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Solid State Hard Drive Technology
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In this article, I will talk about solid state hard drives. I will also explain some other facts related to SSD hard disks like the way these devices work and their repair.
Solid State, also known as SSD are the latest media that is being used for storage. These drives do not used traditional parts like heads, platters or motor spindles. These hard disks consist of memory chips, a controller and a system board. The read and write operation in these drives, is fast compare to regular media devices. Data is stored in multiples chips installed on an electronic board. Data in memory chips is controlled by another chip called controller.
Many companies make SSD drives but the actual chips are manufactured by just a few companies. A flash drive and an SD card is a type of SSD family. A USB flash drive works the same way as an SSD drive. There are mainly two differences between an SSD and flash drive. The first one is the connection interface which is a USB (slower) compare to a sata connection (faster) on solid state media. The second one is the memory capacity. SSD can save larger amounts of data while a flash drive has limited storage. There is one more minor difference between the two and that is, a flash drive or SD card have limited number of (one to two) memory chips while solid state has more (four to sixteen).
Solid State drives are expensive. This is due to two reasons. First, it is a new technology and second, it is more attractive to users because of its speed which means there is more demand for them. If a computer’s operating system is installed on an SSD, it will load fast. It’s also stronger against unexpected moment. Unlike other traditional hard disks, these drives have no moving heads and motor which makes them reliable in the sense that in the event of accidental physical moment, heads will not crash on platter (making them unrecoverable when it comes to data recovery).
Solid State media is being used in Apple’s Mac computers like iMac, MacBook Pro, Mac mini etc. Flash media is also being used in iPhone and iPads in addition to Microsoft PC desktops computer and laptops. The future of SSD is not clear. If improved, this technology will slowly take the place of traditional hard drives. It will be used in Raid arrays, network storage access devices, servers and obviously more and more in computers and laptops. But in case of no improvement like reliability, safety, it may be a complete failure. The price also needs to go down because the more expensive this technology is, the less will be the demand.
There are several drawbacks of these drives. Operational reliability is the number one bad aspect. We think that these drives are safe and nothing will happen to them. It’s not right. These hard disks work the same way the traditional hard drives work. These have power and electronic boards. These use indexes and table the same way like others. The data can go corrupt as a result of controller malfunction or any other reason. The tables can be damaged. The controller can be bad as a result of power surge. The data in the memory chip can vanish because of electromagnetic forces. The board can go bad as a result of design flaw or power problems.
These drives are usually hard to repair. There is no guarantee of data retrieval after a long period of time because the data may disappear automatically. Data recovery from these SSD drives can be very expensive because of readability problem of multiple chips and other drawbacks. It is possible that with the passage of time, new data recovery tools will be developed which will help make them popular like other drives. And yes, this media is expensive at the moment. There are so many other problems with this technology because it is not mature yet.
In this article I have described about new technology of storage media commonly known as Solid State Drives. I also talked about what SSD drives are, how these operate in addition to their benefits and drawbacks.
MCSE, A+, Apple Certified and 21 years in IT.
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