Are SSD (Solid State drive) really worth the extra money?

Are SSD really worth the extra money?

Yes they are..!
Well ok there might be a bit more to it depending on your needs, but the fact is that solid state drives are so much faster than the traditional hard drives that we have known for decades.

I just recently bought myself a Corsair Force GT 120 GB like the one you can see on the picture above and it really is a great disk. With performance up to (read) 555 MB/s and (write) 515 MB/s this drive really can take advantage of the SATA 3 (6 Gb/s) controller.

Corsair Force GT 120 GB

Specification of Corsair Force GT 120 GB:

Unformatted Capacity 120 GB
Read Performance (max) 555 MB/s
Write Performance (max) 515 MB/s
Random Write 4k (max) 85k IOPS (4k aligned)
Form Factor 2.5”
Interface Type SATA 3 6Gb/s
Onboard cache NA
Operating Temperature 0C to +70C
Storage Temperature -20C to +85C
Operating Humidity 10% to 90% RH (0° to +40° C)
Storage Humidity 5% to 90% RH (-10° to +60° C)
Maximum Operating Altitude 3,048 m (up to 10,000 ft.)
Maximum Non-Operating Altitude 12,192 m (up to 40,000 ft.)

Traditional HDDThe problem with traditional HDD

With a traditional HDD it doesn’t really matter if it is connected to a SATA 2 (3 Gb/s) or a SATA 3 (6 Gb/s) controller. A traditional HDD is not able to take advantage of the high bandwidth at all. Some other problems with the traditional HDD is the high seek time, the heat (big problem in laptops) and the fact that traditional HDD is having moving parts that over time will fail at some point. In fact the old HDD as we have used for decades was first introduces in 1956 by IBM. Of cause they technology has been improved over the years but mostly when it comes to capacity. Just like back then the disk is still build with rotating plates and hard drive heads reading and writing data.
Whenever you see an ad for a desktop PC or a laptop you can always see how big the HDD is, but never how fast it is. Many of the cheap Laptops you can buy today come with a very high capacity HDD that often are operating with only 5400 RPM. That is a shame that people are buying a brand new Laptop with a fast CPU, lots of fast DDR3 RAM and a very slow HDD. The HDD is the really big bottleneck in modern PC’s and have been for years.


The downside of SSD

Well SSD is not are not all great. There is some issues with SSD as well. The biggest issue is the cost per Gigabyte. My new Corsair drive cost about $170 and is only 120 GB. For the same money I could easily get a 2 TB traditional HDD. However in my desktop PC I have plenty of room for multiple drives. My system drive containing Windows 7 is located on my new Corsair SSD drive. In addition I have a 500 GB and a 1 TB traditional HDD installed. All my music, videos and documents are located on my traditional drives and my system and programs are located on my SDD. In this way I can boot my PC in about 55 sec (including BIOS POST) and Web-browsing and launching programs are done with the speed of light, almost 😀

The hard choice as I see it comes when you have a laptop and only have room for one drive. What to do then? Can you limit yourself to 128 or maybe 256GB or do you need more space? If you need more space you might need to go for a traditional HDD, but at least make sure that it is a 7200 RPM drive then.

SSD taken to the extreme

If you want to see SSD taken to the extreme, take a look at this video. It is 3 years old and a lot have happen to SSD since then but it is still pretty awesome I think.

What do you think about SSD Vs HDD? Do you have a SSD disk in your primary computer? Have you ever considering buying one? Please drop me a comment below.

About the author:
I am an IT Professional that has this blog as a hobby project in my spare time. I have been in the IT business since 1996 and want to share some of the thing I have picked up over the years, with people who visit this blog.

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48 Responses to Are SSD (Solid State drive) really worth the extra money?

  1. Bryan Hollis says:

    Hi Thomas,

    Great post. I definitely learned a bit here. My know of regular sata drives was already average. I have used 7200 rpms for years. I always thought that it was funny that people will buy expensive gaming systems that support 10/100/1000 speed, yet their modem or router cannot nearly support this (100 if lucky). Can a RAID state be created for these new drives? Do they use regular sata 3/6 speed cables? Just curious…


    • Thomas says:

      Hi Bryan
      You are right. It doesn’t really matter how fast your CPU are if it is waiting for your slow hard drive all the time. You can create RAID with SSD drives as well, but of cause it is pretty expensive solution. Yes you can use the same cable for SATA 3 as well.

  2. Paul Salmon says:

    I am currently using 2 500 GB traditional hard drives in RAID 0, but I have been thinking about upgrading to an SSD and use my traditional hard drives for data.

    So far, the price has been the limiting factor, but eventually I will look at buying a SSD drive. They are great for laptops as they don’t have any moving parts, you don’t need to worry about corrupting your hard drive by transporting the laptop.

    • Thomas says:

      Hi Paul
      You really should consider investing in an SSD drive. You will be amazed how big a difference it makes. How you first owned a SSD drive you never want to go back again.

  3. Becca says:

    I like the valuable information you provide in your articles. I’ll bookmark your weblog and check again here frequently. I am quite sure I will learn many new stuff right here! Best of luck for the next!

  4. Andy says:

    How’s the durability of SSDs these days? The last time I’ve been looking into it many people complained about failing drives!
    Anyway, the HDD in my netbooks looks like it might be failing pretty soon, so I might buy a small SDD to check it out. I don’t need a real big one, as I use it mostly for surfing and stuff, so the costs should be manageable…

    • Thomas says:

      Hi Andy
      It is correct that there were some issues last year with the Sandy Bridge controllers that most SSD drives are using. However I have been using SSD drives for a couple of years now and has never had any problems. I will never go back to a traditional drive. Whatever you use you should always take a regular backup because both SSD and HDD can crash on you. I am sure that a SSD will give your notebook a big performance boost.

  5. Jack says:

    I think that this technology is innovative, but I wouldn’t buy a SSD for now, as it is expensive and the performance drops as you store more information. In addition, I don’t know if the SSD is very durable as compared to a HDD.

  6. The performance of SSD is phenomenal, but the cost is something to consider, which is why you get the most benefit using an SSD drive as a replacement Windows boot drive rather than as an add-on storage device. Either way if you have the funds for one you will notice a drastic improvement in Windows response times, application load times and many games that do lot of writes/reads from the drive can improve from upgrading to an SSD.

    • Thomas says:

      Hi Justin
      I can only agree with you. I combine the best from both worlds on my desktop pc. I use SSD for fast boot and application execution and traditional HDD for video and music and virtual hard drives.

      • Justin Germino says:

        I recently swapped my OS disk for an SSD can can tell you that encoding my Camtasia Studio Videos are so much faster on my SSD disk too.

  7. andres says:

    very interesting post, learnt a lot here but one question, Can a RAID state be created for these new drives?

    • Thomas says:

      Hi Andres
      If you have a SATA RAID controller there should be no problem for you to configure it in a RAID configuration if you would like that. In fact that is what the guys in the video in this post do. If you have not seen it yet, check it out. It is awesome.

  8. Jason says:

    I think 120GB is really not enough, when it comes to hard drive space it needs to be at least 1TB these days, depending on what you use your hard drive for but really 120GB would not be enough for me personally.

    • Thomas says:

      Hi Jason
      I have a 120GB SSD for my operating system and additional 500GB and 1TB for data such as music and video. That works great for me. The problem comes of you have a laptop and only have room for 1 hard drive.

  9. Elena Anne says:

    I am totally on board with SSD but as you said it is the price that is really the problem. I can’t think of one other disadvantage it has to an old school hard drive. I really liked the YouTube that was “pretty fast”.

  10. Marty says:

    I guess a SSD is pretty good for your OS. I’m just wating for them to be more affordable 🙂

  11. abshk says:

    i totaly agree with you ssd is really amazing

  12. Honey says:

    Yes, i agree with you. HDD are still using the technology of rotating disc. SSD’s are super fast but the cost is too high. Nice post.

  13. I am totally on board with SSD but as you said it is the price that is really the problem. I can’t think of one other disadvantage it has to an old school hard drive.

  14. Nipon says:

    For me like you said the main problem with SSDs are price factor.I think with time it is going to decrease and become affordable.

  15. Andreas says:

    ssd is really worth the money, but only for the main drive, where the OS and programs are, not for the drive where you store files, at least thats my opinion.. also taken the price into consideration.

  16. Rashmi Sinha says:

    I am thinking of buying a SSD and this is a very enlightening post. I really think the prices are high but they are worth the money as Andreas stated.
    Thanks for sharing

    • Thomas says:

      They really are woth the money. If you want to boost performace on your PC forget about memory or CPU upgrade. SSD is where you will get the most for your money.

  17. phil says:

    hopefully the price of SSD’s will fall and then they will become a must have rather than should i spend all that money to have one

  18. hi i must say ssd is really cool 1 month before i used it on my desktop and its speed really increased like hell which is damn cool

  19. Marian says:

    Corsair Force GT has impressive specifications. I’ve never heard of hardware components without pros and cons. They all have cons. I think SSD is quite useful.

  20. HDD in my netbooks looks like it might be failing pretty soon, so I might buy a small SDD to check it out. I don’t need a real big one, as I use it mostly for surfing and stuff, so the costs should be manageable

  21. droopy eyelid says:

    This is a very enlightening post. I really think the prices are high but they are worth the money as Andreas stated.

  22. Reese says:

    If you have the money and your profession or lifestyle necessitates it, then an SSD is worth the extra money. Since SSD does’t have moving parts it is more stable so if you are always on the go bringing with you important files then you will benefit from SSD. If you just your PC for emailing and very basic internet stuff (and can barely afford it), you couldn’t really tell the difference in terms of performance.

    • Thomas says:

      Hi Reese
      For email and Internet surfing a SSD is not a must have. Where I see the biggest impact on performance is boot time, search and Starting up programs.

  23. Jayson says:

    I perfectly agree and wish to have it. It is just the price tag that turn me off.

  24. Bery C.P. says:

    I really think the prices are high but they are worth the money as Andreas stated.

  25. mark tailor says:

    Though SSD is comparatively costly but when some one use this thing they will find out the deference between SSD and HDD.

  26. Jeff says:

    Solid State Drives are really expensive compared to regular hard drives. Even the fast performing WD Velociraptor 1TB is not that expensive compared to an SSD. But SSDs price nowadays are starting to fall. Companies like Crucial are also making SSDs for mainstream consumers who wants to experience the ultra fast performance of a SSD but with limited budget. I just hope I can replace my HDD with SSD soon. They are very useful specially when you are in video or photo editing/rendering.

    • Thomas says:

      Hi Jeff
      Solid State Drives are still expensive, but it is getting better month after month I think. That is why I have combined SSD and regular HD. I have a 128 GB SSD for operating system and a 2 TB regular disk for data. That works great for me.

  27. Jeff says:

    Hi Thomas,
    Good for you, at least you have an SSD already, and for that I envy you. 🙂

    BTW, have you hear about the latest Integral Crypto SSD that is FIPS 197 certified and with kick ass AES 32-bit hardware encryption? It’s really a state of the art SSD with cutting edge security features.

  28. Jeff says:

    Yes! It’s expensive. Their 256GB is priced at around $518.85. Woot! But the security features are great. I guess the 256-bit AES hardware based encryption makes the price worth it.

  29. Very interesting Thomas, it would certainly help my computer run that tad bit faster, mind you I think it could also do with a massive boost of RAM and a faster processor, oh hell a new computer really, might have to get one built with one of these in it 😉

    • Thomas says:

      Hi Karen
      It all depends on what you have today and how old it is. I can just say that the biggest bottleneck in most computers is the hard drive. Most people are only looking on the size of the disk and not the speed of the disk. That is a big mistake if you ask me. No need for a super-fast CPU and a lot of RAM, if you disk cannot deliver data fast enough. The only issue is that once you have tried a computer with a SSD you will never go back to a regular disk 🙂

  30. I am thinking of buying a SSD and this is a very informative post. I really think the prices are high but The SSD have more bandwidth compare to HDD.

    Thanks For sharing 🙂

  31. jyoti says:

    its much true that ssd is really good one it boosted my pc but simultaneously it is expensive too. ofcourse the speed of cpu always matters but it wolud be good if it will be feasible by all to utilise it.

  32. Mohanraj says:

    I built my own server using an old pc. I just replaced the old HDD with a brand new samsung SSD drives.

    I hosted two sites and tested the speed of the sites across the globe. Since I have old reports and when I compared the results after using SSD drives, its astonishing.

    The site loads 60% faster than usual without any optimization. Later on I optimized the site for caching and the performance improved further.

    Though its an old post, I thought to leave a comment to share my experience.

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