SSD – Solid State Drive – does it make sense to buy one?
The short answer is yes, it definitely makes sense to buy an SSD. In over 20 years of my adventure with computers every machine I owned was custom built, so I gathered a lot of experience building and upgrading PC computers.
During this time I cannot recall any other single component upgrade that would make such difference to overall system speed and responsiveness than solid state drive (SSD).
The performance kick is noticeable on many aspects – system boot up speed, file operations, opening applications, saving, game loading times.
After installing your SSD Drive speed increases can be really dramatic, reducing time required to perform certain operations much below 50% of original time.
SDD would benefit particularly a couple of years old computers that are still good enough to work on but feel a bit sluggish. If your machine has reasonable amount of RAM, SSD is the way to get another couple of years off your aging desktop PC.
Throw in some used RAM from ebay and your once fast PC will start to shine again – all this for arround 100 euro. Not bad.
The performace gain when installing SSD on even a couple of years old computer is coming from the fact, even modern mechanical drives struggle to use up data transfer capabilities of SATA 2.0 standard (not to mention 3.0). SATA 2.0 is very likely the standard of your hdd controller if your computer is a couple of years old. This means that mechanical hdd is very likely the bottleneck of your system and it is nearly 100% certain that it cannot use up maximum data transfer speeds that your motherboard allows.
Even if the new SSD you are buying says SATA 3.0 on the box, it is always backwards compatible with SATA 2.0 enabled systems.
Of course, if you are a gamer you will not get any benefit from SSD in terms of in-game graphics speed, but loading times will decrease significantly. If your game dynamically loads some elements during gameplay, your gaming expirience will be much smoother with SSD drive installed, as the in-game loading will be much less noticeable, if at all.
There is a couple of things you need to be aware of.
SSDs are still pretty expensive so it may be only practical to use one as system drive, while storing data on mechanical hdd.
Average Solid State Drive would come with 2-3 years of warranty and it is safe to assume that this is the lifespan of such device.
While SSD drive manufacturers say these drives are more reliable because there is no mechanical/moving parts in them, there is a catch. Lifespan of the memory used in them is limited, the sectors can only be written to certain number of times. After that internal controller of SDD disk “retires” the sector and uses one of the spare pool. Around 10% of nominal SDD capacity can be reserved as spare – you need to be aware of that when buyin the disk.
Nowadays it would be quite safe to say that Solid State Drives are roughly as reliable as mechanical ones. This means, that within couple of years they ultimately will fail, the only question is when.