SSDs are distinguished from traditional hard disk drives (HDDs), which are electromechanical devices containing spinning disks and movable read/write heads. SSDs, in contrast, use microchips which retain data in non-volatile memory chips and contain no moving parts. Compared to electromechanical HDDs, SSDs are typically less susceptible to physical shock, quieter, and have significantly lower access time and latency. SSDs use the same interface as hard disk drives, thus easily replacing them in most applications.
As of 2010, most SSDs use NAND-based flash memory, which retains memory even without power. SSDs using volatile random-access memory (RAM) also exist for situations which require even faster access, but do not necessarily need data persistence after power loss, or use external power or batteries to maintain the data after power is removed.