Byte Me Article 279 – Solid State Drives

Hard Disk Drives Can Often Die

A new financial year is upon us and we are still completing all of the work and new equipment ordered by many of our business customers before June 30.  It is always interesting the how varied the work is that we do and in the one week we can be supplying a multi-server network to run 50 computers as well as removing some malware from Mrs. Smith’s home PC.

One of the big things this week again was the number of laptops coming in with dead hard drives.  It may be a case that Toshiba have a large sector of the laptop market however we see an incredible number of this brand with dead hard drives.  So what causes this?

Traditionally laptops utilise a storage system called a hard drive which is a mechanical and electrical device with spinning metallic disks.  This is where it stores not only all Windows files and program files but also all of the customer’s data.  Because it is a mechanical device there is a possibility of failure and when this happens you have lost everything in most cases without employing specialised and expensive data recovery specialists.

What we are also seeing in our industry is the gradual replacement of these hard disk drives (HDD) with solid state drives (SSD).  An SSD has no moving parts as it is simply a bunch of electronic memory chips which can retain information even when the device is not powered.  These memory chips can accept new information as well as deliver existing information at around 10 times the speed of traditional hard disk drives.

So not only do SSD’s provide much greater speed but they also have around one percent of the failure rate of HDD’s.  Unfortunately SSD’s are still dearer than HDD’s for the same storage size and in an industry that is often driven by the bottom line price this extra expense is slowing the take over and acceptance of SSD’s.

I see a time, most likely within the next 5 years when nearly all laptops will have SSD’s and likely most desktops as well.  SSD’s have heaps of other advantages as well in the form of much lighter weight, resistance to shock, almost zero power consumption and they produce no heat.  These attributes are all much better than the traditional HDD.

Manufacturers realise that SSD’s have all of these advantages (except cost) so they are mostly only putting SSD’s in high end laptops (the expensive models).   The other caveat is that when a laptop manufacturer uses an SSD they are often too small to be useful to a lot of people.  Many laptop SSD’s are only 120GB in size – which is not enough if you wish to store photos or music or movies or a combination of all three.

We are now often taking a base model business laptop and removing the 500GB HDD to replace it with a 500GB SSD and therefore giving the customer an ultra-fast, ultra-reliable laptop at well below the cost of any standard laptop with this size SSD.  These laptops have been selling ‘like hot cakes’ and I am extra confident in the reliability of every one of these devices as they go out the door. 

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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