The disk drive, or hard drive, is the main storage unit inside your computer. All of the information used by the computer is stored on it including all of the operating system (Windows, Mac OSX etc), programs (Word, Excel, Chrome and the like) and all of your data (Documents, Pictures etc.).
Ever since they have been around, disk drives (or hard drives as they are sometimes known) have been based on a technology something like a marriage between an old record and tape player. The data is actually stored in magnetically encoded patterns on a rotating disk inside the unit which spins very quickly (between 5000 and 10000 rpm!). While these have been developed into very reliable and large capacity units, they are limited in speed due to their mechanical technologies.
In the past few years, an alternative has become available which has no moving parts, is much faster and should prove even more reliable. You could think of it like a large flash or thumb drive but I would rather you didn’t as these are very slow and unreliable!
Solid State Disk drives are much faster than conventional hard drives and, since all of the major operations on your computer depend mainly on the speed of the disk drive unit, they make pretty much everything you do on the computer happen much more quickly. I have replaced quite a few hard drives with these SSDs and the first thing you notice is that the computer starts up a lot faster!
You may notice that the capacity of these SSDs seems to be less than standard modern hard drives. Its not because the technology is not available, it’s a question of price vs. capacity which has not come down yet – I believe it will as demand increases. A standard install of the operating system takes around 15GB of space, and the minimum SSD size I recommend is 128GB so there is still lots of room available. You can always use an external drive or have another drive installed in the system if you want more storage space.