A conventional hard drive, like the one you probably have in your computer right now, uses spinning magnetic disks called "platters" to store information. An arm moves across the disk, similar to an old turntable record player, to write and read information.
Even with multiple platters, it still takes a while for the hard drive to find information, and the data can only transfer as fast as the platters are spinning. That's why hard drive manufacturers often tell you the platter RPM. 5,400 RPM is used for many laptops and 7,200 RPM is typical for most desktops, but they can get up to 10,000 RPM and beyond for "high-speed" models. Or that used to be the case before solid-state came along.
A solid-state hard drive is a big block of flash memory, similar to a USB drive or memory card, with no moving parts to slow things down or break. The benefits of an SSD are that it's much faster (it works in microseconds rather than milliseconds), lighter, cooler, uses less electricity and is harder to damage than a conventional drive.
That's why solid-state storage is used for tablets, smartphones and high-end laptops like the MacBook and PC Ultrabooks.
The world's largest and most expensive solid-state drive (SSD) has just been made available. Yes, you want it. I do too!
It's the Samsung PM1633a SSD. It is clocking in at a massive 15.36 terabytes (or 15,360,000,000,000 bytes) of storage.
Get ready to spend some serious money for this drive. It's $10,000! Cha-Ching!