Solid State Drives are the new king on the block. These drives are sleek and they are fast and they are nothing like the old mechanical storage drives of the past. Sure, an SSD store data and will run an operating system just like the old drives did, but the similarities stop there. A new SSD requires a different mindset when maintaining and optimizing for daily use. Here are three tips and tricks to use while setting up a new SSD for success.
Tip #1: A Larger SSD is Commonly A Faster SSD
When using the older mechanical drives, speed was considered a constant. The mechanical drive could never exceed the rotation speed of the platter used to store the data. In the case of an SSD, there are indications that the larger capacity that an SSD has, the faster that SSD will be in the end.
While the old HDD used a sequential writing style to store data, SSDs use a scattershot method that writes data in many different sectors at once. So if an SSD drive contains more NAND chips (i.e. the drive has a larger capacity) that same drive is able to store larger blocks of information in a single shot, making that drive faster by sheer volume.
Tip #2: Forget About Drive Optimization
SSDs are fast. This is the selling point for the technology, even when the average cost per GB storage is still at or above $1.00. However, the crazy speeds that an SSD can write and read are still unable to max out the SATA 3.0 communication protocols used to communicate with modern PCs.
A SATA 3.0 connection is rated to transfer data at rates up to 6-gbs and todays best SSDs move write data at nearly 5-gbps. Combine that fact with the scattershot technique that SSDs use to write data and the need for optimization is no longer a priority. Indications are that optimization techniques designed for use with mechanical drives will slow down an SSD.
Tip #3: Use SSDs On Operating Systems That Support TRIM
In the early days of SSD technology, performance would degrade over time. Writing data to a NAND device is a two-part process: a cell must be erased or empty of data before it can be written upon. This caused drives to be designed to write only onto clean drive sectors first and only after all sectors were written on, then begin to clean and write on previously used sectors. This allowed manufactures to inflate reported SSD performance.
However, in modern operating systems, TRIM is used to accelerate writing to a used drive. TRIM is a process that preempts the sector cleaning process by ordering the SSD to clean data from used sectors that are no longer needed. TRIM is supported by Microsoft Windows 7 and later operating systems.