Tips on Solid State Drives

Solid state drives (SSDs) are a major innovation in storage technology, especially for laptops.  Apple led the way with the Macbook Air and SSDs are now a must-have in any high-end laptop these days. It’s not hard to see why – they’re much lighter and 3 or 4 times faster than older mechanical hard drives.  And, while they are much more expensive in terms of $ per GB, the rise of cloud storage has made SSDs a practical choice. Many people find that 256 GB on a laptop works fine when you have access to as much as 1 TB of storage in the cloud.

Since solid state drives are still fairly new, here are a few tips:

  • Generally speaking a 256 GB solid state drive will be faster than smaller drives, but drives bigger than 256 GB aren’t much faster. In terms of value for your dollar, 256 GB SSDs are the sweet spot.
  • There are no mechanical parts in an SSD, but they can still fail.  The memory cells sometimes go bad, and the controller firmware can stop working.   But, just like with mechanical drives, there are some advanced techniques for recovering data from a failed SSD.  So call a professional (such as Nettology) if you need to try to recover data.
  • Keep in mind that mechanical drives are much less expensive than SSDs (about 10 times cheaper) and work perfectly well for streaming movies and other video and audio. There’s no reason to back up movies, etc. to an SSD.

For those interested in learning more, here’s a fairly detailed article on solid state drives.

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