Should you consider buying a SSD for upgrading your older System?

We often hear about replacing our HDD(s) to SSD in our older System’s or while building new Systems.
What benefit does using an SSD exactly provide to you as an End User? We try to answer the truth-seeking quest for this answer as we cover this topic in as much depth as possible.
First the Analogy:-
HDD: – aka the humble Hard Disk Drive, the Primary Choice for Secondary Storage in our systems.
SSD: – the Solid State Drive, the recommended solution for Optimum System Storage Performance.
What exactly is Poor System Performance..??
We often see people complain about poor system performance even though they possess pretty decent system configuration. In general, I’m talking about these specs to give you a rough idea:-

  1. Any good Dual-Core / Quad -Core processors from AMD or Intel.
  2. 4 GB or greater RAM.
  3. 500 GB ~ 2 TB Internal HDD.
  4. 1 ~ 2 GB decent Graphics Card or Onboard Graphics.
  5. 450 ~ 650 W decent PSU.
  6. Decent Motherboard from a Reputed Brand.

So you see, the above-listed specifications form a fairly Decent Config for a Majority of people out there.

But you may ask… even though the specs are pretty good for an average to prosumer, why doesn’t the System Performance live up to the user’s expectations.
The Answer is Pretty Obvious…!!!
The end user has Decent to Moderate Performance in the CPU, GPU, Motherboard and PSU department.

The only thing that is affecting the System Performance from the amount of Moderate to Severe degradation is Secondary Storage mechanism.

We know that the CPU is the fastest single most component in the entire computing system and all other components being secondary to it with regards to speed. The HDD being the Lowest in Speed in this regard.
How does the HDD function exactly..?
The HDD is a collection of Platters that are magnetized to write Data to them while they are rotating in High Speed.

It is in the range of ~5400 RPM in laptops to ~7200 RPM in Desktops to ~10000 RPM in High-End Workstations.

Even though this speed is good, we suffer from Poor System Performance since nowadays we deal with a large number of Smaller Files and Heavy bulky Software.

It is not properly optimized or that does a large number of concurrent Read / Write Cycles on the Disk itself.

All this leads to a Severe Performance Degradation over time as this vicious cycle continues.

All these processes contribute to Heat Generation & Mechanical Wear and Tear of the HDD over a period of Time.
Does the SSD function differently..??
The answer is yes. The SSD is comprised of NAND chips similar to that we use in a typical FLASH Drive but of a Very Good Quality.

As you see, there are no moving parts as such from the image above. There is no Physical Movement within the Drive itself.

This helps in Significantly Lesser Heat Generation than it’s HDD counterpart.

The data transfer is much faster since there is no Reading Head associated with the SSD as is the case with the HDD.

This also results in significantly smaller response times to READ / WRITE requests from various applications.

So it provides better overall system reliability and response.
Advantages of an SSD  v/s  HDD:-

  1. Better System Response time: – Your system will response a LOT MORE QUICKER.
  2. Faster Boot / Reboot and Shutdown: – Since it takes very less time to access the Cache Data that is often associated with System Shutdown, Boot, and other Frequently used programs, you will experience a drastic reduction in these activities.
  3. SSD is way Faster than HDD: – If you want a rough figure it has Access Times in the range of few Micro-seconds which is a few Mili-seconds for that of a typical HDD.
  4. Faster READ / WRITE – Experience READ / WRITE speeds up to 10x faster than your traditional HDD.
  5. Satisfied User: – You as a user will be very content with the drive’s performance leading to a Pleasant System Experience overall.
  6. Reduced I/O Overhead: – The usual overhead that used to happen due to the HDD not able to handle frequent data access will be very very less as the SSD is more than capable to handle the User + System Demand beyond the general user’s expectation.

Things to be considered while buying an SSD:-

  1. First and foremost is whether your typical use-case demands it or not. If you are one of those guys that relies on your system for moderate web browsing and light office related work then the traditional HDD will do just fine for the cause.
  2. If you are one of those people who do a moderate to high amount of multi-tasking on your system and deal with lots of files in the due process then an SSD upgrade is what you need.
  3. SSD uses NAND technology which is expensive.
  4. The SSD price / GB ratio has come down in the last few years but you still would be paying a premium.
  5. The premium for the amount of space that you would be purchasing when compared to that of a typical HDD.
  6. To put it in perspective you would roughly pay 4x the price / typical HDD space which would amount to space of an HDD capacity for an SSD. eg. ₹4500 -> 240 GB SSD   v/s  ₹4500 -> 1000 GB (1 TB) HDD.
  7. What type of SSD interface standard does your Motherboard support and the resultant overhead or loss that will occur during data transfers?
  8. Do remember that although an SSD is far more efficient than an HDD but some data loss is still there due to the different data encoding schemes that are followed to prevent overall data loss.
  9. The vast majority of you will be fine with a SATA interface SSD while the PCIE interface ones are for the Most Daring Mortal Souls.
  10. These people use nothing less than a High-End Workstation for their daily computing needs.
  11. Whether you want to use as a Primary Boot Drive or as a Cache Drive or as RAID together with your HDD depending on the Capacity you decide to purchase.
  12. Whatever may be your use-case and the capacity you buy, the decision to use an SSD must solely depend on those.

Alternate Technologies / Options except SSD:-
If you are one of those people who insist on this, then you might have already heard about RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) 

This technique solely relies on coupling 2 or more HDD(s) or an HDD with an SSD.

Though you are more intended to go with the 1st option if you still prefer the amount of storage space and setup RAID.

You can follow our detailed articles regarding this to get a clearer perspective.


What is RAID?

Setup RAID in Windows