2015, the Age of Technology. You live in this miraculous time, and technology won’t slow down. You almost have to sprint to keep up with the upcoming technologies that Apple, Microsoft, and other companies produce.

Most recently, you’ve heard about solid state drives, but you don’t really know how these machines works. Maybe you already know that a solid state drive functions as a hard drive, but you don’t understand why the device costs so much money. You might even want to upgrade your computer or hard drive, and you can’t decide which hard drive best suits your needs.

Below, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about what hard drives do and how traditional hard drives and solid state drives differ.

The Purpose of Hard Drives

When you draft documents, compose music, or download files and pictures onto your computer, you need a place to store them. This concept spurred designers and innovators to create and implement hard drives for computers. With the rise of technology, you now find hard drives in other electronics such as iPads, cell phones, and iPods or mp3 players.

Built-in hard drives store files directly onto the device itself. When you fill the internal hard drive to full capacity, you need another way to store these electronic files. You can purchase and external hard drive that plugs into your computer or tablet. You can then save any e-file directly to the external hard drive.

Because technology continues to propel forward, you can now store your files and data on two different types of hard drives, traditional hard drives or solid state drives.

Traditional Hard Drives

Often called mechanical hard drives or HDDs, traditional hard drives have been around almost as long as computers. These machines contain several different components, including:

  • Actuator
  • Actuator arm
  • Aluminum, ceramic, or glass platter
  • Metal rings
  • SATA connector
  • Spindle

These components allow the device to properly run, store, and recover data files. Builders can get these parts from just about anywhere, so you’ll find these hard drives more affordable.

HDDs average about three and a half inches in size. However, the hard drive’s design can cause you some problems. Because the device contains several loose pieces that spin around, the hard drive can fail.

Small bumps or drops can loosen these pieces enough that you can’t store or recover data. And since your HDD has a metal, ceramic, or glass platter, you can completely shatter the disc if you drop your drive. As a result, you’ll lose all information stored on your hard drive.

Solid State Drives

Engineers and builders construct solid state drives, or SSDs, differently than HDDs. In fact, SSDs contain no moving or loose parts at all. The hard drive contains the following:

  • Computer chips
  • Circuit board
  • SATA controller
  • SATA connector

SSDs embed these components onto a solid board—hence the name “solid state drive.” These drives use computer chips, rather than a platter, to store your files. Unlike HDDs, though, SSDs provide additional benefits on top of durable storage space.

1. Better heat dispersion.

The harder your electronics work, the hotter they get. And heat slows the device down exponentially. Since an SSD doesn’t spin like a regular hard drive, it gives off less heat and allows you to keep your devices cool. As a result, you won’t see your device fail as easily due to heat damage.

2. Faster performance.

Because SSDs don’t spin around, you can find and recover files quickly. Mechanical hard drives often have bursts of high speeds, but these machines can’t sustain regular high speeds for long. SSDs, on the other hand, support regular high speeds so that you can find and open a file in no time.

3. Increased life expectancy.

As previously mentioned, an SSD’s design contains no loose, moving parts. And since these parts stay in place, you won’t see your hard drive fail like mechanical hard drives do. Additionally, an SSD lasts longer than traditional drives—about two to three times longer.

4. Less power usage.

When your SSD runs at full speed, it consumes no more than three watts—that’s about half the energy consumption of regular hard drives. Since the SSD uses less power, you can use your electronics for a longer period of time before you need to charge them.

5. Reduced noise.

Again, since SSDs don’t spin as they boot up, you’ll notice significantly less noise when you use your computer or external hard drive. You can now record music without extra background noise or even write a novel without the distraction of whirring metal.

How to Choose the Right Device

As you prepare to upgrade your computer or external hard drive, keep these facts in mind. Ask yourself what you need in a hard drive and make a pros and cons list for these two types of hard drives. Once you determine your needs, you can better decide on a solid state drive or a traditional hard drive for your electronic storage system.