What are the advantages and disadvantages of SSD hard drives?

Updated March 23, 2017

A Solid State Drive (SSD) hard drive is hardware used for data storage in some computers. Historically, SSDs have been used most in laptops and notebooks, but some desktop computers also use SSD technology and others combine this drive type with HDD (Hard Disk Drive) systems. Knowing the advantages and disadvantages.of SSD hard drives is useful information when you're choosing a new computer.

Although research into SSD technology goes back to the 1950s, these drives did not enter the consumer market until the 1980s. They use technology based on semi-conductors, storing data on flash memory chips. SSDs are based on a Single-Level Cell (SLC) or Multi-Level Cell (MLC) design. Unlike traditional hard drives, SSDs do not contain moving parts. You can house an SSD inside a computer or buy one as an external hard drive.


The primary advantage of SSD hard drives is that they have no moving parts. This makes them more robust and less prone to damage, which can give them a longer and more effective working life than HDD alternatives. SSDs use a non-volatile memory system so that the disk retains its memory even when a computer has been turned off. They are not affected by magnetism so there is no danger of the disk being wiped. The absence of motors and other moving parts reduces power consumption, speeds up general processes and gives faster access to data. SSDs are less fragile, quieter, quicker and more responsive than regular hard drives.


SSD hard drives are typically more expensive than HDDs on a price per Gigabyte of storage basis. You may not be able to buy as much memory capacity as you need because SSDs cannot yet compete with the large storage capacity of hard disk drives. There are also fewer options and fewer manufacturers in the consumer market, leading to less choice. These drives may not last as long as alternatives under heavy use because their cells have a finite number of write cycles and become unusable eventually. This is unlikely to affect the average user.


SSD hard drives are well-suited to portable devices such as laptops, netbooks and notebooks. If you drop or even knock a laptop with an HDD drive, it can break or become unreadable. This is not an issue with an SSD hard drive because it is virtually impossible to damage in this way. Cost and lower memory capacity may, however, be a negative for some users.

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About the Author

Carol Finch has been writing technology, careers, business and finance articles since 2000, tapping into her experience in sales, marketing and technology consulting. She has a bachelor's degree in Modern Languages, a Chartered Institute of Marketing.certificate and unofficial tech and gaming geek status with her long-suffering friends and family.