Solid State Drives a safe choice

HDD (left) and an SSD, Picture credit: commons.wikimedia.org/ machu

In this day and age, most data is stored electronically and ensuring it is secure is the biggest challenge. Though manufacturing standards are very high, an electronic product can fail anytime.

From the days of magnetic floppy disks, keeping data intact was always a gamble. Having saved a file on a floppy disk to transfer it from one computer to the other, there was no guarantee that the file would still be there till it has been transferred to the destination folder. That was how unpredictable it was.

Over time, floppy disks disappeared and compact discs (CD) arrived. This was a breath of fresh air as there was no way data, once burned properly on the disc, would be lost. This saved people anxious moments, knowing that their data is absolutely safe. CDs could store 700 Megabyte (MB) of data, but the introduction of the Digital Versatile Disc (DVD) meant that 4.7 Gigabyte (GB) could be stored. The BluRay disc was even better, with 25GB on a single layer disc and 50GB on a double layer one.

Now, storing data on discs, labeling them and storing them is a cumbersome exercise.

The other option is to store data on a Hard Disk Drive (HDD), internal or external. Internal drives are installed inside computers or desktops to install the operating system and store data, while external drives have a USB cable and data can be carried around. With HDD available in several Terabyte capacities, it is a very convenient way of storing data.

However, there is one problem with HDDs. They are mechanical devices and based on magnetic technology. There is every chance that the HDD can develop bad sectors, meaning certain parts could just fail. Once an HDD develops bad sectors, data can be lost or the entire drive could be rendered useless. A HDD crashing means precious data could be permanently lost. There are ways of recovering data, but it is a gamble.

Enter the era of the Solid State Drive (SSD). The trend of using SSDs is increasing. It works like a pen drive, but shaped to fit inside the laptop. A pen drive is sold typically in the 8 to 256GB, but SSDs have higher capacities.

The advantage with SSDs is that there is very little chance of the data being lost since data is stored in chips, and not on magnetic platters as in the case of a HDD.

HDDs are mechanical devices. Data is stored on platters and an arm reads the data. Over time, wear and tear takes its toll and the drive could eventually fail. Moreover, a HDD’s internals can get misaligned or damaged if there is an impact, but the chances of an SSD failing are minimal since there are no mechanical parts at all.

It is not just about being fail-safe. A laptop with an SSD will start up much faster than an HDD, meaning that Windows/ iOS or programs will open faster. Simply put, there will be a performance increase.

Computer manufacturers are increasingly switching over to SSDs, but the only tradeoff is higher prices.

HDDs are available in capacities of a few hundred Gigabyte (GB) to several Terabyte (TB). The price varies from a few hundred rupees for low-capacity internal HDDs to tens of thousands of rupees. The price depends on whether it is an internal drive to be installed inside a laptop or desktop computer, or external drive.

SSDs can be bought for Rs 2000 for a 120GB unit, while a 1TB external unit can cost as much as Rs 40,000.

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Solid State Drives a safe choice

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