While solid state drives (SSDs) were one expensive accessories or tiny USB flash drives, the storage devices can now be found on compact ultrabooks, laptops or even desktop computers. These fast, efficient drives store and access data via semiconductors without moving parts. Instead, they use flash memory driven by electricity to record and seek data. Increasingly, solid state drives are less expensive and being used to replace larger and older mechanical hard drives. When using an SSD, there are some guidelines to keep in mind in order to care for and protect the drive.
While SSDs don’t have moving parts and thus have fewer opportunities for wear, tear and breakdown on a physical basis, the memory can still degrade over time. SSDs function with program-erase or P/E cycles, in which a block of data is erased and replaced with a new block. This technology makes SSDs speedy and reliable. However, while each drive contains millions of blocks, and each block has thousands of P/E cycles to go before degrading, at some point the best industrial SSD quality will wear down. However, it is likely that a personal user would replace the drive long before this level of use is attained.
Users may be accustomed to optimizing their traditional, mechanical hard drives. There are still some tips to get the highest performance from your solid state drives. However, old-style optimization software is designed for physical drives with moving parts, and it can’t be used with the flash memory of a solid state drive. There are some tips and tricks to keep in mind to keep your solid state drive at its best.
TRIM command – You can use a TRIM commend to improve efficiency and long-term write performance. This command erases all storage cells that have unused or unnecessary data, so when your drive is storing new data, it won’t need to search for and overwrite old information. On a Windows machine, you can set up an automatic TRIM command. You can even set up TRIM for third-party solid state drives on Macs running OSX as well.
Management software – While old-style hard drive optimization software is no longer necessary, you can use SSD management software to help get the best performance out of your solid state drive. This software helps to manage patches and firmware upgrades to keep your device running well. You can find software made by the manufacturer of your SSD or download third-party software options. However, manufacturer software can be the best choices for simple performance maintenance.
Bigger is better – Choosing a larger solid state device can help you in several ways. Not only will you have more room for your data, you’ll also generally find that bigger drives are speedier and longer-lasting than smaller options.
Keep large files off-site – SSDs can easily store large files like movies, TV shows, videos and high-resolution photos. However, constantly accessing these large files can put your SSD through a lot of work. It can shorten the life span of a drive to frequently access large files of this type. Therefore, these files can be a good choice for storing on external storage or another mechanical drive.
Increase your memory – If your computer is equipped with a good amount of RAM, it is better-placed to grab data more efficiently from your solid state drive and extend its life. A sufficient amount of RAM not only keeps your computer swift, it can protect its longevity.
There are, of course, a few things not to do as well in order to protect your solid state drive and maximize its potential. The first to keep in mind is to never defrag your drive. While defragmentation was once useful in keeping mechanical hard drives running swiftly, trying to defragment a solid state drive will only make it rewrite data repeatedly and, therefore, shorten its life.
You also don’t need mechanical-drive optimization software. Unless your drive-tweaking software is designed for solid state drives, turn it off or deactivate it. It won’t help and can even hurt your new drive. You’ll also want to stay conscious of storage space. SSDs get slower as they fill up, so keeping your drive at 75 percent full or less is a good idea for optimal performance.