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What is a Solid-State Drive (SSD)?

What is a Solid-State Drive (SSD)?

Dwight Pavlovic

Short for solid-state drive (and sometimes solid-state disk), an SSD is a computer data storage option that functions without any moving parts. Compared to the traditional method of HDD storage, which is short for hard-disk drive, SSD drives are built without the traditional spinning disk drive and movable hard disk heads used for reading and writing new information to the disk.

An SSD stores data using flash memory to encode information rather than doing so through a physical writing process, which is one of the reasons SSDs consume less overall power.

An SSD works through a simple input/output interface, typically via what are called the Serial ATA or with the higher efficiency of PCI Express and NVMe connections.

The advantages of solid-state drive technology

So, why exactly would you use solid-state drive storage for your computer?

Flip Side of Solid-State Drive (SSD)

The answer depends on how you use your computer and how you want to store your data. Many people are drawn to an SSD with the goal of increasing efficiency, given their ability to read and write data more quickly than their hard-disk cousins.

Also, with no mechanical or moving parts within the drive, there’s a much lower risk of accidentally damaging your disk drive through impact or exposure. This is particularly important if you’re constantly working on-the-go, when you may be worried about how your laptop will stand up to an accident or environmental damage. Working with an SSD can cut out a large amount of that uncertainty.

Where stability is concerned, SSD storage options aren’t as prone to malfunction. There are two main reasons for that:

• They don’t have mechanical components, so they have a fundamentally simplified construction

• SSD flash memory incorporates a growing suite of error-correcting code to protect your data during the read/write process

In terms of design and use, solid-state drive technology is also a major boon to laptop mobility. Not only does the format protect against accidental damage, it weighs substantially less than traditional HDD. This allows for lighter, thinner, and ultimately more mobile laptop models.

For some additional advantages, you can also look forward to less noise while the SSD is running. Without the need for conventional disk reading, you can work without the typical whirring associated with an HDD performing larger tasks.

SSD by HP®

While the technology continues to evolve and change, SSD options are also more and more accessible within our HP computing lines.

We’ve made these new features the standard for our HP Z Workstations. PCI Express is also part of the foundation for our powerful, performance-enhancing HP Z TurboDrive, which we created as part of our effort to reduce boot-times, improve responsiveness, and change how users handle large files.

With the increasing shift away from less efficient Serial ATA connections toward PCI Express, we’ve also started to incorporate NVMe controllers to further streamline operations.

Are there any drawbacks to an SSD?

Solid-state drive technology can offer substantial perks by comparison to their hard-disk predecessors, but for now the technology is still evolving.

Unfortunately, solid-state drive technology is often more expensive than conventional HDD storage options. However, the cost difference is beginning to narrow and likely to become even closer over time.

About the Author: Dwight Pavlovic is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Dwight is a music and technology writer based out of West Virginia.