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Technology Takeover: from HDDs to SSDs

By Shopify API March 26, 2019

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="200"] Hard Disk Drive[/caption]

     The average person replaces their PC every four and a half years. With computer drive technology in transition from Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) to Solid-State Drives (SSDs), we predict SSDs to be the dominant drive in computers by 2017. But what is the difference between HDDs and SSDs, and what does it mean to you? More importantly, what does it mean for the future of data security practices? When it comes to storing data, HDDs and SSDs are two of the main devices used today. A HDD is a basic storage drive typically used to store data for older products, although there are still some new computers coming out with HDDs today. A HDD looks like a metal disk with a magnetic coating, which holds the data. HDDs, developed in the 1960’s, can hold twice as much data every 18 months (“What’s the Difference”). SSDs, on the other hand, are newer drives used mostly for updated technology, including Apple products. Most brands are making the transition to SSDs but Apple has been leading the early charge because of the demand for thinner and smaller products. SSDs store data internally on flash memory chips.

Moving Parts v. Non-Moving Parts

     Price-wise, the average SSD costs either the same as or more than the average HDD, even though the SSD stores less information. For example, a SSD for a MacBook Pro laptop has 128 gigabytes for an extra $150 while the HDD has a capacity of 500 gigabytes; here (pictured below), the SSD is worth $150 more and has 372 fewer gigabytes than the basic HDD.

Nevertheless, while a HDD has spinning plates to hold information, a SSD has no moving parts, making the newer drives harder to physically break or destroy. Additionally, without internal moving parts, a SSD uses less energy and can make your laptop’s battery life last for at least an extra half an hour.

     Sick of waiting too long for a new page on your computer to load? Although they may have less storage space, SSDs are the perfect way to make your computer or laptop run faster. They help your devices to boot up, load web pages and computer games, and play music and videos much quicker than your computer would with a HDD.

What if I need more storage space?

     If you think the SSD sounds great but are worried about space, I would suggest buying the SSD to store all your daily and important information but still using the HDD for all your older, less important files (“What’s the Difference”). Additionally, an external drive may be a good option if you would like to store even more data; an external drive is also cheaper (around $50-$100) for the space it comes with. With an external drive, it is possible for a customer to not have to choose between a HDD and a SSD--instead, the customer can use both.

SSDs in the Mainstream

     SSDs are the newer forms of technology in today’s generation. Everyday, people are switching from bulkier desktop computers that use HDDs to thinner desktops that use SSDs. In a period of just three years, I traded in

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="169"] Solid-State Drive[/caption]

my IBM laptop for a MacBook Air and my Dell desktop to an Apple desktop. Both of my new products use SSDs and, unsurprisingly, my phone has a SSD as well. The rise of the smartphone is most likely one of the main reasons SSDs have gone down in price and become so mainstream, since almost all smartphones use SSDs. They simply fit more with the times, as technology is turning to smaller data storage devices.

SSD Destruction

     With the increase in consumption of SSDs, there has been little discussion of ways to decommission them. However, several products have been engineered to effectively destroy all the data from SSDs. Companies tend to use SSDs to store secure or personal information, such as credit card and social security numbers, health records, and even company secrets. After organizations no longer need this information, it is in their best interest to completely destroy all the data so that others, such as hackers or identity thieves, do not find this information. Sanitation products, like the new line of Phiston Hard Drive Destroyers, use 20 tons of crushing force to decommission and destroy SSDs.


HDD Features

How it works: Metal disk with magnetic coating/spinning plates, which stores the data

    + Has a large amount of data storage space

    + Can hold twice as much data every 18 months

    + Proven technology

    + Cheaper

    - Heavy

    - Consumes more energy than SSDs

    - Susceptible to more mechanical issues

SSD Features

How it works: Stores memory internally on flash memory chips

    + Uses less energy

    + Faster drives, which makes computers/laptops run faster

    + No moving parts, which make it harder to break, destroy, or sanitize

    + Longer battery life

    - More expensive

    - Less data storage space

By Lindsay Cayne

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