What is an SSD?

In order to produce long-lasting, reliable and thus sustainable PCs, the most suitable components must be installed. Prime Computer only uses SSDs as data storage. Why this makes a lot of sense is explained in this blog post.

SSDs have established themselves in recent years as a data storage and displaced conventional hard disks (HDD) already in many areas. An HDD or Hard Disk Drive (left picture) is a hard disk with mechanical components. When storing data, a mechanical read/write head magnetically writes on a rotating disk. It is more or less a miniature record player. If data stored in an HDD is to be read, the read/write head must first move to the location on the rotating disk where that data was stored.

In contrast to the HDD, an SDD (right picture) is a purely electronic, digital data memory. The SSD has no mechanical or moving components. The data is stored digitally via different voltage states.

Modern HDDs are sold in 3.5-inch and especially in 2.5-inch format. SSDs are also commonly found in a 2.5-inch format. However, SSDs are suitable for much smaller form factors, therefore SSDs are becoming increasingly popular as 22mm plug-in cards for the M.2 slot.

Advantages of SSDs as data storage

SSDs can write and read data much faster than even the most advanced HDDs. Already at sequential data transfer, i.e. in pure data copying, SSDs are many times faster than HDDs. With non-sequential data transfer, if the required data is not stored “side by side” on the hard disk, the speed advantage becomes even greater. In practice, it makes a big difference, if the operating system and frequently used programs are installed on an SSD.

The mechanical components of an HDD can be affected by vibrations and even irreparably damaged by stronger forces. Modern HDDs have vibration protection, the mechanical read/write arm and the rotating disc are locked in order to protect them from damage. However, the PC or server is also blocked during this time. Since SSDs have no mechanical components, they are shock and vibration resistant. PCs with SSDs as data storage can be easily installed in vehicles or vibrating machines.

Other than HDDs SSDs are also completely silent, emit less heat and can be installed with the same storage capacity in much smaller form factors. These features make them ideal for compact and passively cooled PCs like the PrimeMinis. Even in the only 11cm by 17cm small PrimeMini 4 (right picture), the SSD in the M.2 form factor (left picture) does not take up much space.

Old weaknesses eliminated

Until recently the weakness of SSDs was that they could not be rewritten indefinitely. In the meantime, this has become a theoretical limitation for PCs and servers. Currently, Samsung 860 Evo SSDs are installed in the PrimeMinis. Such a Samsung SSD with a 1 terabyte storage capacity has a 600 terabyte write capacity guaranteed by Samsung. That means in the prime computer warranty period of 5 years, one would have to describe the SSD per day with 329 gigabytes, in order to reach the guaranteed maximum writing capacity. An average PC user will never write that much data on his SSD even in a much longer period than 5 years. In addition, the actual maximum write capacity is usually much higher than the write capacity guaranteed by the manufacturer. For servers, special SSDs are installed, which again have a much higher maximum write capacity.

Today, SSDs are faster, smaller, more robust, and more durable than HDDs, making them the logical choice for data storage in the high quality PrimeMinis.

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