You may not think of your PC as being mechanical, but the noise it makesevery time you switch it on suggests otherwise. the components inside heat upand need cooling with fans, and perhaps the most precise mechanical instrumentin your PC, if not in your house, is the hard disk.
Several glass discs inside spin more than 5,000 times per minute while adevice the width of a human hair scurries back and forth across them readingfiles, folders and programs from the surface.
Although modern hard disks are impressively tough – they work inside alaptop, after all – anything this complicated and mechanical has the potentialto go wrong. And, although they are fast, mechanical hard disks are stillrelatively inefficient when it comes to finding your files.
Recently, though, a new alternative has appeared: the Solid State Disk, orSSD for short. these work in the same way as a USB memory key: data is stored ona series of memory chips, connected to your PC internally. With no moving partsthey are far more resilient, and much quicker. Running from an SSD, Windows canoften start in seconds.
SSDs are becoming more affordable all the time, so today you can buy one forless than £100. Beginners may find it difficult to install one, but if you are aconfident computer user read on and we will explain how to do it in a simplestep-by-step manner.
Benefits of SSDs Before we explain how to install an SSD, though, you might be wondering whetherit’s worth the trouble. if you are happy with the speed of your PC, the answermight be no – but if your computer’s a bit sluggish, an SSD could help. Here’swhy.
It’s easy to imagine that hard disk speed only affects your computer when youare copying files, perhaps from one location to another, or from your PC toanother device. but, in fact, your computer’s hard disk is being accessed almostconstantly.
One of the most intense periods of its activity comes when you start Windows– it needs to read thousands of files quickly to get the operating system upand running. using an SSD will cut the time this takes drastically.
Over time, the way data is written to a mechanical hard disk becomesincreasingly random, which means you either tolerate a slower PC or defragmentthe files. you will never need to do this with an SSD.
Your hard disk gets lots of use once Windows is going, too. if you load bigapplications, such as a photo-editing tool, your hard disk has to refer tothousands of files.
An SSD makes this quicker, so programs start up faster. And, if your computerruns short on memory, it will start moving data from memory to your hard disk –something that is far slower on a hard disk than an SSD.