Guide SSD: benefits, installation and advice

Published on Nov 10, 2016

We are in a period of full-replacement technology, in which some of the standards are rooted from the time seem to want to leave the place to the components and new ideas to re-adapt to the needs of all those who entrust themselves to your computer, tablet, smartphone, notebook and anything else. We are in constant search of performance, smallest form factors and more and more flexible. To answer the query “guide SSD” we have developed the definitive guide, in which we will analyze the differences between HDD and SSD, pros, cons, and many other small things that will make you more clear on the difference between hard disk “classic” and SSD.

Here is an index hands-on, practical guide:

After many years in which we have witnessed in the “race” on the capacity of the hard disks, being driven to values very high (up to 4tb), the new solid-state drive Solid-State Drive (SSD) represent a true revolution because they provide a leap forward considerable in terms of performance than traditional hard disk drives.

Looking at the development of technology of all the components of a PC are the hard drives classic (Hard Disk Drive, HDD), the bottleneck for any configuration: speed, and goes hand in hand with the quad-core processors and the new RAM DDR4; it is like wanting to put on a Ferrari with the tires of the Fiat Punto!

An SSD operates in a manner similar to the memory cards, in fact, share the type of memory used to store the data: the NAND Flash.

NAND to offer performance in reading and writing that no magnetic head has ever reached! Thanks to this technology, we eliminate at a stroke all the defects typical of the HDD:

The performance side there is of course no match: a SSD is always faster than a mechanical disk, even when connected to SATA ports older (also taking advantage of the SATA 2 solid-state drive will provide access time faster than a mechanical disk).

SSD: is it really useful in the field of gaming?

The only real serious flaw of the SSD is in the nature of NAND Flash, each Flash memory has memory blocks, each of which is divided into “Page”, or cells, in which is stored information that we want to save.

The number of writes and rewrites of each cell is unfortunately limited in time. A HDD used in a standard way maintains a substantial advantage in terms of duration (over 10 years) while an SSD may run into errors or cells damaged after only 5 years (on average). The manufacturers of hard drives are studying new technologies to increase the life of an SSD, and thanks to a few tricks it is possible to extend the life of the same, but the result is not encouraging for the moment.

It is not a case that the maximum lifespan of a SSD is usually expressed – in the data sheets – just as a function of the amount of data writable in turn proportional to the number of cells available; in the image below we can see how the duration for SSD: for a disk 64 GB the useful life equivalent to writing 36tb capacities with 20GB written per day, which doubles up for the cuts in the upper

Leave everything on the SSD is currently a risk too high for our sensitive data. Let's leave the SSD only for programs and the operating system.

Another sore point of the SSD: the price is still very high compared to the HDD.

To get an idea is useful to look at the price per GB, which is the ratio between the price of the disk and its capacity (expressed in €/GB) because it gives an instant measure of how much “coast” space " of the disk that we buy:

The numbers are decidedly unfavourable to the SSD, and reveal how it is possible to pay for 1 GB of space and up to 10 times more (0,86 against 0,08 €/GB) compared to a good HDD: I have included the sun in sizes 128 and 256 GB because they represent the most interesting versions for the user. We can see that the device with greater capacity are slightly “cheaper” in the long term in relation to the cuts smaller due to the greater number of files stored, resulting in a lower cost-per-GB. In any case, we are still very far removed from the convenience of a traditional HDD, even if the latest offerings allow you to take home and a SSD for less than 100 €.

Best SSD: a guide to buying the [2016]

A SSD drive is easy to install on the desktop: you just have a SATA port free on the motherboard (it's better if the SATA 3 to take full advantage of the potential), usually indicated by the colors red or black, but can also be white or blue (please refer to the manual of your motherboard).

We use a cable to SATA to connect the hard; goes well with any cable (the maximum speed depends on the controller and the chipset, not from the cables) even if they are available in commerce, those certificates SATA 3 with metal clip and grip, L, high-performance, less noise and better grip on the connectors than standard cables.

Of course, we must not forget the power supply: we use one of the free cables that come out from the power supply (bottom photo) compatible with all SATA devices.

The SSD can be placed anywhere, even in vertical position, or cutting “in the air” to dangle the important thing is that the cables engage the respective connectors and do not move easily (no risk with the clip-on connectors metal); alternatively, there are the brackets and the foundations for SSD disks, are placed in the slots 3.5-inch free.

Assembled desktop PC: a guide for beginners

On laptops, it is even easier to install: just need to usually unscrew the two screws on the bottom of the notebook in correspondence of the slot 2.5-inch (always refer to the motherboard manual) and install the disk in the provided port.


The compatibility is total on any operating system recently from Windows 7 then coming to the Apple operating system for its Mac (OS X) and recent distributions of GNU/Linux.

The presence of dedicated software to SSD on Windows is a point not to be overlooked: not only facilitates the maintenance and management of the SSD.

The best programs to manage the SSD

What to do to maintain the health of the disk and improve performance further?

For Windows, refer to the following tips:

For GNU/Linux, refer to the following tips:

These are the basic tips to get a good balance between performance and durability.

If we really want to preserve our SSD, doubling its duration and the performance in read/write, we can make a further change, totally unrelated to the operating system in use: the Over-Provisioning.

 

Without getting too specific, the OP can improve the performance thanks to the ability of the controller of the SSD to use any unallocated space as the “deposit of waste” (garbage collector), deposit of the temporary files (generated during all stages of the file transfer) as additional cache and as storage of new cells ready to replace those damaged by wear and tear in the User Data.

For effective Over-Provisioning is necessary to leave a portion of the drive as “unpartitioned” or “unallocated”: the controller of the SSD will do the rest in a completely automatic way

Almost all manufacturers recommend that you give the OP about 7-10% of the total disk space to optimize its operation

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