Do you like your data storage plentiful and cheap or faster and safer? This guide will help you make a more informed choice during your purchase.

Solid State Drives (SSDs)

Until recently, personal computer buyers had little choice on the type of storage they could buy for their computer or laptop. People who purchased ultraportable devices had Solid State Drives (SSD) as the primary storage. All the other devices including laptops and desktops featured hard drives (HDD) as the main storage. But today, you can easily configure your system with an SSD or a HDD, or at times both of them. To make a better choice, you have to understand how the two function and their main differences.

SSDs do functionally all things that hard drives do. However, they install data on interconnected flash memory chips, which retain the stored data including when power is not present. The manufacturers can permanently install the chips on the hard drive’s mother board, in a box that is sized, wired and shaped to slot in for personal computers hard drives or on PCI Express (PCIe) card (in the high end workstations and bleeding-edge consumer systems. The flash memory chips are available in more types than those used in USB thumb drives. They are also faster and more reliable than HDDs. SSDs are more expensive than the USB thumb drives of same capabilities.

Hard Drive Types

Generally, the market offers two types of hard drives – solid state drives (SSDs) and Hard Disk Drives (HDDs). SDDs are extremely fast but are extraordinarily expensive. To get a quality SDD, you might need to pay triple the amount you would have paid to get a HDD of similar capacity. SDDs are also safer because they do not have moving parts. However, you can live with a HDD provided that you will not treat it like maracas when transferring files. If durability is very important to you, or you travel a lot, you should consider drivers that boast ruggedness. The drives have reinforced exterior for more added protection.

SSD vs HDD – Pros and Cons of an SSD

Both SSDs and HDDs do the same job: they boot computer systems, store computer data and personal files. However, each type of data storage has its features. Which are the main differences between the two types and why you would need to consider one type over the other?

SSDs are expensive than HDDs in terms of cost per gigabyte. To buy a 1TB internal 2.5 inch HDD, you will need between $40 and $50 but to purchase an SDD with similar capacity and form factor, you will need over $250. In other words, you will have to pay 4 to 5 cents per gigabyte when buying a hard drive and 25 cents per gigabyte when buying an SSD.

Hard drives utilize older more established technology and they are therefore likely to remain less expensive in years to come. The extra hundreds for SSDs may increase the price of your computer system over your budget.

Hard drives are also available in larger quantity, they are cheap and you can find them in many old systems. On the other side, SSDs are more prevalent in the recently released personal computers. Nevertheless, some of the popular models come with HDDs.

And because hard drives highly rely on their spinning platters, the manufacturers have a limit on the minimum size they can produce. Earlier, there were initiatives to produce smaller 1.8-inch hard drives but that stalled at around 320GB because smartphone and tablet manufacturers settled on flash memory as the primary storage. SSDs have no limitations and might continue shrinking as time goes by. Manufacturers have already produced SSDs for 2.5 inch laptops drive sized boxes – that is only for convenience purposes. And because laptops are likely to become slimmer in the future and tablets are taking over the main platforms in Web Surfing, the adoption of SSDs is likely to skyrocket.

Actually, even the quietest hard drives produce noise when they start spinning or the arm starts moving. And if your device is improperly installed or it is banged about, it is more likely to produce more noise. Faster hard drives are known to make more noise than the slower ones. An SSD will not make any noise. SSDs are non-mechanical.

And SSDs do not expend electricity spinning up the platter from standstill. They do not waste any energy in form of noise or friction. That alone, makes them more efficient than their counterparts. In a server or a desktop computer, that will lead to lower energy bills at the end of the month. On laptops or tablets, the users are able to eke out additional hours or minutes of battery life.

Overall, a hard drive will win on capacity, price and availability. On the other hand, SSDs work better if ruggedness, speed, form factor, fragmentation or noise is important.

How Important Is Drive Speed?

Drive speeds are vital. Most modern processors are faster and they are likely to match the speed of drives. Each time you are waiting for your personal computer to complete a task, higher chances are that the drive is holding things up. However, you should remember that there are two main ways of measuring the drive speed: the access time – the length of time it takes to find a file- and the transfer rate – the total time it takes to write/read a file after the system finds it.

If you need a computer that starts faster, the access time should be your first consideration. That is because your computer has many files that the system has to find and which are relatively small. Actually, SSDs are on the higher end when it comes to performance. Their access times are around 100 times faster than that of the typical hard drives. To get a quality SSD, you should be ready to dig deeper into your pocket.

Other Factors

  • Capacity

Capacity is an easier concept to understand. Manufacturers rate SDDs according to their overall storage. The storage capacity of SSDs is far much lower than that of the traditional hard drives. Even though the cost of storage per every gigabyte has been dropping constantly, they are still expensive. If you need to get more storage for a lower price, you might need to buy a hard disk.

  • Performance

Solid state drives are faster than hard disks. In addition to that, they will always be ready to go when the user is ready. A large percentage of the SSDs in the market offer instant load performance, which means that they have faster boot times, fast application loading times in addition to better system responsiveness.

  • Protection

SSDs employ Power Loss Protection mechanism to prevent data loss in event of power loss. The SSD can still work including when the power goes down. However, if the power loss happens to cause damages to the NAND Flash, your personal data will be unreliable. There will be no risk or problem when your SSD is working as the second drive. However, when it is working as the master drive, there will be a huge risk of losing your operating system data unexpectedly, particularly when your equipment’s maintenance is not convenient for mission-critical applications. 

  • Reliability

Just like hard disk drives, SSDs are likely to wear out with time. But unlike hard disks, SSDs have software that helps the user predict failure with time. They can therefore take steps to reduce chances of data loss. The user is able to read the data stored in the drive including when it has failed. What’s more, you can configure an SSD to save the stored data in their cache memory if unexpected power loss occurs.

  • Value

As you have already seen, SSDs do not feature moving parts. Therefore, they require lesser power to operate. In other words, you should expect longer battery life and quieter operation. Furthermore, they have a longer lifespan.

  • Longevity

SSDs have no moving parts. So, your personal data will remain safe in even you drop your computer on a hard space or an earthquake shakes your computer while it is operating. Mostly, hard drives park their write/read heads whenever you switch your system off but whenever they are in operation, they will be flying over the computer’s drive platter at a few nanometers distance. You will agree with me that even your vehicle’s parking brakes have their limits. If you are among the people who are not careful with their devices, you should consider an SSD.

Final thoughts

Are SSDs Right For You?

A solid state drive (SSD) will make a big difference in your computer. It will change the performance of your computer, the loading speed and will enhance the safety of your personal data. Actually, the computer will perform exactly how you expect it to do in those busy days. In other words, you will always start your work without delays.

External vs. Internal

The main difference between an external and internal SSD is that an external SSD communicates through USB or a similar cable protocol while an internal SSD connects through SATA. SATA 6 stands for 6 GB/s. In addition, the two share the same transfer speeds but the external SSDs have slightly lower caps on transfer rates.

Read More Our Review on SanDisk Extreme 510 Portable SSD

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SanDisk Extreme 510

All photographers will tell you that speed is king, particularly when storing their work. With over 500 successful designs, SanDisk has updated their Extreme series to introduce the SanDisk Extreme 510 Portable SSD, which is a better choice for photographers. The device can withstand more physical abuse than most products in the market. Even though the product is not suitable for individuals in need of larger storage capacity for archival purposes, it offers 480GB as the storage space. Due to its improved transfer speeds, the product will appeal to both videographers and photographers regardless of their stripes. The speed is more than enough in most on-location professional shoots.

SanDisk Extreme 510

Unlike hard disks, SSDs had a slower start. However, they are now becoming more popular among individuals in need of portable devices due to their durability. The devices are shock resistant, can withstand extreme temperatures than the HDD competitors. Due to its updated rugged design, the Extreme 510 Portable SSD is splash and dust resistant.
SanDisk Extreme 510

Everyone will agree that damaging a HDD with untimed strike or shock is easy. Therefore use of HDDs in portable devices is a bad idea. If you would like to make a better storage investment that is also portable, you should consider the SanDisk Extreme 510 Portable SSD.

And if you are more inclined to the aesthetic side, you are likely to appreciate the wonderful style of this product. The manufacturer crammed it into smart black chassis and it will therefore fit into your pockets easily. To a considerable degree, the product is smaller than your tablet or smartphone. If you are among the individuals who move a lot, the metal lug and rubber coating will help you clip the device to your bag or strap it without any worries. It provides 128-bit encryption through the SanDisk Secure Access. To buy this wonderful device, which comes with 2 years warranty, you will need $249.99.

The product’s design and build

SanDisk has been producing small and sleek products. SanDisk Extreme 510 is not an exception. However, due to the increased 480GB capacity, the device might look bulky to most individuals. On the top side, the device features SanDisk’s bright-red branding that you might be already accustomed to. The first thing you are likely to identify on the sides is the metal lug and the red rubber bumper for protection purposes. On the bottom, you will find some information about the brand.

There is splash and dust-resistant rubber door protecting the USB 3.0 port near the metal lug. Even though some people claim that the device is ineffective when connected to a desktop , you can push the door into smaller recesses to help protect the opening.

The product’s performance

Most people will not consider performance when shopping for the best SSD. However, with the SanDisk Extreme 510 Portable SSD you do not have to worry. Its performance is extremely satisfactory compared to most other competitors. With its 3.0 interface, transfer of files is extremely fast and will meet your expectations, especially if you are in videography or photography fields. The manufacturer has designed the product for storing lump data. It’s water resistant and durability features have also made it a perfect option for use in trekking and photo shoots. Most importantly, its features replicate thumb drives with diamond-like shape. At the same time, the product can store 480GB of data.

The product’s cost and warranty

Actually, SSDs are more expensive compared to the traditional hard disks. That has not affected their popularity. Most online retailers also charge an additional shipping cost for every product along with delivery charges. Including the import charges, you will need around $178 to get the product. The manufacturer offers a 3 year warranty on the product and therefore you should not worry about losing your money.  Most of the customers who purchase the product are those who store larger amounts of data. The device is faster and reliable.

The product does not need any external power source

SanDisk Extreme 510 runs with power from USB ports and therefore you will not need an external power source. What’s more, the product has no heating issues including when used for longer periods. It is an all-terrain device that can withstand rains, dust and splashes common in outdoor adventures. In addition to its dust resistant and waterproofing feature, the device has cushions to protect it from damages.

Privacy and encryption facilities

SanDisk Extreme 510 offers encryption and privacy facilities. Therefore, you do not have to worry about the security of your most important files. Nevertheless, the feature is on the advanced level. To access all the advanced features, you should install the software that comes with the product on your MAC or Windows PC. The software is easier to use.

The products pros and cons

The drive is superfast for copying personal files between disconnected networks.
It has a smaller capacity compared to most other solid state drives in the same category.
Extreme 510 is cheaper than most products of similar quality
It comes with three years warranty and therefore, you will not worry about damages
You will benefit from the encryption and privacy features
It is easier to carry
You will enjoy faster data transfer speeds.
It has a lower write/read speed compared with some other devices of the same class.

The bottom line

Solid State Drives (SSDs) have been around for many years, with the original ones being confined to research and military use. The diamond shaped SanDisk Extreme 510 Portable SSD is fast and small. It boasts a USB 3.0 interface and provides sequential read/write speeds of around 415MB/s and 340MB/s respectively for the 120GB and the 240GB variants and 430MB/s and 400MB/s respectively for the 480GB variant. The device also boasts all-terrain durability. And because it is IP55 certified, it is dust and water resistant and can stand up to the general trek hazards including splashes, rain and spills. The manufacturer has geared the product towards photographers, creative professionals and videographers who are always on the go to capture more scenes from the wild or nature.

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