Getting the Most Out of Your SSD

Solid state drives are fast becoming to go-to storage medium for computer and laptop manufacturers, with hard disk drives being abandoned in favour of the speed boost SSDs offer. But the main disadvantage of SSDs is their limited lifespan.

Unlike the traditional mechanical hard disk drive, solid state drives don’t have any moving parts, and instead rely on NAND flash memory chips, which are able to read and write data at incredible speeds. However, one of the main disadvantages of SSDs is their limited lifespan, which is only exacerbated when incorrectly used. Traditional magnetic hard disk drives aren’t disappearing any time soon thanks to their large storage capacity and comparatively cheap price, but SSDs are the future of data storage and it’s important to properly get to grips with the technology in order to get the most out of it. The main shortcoming of the SSD is its limited write endurance, which means there’s only a finite amount of data that can be written before it becomes unusable.

There are steps you can take to extend the lifespan of your solid state drive, though. While defragging will make a regular mechanical hard disk drive faster, it won’t do a thing for a solid state drive, and can actually do more harm than good. Any sector on the drive can be accessed at the same, so fragmentation isn’t an issue. Additionally, SSDs must first erase sectors before they’re overwritten with new data. In Windows, an operating system not currently optimised for SSDs, you need to make sure scheduled disk fragmentation is disabled.

Wear levelling refers to the technique that some solid state drives use to increase the drive’s lifespan. The theory behind it is that if entries for all blocks in the drive are distributed freely, they will wear out evenly. If certain blocks are written to too often, they will wear out faster than others; wear levelling ensures all blocks receive the same number of writes. There are two types of wear levelling; dynamic wear levelling and static wear levelling. Dynamic wear levelling is a method that pools the blocks that are free of data, and selecting the block with the lowest erase count for the next write. Static wear levelling utilises all good blocks to evenly distribute wear, by tracking the cycle count of good blocks. Wear levelling can be implemented via firmware or a microcontroller. 

SSD Data Recovery