Beginner's Guide On How Solid-State Drives Work

Learn the fundamentals of how a solid state drive (SSD) work. The operations, the SSD parts and it's function. Read more about solid-state drives and more!

Table Of Content
Beginner's Guide On How Solid State Drive Work

SSDs offer a number of advantages over conventional media drives. While their use in the consumer arena is relatively new, the technology that powers their fast storage and recall operations has actually been around since the early 1980s.

Before you visit your trusted SSD drive recovery service provider and interrogate them for questions,  check out this quick guide first!

In this article, we are going to answer basic questions by anyone who wants to learn more about solid-state drives.

Here’s how these awesomely hardy devices keep your data in order without employing a single moving part.

What Are SSD's and How Does Solid-State Drives Work?

What are Solid State Drives | TTR Data Recovery

SSD (Solid-state drives) uses electronics & transistors in solid-state form and functions as a data storage collector. FETs are attached to SSD’s so that the device can alter their conductivity to respond to their external voltages. 

Most employ special floating-gate, field-effect transistors, or FETs, which change their conductivity in response to external voltages.  

These Floating-gate fields are unique because they are designed with floating sections that isolates electric fields. This allows the recycling or circulation of current enabling the device to retain its solid-state for a good amount of time. 

Each Floating-gate field works like NAND logic gates, with each storing a charge either positive or negative ( represents 0 or 1). The System Will be then outputting a 0 if all of its inputs are 1s. 

These lines comes with connectors (source lines and bit lines) which links each cell to conduct reading, writing & arranging each grids and bits. The device also employ more transistors to facilitate addressing individual bits that are being accessed at any given time.

Words is composed of grids & blocks which size is at 16k max. Most page sizes are around 4MBs or 256 pages.

If it ever comes to your mind that you want to upgrade your PC, here’s some helpful guides.

What Are The Different SSD Operations?

What Are The Different Ssd Operations | Ttr Data Recovery

While RAM generally beats all other devices in terms of low read and write access delays, NAND memory consistently outpaces hard drives in these categories, and the fact that seeking is unnecessary is a clear advantage.

The one operation that flash falls behind on is erasure, which isn’t needed for hard drives or RAM.

Erasing stored bits at the block level is the best way to minimize the negative side effects of the high voltages required for erasure, so these operations take some time. 

As SSDs become increasingly full, they may also slow down, as they have to locate blocks that are OK to delete and erase them completely before writing new pages.

Techniques like garbage collection, where blocks are modified by writing their new state to empty blocks before deleting the originals, and TRIM, or skipping rewrite operations for select data when block erasure is performed, can decrease overhead. 

Other methods, like wear leveling, ensure that different NAND blocks are generally used the same amount to increase overall drive life. Wear leveling, garbage collection and TRIM also help mitigate the impacts of having to write whole blocks just to erase select pages.

What Are The Parts In An SSD?

What Are The Parts In An Ssd | Ttr Data Recovery

You also need to find out what’s inside an SSD whenever you’re studying how solid-state drives work. SSDs revolve around two main components: the memory and the controller. 

1. Memory

The memory consists of the blocks of NAND flash gates that actually hold the data. The controllers are intricate electronic circuits that does the reading, writing and erasing functions.

2. Controllers

Controllers also take care of monitoring blocks for wear leveling, finding unusable sectors that have sustained damage, data encryption, error correction and garbage collection

Different manufacturers employ a range of proprietary techniques to give their SSD products competitive edges, and these typically revolve around how controllers function.

Best Kinds of SSDs on the Market as of 2019

Best Kinds of SSDs on the Market as of 2019 | TTR Data Recovery

When you’re picking out a new phone, computer, TV, etc, you always figure out which are the best and most reliable brands. The same thing applies when you are thinking of buying a new SSD. With the numerous brands on the market today, it’s good to know where will you get your money’s worth. Knowing how solid state drives work will be put to waste if you buy a faulty SSD.

According to Tech Radar, here are some of the best SSDs you can buy in 2019:

Differences of an SSD and Hard Drive

Differences of an SSD and Hard Drive | TTR Data Recovery

Hard drives employ magnetic storage to accomplish read and write operations. Each disk inside a drive contains distinct sections of paramagnetic materials, or substances that change their magnetic field in response to external magnetic fields. When a read-write arm uses an electromagnet, or head, to set the orientation of a given field, that bit becomes a 0 or a 1 that can later be retrieved.

If you’re wondering how solid state drives work compared to a hard drive, it is actually quite simple. SSDs make use of flash memory chips while hard drives require moving parts. Voice coils, motors and other hardware work together to keep the drives spinning and shift the arm back and forth so that its read-write head can access individual data sectors. This traditional methodology has some advantages, like established market share and well-known failure modes, but compared to SSDs, it generally suffers from heightened wear, slower access and increased environmental susceptibility.

The reason why some people prefer hard drives has got to be because of its storage capacity. Hard drives can go up to as much as 10TB. Meanwhile SSDs usually just go up to 4TB. When testing how well do the solid-state drives work, you will get to discover that SSDs are always faster, more durable, and more energy efficient. SSDs promise an impressive overall performance so this is why SSDs are not that cheap.

The Difference of an SSD to an SSHD

Some of you who already know about how solid-state drives work might still be telling yourself that going for a traditional hard drive is still the way to go. If you want to get the best of both worlds, this is where SSHDs step in. SSHD stands for Solid State Hybrid Drive.

The Difference of an SSD to an SSHD | TTR Data Recovery

To understand how do solid state hybrid drives work, you can just think of SSHDs as a combination of an HDD and SSD. How does a solid state and normal hard drive work together? An SSHD basically gives you the storage capacity of an HDD and the performance of an SDD.

An SSHD makes use of NAND flash memory so you won’t really be worrying about any moving parts getting damaged in the long run. When you compare how solid state drives work to how SSHDs work, you will come to the conclusion that SSDs are still the winner when it comes to performance. SSHDs just have a longer lifespan and are generally more affordable.  

The Downside of Using an SSD

Even if there are many good things to discover when reading about how solid state drives work, there is still a catch to be aware of. When buying an SSD, you should know that the number of writes your SSD can make is actually limited. This versus the old standard might make people want to use HDDs or SSHDs instead.

However, the only people who need to worry about reaching the limit are those who regularly write a huge amount of gigabytes for years. If you just use SSDs for storing personal files, then you’re all good. The reason why the demand for SSDs is still very high today is because of the impeccable speed it promises. At this time and age where many people are always on-the-go, getting work done the fastest way possible is what everyone needs.

Some times SSDs does not show up upon booting the PC. Before you pluck all your hair out, check SSD not showing up to guide you.

Whenever you need to refresh your memory, our tech experts at TTR Data Recovery can tell you all you need to know about how solid state drives work. Want to know how does a new solid state hard drives work storage wise or how solid-state drives work without power? Just give us a call and we’d be happy to help!

Was this Helpful? Don't forget to share
Tommy Kh | Ttr Data Recovery

About the Author
Tommy Khamoushi, Data Recovery Expert

Tommy Khamoushi is an IACRB-certified Data Recovery Engineer and a Certified Forensic Computer Investigator. He has more than 20 years of experience in data recovery including providing technical support for the House of Representatives.

Tommy leads a team of data recovery engineers and experts at TTR Data Recovery to recover highly sensitive data for government agencies like the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and enterprise businesses using advanced and proprietary techniques and processes.

Connect with Tommy on LinkedIn.