Understanding the Differences Between a Flash SSD Drive and a Hard Drive
Flash SSD drives are quickly becoming the go-to technology in a variety of devices, replacing the once ubiquitous hard disk drive, often called a hard drive or HDD. Despite the explosion in popularity of flash SSD drives, there is still a fair amount of confusion about how these drives differ from each other. Why would a developer design a device with a flash SSD drive instead of a hard disk drive? Although these two types of drives essentially serve the same purpose, they do so in different ways, and these different styles of functioning are key to understanding the popularity of SSDs.
Flash SSD Drive Basics
Solid state drives, or SSD drives, are essentially a storage component. Although their popularity is relatively new, their design is not. The basic idea has been around for decades, but it has taken many different forms. Initially, SSD drives were built using RAM technology. RAM is a volatile form of memory, which means that it needs to have a source of power in order for data to be stored.
Once flash storage was paired with SSD drives, they began to gain in popularity. Flash is a non-volatile form of memory, so it does not require power to be used for data storage. Initially, it wasn’t considered to be a good replacement for RAM, since it had major aging issues, but advances in technology have made it a more practical option.
Hard Disk Drive Basics
A hard disk drive is a form of data storage that uses a magnetic disk instead of flash technology. The disk moves when data is being read or written, spinning in a way that is similar to a CD or record player.
HDDs offer a significant amount of storage, and their design is very simple. This is the reason they became so popular. However, there are challenges that are inherent in the design that offer some drawbacks.
Flash SSD Drive and HDD Differences
The biggest difference between these drives is that HDDs have a moving component—the disk—and SSD drives do not. Every read and write operation requires the disk to fire into motion. This process leaves the drive vulnerable to a range of mechanical problems.
A flash SSD drive, on the other hand, doesn’t have moving parts, so it can tolerate heat, vibration, and shock better than an HDD. Plus, it can operate faster and offer a high level of storage in a much smaller space.