What Is An SSD? The Future of High Data Storage Devices!

From providing high data storage capacity to allowing permanent data retention, modern storage devices have a lot to offer to PC users. Out of all the features a data storage device offers, speed is the one that outranks all. In the world of technology, speed matters more than ever before. In fact, it wouldn’t be unwise to believe that we are living in the age of speed.

what is an ssd
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Take a look at the general-purpose devices around you and you would be amazed to realize that all of these used to be super-slow only until a decade ago.

This also applies to the data storage devices including Solid State Drive (SSD). Notably, Solid State Drives aka hyper-fast data storage devices are considered to be the future of PC.

After the incredibly slow hard disk drives retire in near future, Solid State Drives would supposedly take the charge. And why they shouldn’t? After all, it’s the age of speed. With the introduction of heavy programs, apps, and files, accessing the data at the conventional speed is not an option anymore. Currently, the blazing-data transfer SSDs are what the PC community needs the most to access the data in the blink of an eye.

What Is A Solid-State Drive (SSD)?

A Solid State Drive or SSD is an electronic device that is externally plugged into the computer for data storage. As secondary storage, an SSD provides a viable option for the computer to permanently store the data and access it at an unusual speed. Unlike a hard disk drive, a Solid State Drive consumes less power and runs at the cost of no noise. An SSD empowers the computer and improves its performance for a better user experience which could be translated to low data-access time.

What Are The Uses Of An SSD?

A Solid State Drive is used to permanently store the data for long-term use. Once the data is stored in the SSD, it can always be accessed and processed by the computer at the request of the user. Most PC users rely on SSD to reduce data access time and save power.

Additionally, using a Solid State Drive allows the computer to boot the operating system faster. When a user turns on the computer, an SSD reads the operating system at a blistering speed which cuts down the start-up time. Comparatively, a Solid State Drive is a lighter device than a hard disk drive. This lightweight aspect of an SSD could also be added to the list of its uses.

The noise of HDDs is disturbing for a lot of users. Hence, SSDs are used as a silent data storage solution. Furthermore, while an HDD heats up, a Solid State Drive remains cool all the time. Needless to say but an SSD is a quick fix for lazy and unproductive computer systems.

SSD Compatibility With Other Components

The compatibility of a Solid State Drive with other components of a computer entirely depends on its interface and the motherboard. Most of the motherboards come with slots for SATA interface SSDs. However, it’s not the case with all computer systems. There are many computer systems that support PCIe, M.2, U.2, or NVMe interface SSDs.

If you want to check the compatibility of an SSD with other components of your computer, all you have to do is uncase it and look for the slots built on a motherboard. A SATA interface SSD is compatible with a motherboard equipped with SATA slots. Similarly, a PCIe or NVMe interface SSD could be integrated into a motherboard featuring the supporting slots.

Unless the interface of an SSD and its slots on the motherboard are the same, an SSD can’t be compatible with a computer system. When it comes to a third-generation SATA interface SSD, every modern motherboard supports it regardless of the SSD slot. In addition to the same interface and same slot on the motherboard, an SSD needs to be of the right size to be integrated into the motherboard.

History Of Solid State Drives

The origin of Solid State Drives could be traced back to the development of magnetic core memory in the 1950s. The invention of magnetic core memory in early computing systems paved the way for the development of SSDs in the next couple of decades.

When the first-ever SSD was built, Hard Disk Drives were already being used as a standard storage medium in the first generation of commercially built computers. However, the superior speed of early SSDs outran the-then super-slow HDDs. Initially, SSDs were based on the similar technology used to build RAMs. This continued for a few years until SSDs

For the record, the U.S company Dataram is credited with the invention of the first Solid State Drive in 1976. Titled Bulk Core, it was powered by multiple memory boards for RAM chips on each. Combined together, these RAM chips offered 2MB of data storage capacity for Data General computers. Apart from Dataram, StorageTek and Texas Memory Systems are also believed to be among the first companies to introduce RAM-based SSDs.

In the following years, advanced SSDs were introduced into the market with more space and enhanced speed. In addition to that, bubble memory replaced RAM in the SSDs. Developed by Sharp Corporation in 1983, Sharp PC-5000 was powered by 128 KB of data storage capacity. It was one of the earliest bubble memory-based SSDs that came as a challenger to RAM-based counterparts.

Despite Bubble memory technology being widely used by Apple in its early computers such as Apple II, it couldn’t face the RAM-based SSDs for a long period of time. Following the discontinuation of bubble memory, Flash memory-supported Solid State Drives made an entry into the market.

By the early 1980s, Flash memory SSDs were actively integrated into high-end computing systems. The Flash memory SSDs required to be formatted to get the leftover space after every file deletion. Of course, this was a messy thing for most users. Nevertheless, considering SSDs were the fastest storage devices, the hectic process of formatting didn’t bother the consumers that much.

The revolution of Flash memory Solid State Drives began with the invasion of Flashdisk in the international market. Introduced in 1988 by Digipro, a U.S tech dealer, Flashdisk featured a whopping 16Mb of free space. It came in various sizes but with high price tags that made it out of the reach of middle-class consumers. Keeping the high price tag aside, Flashdisk was an unusual success for Digipro.

Flash and RAM-based SSDs maintained a rivalry throughout the early and mid-1990s. For the first few years, RAM-based SSDs were in higher demand. This was due to the fact that they had lower access time and could be grabbed at a lower cost as compared to Flash-based SSDs.

When the necessity for permanent data storage increased dramatically, it is when Flash memory SSDs truly won against RAM-based SSDs. Unlike, Flash memory SSDs that introduced permanent data storage, RAM-based SSDs could only retain the data as long as the power was supplied. Once, the power was off, data would be lost. This incredibly powerful feature of permanent data retention was a game-changer for Flash memory SSDs.

By the end of the 1990s, Flash memory Solid State Drives featured free space in hundreds of Mbs at the cost of thousands of dollars. These super-expensive Flash memory SSDs were supported by the SCSI interface. In the early 2000s, SCSI interface SSDs were joined by PATA-supported SSDs.

With the introduction of heavy-purpose SSDs by Samsung, the price of Flash memory SSDs went down while storage capacity increased. Samsung SSDs were one of the first to cross the threshold of 1GB of free space. The improved versions of Solid State Drives reduced the access time and dramatically improved the user experience.

Types Of Solid State Drives

Looking for the types of SSDs? Just go through the table below and would find all the five types of SSDs.

SATAThis type of SSD comes equipped with Serial ATA which acts as the most common interface for the storage devices to connect with the computers. Today, almost every computer and laptop offer SATA SSD integration
PCIeThis SSD features a PCIe interface to replace the old PCI, PCI-X, and AGP bus standards. Just like SATA, PCIe is another common interface used to integrate the SSD with a computer
M.2An M.2 SSD shares the same shape as a RAM and is based on a circuitry system supported by flash memory for data storage
U.2This Solid State Drive comes with a built-in U.2 interface dedicated to non-general-purpose computers
NVMeIt’s another interface for SSDs for faster and superior data processing than the SATA interface SSDs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Wrap Up

It is no surprise that SSDs are the future of hi-speed storage devices for one or more reasons. Let’s admit the fact that they are a better replacement for outdated HDDs that should be kept in a museum for display.

In the last few years, Solid State Drives have greatly improved the user experience and have transformed general-purpose computers into speedy data-reading machines.

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Bilal Khan
Bilal Khan

Bilal might look like a Bearded Caucasian right out of a Viking movie but trust me he's a native Pakistani. He has a long list of hobbies among which staying updated on the Latest Technology and Hardware happens to be on the top. If you are looking for detailed hardware explanations through no tricky terminologies, follow him to read Tech Content curated perfectly for the human brain.

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