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Why are SSDs so Lightweight?

A solid-state drive or popularly known as SSD is a common device used in computers and laptops for the storage of data. It is the latest storage option being used and has replaced the traditionally used hard drives.

SSD is much faster than any previous alternatives as they employ flash-based memory. Because of the reduced access time and faster throughputs, the use of SSD makes your computer faster. 

But being a still fairly new storage option there are many misconceptions about SSD. One of the most common such misconceptions is related to its weight. SSD’s are very light when compared to the HDD, weighing as little as 10 grams. Depending on the storage and variant of the SSD it can weigh anywhere between 6 to 60 grams. 

Different types of SSDs

SSD comes in many different sizes and storage capacities but here are the basic categories of SSD available in the market. 

  1. 2.5-inch Serial ATA: This is one of the most common types of SSD available and can be used to upgrade the traditional hard drive. The size of the SATA is similar to hard drives found in laptops or computers.
  1. M.2 SSDs: These SSDs are approximately 22mm wide by 80mm long and resemble the shape of the RAM stick. The M.2 SSD drive can offer up to 8TB of storage space suitable for people who need a large storage capacity. 
  1. U.2 SSDs: The 2.5 inch SSD is a variant of the U.2 SSD available. The interface used in this SSD is the Peripheral Component Interconnect Express that allows a faster transfer of data. 

Which one is the lightest?

The M.2 SSDs which generally have dimensions 80mm x 22mm x 3.5mm are the lightest SSDs in the market. Most of these SSDs will weigh below 8 gm.

Another thing to discuss here is that the weight of M.2 SSDs will not increase as the storage space increases. It is possible that 1 TB M.2 SSD can be lighter than a 128 GB M.2 SSD.

But, this is not a case with the SATA SSDs. Their weight can increase as the storage space increases.

M.2 SSDs are the lightest
M.2 SSDs are the lightest

The Storage Capacity of the SSD

Unlike hard drives that have space in terabytes, SSD starts with a smaller offering of storage. Generally available space in an SSD starts from 128 GB. The next standard storage options are 256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB, 2 TB, and so on. The highest available storage on an SSD card lies around 8 TB. I would recommend storing your programs and applications on an SSD to have a faster-processing speed while storing one’s personal storage on a portable hard drive. 

How SSDs are made? 

In a nutshell, an SSD is manufactured by installing memory chips to a circuit board. The process starts with processing wafers of silicon, a non-conducting element through a series of processes to stop the contamination as well as add the required components to the wafer to make it fit for the production of an SSD. 

After adding the additional elements, the wafer is covered in light-sensitive fluid and flashed with ultraviolet light rays. The flash is passed through a glass stencil of an electrical circuit that protects the parts covered by the stencil and dissolves the rest. This step also imprints the electric circuit on the wafer, which is lastly washed through chemical baths to remove any leftover product. 

The wafers are then cut into different sizes depending on the desired SSD to be manufactured and placed in a protective plastic casing. The next step is the assembly of the different components to the board which is then passed through an oven to fuse them together. After this, the quality control process is carried out to check each SSD and its functionality. 

What component SSD’s are made out of?

As I have mentioned above SSD’s are manufactured by assembling memory chips on a circuit board. Generally, SSD uses silicon wafers that are processed over hundreds of processes. A few conducting and non-conducting elements are also added during the process such as copper, and silicon dioxide.

All of these components are attached to a PCB and then enclosed in a case most of the times. The M.2 SSDs may come naked because they are smaller in size and easy to attach.

If we talk about the portable SSDs, they are also built using the same mechanism. But, their cases are made in a way that they look like any other general use electronics item.

Why are HDDs heavier than SSDs?

Unlike an SSD that has a couple of components, Hard disk drives are generally made out of multiple parts assembled together. The four major parts of an HDD being the spindle, platters, read/write arm, and actuator. 

The number of platters on a hard drive is dependable on its storage capacity, and are generally made out of either aluminum, glass, or ceramics. The spindle on the other hand is the component responsible for spinning the drive to both read and write information on the drive. 

The read/write arm is responsible for reading and writing data on the drive by converting the magnetic surface of the platters into an electric current. The actuator on the other hand is responsible for positioning the arm in the correct position for storing or accessing the data. Both these parts are made out of metals like copper. 

As we explained earlier SSD are made out of silicon wafers that are processed and fused on a circuit through a series of steps. In comparison, the weight of a 2.5 inch HDD will be approximately around 115 to 120 grams. A 2.5-inch SSD on the other hand will weigh between 45 to 60 grams only.

Conclusion

SSD is not only faster and more lightweight compared to the traditional hard drive disk drives, but also has various other advantages over the latter. If you are considering which option to choose between the two, then SSD is the way to go. Not only does it make your computers and laptops faster but also has a long lifespan and resistance to damage and wear and tear. 

That is the reason why I always recommend upgrading to an SSD on your existing devices for a better experience. Not only will it save your time and power consumption but is also a long-term solution for storage on your devices.

Also Read: Do SSDs wear out?