/ Why Solid State
AbraxSys announced recenty the release of a new 128GB solid state drive as a standard feature for most
of its rugged Panel PCs. The company was providing 80GB SSD, but has now instituted the change effective
immediately for many of its industrial models.
Speed: This is where SSDs shine. A SSD-equipped PC will boot in seconds, certainly under a
minute. A hard drive requires time to speed up to operating specs, and will continue to be slower than a SSD
during normal operation. A PC or Mac with an SSD boots faster, launches apps faster, and has higher overall
performance. Witness the higher PCMark scores on laptops and desktops with SSD drives, plus the much higher
scores and transfer times for SSDs vs. HDDs. For your business, the extra speed may be the
difference between finishing on time or failing.
Fragmentation: Because of their rotary-like recording surfaces, HDD surfaces work best with larger files that are
laid down in contiguous blocks. That way, the drive head can start and end its read in one continuous motion. When
hard drives start to fill up, large files can become scattered around the disk platter, which is otherwise known as fragmentation. While read/write algorithms have improved where the effect in
minimized, the fact of the matter is that HDDs can become fragmented, while SSDs don't care where the data is
stored on its chips, since there's no physical read head. SSDs are inherently faster.
Durability: An SSD has no moving parts, so it is more likely to
keep your data safe in the event that your system is shaken about by an earthquake while it's operating. Most
hard drives park their read/write heads when the system is off, but they are flying over the drive platter at
hundreds of miles an hour when they are in operation. Besides, even parking brakes have limits. If you're rough on
your equipment, a SSD is recommended.
Noise: Even the quietest HDD will emit a bit of noise when it is
in use from the drive spinning or the read arm moving back and forth, particularly if it's in a system that's been
banged about or in an all-metal system where it's been shoddily installed. Faster hard drives will make more noise
than slower ones. SSDs make virtually no noise at all, since they're non-mechanical.
As far as longevity goes, while it is true that SSDs wear out over
time (each cell in a flash memory bank has a limited number of times it can be written and erased), thanks to TRIM
technology built into SSDs that dynamically optimizes these read/write cycles, you're more likely to discard the
system for obsolescence before you start running into read/write errors. The possible exception are high-end
multimedia users like video editors who read and write data constantly, but those users will need the larger
capacities of hard drives anyway. Hard drives will eventually wear out from constant use as well, since they use
physical recording methods. Longevity is a wash when it's separated from travel and ruggedness concerns.