Wednesday, June 04, 2008

SSD To The Rescue?

The emerging news in mobile devices and even mainstream PC makers is the advent of Solid State Drive (SSD). On the surface, what's not to love? They're small, many times more energy efficient and provide equivalent input/output rates of traditional drives.

The bad news is that they have limited capacity (for now) and they're hugely expensive - in many cases they cost as much (or more!) than the laptop or device they're in.

However, they are the future.

If you've ever tried to do multiple things at once - like steam music while writing your blog, or render video while doing email while streaming media while working in Photoshop - for example - you've no doubt noticed the solid green light of your hard drive spinning with all of its might to keep up.

In theory, SSD drives would be much more efficient. Not to mention the fact that they have no moving parts - and therefore should be much more durable and have a longer life than platter-based drives - especially in mobile devices like laptops, iPhones and the new class of sub-compact notebooks known as net-tops.

Now, this will date me a bit - but I can remember buying a "whopping" 20 MEGAbyte hard drive back in the early 80's for just under $1,000 and thinking to myself - "Good, now I have all the storage I will EVER need."

We're at about that stage now with SSD. The technology is cutting edge, and it hasn't hit the economies of mass market adoption yet - so they will still be a bit pricey for the next year or two.

BUT - as the capacity increases and the price drops (both inevitable) you'll see them more and more. It won't be long until your "normal" platter-based hard drives are as modern as your pile of 8-tracks and cassettes.

RESOURCES: Free IDC report on SSD (registration required), SSD backgrounder on SSDs by

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