How Much Power does SSD Use?

by Paul | Last Updated: July 29, 2021

Analyzing if the SSD Really Offers Longer Battery Life. Solid State Drives (SSD) are without a doubt better than Hard Disk Drives (HDD). They have lesser weight, they use flash memory instead of moving parts which fragments a disk, they are faster and give a better overall performance. The non-moving parts design of the SSD is said to give it another advantage over the HDD when it comes to battery life as it uses less power.

How much power does SSD use?

When in active use, the SSD consumes an average of 2.7W and when it is idle, it consumes 0.05W. This is better than the HDD that uses 4.1W actively and 3W when it is idle. There are a few reasons why there is a significant difference between the power consumption of SSD and HDD. Let us look at them

SSD Technology

The first is technology, with advanced technology there is always a guaranteed improvement. The SSD is designed with the NAND technology, which is a nonvolatile storage technology that does not require power to retain data.

The purpose of using this technology is to increase maximum chip capacity and reduce the cost per bit so it can compete with HDD in the long run.

It relies on electric circuits to store data and saves them as blocks. Remember it does not require power to retain data? This is made possible by the metal-oxide-semiconductor that provides an extra charge to the memory cell. They are two types of gates, and both work in unison to help control the flow of data.

They are called the control gates and floating gates, for a cell to be programmed, a voltage charge is sent to the control gate.

SSD Design

An SSD uses flash memory which means it has no moving parts, unlike the HDD that must spin (moving needle) for the read/write process of the disk to be complete. This flash memory has a finite number of operation as it has certain write cycles assigned which is sometimes referred to as P/E cycles.

Although this is not an issue as you are not likely to exhaust it before the 5-year lifespan (except on an extremely intensive use), manufacturers are also working on increasing the cycles.

This flash memory is fast but not as fast as ROM or RAM as it can only support a small number of write cycles per block. This design makes it shock-resistant, capable of withstanding low or high temperatures, accidental drops, and water. There are 5 types of this flash memory.

The 3D NAND has a stacked layer of memory making it fast. Single-level Cells (SLC) stores one bit in each cell and it is the most expensive and it has the highest endurance. The Multi-level Cell (MLC) it is less expensive as it stores two bits in each cell.

A lower-performing one that is less expensive is the triple-level cell (TLC), this stores three bits in each cell. Finally, the quad-level cell stores four bits in each cell, they are less durable.

SSD Interface and Drive

The type of interface an SSD uses plays a huge role in its speed. The SATA III interface is fast but offers better performance when paired with PCIe and NVMe.

Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) has five common slot and cards referred to as lanes. They are: x1, x2, x4, x8 and x16. The higher the lanes, the faster the PCIe. This is because it provides lower latency and data transfer rates than parallel buses.

Data transfer is done over two signal pairs i.e., two wires for transmitting and two wires for receiving. The PCIe is faster than the SATA so it consumes less power so they can extend battery life.

Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) is an interface with a host controller and a storage protocol created to improve the speed of SSDs using the PCIe bus. It can be used as a backup memory, main memory, or cache. It further reduces latency and increases the input/output speed of a PC.

For drive, there are two main types. The 2.5-inch can be used for either HDD or SSD and runs on the SATA III interface. It is not so good until it is paired with PCIe and it is better when the NVMe is added.

For the m.2, it is very fast, and depending on the number of lanes in a PCIe, it can be faster and when the NVMe is added, it is an amazing speed.

All these features contribute to the speed of SSD resulting in lesser power consumption.

Other Aspects of the SSD

From our earlier explanation, it means that SSD when active consumes less power than an idle HDD. It also does not run hot and it is silent as there are moving parts. The SSD has startup efficiency making it consume less power, this means it takes a shorter time to boot your PC and shut it down.

Using this type of storage disk is very beneficial for people with a mobile lifestyle e.g., students, businesspeople, remote workers, and anybody who commutes a lot with their PC.

As great as this sounds, it is not the case for all SSDs as we have pointed out the various features that give SSDs an advantage, the greater the feature, the better the advantage. A popular SSD that saves battery life by consuming little power is the Samsung 850 EVO.

This article focused on the use of SSD for laptops or desktops, but this does not mean that it is restricted to those devices. The SSD can also be used for gaming consoles, it also consumes less power in that area.

Does the SSD give a longer battery life?

Yes, but a laptop is more likely to benefit from an SSD upgrade than a desktop as it is a device with a limited battery capacity when it is not plugged in and it is a portable device.