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Tag Archives: Solid State

Hard drives - Part 5 - SSD Drawbacks

Posted on May 01st, 2013 by Tim

In this series of mini-blogs we’re looking at hard drives. What are hard drives, why do they fail and what can you do to extended their life and prevent data loss?

So what’s the drawback?

These days very little apart from cost. SSDs are now relatively mature and the technology has come on a long way. However, price per MB is still far higher than traditional drives which means that laptops generally don’t come with SSDs as standard until you start looking at premium machines or ultra-portables.

Because the price per MB is high laptops that do have SSDs often come with lower sized drives such as 128MB or 256MB. This is fine for most business use but not great for storing your large iTunes Store or large numbers of music and video files. If you are considering an SSD then you need to think very carefully about what data you will need on your laptop and what could be moved off to alternate storage. Do you really need to carry 100GB of music to every business meeting or would that be best on a desktop PC in the office (or an external drive)?

Next Time – External Hard Drives

External drives by their very nature are subject to even more risk that their securely housed internal brethren. Next week we’ll be looking at the various options and what you can do to protect your data.

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Hard drives - Part 4 - Solid State Drives

Posted on April 29th, 2013 by Tim

In this series of mini-blogs we’re looking at hard drives. What are hard drives, why do they fail and what can you do to extended their life and prevent data loss?

What is a solid state drive? (SSD)

If you read the last few days blog posts you’ll have a pretty good idea how a standard hard drive works. They are a tried and tested form of bulk storage. They are cheap, relatively reliable and pretty much represent the basis for data storage in most modern laptops and desktop machines. The are however relatively old technology and, as the previous blog posts show, subject to mechanical failure in a way that most other computer parts are not.

An SSD is a hard drive that uses flash chips to store data instead of a magnetic platter. Just like a USB pen disk stores data on a portable stick an SSD stores data on a hard drive sized array of chips. SSDs are preferable for a number of reasons but these all boil down to one thing. They contain no mechanical parts. This leads to a number of benefits:

  • They are less likely to fail through movement or knocks as there are no moving or spinning parts.
  • They do not suffer from mechanical wear in the same way (although they do wear in other ways).
  • They are faster, as there is no delay whilst the read head moves across the platter to accesses data
  • They are cooler and use less power, as there is no loss through mechanical heat – this means better battery life for your laptop

Next Time – It’s not all good though

Whilst SSDs are certainty bringing huge benefits it’s not always a win/win situation. Keep an eye out for our next instalment when we look at some of the drawbacks of solid state drives.

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