Solid State Drives: The Future of Storage

Category: Hard-Drives

Solid state drives (SSDs) are one of the few bright spots in the PC marketplace these days. Even though sales of PCs are trending downward, consumers are getting excited about SSDs, due to the benefits they offer over traditional magnetic hard drives. Here's what you need to know...

Should You Upgrade to SSD?

While PC shipments have been steadily declining since 2012, sales of SSDs have mushroomed. 280 million SSDs were shipped in 2019, and that number is projected to grow by 13% annually. Solid-state hard drives offer increased speed, reliability and can save energy as well.

Another big plus is that over the years, the price of solid state drives has dropped dramatically, and the reliability has improved to the point where it exceeds that of traditional magnetic drives. Today, you can buy a 1 TB internal SSD drive for about $100. Here’s proof: check out this Western Digital 1TB Internal SSD. That makes an SSD’s blazing speed, quiet operation, and energy efficiency very affordable.

Many consumers are buying SSDs as system drives, and storing their data on traditional magnetic media. Others are migrating everything to SSD. A friend recently told me that he swapped out a 1 TB magnetic drive for an SSD the same size. His computer used to take 3 to 4 minutes to fully boot up in the desktop – now it takes about 35 seconds!

Samsung dominates the SSD market with over 28% market share, and in second place is Western Digital, with 20%. Kingston with 12%, Kioxia with 10%, Intel with 8% round out the top five players.

SSD Drive Upgrades

A Growing Market

SSDs are predicted to continue their torrid growth. Prices will decline even further as sales volume increases, and as technological innovations such as 3D TLC (triple-level cell) enable more data in the same space. All mobile devices employ SSDs, and users have become accustomed to instant-on and rapidly responding apps. They want that speed on their desktops, too.

When I bought my last desktop computer a few years ago, the first thing I did was order an SSD drive to replace the 500GB hard drive that shipped with my Dell Optiplex. Because I had less than 100GB of data on my drive at the time, I opted for a 250GB Samsung 850 EVO. It came with software called Samsung Data Migration, which made it super-easy to transfer everything from my existing hard drive, and make the new SSD my primary C: drive.

The result was pretty dramatic. Startup time was reduced by more than half, programs open quicker, and everything just works faster. That's especially true when I have multiple programs and/or many browser tabs open at once. At current prices and capacities, I would recommend a solid-state drive as an excellent investment for any PC or Mac owner.

I could have used my old magnetic hard drive as a place to store music or photos, but there's plenty of room on the SSD, so that wasn't necessary. I also thought about removing it and getting an enclosure kit that would turn it into an external drive for backups. But I already have two external drives. So the old drive is relegated to the task of storing nightly clone backups. If the SSD should ever fail, I would simply unplug it and boot up with the other drive, with little or no data loss.

The price per gigabyte of 1 TB SSDs is about $0.10 now. That’s about 5X the price of a magnetic drive. If you insist on the speed and reliability of SSD and want more storage, the incremental cost does rise. The Samsung 860 EVO 2TB SSD drive sells for $250, and a Western Digital 4TB SSD weighs in at $580.

Have you tried upgrading your computer with an SSD drive? Tell me about your experience? Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Solid State Drives: The Future of Storage"

Posted by:

16 Oct 2020

I bought a new Dell XPS a little over 2 years ago. It came with 256 SSD and I think a 2 TB hard drive. I am overjoyed with it. I am 81 years old and trade stock options so I often have 4-8 windows open.

Posted by:

Anthony E Stagge
16 Oct 2020

I have upgraded two laptops to SSDs in the last year. WOW what a difference! These machines were super slow to start up and I had to wait 10 minutes after booting to even be able to work.

Simply a difference like NIGHT and DAY!

Posted by:

16 Oct 2020

I have installed several SSDs on many desktops and am satisfied with their performance.The exception would be if you installed a SSD on a older machine.

The machine might not recognize the SSD as a drive or function funny after installation.Stick to machines made in the last ten years and you should be OK.

Posted by:

Steve G
16 Oct 2020

I just finished swapping out a 1 tb hdd for a 1 tb WD blue ssd. The clone software was Easus and it only took an hour to clone, open computer, replace the drives and close up the laptop. First boot was flawless with speed that I absolutely could not believe. Now I want one in all my pc's. I paid $87. for my new ssd on a prime day sale.

Posted by:

16 Oct 2020

I replaced my 7-year-old 1T Hitachi disk with a Samsung 500G SSD a year ago. The disk was showing signs of flakiness, and though CHKDSK did whatever it does to "repair", I decided the time had come.
I keep all my files on an external 1T USB disk, with only software files on the C: SSD. I backup my files to two other USB disks, alternating between the two. So far, so good.
I also backup C: occasionally to the two USB disks.

Posted by:

Henry Peck
16 Oct 2020

Many years ago, I replaced the 160 GB HD drive in my Toshiba NB 206 netbook with a 500 GB SSD. I run the Ubuntu OS and even though the netbook only has an Atom CPU and only 2 GB of memory, it more than fulfills my requirements,

Posted by:

Larry Beard
16 Oct 2020

Less than a year ago I was experiencing issues with my magnetic hard drive on my HP Pavilion laptop. I replaced it with an SSD and the difference is noticeable. The boot-up time was cut nearly in half, overall speed increased dramatically and whisper quiet operation is great. Subsequently, I replaced the magnetic drives in my other laptops with SSDs.

I've followed Bob for several years now and as he says on the weekly updates, I've become 145% smarter. Thank you Bob.

Posted by:

Elliot Olster
16 Oct 2020

How do I install a new SSD and get it up and running. I think the physical installation is easy but I am concerned about transferring the information from my current drive (including the boot up information)

Posted by:

Nigel A
16 Oct 2020

I replaced the HDD in a 9 year old Toshiba laptop with an SSD and increased the RAM to the max it could handle. Several times better. SSD and RAM were from Crucial. I'm just waiting until my PC is out of warrenty to do the same to that, and I'll use Crucial agaim. I have no connection with Crucial except as a very satisfied customer.

Posted by:

Gordon C
16 Oct 2020

I replaced the original 1TB HD in my Asus desktop 2 years ago with a 1TB Western Digital Blue. Boot-up went from just over 3 1/2 minutes to 40 seconds. Absolutely everything functioned faster. It was like getting a new PC. I kept the original HD in the machine and use it for backups. I also backup to 2 external HDs, but will be replacing the older one with a 1TB SSD in the next couple of weeks. Although I've had good luck with my external HDs -- have a retired 15 year-old WD and a 9 year-old Seagate that still work -- ain't taking any chances.

Posted by:

Ernest N. Wilcox Jr.
16 Oct 2020

Earlier this year, I tested my first 1TB SSD on my oldest Laptop (an Acer Aspire 5741). It had been running slowly enough that I began to consider replacing it. I also got an external HD box for it so I could more easily clone my existing drive (a cost of only about $20.00 on Amazon, and now I use the original drive for local back-up purposes).

After cloning the original drive and installing the SSD, the first thing I noticed after initiating a restart was how fast it booted (about 35 seconds as you reported ). THe next thing that hit me was how much more quickly my apps loaded (Edge, Mail, and a few games).

Before the drive swap it took several seconds to load Edge or Mail. After the swap, it now takes only moments.

After using the Laptop for a few days, I got three more SSDs for my other systems (two Desktops and another Laptop). The reasons why I have two Laptops and two Desktops is another story :).

I have experienced similar results on all four computers (they all boot in about 35 seconds).

All of my computers have been around for several years and the addition of the SSDs will let me keep them for (perhaps) a few more.

My suggestions for anyone who is using older hardware that is working well (even if too slowly) follows:

1. Max out your system RAM (as much as your mainboard can support).

2. Check that your system has the fastest CPU the mainboard will support, and upgrade it if not.

3. Get a 1TB SSD Drive to replace your current one (and perhaps an external hd case for cloning purposes).

I took all these steps with my production Desktop PC (one at a time in the order I suggest above), and I am now very satisfied with my system after an investment of less than $200.00 for the additional RAM (a second 8GB ~ $30.00), the newer CPU (a used quad-core AMD Phenom - ~ $30.00), a new -very large- CPU cooling fan ~$30.00), and the 1TB SSD HD (about $98.00). I almost forgot, I also have an older nVidia (GT-710) graphics adapter to improve video performance (installed a few years ago - do not remember the price).

As a caveat, I have been building my own Desktop systems since the 1990s rather than buying brand named devices. I had a side business doing the same for people I know/knew (stopped when I retired to care for my wife), so I am familiar with the inside of my system box. If you do not know how to work around electronic hardware, consider having a local technician do the work for you. Adding RAM or a Hard Drive should be within the capability of most mechanically adept people, but when it comes to replacing a CPU (or the CPU cooling fan), you should be very careful. If you decide to attempt to replace the CPU, first get a book about this subject and study it. I used "Upgrading and Repairing PC's", a QUE book by Mueller (I still have the book on my desk). There may be newer books on Amazon, or at your local book store.

I hope this helps someone,


Posted by:

16 Oct 2020

What about the long term reliability? Will the data on an SSD still be reliable if sitting on the shelf for 5+ years or does it have to be refreshed every so often? My old spinning backup drives data is still there after 10+ years.

Posted by:

16 Oct 2020

Several years ago I had an old Gateway laptop with Vista that was running very slow. I maxed out the memory, changed the internal drive to an SSD and loaded Windows 7. It was like a new machine, and I continued to use it for several more years.

Posted by:

16 Oct 2020

I agree that for the short term, solid state drives will rule the roost, but when looking to the future, quantum storage will be the next step, especially when combined with artificial intelligence (AI).

Posted by:

22 Oct 2020

SSD's are in my view still too expensive for mass storage when I find a 250Gb SSD is quite enough for the OP system and for basic storage, when the cost of SSD's drop then it might be worth the risk of going all SSD for extra mass and backup storage, although I don't think the option of the magnetic system should ever be taken from us as there should always be a cheaper alternative system available, and expensive SSD's might suffer from the same problem as corruptible memory sticks

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