Solid state drives… more commonly referred to as SSD’s in the computing world, have finally arrived in practical sizes that are affordable for everyone. They are a direct replacement for your current laptop or desktop’s hard drive, and you don’t have to start from scratch. Your current operating system installation is cloned to the new SSD and with a few tweaks, it is optimized for the SSD and your computer is ready for use. Now for a little history, and why this wasn’t possible 10 years ago.
For years, the size and cost of an SSD prevented them from being used in real world applications. 16 and 32 GB drives have been around for a while, but we are trying to run operating systems, not put a memory card in your grandparents digital camera. Do you remember the cute little netbooks that premiered with 10 inch screens and solid state drives? They were tiny, barely enough space to install the operating system, let alone let you install any programs. They were a fad that everyone had to be a part of, then a few years later tablets killed them off. There are a lot of pros, and very few, if any cons to using a solid state drive as your system drive. Let’s take a minute to reflect on the cons of traditional magnetic spinning disk drives.
A traditional spinning disk drive uses round platters for the magnetic storage with read heads that spin at various speeds ranging from 5400 to 15,000 RPM. They are very sensitive to shock, heat, and cold. If you were to drop a laptop, the laptop itself may get banged up, but it will probably survive. The hard drive has a very high chance of crashing, which has been a problem for years. In a laptop configuration, traditional drives are power hogs that drain your battery and limit your mobility. Seek time is a big factor of the speed of traditional drives. Seek time being the time it takes the read head to locate the file on the platter and access it. Lastly, because of all the moving parts and seek speed, the read/write speed of a traditional drive is on average between 50-100 MegaBytes/Second. This is between 4 and 5 times slower than an SSD, which has a read/write of 400-500 MB/Sec. Enough about the old, lets get to the new.
SSD’s don’t have read heads, platters, or any moving parts. This makes them very durable and while they aren’t bulletproof, they are very shock resistant. Since they have no moving parts, this makes seek time virtually non-existent, and power consumption very low. Files load faster, and your battery lasts longer on your laptop. They only come in 2.5″ size (Laptop size). For use in a desktop, they require a 3.5″ tray adapter to allow them to fit the standard cases that traditional desktops accept. The adapter is less than $10 dollars for most applications. They have very long life, usually rated in the 30 year range depending on the type of solid state memory chips that are used.
Size and cost per GB are still a slight limitation as a 250GB SSD is around $110 and a 512GB is around $200. In a desktop configuration, after cloning the system drive to the SSD, the best use for the old drive is to use it as a secondary storage drive. Store the stuff you don’t use often on the bigger traditional drive, and run all of your programs and store frequently used files on the SSD. In a laptop configuration, I have found that in most cases, 250GB is more than enough space to run and store everything.
Bottom line, I have installed a ton of these as direct replacements for traditional hard drives. It doesn’t matter if it is a low end laptop you purchased on black Friday, or a high performance desktop you built from scratch. An SSD is going to make it boot completely into Windows in the 15 to 20 second range. This means from completely powered off, to booted and ready to run programs. All SSD’s are not created equal, there are low priced and high priced ones. I have experimented with both, and they will all blow you away when you switch from a traditional drive. If you use your computer for everyday web surfing, shopping, email, etc., then a lower end SSD would most likely work for you. Gamers and video/audio editors might want to spend a little extra for maximum performance.
Thanks for reading, if anyone is interested in making the switch to an SSD please contact me via phone, social media, or through my website http://www.ericparkerconsulting.com. The process doesn’t take long and the end game is amazing.
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Today I had a piece of equipment fail due to a faulty hard drive. No big deal, its a common item, I will just run down to my local Best Buy, Office Max, or Staples and pick up a new one. I try to shop local when I can, but I quickly remember why online retailers like Amazon are making these chain stores dinosaurs when it comes to logic and reason. I was in search of a 2 TB 3.5″ internal SATA hard drive, super common, shouldn’t be a problem.
Stop #1 I walk into the first store @BestBuy, navigate over to the hard drive section. I see 160GB, 250GB, and the place where 1TB and 2TB drives should be. They are out of stock on the shelf, I go to the counter and inquire about stock in the back. The clerk quickly informed me that if there is nothing on the shelf they have no reserve stock. You may be wondering why I mentioned the 160GB and 250GB hard drives… well they had a fair amount of dust on them and were nearly the same price as the 1TB drive. If shelf space is a problem, maybe it’s time to take a look at your inventory and clearance out some items to make room for more modern technology. We are up to 4 TB drives! Come on! #SMH #Strike1
Stop #2 was @OfficeMax which was right across the street. I walk in and a store employee greeted me and offered assistance. I asked them to point me toward the internal hard drives. I was quickly informed they didn’t sell internal drives anymore. I’m ok with that. I would rather you have none at all then have poorly stocked shelves or antique parts. @OfficeMax you get off easy. #Strike2
Stop #3 was @Staples, which was also in the same couple block radius of @BestBuy and @OfficeMax. I walk in the door, the funny thing is, there is another customer I am following in that I have seen at each of the stores I have been to. He is looking for an ink or toner cartridge… I wished him luck and trudged on. I walk back to the hard drive section. To my delight, I see 2 TB hard drives. Even two different brands. This must be my lucky day! Remind me to buy a lottery ticket on the way home. 🙂 Also on the shelf, 1 TB, and 500GB hard drives. Also 2 different brands to choose from on each size. Wow… too good to be true! I would actually purchase any of those sizes at any time. They are all dummy boxes, but a sight for sore eyes none the less. I make my selection and walk up to the service counter to retrieve my hard drive and complete my purchase. I am quickly informed that they are out of stock on the drive. Ok no problem, there is another brand, at this point I didn’t care what brand I got just as long as I got one. This had now become a quest. I asked for any 2 TB drive they had, and was quickly shot down again. He informed me they only had (1) 1 TB drive left and no 2 TB drives to speak of. I asked a logical question. Why do you have the dummy boxes out there if you have no stock? He didn’t really have an answer and that was that. #Really #SMH #Strike3
Defeated, disappointed, and angry, I drove back to my office, got on @Amazon and ordered the drive. It was the exact brand, style, and specs that I wanted. Even with tax and shipping it was cheaper than any of the prices that the two stores that actually sold drives had and that was next day shipping. I will literally have it at 10:30AM tomorrow because @Amazon is very good at what they do. Which is giving people what they want without ridiculous markups in price. Apparently, @Staples @BestBuy, this is what I should have done in the first place.
Just for grins, I went to staples.com and bestbuy.com in search of the drive and pricing. @Staples had no 2 TB drives on their site for sale except for some SAS drives which are more of an enterprise thing. @BestBuy had 2 TB drives that were decent price but only one brand and availability was 2 days. If you office stores want to stay in the game and continue to exist, you should work on your websites and make them run more like amazon with competitive shipping pricing and a wide selection. There is no reason you should only have one brand of something and it still have the same markup as the store when you are doing 80% less work.
CircuitCity.com still exists but it redirects to tigerdirect.com. Tiger Direct is another story for another day and I in no way endorse anything they do, but Circuit City saw the writing on the wall and closed their doors before they became the poorly stocked, staffed and managed establishments that we are presented with today. So thank you Circuit City for being responsible.
Today we launched our new TVU Backpack at WTHI-TV. This little baby was not cheap, but it has, and will, revolutionize the way we do things at WTHI-TV. We have been limited by terrain, landmarks, and distance for conventional live shots since we started doing them many decades ago and long before my time. We are too small of a market to have our own satellite uplink truck. You could easily dump 250-500K into a sat truck then you have to pay for the satellite time and a skilled operator. Not in the cards for us unfortunately. The backpack uses the internet and up to (15) 4G cell cards to deliver crisp HD video and audio back to the station with the push of one button. If you can operate the cameras and mics that we currently have, you can go live from anywhere in the country as long as there is cell service.
We have used Skype and other internet delivery for years with moderate success, but what a pain that is and it is very unreliable. Things got considerably better with the debut of 4G, but still unreliable. We still have two fully functional live trucks, but they take time to setup and tune in. When breaking news happens, we can deploy the backpack immediately, then dispatch the live trucks at our leisure. A wise man once told me, “the TV station with the biggest data center wins.” I have never looked back. I am proud to be able to continually keep WTHI-TV #1 every hour, of every day with technology that is “Leading The Way.”
Stay tuned Wabash Valley, we’ve got you covered.
I decided to start this blog to cover a little bit of everything in the technology world of Terre Haute, IN. Sometimes I have ideas that aren’t really Facebook post worthy, I thought this might be a better spot so that people don’t hide me in their news feeds.
Remember it’s a wild web out there. Backup early and often. More to come.