There are many ways that you can boost your computer’s performance, but one of the more effective ways of doing so is by installing an SSD or Solid-State Drive. It is a type of storage device, like a hard drive, but with no moving parts, thus making it a lot faster. It doesn’t matter what kind of computer you have, MacBook’s, iMacs, Windows Desktops, and Windows Laptops can all benefit from the upgrade. In the article we’re going to discuss a few of the benefits, and let you know why you should consider this as your next upgrade… if you haven’t already!
What is an SSD and why is it faster?
An SSD similar in concept to a HDD (hard disk drive), but in practice they both work quite differently. SSDs much like HDDs, both store and read data. Where they differ is how each works. We don’t want to bore you with technical details, so we will keep it short and sweet. With an SSD, all the information (programs, files, etc.) is stored on microchips also known as NAND flash and are similar to the memory cards you use in your phone and cameras. With an HDD, all the data is stored on a single disk. The HDD uses a mechanical arm to both write and read data on the disk.
Put short, an SSD is so much faster. It doesn’t have any moving parts, so data is written and read at much higher speeds. Most users find that their system boot times are cut down by a minimum of 50%.
If you are still a bit confused, let’s use an analogy. Pretend you need to grab a book off a shelf. With a HDD, you have to learn what section the book is in and then scan for it until you find it. With an SSD, you know exactly where the book is, so you don’t need to scan, you can just go directly to it and grab it. It’s a rough analogy, but it should give you an idea of the speed difference between the two.
Any computer or laptop can benefit from an SSD
It doesn’t matter what setup you are using, you can benefit from an SSD. With desktops, they often contain extra space in the tower for an extra hard drive, and most new cases allow for an SSD to be mounted. Failing that, we can install an adapter that will create a bay for your SSD to reside. If you have a desktop, installing an SSD is as simple unscrewing the tower and attaching the SSD in its slot. You will however have to perform a clone of your existing hard drive, or as we recommend, a fresh install followed by migrating your data onto the new drive. You also have the option to use your old drive as storage, as space on an SSD is generally more expensive and reserved for the files and programs you use most.
Laptops can be a bit more complicated, as they often only have one slot for hard drives, but you can still install an SSD. For example, take a MacBook Pro. It only has one slot for a hard drive, and the HDD occupies that space. But, you can still have some options for installing an SSD. You could just straight up replace the HDD with an SSD. Another option would be to take out the optical drive (what you use to play discs) and use that slot to put in an SSD. So, depending on what option you choose, your MacBook Pro could either have both a HDD and an SSD, or two SSDs. Either way, the performance of the MacBook and your productivity is going to improve substantially.
What do you mean by “faster”
So far, we have mentioned how an SSD is a lot faster than HDDs, but what does that actually mean for you. Well, just about everything on your computer will speed up. For example, you will see a considerable reduction in load times when booting up the system, installing or running programs. The operating system as a whole (whether it be Windows 7, 10 or Mac OS) will feel smoother than ever before.
In terms of gaming, you won’t see an increase in FPS (frames-per-second) but you will notice much faster rendering of maps and objects within that game. Take Player Unknowns Battlegrounds for example. Without an SSD, you’d be waiting on a black pre-lobby screen for a little while longer, and when you jump, it may take a few seconds after you’ve hit the ground to see buildings, weapons etc.
And with a fast-paced game, this can be the difference between life or death, especially if you’re play style leads you to popular areas right from the start!
“How much faster” you may ask. The answer to that obviously varies from program to program, and it also depends on other parts of your computer as well (like your motherboard, graphics card, etc.), but you will see massive improvements in load speeds. An SSD can be up to 10x faster than your standard HDD. Also, traditional hard drives can be damaged much easier and it’s generally sought that over time they slow down in speed, due to mechanical parts.
Installing an SSD
When it comes to installation, you have two options. Either you can clone your current hard drive for an exact match of your current system, or, as we always recommend, you can install the system fresh, configure your two drives to work in tandem, and get going right from the beginning. If your machine does not have a second hard drive slot, we can use a USB caddy to move your data back on after the installation.
Cloning your current HDD means that you copy over everything to the new SSD. This includes programs, files, and everything else that you can think of. Your computer essentially stays the same. Opting for a fresh install essentially resets your computer and any files and programs that aren’t backed up are deleted. Whilst it’s easy to back files up as mentioned above, it’s recommended that you make sure you have usernames, passwords and licenses for any software you might want to re-install, for example, Microsoft Office or your antivirus.
Of the two, doing a fresh install is the better option. See, if you clone your current HDD, you get to keep your programs, but you also keep all the bloat, viruses, malware, and anything else that has accumulated over the years. This stuff can slow down your computer. A fresh install means that you don’t have to worry about that. Plus, while you may lose your programs, things like photos, music, videos, documents, and user data can all be backed up on an outside storage device an transferred over. Given that the main reason to install an SSD is to improve your computer’s speed, it makes sense to go with the fresh install, but cloning is an option.
SSDs are more affordable than you think
Based off what you have read so far, you probably think SSDs are extremely expensive, but they aren’t. With the release of M2 drivers (designed for slimmer machines and the newest motherboards with the relevant port), a plain Solid-State Drive can actually be quite affordable. For example, a 120GB is around £45-£50, and moving up-to a 240GB after that isn’t too much more! When you consider how valuable SSDs are, you more than get your money’s worth. Infect, we think that once you’ve installed one, you’ll never go back to a traditional drive, I know I wouldn’t!
Still on the fence? Let us know!
If you are still unsure about whether an SSD is right for you, why not talk to us, we love to talk to customers who are looking to upgrade their rigs. We’d be glad to offer some advice on the best upgrade route to you and have three technicians with 15+ years of experience ready to help. When you’re ready to feel the speed and power of Solid-State, fill in the form below, call us on 01302 811859 or grab one of our technicians on live chat.