be the boot disk of the PC, the storage system must have a version of the operating system. In the event that we are mounting a PC from scratch and we put a new SSD, either SATA or NVMe, we will have to connect a USB or put a disk with an image file of the operating system that we want to install, and run it from the BIOS of the motherboard.
SSD or Hard Drive for your PC?
It is inevitable that it has generated a possible debate on whether it is better to use an SSD or a hard drive. SSD vs. HDD. In favor of a Solid State Disk we have already commented on its advantages such as low consumption and speed. but speed is not everything in a team. The ideal is to combine the use of a hard disk and a solid state, as it is not impossible for a system to use both at the same time.
In favor of HDDs is that they are especially safe for storing important files, and they are also cheaper in relation to their storage. They're still great for vast Steam game libraries and the Epic Games Store if they're games we play sporadically or aren't going to get much better with faster loading. Hard drives are also ideal for those important files that we need not to lose but do not need to constantly consult, such as invoices, receipts or bureaucratic or accounting files.
Ideally, a PC should have both, since having an SSD of at least 512 GB and a hard drive, 2 TB, adds very little to the final budget. So we will have the speed of an SSD for loading the operating system and applications, along with the security and storage capacity of a hard drive.