Upgrading to a Solid State Hard Drive

SSD’s, or Solid state hard drives, are one of those things in the world of technology that may be a little mysterious to some, and a gray area that could potentially seem kind of overwhelming. Are SSD’s worth looking into? Will they help a computer perform better for the additional cost and hassle of installation? Is installation something that anyone at home can do himself or herself? These are all valid questions when looking into upgrading to a solid-state drive.

All About SSDs

History of Hard Drives

Back in the day, in the early years of computers and computerized technology, hard drives required huge amounts of space and only were capable of a fraction of the memory that present day devices are capable of. In 1956, the IBM 350 RAMAC was a 3.75MB hard drive that required 50 24inch wide platters. In such a huge amount of physical space, this hard drive would be capable of holding maybe one 128 kbps mp3 file. Hard drives today are much more advanced and offer storage space ranging up in the Terabyte range. This is a huge difference from 60 years ago.

SSD Technology

Unlike traditional hard drives, solid-state hard drives have no moving parts on the inside. Hard Disk drives use magnetic storage to store and retrieve digital information using platters, or rotating discs. These discs are coated with magnetic material and paired with magnetic heads. These magnetic heads are paired with an actuator arm on the hard disk and the arm is what will do the reading and writing of the data onto the platter surfaces.

SDD technology, as mentioned earlier does not have any moving parts. SSDs fall into the category of flash memory, which is a type of non-volatile memory that is electronically erased and reprogramed. SSD technology is often much more expensive per bit, but is reportedly worthwhile when looking for a faster, more space efficient, and more durable alternative to hard disk drives. HDDs generally have more of a benefit to SSDs when it comes to capacity and overall performance, however, if a computer user relies on speed and is a little rougher on their computer than most, a SSD might be the better option.

Installing a SSD

The installation for a SSD is definitely something that can be done at home, especially if looking to save a little extra cash on an, otherwise, pretty pricy installation. When looking at the steplist for installing a SSD into a MacBook Pro, the first noteworthy item is the capability of the MacBook Pro. Since there is only one hard drive slot, a SSD may be limiting in terms of the amount of storage space capability. The solution, if looking for more storage space would be to install a SSD and replace the optical drive in the machine with a second hard disk. If willing to venture into that feat, a company called MCE technologies makes a kit that will help replace the optical drive in a MacBook with another hard drive.

First step is to open up the computer by removing the screws. A magnetic screwdriver would be best for this. Next steps involve removing the optical drive if so desired, as well as the hard disk drive. Many step-by-step online guides are available depending on the make and model of the computer receiving the upgrade. For the most part, like any computer upgrade, this can be painless with a little experience. If computer upgrades or changing around the components of small electronics are a new endeavor, it would be a great idea to get some help with the upgrade. No shame in seeking some expertise. Anyone with some basic experience in computer hardware and technology should have the perfect means of assisting in a SSD upgrade like this.

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