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ssd-vs-hdd.jpgAfter seeing the final Steve Jobs keynote, we are left with the desire to know the difference between an ordinary HDD ( hard disk drive ) and a SSD ( solid state drive ) as those are both are coming as an option in the new MacBook Air.

Regular HDD drive is storage device which stores digitally encoded data on rapidly rotating platters with magnetic surfaces. The platters are spinning at very high velocity. Information is written to a platter as it rotates past mechanisms called read-and-write heads that operate very close over the magnetic surface.

Because it’s construction HDD drives are very prone to vibrations or shocks, the shock causes that reading head struck the sensitive magnetic surface and damage it self and the surface of a disk. Also when HDD is working it has to spin all the time, on laptop that means draining precious battery life.

open_hdd_and_ssd.jpgComparing to HDD, SSD is composed from NAND flash memory, so if we oversimplify it, it’s a big memory card, like you have in your digital camera or mobile phone. So there are no moving parts, allowing it to work in a high vibrational conditions, like when you are using your laptop in a car or bus. Cause there are no moving parts there is no noise, also power consumption is reduced comparing to HDD.

Take a look at this video where Samsung test laptop with an SSD drive is compared to a HDD powered one. I have to admit that was completely astonished by the results at the end.

[youtube pJMGAdpCLVg]

After all this you should wonder why are we still using HDD on laptops when SSD presents solutions to all our problems?

SSD technology have several disadvantages, first the PRICE, if you want your new MacBook Air with SSD instead HDD you have to add significant amount of money. Second the CAPACITY, SSD still have lower capacity that we used to have on our laptops. There are SSD drives with 160GB storing space but they cost over $1000 – crazy.

Few other downsides for SSD are vulnerability to magnetic fields and electric-static charges compared to normal HDD drives, limited life cycle and slower random write speeds.

SSD technology is coming that is certain, but your 500GB drives in a RAID on your desktop computer are still safe.