Comp-U-News from Comp-U-Talk

June  2014

"You can't get ahead if you’re busy catching up" - unknown


GrrrYou know what I love about working in the computer industry? I get to play with new toys. This month I’ve been playing with a Solid State Drive (SSD). SSD's have been around for a while. They were suspicious creatures originally, kind of like those weird things you find at the beach and you poke at them with a stick because you don’t know if they are going to bite you if you pick them up. In the months since their introduction, they have become standardized and stable and we are ready to put them into regular production.

So what exactly is a SSD? Well, it’s not a disease, although you may be thinking it sounds like one. To the contrary, this is something you want. It is an extremely fast hard drive.

The hard drive is the device responsible for storing your data. A standard hard drive is a metal disk with a read-write head that fetches information from the disk. It is similar in concept to a vinyl record (the metal disk) and the record player arm (the read/write head). On a standard hard drive we install the operating system (Windows), all of your programs (Word/Excel/Quickbooks/games) and the left over space is available for storage of your pictures, music, accounting data, reports, email. We measure the space in terms of Gigabytes. An average size hard drive ranges from 500 gigabytes to 4 terabytes (where 1024 gigabytes is the equivalent of 1 terabyte). Hard Drives are rated by their spin rates. Typical laptop drives spin at 5400 rotations per minute (rpm). Typical desktop drives spin at 7200 rpm and server drives can reach 10,000 rpm. Of course, faster is better.

Then came the SSD. It doesn't have any moving parts. Instead it stores your data in flash memory chips. Incredibly fast memory chips. A computer booting from an SSD will consistently improve boot times by 30%. Our antivirus program scanned the SSD drive 60% faster then it scanned the standard hard drive. You can expect similar performance improvements from any other programs running on an SSD as well.

You may be asking: So if these creatures are so wonderful, why doesn't everyone have one?

Price is the biggest deterrent. SSD drives are fetching over $1 per gig where as standard drives are selling for approximately $0.20 per gig. Size is the other deterrent. SSD's are topping out at 1 terabyte in size, so if you have lots of data or huge programs, it may be better to stay with the older technology.

Your next question might be: Wow, with those prices, who would benefit?

Anyone with a need for speed (and I'm not just talking about the game: Need for Speed) will benefit from an SSD. Are you big on graphic arts or cadd files? Maybe you are just impatient. This is an option for you. Stop by the store and see what an SSD can do!